Boy Scout Jamboree Hosts Space Station Ham Radio Contact
European Space Agency Astronaut Luca Parmitano, KF5KDP, aboard the International Space Station spoke July 20 via ham radio with Scouts attending the 2013 Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree, July 15-24, at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in Mount Hope, West Virginia. The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program arranged the 2 meter contact between the Scouts’ K2BSA and NA1SS.
“What really matters is to be good at what you do,” Parmitano told the Scouts, “so, pick something you like, love it and be really good at it.” Parmitano also said that the stars look different — more natural — from the ISS but appear the same size as on Earth. Ditto for planets.
ARISS Technical Mentor Bob Greenberg, W2CYK, coordinated the contact with the Jamboree. Some 40,000 attendees were anticipated at the National Jamboree over its 10 day run. Amateur radio has been a part of the Jamboree experience since 1953, when K6BSA was on the air from Irvine Ranch in California. An ARISS direct contact with Space Station Commander Doug Wheelock, KF5BOC, was a highlight of K2BSA’s activities during the BSA’s centennial National Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, in 2010.
On July 22, students at Colegio Uruguá, in El Pinar, Uruguay, spoke with the ISS crew via LU8YY. An ARISS contact also was scheduled this with students at the Scuola Italiana di Montevideo in Uruguay.
Visitors to the European Space Agency’s Space Camp 2013 in Radstadt, Austria, spoke July 24 with the ISS crew via a telebridge between IRØISS and VK4KHZ in South Australia. The theme of this year’s camp is “Space Exploration.”
Early next month the ISS crew will speak with Scouts attending the 2013 Space Jam 7 at Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum in Rantoul, Illinois. Some 2000 Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and their leaders from 20 states are expected to be on hand for Space Jam 7.
Also in early August the ISS crew will speak via ham radio with students attending the 2013 AirVenture Oshkosh air show in Wisconsin. Some 500,000 visitors attend the air show each year. The organization has a student membership of more than 20,000. On the day of the contact 125 young women and their mentors involved in the aerospace industry in some way with the EAA’s Women Soar program are expected, in addition to groups from aviation high schools from Florida and California.
The ISS crew has been using a 5 W Ericsson hand-held transceiver for contacts in recent months, because of problems with the higher-power Kenwood radio on board. This can make terrestrial copy difficult, and ARISS volunteers have had to beef up ground-station receiving capabilities to ensure a successful contact. ARISS has recorded more than 800 ISS school contacts since the program began in late 2000.