On Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 at 10:44 UTC, students from The Centre of Technical Schools (Zespol Szkol Technicznych abr. ZST) in Ostrow Wielkopolski, Poland established an ARISS contact with JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata onboard the International Space Station. The astronaut operated with the ISS call sign OR4ISS. This contact was performed by Ostrow Radio Amateur Club SP3POW.


The Centre of Technical Schools in Ostrow Wielkopolski is a school which educates future electronics and mechatronics engineers, computer scientists and renewable energy specialists. Currently, the school has 800 students aged from 16 to 19 years.


The ZST had invited 13 - 15 years old students from Junior High School No. 1 named of Polish Nobel laureates in Ostrow Wielkopolski and 10 - 12 years old students from Pope John Paul II Primary School in Lamki. All of them could participate in the ARISS program.


The preparations for the ARISS contact began in late 2011. A series of amateur radio classes were set up so that students could learn the ham radio procedures. It was a very interesting experience for them to carry out radio communications through amateur radio satellites and to get pictures from the NOAA satellites. In addition, they monitored other radio signals from space. Most exciting were the radio contacts with the ISS in the APRS system and listening to ARISS contacts of schools in Poland, Europe and the USA (when they performed an ARISS telebridge contact via a European ground station).


The school cooperated with Polish universities, electronic and mechatronic industrial plants and schools in Germany and the UK with very good results. Thanks to the participation in the ARISS program the school has partnered with the Space Research Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw.


The students participated in various forms of extra-curricular activities that developed their passions and interests. As a result, they have created many interesting electronic and mechatronic devices. For example, some of the recent constructions including a FPV plane, a quadrocopter, a stratospheric balloon capsule, some amateur radio equipment and many more.

The students prepared 15 questions for the astronaut.


Before the contact, at 11:00 CEWT (10:00 UTC), presentations on HAM radio, ARISS and the preparations for the contact started in the schoolís lecture hall with an audience of about 300. The VIPís thanked the SP3POW team for this event. Half an hour before AOS Paweł SQPOS presented the history of the schoolís HAM radio club SP3POW and its preparations for the contact. Next, deputy of ZST head Ms. Magdalena Wojtasz thanked and handed out diplomas to persons and companies that supported the club and the school during their preparation for this event. After that Sławek SQ3OOK gave a short talk about space and the ISS. Fifteen minutes before AOS, ARISS mentor Armand SP3QFE started radio operations . At T-5 Magda SQ3TGZ (an experienced 17 years old operator) started calling the Space Station using the call sign SP3POW. She was supported by Jarek SP3AYA, an operator with satellite experience. The Japanese HAM radio operator of the OR4ISS station onboard the International Space Station, Koichi Wakata, established the radio contact with the school in Poland.


All 15 questions were asked and answered. At the beginning, the channel was noisy, but the radio signal was strong and the astronaut's voice was clear and quite understandable. When all questions were answered there was time left for inviting the astronaut to Poland and to the school and for greeting him in Japanese language as well. Astronaut dr. Koichi Wakata thanked for that and said that if he went to Poland he was going to visit the school. Finally, there was a big applause with shouts of joy from the audience of more than 300 and the whole Ostrow ARISS Group.


Live streaming video was available on:

The event was covered by TV and radio stations and by local newspapers.

Video: and .

Local news stories about the event:



Photo album:


The contact information was given by SP3POW Ham radio club and Sławek Szymanowski SQ3OOK.


Congrats to all the participants for this successful ARISS contact. They did an excellent job and cooperated perfectly during the preparation.


Armand Budzianowski, SP3QFE and Peter Kofler IN3GHZ

ARISS mentors