With an amateur radio, one man managed to chat with the ISS crew

7 Aug 2015

The ISS orbiting Earth. Image via NASA

While the days of amateur radio as a common hobby have slightly declined with the advent of the internet, some intrepid people like UK man Adrian Lane are using it to talk to astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS).

As an amateur radio enthusiast, Lane is more used to issuing his list of formal codes to strangers on the opposite end of the world, but the fact that ISS astronauts would use the same system to communicate intrigued him.

Lane researched online that to get his chance to chat to the ISS crew he would have to time it just right, specifically when he would know when the astronauts were taking a break as well as making sure they were orbiting above the UK.

According to the BBC, Lane had spent a month trying to get in touch with the crew but to no avail, but now, he found himself astounded to be connected to a NASA astronaut for just 45 seconds.

Those on Earth who want to contact those aboard the space station have only a four-minute window to make contact before the station once again goes out of range.

Amateur radio equipment

“It was a very hectic time on the bands, people were trying hard to get through,” Lane said of his experience.

“So, I just sat back and waited until the mainstream calling had died down a little bit and gave them a call and they came back to me.”

Realising he had very little time to actually talk to them, Lane’s quick-fire question was to ask what the stars look like up in space?

Getting his answer, Lane said he was “really chuffed” to get the opportunity and has since gone on to receive significant attention both in the UK and internationally.

Looking back on the 45 seconds, Lane said: “It’s quite an achievement, especially when you consider he’s flying over the top of me at 17,500 mph. I don’t know if I’ll ever do it again but will still be trying.”

Amateur radio image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic