The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is the national association for Amateur (Ham) Radio in the US. Founded in 1914 by Hiram Percy Maxim as The American Radio Relay League, ARRL is a noncommercial organization of radio amateurs. Little know Maine fact: Hiram Percy Maxim was the son of Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim a Sangerville, Maine born inventor best known as the creator of the first automatic machine gun, the Maxim gun. Maxim, the father, held patents on numerous mechanical devices such as hair-curling irons, a mousetrap, and steam pumps.
The following article was published in the ARRL newsletter…
Students at UK School for Deaf Youngsters Enjoy Space Chat
Ten students at the Mary Hare School for deaf children in the UK took part in what appears to have been a world-first event for Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS). Facilitating the late-morning direct contact with astronaut Mark Vande Hei (Ham Call Sign: KG5GNP) at NA1SS (the Call Sign for the radio station on the International Space Station – ISS) were Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) volunteers and members of the Newbury and District Amateur Radio Society (NADARS).
The ground station used the call sign GB4MHN. ARISS volunteers handled the technical aspects, while NADARS members provided students with the “amateur radio experience” through events and activities.
Students asked their questions orally, and the astronaut’s replies — as well as questions and answers posed by the audience before the contact began — were displayed in closed caption format beneath a huge video screen.
Students wanted to know if the astronauts used sign language in space in case something goes wrong, how the ISS would be evacuated in the event of a fire, and whether mobile devices such as cell phones work in space.