Ten Successful Tim Peake ARISS Contacts

Today saw the final Tim Peake ARISS schools contact take place, at The Kings School, Ottery St Mary, Devon. That makes a total of 10 successful contacts since January 2016, when Tim make the historic first contact with Sandringham School, in St Albans.

The ten contacts have been a huge undertaking, involving the ARISS UK team led by Ciaran Morgan M0XTD, the RSGB, the RSGB Youth Committee, the UK Space Agency (UKSA) the European Space Agency, AMSAT UK, NASA, BATC, and of course, Tim himself.

First Tim Peake ARISS contact in January 2016
First Tim Peake ARISS contact in January 2016

The first contact with Tim was led by Jessica Leigh M6LPJ following months of prep and a host of schools activities including a buildathon run by the RSGB, Sandringham School and the Verulam Amateur Radio Club.

Later schools contacts made use of Ham TV on the ISS, allowing us to see live video of Tim’s side of the contact.

Tim Peake on Ham TV 09 May 2016
Tim Peake on Ham TV 09 May 2016

As well as being of interest to us radio hams keen to pull in signals from space, and the children at the schools who get the once-in-a-lifetime chance to talk to an astronaut on the ISS, there were a number of other benefits: raising awareness of technology in schools, getting youngsters aware of amateur radio, and of course, significant media coverage of amateur radio in action.

The early contacts made national news, with year ten pupil Jessica on national telly and the press. Subsequent contacts didn’t make national headlines in the same way, but regional and local TV, radio and press contact has been very good, all creating exposure for the hobby.

Coverage in Essex

Locally in Essex, there’s been some awareness too, even though there wasn’t a contact in here in Essex.

Of course, there have been ISS contacts in Essex in the past – the two most recent ones were organised by the South Essex ARS (SEARS). I was privileged to be there for the schools contact at Winter Gardens on Canvey in October 2014, and it’s an amazing experience – the tension, the nerves and that heart-stopping moment where instead of a voice, there’s static. See our story: ISS Winter Gardens Oct 2014

To maximise on the extra exposure for the hobby, Essex Ham members took the opportunity to tune into the various schools contacts, work the ISS digipeater or help to demonstrate and explain how the ISS and amateur radio.

It’s great that so many Essex Hams have supported the Principia mission, by spreading the word, tuning in, telling their friends and using social media. Our Steve M0SHQ has been busy at the Essex Skills Night helping people to track and tune in to ISS, and in March, the RSGB’s Steve M1ACB visited South Essex ARS to discuss some of the “behind the scenes” activities at that historic first contact.

The RSGB’s 21st Century Youth Video was played at each school making contact with the ISS, and of course that video features a number of Essex Ham members promoting the hobby, including Laura M6LHT and Kelly M6KFA

Photo Collection

A collection of photos related to Tim Peake’s ARISS contacts received in Essex.

Tuning to the Broadstairs Contact in April 2016 - St George's Day, Galleywood
Tuning to the Broadstairs Contact in April 2016 – St George’s Day, Galleywood
St Michael's School tuning into the Norwich schools contact Feb 2016
St Michael’s School tuning into the Norwich schools contact Feb 2016
Packet digipeated from ISS 26 February 2016
Packet digipeated from ISS 26 February 2016 for St Michael’s School
Receiving the Bury contact at Westcliff High School for Girls April 2016
Receiving the Bury contact at Westcliff High School for Girls April 2016
Essex press cuttings of ARISS contacts Jan-May 2016
Essex press and social media cuttings of ARISS contacts Jan-May 2016
ISS and Satellites, covered by Steve M0SHQ
ISS reception explained at Essex Skills Night Feb 2015 by Steve M0SHQ
St Michael's school display showing the ISS contact
St Michael’s school display showing the ISS contact
Steve M1ACB, updating the South Essex ARS members in March 2016
Steve M1ACB, updating the South Essex ARS members in March 2016
Sarah M6PSK demonstrating amateur radio at Schools Open Day 5 March 2016
Sarah M6PSK demonstrating amateur radio at Schools Open Day 5 March 2016
M0PSX shack, receiving the Devon contact 09 May 2016
M0PSX shack, receiving the Devon contact 09 May 2016

Did you listen in? Did your club hold an ARISS-related activity? Are you aware of an Essex connection with the Principia mission? Please add a comment below.

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One Comment

  1. John Bowen 9 May 2016 Reply

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