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New ISS Crew Member’s Ham Radio Contact to Highlight a Wider Educational Effort


Recent International Space Station (ISS) arrival Ricky Arnold, KE5DAU, will take the mic of the station’s NA1SS on April 10 to answer questions posed by students at Pinson Valley High School in Alabama, where ham radio already has a foothold. Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) will sponsor the ham radio event with Arnold, who arrived on station on March 23 with Drew Feustel and Oleg Artemyev. Pinson Valley HS already has its own Amateur Radio club, and students there recently took part in ARRL’s School Club Roundup (SCR), in the process learning about setting up antennas, propagation, and the basics of making a ham radio contact. The April 10 contact will highlight a wider educational effort at Pinson HS.

Students in earth and space science classes will learn how satellites are used in Amateur Radio, and an AMSAT member will demonstrate their use. Industrial maintenance classes will build antennas and a transmitter to participate in a transmitter hunt.  The Birmingham Amateur Radio Club (BARC) and its Amateur Radio Advancement Group has pledged their support and equipment. The Blount County Amateur Radio Club has offered to follow up by offering Pinson HS students and faculty with Amateur Radio license testing on the school’s campus.

“This level of involvement helps to dispel the myth that ARISS contacts are only a one-shot event,” ARRL ARISS Representative Rosalie White, K1STO, said. “Teachers, clubs, and ARRL members work hard, sometimes out of their comfort zones, to ensure that Amateur Radio in included in scheduled schools in a broader context.”




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