29 Oct / Message To HAM Community
On my recent flight I had the great opportunity to speak directly and trade call signs with hundreds of hams around the globe. For me, it was a unexpected joy to find so many enthusiastic hams, who were so well informed and interested in my activities in orbit. When I began my transmissions with preplanned SSTV images including “pirate messages”, test patterns and family images, I did not know how they would be received. But it seemed that fellow hams really enjoyed seeing this beginning to my time on the International Space Station (ISS). For the bulk of my 10 days on the ISS, I tried to be speaking by voice or transmitting SSTV images whenever possible.
After my first 100 or so QSOs, I understood how well “networked” the global ham community really is. I received specific reports back through Mission Control-Moscow about technical aspects of my work and how the 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. Finally I sent some “Goodbye” images on my last day in space. I also contacted many hams that had listened to or contacted my father from space 25 years ago. Some hams I contacted 2 to 4 times on my flight.
On those last days I was very moved when sent many “soft landing” messages from individuals and classrooms full of children as I passed by. The ham community has added greatly to my personal feelings of success on my flight. I can only hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did.
Thanks so much and 73, Richard, W5KWQ