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Astronaut Doug Wheelock, KF5BOC, to Be Guest of ARRL and AMSAT at Hamvention®

02/16/2011

Doug Wheelock, KF5BOC, will be attending the 2011 ARRL EXPO -- part of the Dayton Hamvention® -- as a special guest of the ARRL and AMSAT. While at Hamvention, Wheelock will share his experiences about using Amateur Radio in space. Wheelock spent 163 days in space, with seven weeks as ISS Commander; he returned to Earth in November 2010. While on board the ISS, he, along with fellow astronaut Shannon Walker, KD5DXB, participated in the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. Together, the two made 22 ISS-to-school and ISS-to-camp QSOs.

During his last few weeks in space, Wheelock sent down a note to Johnson Space Center, asking to increase the number of ARISS contacts from one per week to two a week during his last month on the ISS. According to ARRL ARISS Program Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, Wheelock said he enjoyed the contacts with children, calling them “priceless.” White said that the ARISS Team quickly reviewed the list of schools on the ARISS waiting list and set up contacts for Wheelock.

In his off-time, Wheelock -- who has described ham radio as “a fun way to stay ‘connected’ with planet Earth” -- squeezed in some casual contacts from NA1SS with earthbound hams -- surprising or exciting all of them, leading to some positive media coverage. ARISS reports that he made some two dozen general contacts each day he was on the air, and the program now finds itself running low on QSL cards.

“It was totally unexpected, on my way back from a shopping trip!” Erik Janssens, K5WW, of Texas said of his contact with Wheelock, who was using call sign NA1SS. “Exhilarating!” A new ham, David Pruett, KF7ETX, of Oregon, posted an informative and well-received YouTube video of his lucky contact with Wheelock. Wheelock even made his own YouTube video, giving a guided tour of the ISS. The video features him making a few ham radio contacts while passing over North America (the ham radio portion of the video begins at the 10:38 mark).

The Dayton Hamvention is May 20-22 at Hara Arena, just outside Dayton, Ohio. Find news and information about the 2011 ARRL EXPO here.



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