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ISS Ham Radio 'Go-To' Guy Earns NASA's Silver Snoopy Award:

from The ARRL Letter, Vol 25, No 32 on August 11, 2006
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ISS Ham Radio 'Go-To' Guy Earns NASA's Silver Snoopy Award:

NASA has honored ISS Ham Radio Project Engineer Kenneth Ransom, N5VHO, with its prestigious "Silver Snoopy" Award Ransom was tapped to receive the award for his role in helping International Space Station Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur, KC5ACR, complete and confirm Worked All States (WAS) and Worked All Continents (WAC), including Antarctica, from NA1SS, as well as logging some 130 DXCC entities. McArthur's duty tour ended in April.

"I am honored to have received the award and honored again by Bill McArthur's thoughtfulness at selecting such an Amateur Radio-appropriate Silver Snoopy," Ransom told ARRL. He explained that every Silver Snoopy has flown on a space mission. "The one that was awarded to me was flown on STS-58, which was Bill's first shuttle flight." The STS-58 mission, he said, not only was a SAREX (Shuttle Amateur Radio EXperiment) flight but McArthur's introduction to Amateur Radio from space. SAREX was the predecessor to the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program

In his role as ISS Ham Radio Project Engineer, Ransom helps ARISS arrange opportunities for students to speak via Amateur Radio with the space station crew at NA1SS. He also coordinates with the ISS crew on the configuration and operation of the two ham radio stations aboard the space station.

At some point during Expedition 12, Ransom realized that McArthur had already logged 25 states, and he figured, "Why stop there?" Pretty soon, he was lining up contacts for McArthur in the other 25.

"It was an, 'I know a friend who knows a friend who knows a friend' sort of thing," Ransom explained. "There are a lot of folks eager to talk to an astronaut."

And the feeling was mutual.

"Different crews do different things as pastimes," Ransom said. "Bill enjoyed talking on the radio. It gave him someone else to talk to besides CAPCOM, the voice of mission control."

By the end of the mission, McArthur not only became the first astronaut to earn WAS from space but put lots of DX -- routine and exotic -- in the NA1SS log on both VHF and UHF. Overall, he made more than 1800 contacts during his approximately six months in space. He also established a new ARISS milestone by completing 37 school group contacts.

"None of that would have been possible without the work Kenneth did," McArthur said. "He alerted radio operators in some pretty obscure places -- places that rarely have contact with the space program."

To show his gratitude, McArthur recently presented Ransom with the Silver Snoopy Award -- a silver lapel pin featuring the famous "Peanuts" comic strip character Snoopy in a spacesuit. NASA's Astronaut Office presents the award to those who have significantly enhanced the space agency's goals for human exploration and development of space. Fewer than one percent of the space program's workforce receives it annually.

McArthur is still working to confirm DXCC from space. So far, he has approximately one-third of the necessary contacts confirmed.--NASA provided some information for this report


The ARRL Letter Vol. 25, No. 32 August 11, 2006

Member Comments:
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ISS Ham Radio 'Go-To' Guy Earns NASA's Silver Snoo  
by WR8D on August 12, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
My thoughts are its a disgrace to give away awards that most amateurs never get a chance to achieve. I'm waiting on the next sun cycle and sure i've got thousands of dollars invested in my shack. When the bands open up i'll be right there in the middle of it all. For some of us dxcc and was and other awards are kind of hard to attain. Some like myself, like the satisfaction of just working the stations and actually not having anything at all on the wall, only the log to prove it, and the qsl card in the file cabinet. Others are not so fortunate. Why should someone in orbit just flying around overhead looking down on the world be given the same award as those of us that have to build up a hamshack, wait on conditions to open to what ever part of the world we want to work, then actually fight the pileups and make that contact? Just giving them to people flying around overhead makes the whole concept a joke. Imagine, you want to work Africia just wait for it to come in sight. Want to work it on 10 meters, its dead right now but you're line of sight so it won't matter at all just call cq anyone straight down under you will hear you and be able to get back. Like i said, it makes a joke of the whole concept of the award. The only thing i appreciate about a ham in space is its a blast for the school kids to get to talk to one. I used to catch Mir quit often years back and that was a thrill. This as a redneck hillbilly would say "just ain't the same". Giving someone just flying around overhead the same award as those that actually have to wait and work for it is a disgrace to the establishment of the time honored award. My two cents: John WR8D
RE: ISS Ham Radio 'Go-To' Guy Earns NASA's Silver  
by G3SEA on August 12, 2006 Mail this to a friend!

Aloha John :)

I believe the ISS DXCC is not an award but just an acknowledgement ( with an asterisk ) of a ' VHF line of sight ' DXCC ;)

Bill shoud be congratulated for the numerous VHF contacts he gave to many hams around the world.

The ISS does have an HF rig so maybe one day there will be an HF DXCC earned :)

RE: ISS Ham Radio 'Go-To' Guy Earns NASA's Silver  
by K0RFD on August 13, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
WR8D, I think you're a little off base here.

We've gone through missions in which the ISS astronauts/cosmonauts were not active on the radio. I think it's great that on the past mission, we had a very active ham on board.

The greatest thrill of my ham life was making a voice QSO with the ISS, even if it was VHF line-of-sight.

If those guys want to get on the air more, then more power to 'em. Lots of other people can have that thrill too.
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