July 19, 2009



Sunday 19 July 2009 at 17:54 UTC, i.e. 19:54 local time, the Eichenlaubschule Weiskirchen in Germany, performed an ARISS contact with ESA astronaut Frank de Winne. The contact was a telebridge between onboard station OR4ISS and the ARISS telebridge ground station ON4ISS in Belgium, operated by Philippe Van houte ON5PV. Gaston Bertels ON4WF was the moderator of the contact.

Weiskirchen is a small town in the german Bundesland Saarland, close to France and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The Eichenlaubschule Weiskirchen is a general education school where the pupils can achieve a standard and secondary graduation. Following cooperation with radio club "DARC Ortsverband Schwarzwalder Hochwald, Q21", a core-team of pupils interested in radio technology has been formed. Working together with radio amateurs, a radio station could be established in the school and a radio club has been founded.

The contact was part of a special EU event : the exhibition "The Eye in the Sky", in relation to the fortieth anniversary of the moon-landing.

The school Ecole Primaire Erpeldange, Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, participated to the event. The questions of the ARISS contact were prepared by pupils from Saarland (Eichenlaubschule Weiskirchen) as well as from Luxemburg (Ecole Primaire Erpeldange).

As an attraction for the juvenile visitors and with the goal to show amateur radio technique to future hams, the school contact coordinator Wolfgang Klein DD1WKS and his team set up a full satellite station for the simulation of a direct contact.

The audience was about 130 people. State Secretary of Economy and Science, Dr. Christian Ege, adressed the audience before the contact. Cornelia Hoffmann-Bethscheider, member of parliament and Mr. Dietz, Mayor of Merchweiler were also present.

The questions were read by 9 students from Weiskirchen and 5 students from Luxemburg, aged from 11 to 15 years. Signals from the ISS were loud and clear all the time. Astronaut Frank de Winne answered 18 questions.

An audio recording of the radio contact will be appended to this News Bulletin, archived at


The contact was covered by several media: Saarlaendischer Rundfunk (radio broadcast and television), Saarbruecker Zeitung (newspaper) and Concept-TV (local TV production).

Participants were delighted.

ARISS is an international educational outreach program partnering the participating space agencies, NASA, Russian Space Agency, ESA, CNES, JAXA, and CSA, with the AMSAT and IARU organizations from participating countries.

ARISS offers an opportunity for students to experience the excitement of Amateur Radio by talking directly with crewmembers onboard the International Space Station. Teachers, parents and communities see, first hand, how Amateur Radio and crewmembers on ISS can energize youngsters' interest in science, technology and learning.


Peter Kofler, IN3GHZ

ARISS mentor

Audio recording mp3