My Most Recent QSO's

Thursday, July 14, 2011

N4S Special Event Station

I worked N4S this morning on the SSB portion of 20 meters.  (14.280)  Sadly, this is the LAST launch of this spacecraft but all is not lost. The International Space Station is still in the sky, and will continue to be for many years. Unfortunately (most people say) our focus has changed.

I enjoy watching the "International Space Station" as it crosses the early evening, or early morning sky here in the valley. Sometimes it's as bright as the landing lights on a normal "jet" as they approach our airport. It's easily seen with the naked eye and a simple "scanner" is all that's needed to hear communications for a brief moment. But it's a short "window" since it's moving about 17,000 mph.

When I first got into the hobby, I used a "portable packet" station for hiking on the Appalachian Trail. When the Russian MIR space station was in the sky, I dropped a letter in it's "mail box" while sitting in a "cow pasture" near Charleston. I did it with a handi-talkie and a small three element beam. A short story about that was published in the local newspaper. (front page). I also wrote a short story for the ARRL about the event.

I've been hearing this "special event station" for several days but in the evenings, there's an enormous "pile up" for the contact. This morning, I worked it (N4S) on the third attempt with 10 watts.

I'll miss not seeing our "space shuttle" in the sky but I'll still watch for the "International Space Station", hopefully, for many more years. There's a link on this blog for "Heavens-Above". You can set up your QTH to see it's "visible passes" from your city.

If you're lucky, you will also "hear" it by tuning into the VHF frequency.

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