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  • 1.  Listen in to ISS astronaut answer student questions

    Posted 01 Apr, 2024 07:38

    The ARISS team helps connect astronauts on orbit to students on the ground via amateur radio.  If the ISS is above your local horizon during these contacts you can listen in to the ISS side of the conversation with an amateur radio or "police scanner" tuned to the 145.800 MHz downlink frequency.  These signals are strong enough that a handheld radio with small whip antenna is all that is required if the ISS is more than 5 degrees, or so, above your horizon.

    You can go to Upcoming Educational Contacts

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    This Wednesday, April 3, students at Embry-Riddle in Florida will start a contact at 1522 UTC which should be audible in the Washington DC area from about 11:23AM local time to about 11:32AM local time.  Maximum elevation in the DC area is about 15 degrees above the horizon at about 11:28AM local time.  So don't expect stunning results with a handheld radio but you should be able to hear a couple of the astronaut replies during the middle of the contact. A small handheld directional antenna will let you hear the crew from horizon to horizon.

    You can find a local amateur radio club at if you want to try and get a local volunteer to bring a handheld radio and directional antenna tohost a listening event. 

    William Marchant

  • 2.  RE: Listen in to ISS astronaut answer student questions

    Posted 9 days ago

    Speaking of Ham Radio...  Is there and AIAA Ham radio group?  If not, anyone want to get one together?

    Full Disclosure, I don't have a ham license yet.  Been slow on getting myself to take the courses and exam.  Need inspiration.  -Bill_H

    William HooFatt
    Sr. ISSM
    Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc.
    Arlington VA

  • 3.  RE: Listen in to ISS astronaut answer student questions

    Posted 9 days ago

    I'm not aware of an AIAA ham group, Bill.  It would be fun to see what happens with that idea.  

    There are lots of ways to get licensed.  You can go to to find a local club as many offer in person classes. There are online classes and/or online self-study tools.  There are study books. And there is self study from the published exam question pool. goes through many of the options.  Everybody studies differently so you should pick the method that works best for you.

    I'll be at the model rocket launch near The Plains, VA on June 15 if we want to try and gather some AIAA folks.  There will be some decent ISS passes and we can try to get on the voice repeater and also send some digital packets through the digipeater. And I can bring some model rocket radio payloads for people to see.

    To the first half dozen people that sign up I'll give a small snap-together model rocket and motor that they can fly that day.  

    All this is weather permitting, of course. Check the NOVAAR web site after 8PM the night before to see if there's been a weather cancellation or delay.  There's no special announcement if the launch is go.

    William Marchant