Apparent ARISS Radio Failure Prompts Shift to Russian Service Module Ham Gear
October 20, 2016
The American Radio Relay League provided the following report:
ARISS Bulletin: The VHF handheld transceiver that the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program has used to connect students worldwide with astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) for more than 16 years has begun to display an error message and is unusable at this time.
While the ARISS technical team evaluates the best path to restore operation from the ISS Columbus module, ARISS contacts will be supported using the Kenwood radio in the Russian Service Module.
During this period, the packet digipeater will be unavailable. Switching to the 70 centimetre capability onboard the Columbus module for some operations is being coordinated.
ARISS said to expect further updates as it works to resolve the problem.
ARISS news: Successful ARISS contact
October 17, 2016
A direct contact via W4JKJ with students at Howell L. Watkins Middle School, Palm Beach Gardens FL, was successful Thu 2016-10-17 16:08:01 UTC 83 deg. Astronaut Takuya Onishi KF5LKS answered all 21 questions asked where answered and a farewell by all the students transmitted. Contact duration was 9 min. 30 seconds. @16:15 z not sure if it was low audio or a signal issue but question 20 had to be repeated. Live streamed over the school network. Light media coverage. Including students about 100 souls present.
Howell L. Watkins is a public middle school for grades 6-8 located Palm Beach Gardens, Florida operating in the Palm Beach County School system. The school first opened in 1963 and has been in their current building for about thirteen years. The student population is 928 students with an average age group of 11 through 14 years. Ninety percent of the students are on the free or reduced lunch program and the student population has a high number of Limited English Proficiency students (LEP) and students who receive Exceptional Student Education (ESE) support services.
The school currently has two magnet programs: a Medical Magnet and a Science, Technology, Robotics and Mathematics (STERM) program. There are 58 teachers providing instruction and 47 support personnel on the school staff. The school’s mission is to educate students and to assist them in realizing their full potential as responsible, productive, contributing members of society by providing an educational environment in which students are challenged, excellence is expected and differences are valued.