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ARRL National Convention to Feature Richard Garriott, W5KWQ


Richard Garriott, W5KWQ, will be attending the 2009 ARRL National Convention - hosted by the Dayton Hamvention® -- as a special guest of the ARRL and AMSAT. Garriott, who took off for the International Space Station (ISS) on October 12, became the sixth private citizen to fly with the Russian Federal Space Agency (RKA) for a short-term mission on the International Space Station (ISS). Not two hours after he arrived on the ISS on October 14, Garriott was making ham radio contacts, just as his father, Owen Garriott, W5LFL -- the first ham to make QSOs from space -- did in 1983 while aboard the space shuttle Columbia on STS-9. Both Richard and Owen are ARRL members.

"We are so excited to have Richard be a part of our National Convention this year," said ARRL Sales and Marketing Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R. "He will spend some time in the ARRL EXPO exhibit area, meeting convention attendees and signing autographs. He's also been confirmed as a Hamvention forum speaker." The ARRL EXPO is a large exhibit area located in the Ballarena Hall (near the 400-numbered booths) at Hara Arena.

"This mission to the ISS fulfilled a lifelong dream to experience spaceflight, just as my father first did 26 years ago," Richard said. "It's an honor to be the first American to follow a parent into space." While living on the ISS, Richard conducted scientific experiments and environmental research -- but he also had a chance to do quite a bit of Amateur Radio operating, including sending slow-scan TV (SSTV) images.

Richard said that after his first QSOs with Earth, he understood how "well-networked" the global ham community really is: 'I received specific reports back through Mission Control-Moscow about the technical aspects of my work and how the [amateur] community was enjoying the transmissions. This redoubled my enthusiasm to do quality work for the Amateur Radio legions around the world, as I realized how much it meant to those with whom I had the chance to talk. By late in my flight, I had contacted many hundreds of hams by voice and I have good records of these contacts."

For the past 26 years, ham radio operations from aboard the space shuttles and the International Space Station have helped to spotlight the innovation and experimentation that are benchmarks of the Amateur Radio Service. Richard Garriott's story as a private astronaut embodies that same "can-do" spirit. "We are absolutely delighted that Richard has agreed to take part in the 2009 ARRL National Convention. His biography reads like an adventure novel -- one that spans global expeditioner, explorer and entrepreneur," Inderbitzen said. "Like many radio amateurs, Richard has an innate fascination with science and technology. He has written very enthusiastically about his experience using Amateur Radio from aboard the ISS. He found it particularly gratifying to find hams around the globe eager to make radio contact with him at any time of the day or night. Throughout the mission, he made hundreds of radio contacts with individuals and classrooms full of children. When we greet Richard in Dayton, we'll welcome him as one of our own!"



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