November 27, 2010
COMBINED DIRECT AND TELEBRIDGE CONTACT FOR ISS COMMANDER DOUG WHEELOCK, KF5BOC WITH ITALIAN SCHOOLS
Wednesday , 24 November, 2010 at 11:17 UTC, i.e. 12:17 local time, “Istituto Leopardi – Liceo classico e scientifico”, Lecco, Italy, established a combined telebridge and direct contact with US astronaut DOUG WHEELOCK, KF5BOC onboard the International Space Station.
The “Istituto Leopardi – Liceo classico e scientifico” operated a direct contact with callsign IZ2PWX, but suffered from antenna obscurations. Therefore, assistance was provided by Amateur Radio station IK1SLD, in Casale Monferrato, Piemonte, Italy. IK1SLD was candidate ARISS telebridge ground station and the contact was its validation.
The "Leopardi" Institute includes a scientific and a classic liceum. The school is located in the upper part of Lecco city. An amateur radio station was installed in the school, and the authorities granted the call sign to be used for the ARISS contact. Students and teachers share their interest for space science with experts of “ISAA” (Italian Space and Astronautics Association), established in Lecco. The students were involved in the preparation of this ARISS event in different ways. The training of the students comprised educative activities related to space, under guidance of the teachers’ team, such as listening to ARISS contacts during the months before the ARISS event.
ARISS mentor Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF proposed to the radio contact coordinator in Lecco to share the contact with another ground station, in order to overcome the problem of local antenna obscurations in Lecco. Gianpietro Ferrario IZ2GOJ, contact coordinator for this ISS contact, decided for a combined direct and telebridge contact. The questions were read by the students at “Liceo Leopardi”, the main contact site where over 200 students, teachers, visitors and media could follow the contact. Before the contact, ARISS mentor Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF introduced the event by teleconference.
The contact was established by IK1SLD, then IZ2PWX took over and finally IK1SLD ended the QSO. At 11:17 UTC, contact with OR4ISS was established by station IK1SLD. Commander DOUG WHEELOCK answered 6 questions per telebridge. At 11:21 UTC, contact with OR4ISS was established by station IZ2PWX. Commander DOUG WHEELOCK answered 5 questions per direct contact. At 14:24 UTC, contact with OR4ISS was re-established by station IK1SLD and Commander DOUG WHEELOCK answered 2 more questions per telebridge. The signal from the ISS was loud and clear all time. At the beginning of the contact, the astronaut was greeted by an American teacher of the Liceum.
Regional Television, local media and newspapers covered the event.
Streaming video counted more than 100 connections on http://www.livestream.com/iq2er
This ARISS contact was announced by a web story on ESA Portal - National News:
Congratulations to both ARISS “IZ2PWX” and “IK1SLD” teams!
Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF