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ARRL Satellite Bulletin ARLS015 (1996)

ARLS015 SAREX a success

Space Bulletin 015  ARLS015
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington, CT  September 26, 1996
To all radio amateurs

ARLS015 SAREX a success

The space shuttle Atlantis has returned to Earth. The three hams
aboard the shuttle--Jay Apt, N5QWL, Carl Walz, KC5TIE, and John
Blaha, KC5TZQ--spoke with students at two schools in the Midwest and
a third in England during their mission, which ended Thursday,
September 26. Blaha replaced Shannon Lucid aboard the space station
Mir, where he'll spend 120 days. Lucid had been living on Mir for
the last six months. The shuttle had docked with the station last
week to make the exchange and to drop off food, water, equipment and
supplies at Mir.

STS-79 carried the Shuttle Amateur Radio EXperiment (SAREX) payload
in configuration M (voice-only operations).

While still docked with Mir, the Atlantis crew successfully
completed three prearranged SAREX contacts. The first was on Friday,
September 20, with Immaculate Conception Elementary School in
Celina, Ohio.  Pupils there made a very successful SAREX contact
with astronaut Carl Walz, KC5TIE. Eleven-year-old Steven Eizensmits,
KC8ENC, of Mendon, Ohio, initiated the 6 1/2-minute contact, and
pupils got answers to nine questions as some 400 of their classmates
and media representatives looked on (9 TV and cable stations, 2
radio stations and one newspaper sent reporters). Also among the
crowd were the mayor of Celina and a couple of members of the Ohio
legislature.  After the contact, the pupils got a congratulatory
telephone call from retired astronaut and US Sen John H. Glenn
Jr--the first American to orbit the Earth.

Crew members spoke with two schools on Sunday, September 22.
Students at the Royal School For Girls in Haslemere, Surrey,
England, got answers to four questions during the QSO. Audio quality
was reported as ''somewhat poor,'' but students thought the event
was ''pretty keen.'' Some 150 people showed up for the occasion,
including representatives from the BBC and local television.

The last SAREX contact was with Andover Middle School in Andover,
Kansas. Students and administrators at the school called the contact
a ''once-in-a-lifetime'' opportunity. Audio quality was adequate,
and students asked a couple of dozen questions, most of them fielded
by Jay Apt, N5QWL. At the school itself, some 200 people and media
representatives turned out.

After the Kansas contact, the crew members turned their attention to
personal contacts. The ARRL has received dozens of reports from
amateurs who made successful contact with the crew throughout the
mission. We even got reports from hams in Canada and Finland. After
Atlantis and Mir separated, John Blaha, KC5TZQ, was heard working
ground stations on the East Coast on 145.55 MHz. ''Good strong
signal as Mir passed over Knoxville,'' reported Greg Williams,

Send STS-79 QSL cards and reports to: ARRL EAD, STS-79 QSL, 225 Main
St, Newington, CT 06111-1494. Include the following information in
your QSL or report: STS-79, date, time in UTC, frequency and mode.
Include a stamped, self-addressed business-size envelope if you wish
to receive a card (non-US stations should include one IRC). The
Bergen Amateur Radio Association in New Jersey has graciously
volunteered to manage the mailing for this mission.

Space shuttle Columbia will carry the next SAREX payload, during
mission STS-83 in March, 1997.


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