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ARISS news – December 28, 2016

The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) Team is very pleased to announce that the Quarter Century Wireless Association, Inc. (QCWA) is making a notable contribution to support the development and certification of the new ARISS radio system to be outfitted on the International Space Station (ISS).

QCWA President Ken Oelke, VE6AFO, hopes the funding will be a catalyst for individuals and other groups around the globe to follow suit and donate to the radio system cause. He commented:

I talked at length with Rosalie White, K1STO, ARISS International Secretary-Treasurer about ARISS operating activities overall, some things the international team is working on for the hardware upgrade, and a little about the many complex and expensive steps required to be able to launch hardware to the ISS. Based on this, I truly believe this is a great opportunity for the QCWA to shine in the Amateur Radio Community, and to carry out QCWA’s mandate as described in its constitution.”

The ARISS hardware team has progressed well in the past year with the new radio system development. But moving forward as quickly as possible became much more pressing after the October 2016 failure of the 17-year-old Ericsson VHF handheld in the ISS Columbus Module. The radio failure shut down 2-metre APRS operation, widely used by the Amateur Radio community, and ARISS operations now must be carried out in the Russian Service Module, requiring astronauts to travel from one end of the ISS to the other (and back) to perform a 10-minute school contact.

ARISS International Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, thanked the QCWA for their contribution and stated:

This funding has arrived at a most critical time. Our radio system design is nearly complete and we’re about to start fabrication and the very expensive hardware certification effort.”

He also noted:

It is fantastic to see Amateur Radio groups, like QCWA donating to ARISS as it shows our larger benefactors and potential future sponsors, including foundations and corporations, that the Amateur Radio community has ‘skin in the game’ and is willing to sacrifice to further the ARISS cause.”

Rosalie thanked Ken for his personal effort in explaining ARISS’s hardware needs and goals to the QCWA Board. She added:

QCWA members now understand it’s important to hams to have the ARISS radio for APRS and other modes, and it’s caused a number of hams and their local clubs to donate toward helping to get the radio system upgraded.”

ARISS welcomes donations toward the hardware upgrade project via the AMSAT website. Click on the “ARISS Donate” button, or visit the donation page on the ARISS website. Contributions may be tax deductible. Those contributing $100 or more will receive an ARISS Challenge Coin. Contact Frank Bauer, KA3HDO,  at  if you or your organization wishes to make a more substantial contribution.