en-Activities-ARISS-2012 - QSO with André Kuipers - HB4FR

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Wir wollen die Jugend für die Wissenschaft, die Technik und den Amateurfunk interessieren
We want to interest young people in sciences, technology and radio
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"Clin d'Ailes"
Swiss Air Force Museum
HAM Radio Club
Payerne - Switzerland
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Activities - Operation ARISS 2012

The QSO with astronaut André Kuipers aboard theISS

The QSO (radio contact) between the students and astronaut Andre Kuipers  on board of the ISS took place on March 21, 2012 at 9:39 am.

"OR4ISS de HB9SPACE please come - over"

A report written by Fritz Friedli, HB9TNA about « Operation  ARISS-2012» of the « HB4FR „Clin d’Ailes“ Swiss Air Force Museum HAM Radio Club »

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, at 09:38 a.m. in the Swiss Air Force Museum "Clin d'Ailes" Payerne:  In his role as a "tracker", Manfred, HB9ACA watched very closely his  monitor. The "footprint" of the ISS moves inexorably closer to Payerne.  Manfred takes a look out of the window to check the aerial. At the same  moment, the X-Quad antenna, mounted on an 8m mast, starts - operated as  if by magic - to turn toward 315° north-west. From know, the ISS will  show up in 45 seconds on the radio horizon. Manfred quickly turns to the  radio operators and reports:  "In 45 ready to go"! Then, he turns back  to his task.

Bertrand HB9SLO, Operator I, stretches in order to fight against his  tension and loosens slightly his collar. Quickly, he checks once again  the settings of his transceiver and then it's time: at 09:39 local time,  NASA had determined, the ISS would be "in range"! “OSCAR ROMEO FOUR  INDIA SIERRA SIERRA - DE HOTEL BRAVO NINE SIERRA PAPA ALPHA CHARLY ECO –  OR4ISS DE HB9SPACE – PLEASE COME – OVER”!  Bertrand speaks with a loud,  clear voice into his microphone. No answer.  “Must be the ridges of the  Jura covering the Space Station”, Berti thinks, “so, call once again”.  After the second call, first a faint clicking noise, and then the clear,  distinct voice of astronaut Andre Kuipers sounds from the loudspeakers:  „HOTEL BRAVO NINE SPACE DE OSCAR ROMEO FOUR ISS – FIVE NINE – GO  AHEAD“! A liberating smile spreads across the face of Herbert HB9BOU,  president of the Amateur Radio Group of the museum. "The QSO is in the  bag," he thinks satisfied and our astronaut Claude Nicoller, HB9CN takes  the microphone: „HI ANDRÉ - THIS IS CLAUDE HB9CN SPEAKING - HOW ARE YOU  DOING MY FRIEND“? Claude welcomes his friend aboard the ISS, gives a  brief introduction and passes the microphone to the first of the 20  students, so that they can ask their questions to astronaut André  Kuipers..

ESA Astronaut André Kuipers aboardISS
Image credit: ESA

Same time, in the radio control car next to the museum: Daniel,  HB9DLZ is sitting in a comfortable office chair in front of his screens  with which he monitors the frequency spectrum as well as the emissions  from the ISS and HB9SPACE. QSOs like this one are always closely  followed by radio ama-teurs and it may happen that some indelicate  station interferes with the ARISS QSO. To err is human and yes, it could  happen that here or there wrong offsets are used. Daniel can detect  everything at a glance and take the necessary measures. Nothing is left  to chance!

Back to the museum: Meanwhile quite a number of students have  directed their well worded and very interesting questions to André  Kuipers, who answers them in a very clear and concise manner. It is  absolutely not acceptable to waste even a second, because the ISS -  constrained by the radio horizons - can be reached at maximum during 10  minutes by radio!
Pierre-André, HB9AZN and Paul-André, HB9RXV as well  as their teammates from "SwissATV" - our amateur television specialists  - are very busy too. They are recording the entire action in HD-quality  and provide the attending media with the signals for their TV  broadcasts and for the live streaming on the Internet.

The short time frame available is elapsing in a flash. Quickly, the last  questioner hands over the mike to Claude Nicollier, who says goodbye to  his colleague and the ISS crew: "BYE BYE ANDRÈ AND DEAR FRIENDS - TAKE  CARE"! The microphone goes then to Berti, the operator, in order to  close the QSO in accordance with the regulations. The audience can hear a  few more unintelligible words from André Kuipers and then only noise  comes from the speakers. The ISS is gone…

The more than 100 visitors, which have followed silently, but with  interest and attention the whole event, cannot hold back any longer and  close the radio contact between the students and the ISS in their  manner: with spontaneous, thunderous applause.s.

Presentation of the technical project of the electronics students:  The ARISS project requires that the participating students and  apprentices deal during a certain time with Space topics. In this case, a  technical project had to be developed and built by the students of the  Education Center of the Air Force Base Payerne.

he project named "HEIDI" had value of diploma project. The students had  to develop and build a payload for a stratospheric weather balloon with a  video camera, a transmitter in the range of 13 cm waves for  transmitting live images during the flight, a HD video camera with  memory onboard storage, various meteorological sensors, a GPS receiver  with a APRS-transmitter to track the trajectory of the balloon and its  payload, and finally - probably a world first for weather balloons - a  device for measuring temperature inside the balloon with data  transmission.

The project was a real technical challenge for the students. E.g. the  total weight of the balloon payl-oad was limited to 2 kg, and electronic  and optical modules must operate in a wide range of temperatures, from  ambient temperatures at departure up to -60 °C at the border of the  stratosphere.

The students reached the culmination of their work with the successful  launch of the stratosphere balloon probe on March 15, 2012, at 1:57pm.  After 1 ½ hour of flight, it reached at west of "Schwarz-see" the apex  at an altitude of 32'152 meters above sea level, at a speed of 39 km/h.  Then, suddenly the probe abruptly turned towards Jaun, a small town in  the Fribourg Mountains. Over this town, the balloon burst and finally  "Heidi" ended the journey in the tops of a pine tree. There, Mike HB3YWU  and his "balloon hunters" - some had even come from neighboring France -  found the Payload they had followed all the time with their technical  equipment. By the way: "Balloon Hunter" is also an interesting  possibility, which provides the broad pallet of the amateur radio  service.

The visitors were very impressed with the work of the students. With  their impressive presentation, the projection of the beautiful and  exciting HD video recordings made during the flight of the balloon probe  and the subsequent aperitif, our "Operation ARISS-2012" ended with a  big success.

Push the play button below
to listen to the students questions and answers from André Kuipers, Dutch ESA astronaut, aboard the ISS.

Click on the picture to view the QSO :

HAM Radio :
Amateur Radio is „Communications Superpower".
The Radio Amateurs are the eyes and the ears of the
world in time when all other information channels are silent.

(Kristalina Georgieva, EU-Commissioner)
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