Watch STREAMING video of the space station contact:

Video of the contact shot and provided by UCSB


Follow the links below to DOWNLOAD video of the space station contact.  You may experience best results by saving the file to your hard drive and then playing it.

Video 1 A long video (161 Mb) of the contact taken by WB9KMO and KC6UEZ.  This is combined video professionally produced by WB9KMO
Video 2 A short video of the contact by KC6UEZ
Video 3 A longer video of the contact by KC6UEZ (large file)
Photos of the event
Media Coverage


The Background
On August 19, the Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club (SBARC) made it possible for a local Boy Scout troop (Los Padres Council Troop 105) to contact the International  Space Station live via ham radio!  The event began at 8:39 AM local time and lasted about 10 minutes.  The contact was made at the request of Dr. Gregory Errol Chamitoff Ph.D. (KD5PKZ) an astronaut currently stationed on the ISS.  Dr. Chamitoff is an alum of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and is friends with assistant scout master John Schlesselmann.  Several folks, including local hams and staff of the UC Santa Barbara physics department organized the event (see below).

The scouts submitted question advance, and most of them had the opportunity to ask the questions of the astronaut.  Transmission quality with perfect, and the contact took place in a prominent location on campus (the patio on the roof of Broida Hall). Members of SBARC also worked with the kids to achieve scout "radio merit badges" after the event.  More than 100 people attended the event.

This was also a big media event, and it was a great opportunity to set up the SBARC communications van and spend the day promoting the club and amateur radio. Three television stations covered the event, as did several print and radio reporters.  The contact was also streamed live on the internet, and was seen worldwide.



UCSB/SBARC ISS Contact team:


Communications Team

Ken Owen N6KTH
Calli Marquez KD6OVS
Dave Jacobs K9KBX
Rod Fritz WB9KMO
Michael Barber KC6UEZ
Josh Massie NF6S


UC Santa Barbara
Physics Department:

Glenn Schiferl  
Robert Pizzi* AC6PZ
Cyril Johnson* AF6GW
* Also SBARC member



There were two, two-meter FM ham stations capable of space communications (see the block diagram below) used for this event. The primary station had full tracking capability (azimuth & elevation rotors, tracking software and interface) a circularly polarized beam, pre-amps and a power amplifier. The backup station only needed to have an omni-directional antenna, but it also had a pre-amp and power amp.


We used two Yaesu ft-847s radios, a Gulf Alpha 2 Meter 5x5 circular polarized yagi, controlled by a Yaesu G-5500 elevation/azimuth rotor, a Dell laptop computer running SatPC32 tracking software.



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