Youngsters in Europe, US Get Front-Row Seats to Space via Ham Radio

Expedition 14/15 flight engineer Suni Williams, KD5PLB, during a spacewalk earlier in her stay aboard the ISS. The spacesuits weight about 800 lbs on Earth but are nearly weightless in space. [NASA Photo]

NEWINGTON, CT, May 4, 2007 — Now part of the ISS Expedition 15 crew, US astronaut Suni Williams, KD5PLB, has continued her run of successful Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school contacts. In late April, she enlightened youngsters in Italy, Germany Virginia and Illinois about what it’s like to live aboard the ISS. Williams has been in space since December and is scheduled to return home next month via the space shuttle that will bring her replacement. During the first of two ham radio conversations on April 23 with students at the Scuola Europea Varese in Varese, Italy, Williams allowed that she’s growing tired of space meals.

“They were tasty for the first couple of months, but now it’s getting a little bit old, because the menu sort of repeats,” Williams responded. “It’s about a 10-day cycle, and then you start eating the same things over and over again, so I try to be creative and mix new things with each other.”

Shane Lynd, VK4KHZ, served as the Earth station for the event. Students at the school spent about three months learning about the ISS. The Scuola Europea Varese is an international co-ed school with an enrollment of 1300 students, pre-school through high school, from all over Europe. An audience of about 300 looked on during the contact, which attracted media coverage from newspapers and television.

Verizon Conferencing provided a teleconferencing link between Australia and Italy. Italian ARISS mentor Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF, set up live audio streaming on the AMSAT Italia Web site.

A few hours later, youngsters at Kingston Elementary School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, spoke with Williams during a direct VHF contact between NA1SS and control op Ed Williams, KN4KL. Thirteen Kingston third through fifth graders participated in the event, while the rest of the schools nearly 600 students watched via closed-circuit TV. The father of one of the pupils, Julia, had graduated from the US Naval Academy with Williams, and they later served on helicopter squadrons in nearby Norfolk. Julia wanted to know how long it took to prepare for a spacewalk.


“Well, it takes a little while,” Williams explained. “It’s sort of like when you’re going diving. We’re going to breathe 100 percent oxygen, and so we have to make sure that we get all the nitrogen out of our system. So that’s the longest preparation time, and then we have to get the spacesuits ready.” She said it typically takes four to five hours before the astronauts are ready to open the hatch and go out into space.

Members of the Virginia Beach Amateur Radio Club (VBARC) provided the ground station and support for the ARISS event, which was the subject of a newspaper article in the Virginian Pilot. (The ARRL Virginia Section Web site has a copy of the article and additional information on this event.)

Two days later, about a dozen youngsters attending Christian Life Elementary School in Rockford, Illinois, had their “day in space.” Youngsters there chatted with Williams at the helm of NA1SS via Earth station control operator Shari Harlan, N9SH. Williams told one questioner that she believes the next step for the human spaceflight program is to return to the moon.

“We’ve got a lot that we can learn from living in a different type of gravity environment if we want to explore further, potentially go out to Mars or some other part of the universe,” she said. “If we’re only at the moon, we’ll have only a small delay in communication — maybe a two-second delay — and we need to learn how to work autonomously without always [having] the help of the ground. It would be nice to have a moon base to see how that would work and see if we can still survive there.”

Upward of 1000 students looked on during the ARISS QSO, and audio and video were fed live to a local Amateur TV repeater.

On April 28, Williams fielded more questions from students at the Samuel von Pufendorf Gymnasium, a middle and high school of some 675 students in Floeha, Germany. The direct contact was between NA1SS and the school’s Amateur Radio club station DL0GYM, with Harald Schoenwitz, DL2HSC, as the control operator. All of the students who took part in the event had obtained their Amateur Radio licenses in advance of the contact.

Williams answered 18 of the youngster’s questions on various topics. She told the students she wished the ISS had Internet access. “It really would be helpful,” she remarked. She noted the crew does have access to e-mail, however. She also said that the crew can see the northern lights from above, and on one occasion, an aurora occurred during a space walk. “It was a little creepy to see the green lights flashing,” she said.

The possible effects of global warming are evident from the space station as well, Williams reported. “I can definitely see differences in the glaciers in the Himalayas and in South America,” she said.

About 50 people plus news media looked on as the approximately 10-minute contact progressed flawlessly. Five newspapers, three radio stations and the regional TV channel reported on the event. The von Pufendorf contact was the 290th since the ARISS program began coordinating ham radio events for schools when the first space station crew came aboard in November 2000.

ARISS is an international educational outreach with US participation by ARRL, AMSAT and NASA.



Titanic Ho! Ham radio operators raise memory of Titanic


by John Taylor

Branson — Ham radio operators worldwide paid tribute Saturday to John George “Jack” Phillips, the man who sent the distress code that alerted other ships to the Titanic disaster 95 years ago.

Four members of the Nixa Amateur Radio Club organized the event, which was held at the Titanic museum in Branson.

Shortly before midnight on April 14, 1912, the luxury liner, which had been considered unsinkable, struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic during its maiden voyage. Of the 2,229 passengers and crew on board, only 713 survived.

“Had it not been for the radio operators, there would have been no survivors,” said Rod Kittleman of Nixa, one of the event’s organizers.

Radio operators stationed outside the museum made contact with other operators not only in the United States, but in countries such as the United Kingdom, Portugal and Japan as well.

More than 500,000 people have visited the museum since it opened in April 2006, Kellogg-Joslin said. Among those visitors have been descendants of Titanic survivors, including the great-granddaughters of Margaret Brown, who was made famous in the 1964 film “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”


In amateur radio, QRP operation means transmitting at reduced power levels. The term QRP derives from the Q code where “QRP?” was used to mean, “Should I reduce Power?”.

I knew there was a way through to my green ethics. Communications Rock.

Wikipedia – QRP
QRPedia wiki
External Links:

Ham Radio License Notes

Amateur Radio Service is Governed by 3 pieces of legislation:

Notes from va7eef

* Industry Canada RIC – 2 and RIC 3

Radio Communications Act contains:
1. Requirements to obtain license    2. Penalites for failure to do so


The Act states that you cannot:
install, operate or possess a device capable of transmitting electromagnetic waves lower than 3000GHz  without being licenced in accordance with the Act.  Also, the equipment must be located in a place with a station license.

The Regulations encompasses:
the rules for the hobby including 3rd party traffic, bandwidth, permitted frequencies, communications content, power limits, etc.

  • post yellow/white station license
  • 3rd party traffic means a message sent to a non-amateur via an amateur station.
  •  there are some countries which it is forbidden to communicate with   (N. Korea, Iran)
  • Obscene Language
  • Confidentiality
  • You must state your CALLSIGN at the beginning and end of an exchange. You must identify again at 30mins. Identification must be in English or French.
  • You may only communicate with other amateur stations
  • You cannot develop a secret code
  • You cannot play music or commercially recorded material
  • You cannot demand nor accept remuneration for any communication

Sanctions under the Act

  • maximum fine of $5000.00
  • imprisonment for up to 1 year
  • or both

Regulations Continued …


is the portion of the band that your transmitted signal occupies:

Signals below 25MHz shall not exceed 6 kHz bandwidth (except 10.1 10.15 MHz –> 1 kHz )
28.0 – 29.7 MHz shall not exceed 20 kHz bandwidth
50 MHz – 144 MHz shall not exceed 30 kHz bandwidth
200 MHz shall not exceed 100 kHz bandwidth
430 MHz 12 MHz (Amateur Television)

 Transmitter Power:

  1. direct current input power: Basic License – max 250 watts  Advanced License – max 1 kW  :  to the anode or collector or circuit of the transmitter stage
  2. radio frequency output power measured across an impedance matched load: Basic License – max 560 watts peak envelope power. Advanced License – max 2250 watts (for transmitters producing SSB emission)  or  Basic License – max 190 watts carrier  power. Advanced License – max 750 watts (for other types of emission)

Harmful Interference:

  • interference must neither endanger or degrade the use or functioning of safety-related transmitters and receivers (ie police, ambulance, coast guard)
  • or, significantly degrade, obstruct or repeatedly interrupt the use or functioning of radio apparatus or radio sensitive equipment.


  1. Device capable of measuring the transmitted frequency (with the same accuracy as a crystal calibrator), AND
  2. Device capable of preventing and indicating overmodulation, AND
  3. Frequency stability of the transmitter of frequencies below 148 MHz must be equivalent to a crystal-controlled radio.

** All modern transceivers meet these 3 requirements.

Number of Amateur Radio Stations

You may have:

2  Type 1 site-specific stations

1 module station

** Only 2 stations can operate simultaneously (one of which must be the mobile station)

** Station does not mean transmitter, so, station may have many transmitters operating simultaneously


Emergency Communications

Amateur stations have the authority to communicate any message that relates to an emergency (earthquake, flood, tornado) on behalf of any person, government, or relief organization.

Distress: – grave and imminent danger, need immediate assistance: “MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, CALLSIGN”  Repeat until you get a response. Priority over all other communication.

Urgency:- urgent message concerning safety of person, place, vehicle, plane or vessel. “PAN PAN, PAN PAN, PAN PAN, CALLSIGN”. Priority over all other communication except distress.

Safety: – safety navigation or weather advisories. “SECURITY, SECURITY, SECURITY CALLSIGN”


Safety Code 6

Health Canada’s document “Limits of Exposure to Radiofrequency Fields at Frequencies from 10kHz to 300 GHz”




Basic Certificate (70%)

  • restricted to frequencies above 30MHz
  • lower power below 250W
  • not be the license holder of a repeater
  • not be holder of a club station
  • must use commercially manufactured equipment

Advance Certification (80%+)

  • operate on HF bands
  • below 30 MHz
  • operate less than 1000W

The frequency allocations for Canada in ITU Region 2 are:



Frequency (MHz)

Lower edge

Frequency (MHz)

Upper edge

Maximum Bandwidth




6 kHz

B and 5



6 kHz

B and 5



6 kHz

B and 5



1 kHz

B and 5



6 kHz

B and 5



6 kHz

B and 5



6 kHz

B and 5



6 kHz

B and 5



20 kHz

B and 5



30 kHz




30 kHz




100 kHz




12 MHz

B **



12 MHz

B **



Not Specified

B **



Not Specified

B **



Not Specified

B **



Not Specified

B **



Not Specified

B **



Not Specified




Not Specified

B **



Not Specified




Not Specified




Not Specified

B **



Not Specified




Not Specified

B **



Not Specified

B **



Not Specified





“B” means an Amateur Operators Certificate with Basic Qualification
“5” means an Amateur Operators Certificate with Morse Code (5 w.p.m.) Qualification
Radio Amateurs are secondary users in the bands marked with asterisks **, and may not cause interference to primary users.



VE0 International Waters
VO2 Labrador
VY1 Yukon
VY0 Nunavut

Phonetic Alphabet

alpha beta charlie delta echo
foxtrot golf hotel india julliet
kilo lima mike november oscar
papa quebec romeo sierra tango
uniform victor whiskey xray yankee


Q Code


See More:

Q Code Ques Ans Remember
QRZ Who is calling me? You are being called by … Snooze
QSO Can you communicate with… direct .. or relay? I can communicate with… direct .. or relay So and So
QRM Are you being interfered with? I am being interfered with … 1,2,3,4,5 Radio Man
QRN Are you troubled by static? I am troubled by static … 1,2,3,4,5 Radio Natural
QRS Shall I send more slowly? Send more slowly (wpm) Radio Slower
QTH What is your position? My position is lat long The Home
QSL Can you acknowledge receipt? I can acknowledge receipt. QSL Card
QRG Can your tell me my exact frequency? Your exact frequency is KHz or MHz RiG frequency
QRT Shall I stop sending? Stop Sending. Radio Terminate
QTR What is the exact time? Exact Time is … 2000 Z Time Right Now
QRO Shall I increase my transmitter power? Increase your transmitter power. Ridiculously Overload
QRP Shall I decrease my transmitter power? Decrease transmitter power. Reduce Power
QSY Shall I change frequency? Change frequency to … See You Change
QRH Does my frequency vary? Change frequency to … Radio Hold Frequency
QRI How is the tone of my frequency? The tone of your transmission is 1=good, 2= variable, 3=bad Radio Intonate
QRK What is the intelligibility of my signal (or those of …)?  The intelligibility of your signal is 1=bad, 2=poor, 3=fair, 4=good, 5=excellent Radio Klearly

1 nil

2 slightly

3 moderately

4 severely

5 extremely

Station Diagram

station setup

The DC input power of a transmitter operating at 12 volts and drawing 500 milliamps would be: 6 watts   
P = E × I   =   12 × .5   =   6 watts


Current and Voltage


Current (I) is the flow of electrons through a conductor, and is measured in amperes (A).

Voltage (E) is the electrical pressure, or electromotive force, that causes the electrons to flow, and is measured in volts (V).

Analogy: If you compare electric current to water flowing through a pipe, then voltage is like the water pressure.
The ampere is named for André Marie Ampère, a mathematician and physicist who made major contributions to the theory of electromagnetism.
The volt is named for Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta, a pioneer in the study of electricity and inventor of the electric battery.






Resistance (R) is the opposition to current, and is measured in ohms (Ω).

A resistor is a circuit component that provides resistance.  Resistors are made from materials with moderate resistance, like carbon.

Bad Beer Rots Our Young Guts But Vodka Goes Well.

The Standard EIA Color Code Table per EIA-RS-279 is as follows:

Color 1st band 2nd band 3rd band (multiplier) 4th band (tolerance) Temp. Coefficient
Black 0 0 ×100    
Brown 1 1 ×101 ±1% (F) 100 ppm
Red 2 2 ×102 ±2% (G) 50 ppm
Orange 3 3 ×103   15 ppm
Yellow 4 4 ×104   25 ppm
Green 5 5 ×105 ±0.5% (D)  
Blue 6 6 ×106 ±0.25% (C)  
Violet 7 7 ×107 ±0.1% (B)  
Gray 8 8 ×108 ±0.05% (A)  
White 9 9 ×109    
Gold     ×0.1 ±5% (J)  
Silver     ×0.01 ±10% (K)  
None       ±20% (M)  

Note: red to violet are the colors of the rainbow where red is low energy and violet is higher energy.

Component Symbol Photo Description
Resistor Opposes the flow of electricity and converts electric energy to heat.  Commonly used to limit current flow in a circuit.
Variable Resistor A resistor with a wiper arm that has a terminal connected to it, allowing you to vary the resistance.  When hooking them up, the middle terminal is always the wiper arm.  Also called a potentiometer.


Series versus Parallel Circuits

Resistors in seriesResistors in parallel

A series circuit is wired so that current passes through a series of components, one after the other.

In a parallel circuit, current branches out through multiple paths.  Kirchhoff’s Current Law says that the sum of the currents flowing into any branching point is equal to the sum of the currents flowing out.  In other words:

IA  =  IB + IC


Note: What matters here is the wiring, not the physical arrangement of the components.


German physicist Gustav Robert Kirchhoff (1824-1887) made major contributions to our understanding of electricity, spectroscopy, and other fields.




Ohm’s Law


Ohm’s Law shows the relationship between:

  • electromotive force or voltage (E) in volts (V)
  • current (I) in amperes (A)
  • and resistance (R) in ohms (Ω)

This law is expressed by three equivalent formulas:

E = I × R — to determine voltage

I = E / R — to determine current

R = E / I — to determine resistance

A rule of “thumb”
for remembering
Ohm’s Law

Move the mouse
over a letter
to see its formula


An ohm is defined as the resistance of a circuit in which a 1 ampere current flows when 1 volt is applied.

German physicist, Georg Simon Ohm (1787-1854), who formulated Ohm’s Law.




Amateur Certification – Fact Sheet – Industry Canada

RIC-2 – Standards for the Operation of Radio Stations in the Amateur Radio Service