Charles Simonyi - no radio contacts

Charles Simonyi says on his website:

Q: Do you have or will you obtain your amateur radio license so you can operate onboard the ISS?

A: No, I plan to communicate with people through the Internet.

Kosmonavtka – Wed, 2006 – 12 – 13 00:46

This info is old

Last I heard, he was going to get an amateur radio license and make a few school contacts.

Kenneth - N5VHO
http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/reference/radio/
http://www.clarc.org/jprod/component/option,com_weblinks/catid,14/Itemid...

Submitted by N5VHO on Wed, 2006-12-13 10:48.

Good news

Good news!
It looks like a few readers sent him comments... can anybody confirm he will get a callsign?

Submitted by alain on Wed, 2006-12-13 17:47.

Nudge

Actually, ARISS had been in negotiations with him about the time this web posting appeared. I expect he will get his own call since that makes doing school contacts easier.

Kenneth - N5VHO
http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/reference/radio/
http://www.clarc.org/jprod/component/option,com_weblinks/catid,14/Itemid...

Submitted by N5VHO on Wed, 2006-12-13 18:02.

send him a message

Hello,

I sent him a message trying to explain that he doesnt need a licence in order to operate with the Russian callsign.
I also said a lot of people on the ground would be happy to share this experience with him.
Maybe if he will receive more requests like mine he will change is mind and use the radio.

Alain
IZ6BYY/WW3WW
Iss Fan Club Staff

Submitted by iz6byy on Sun, 2006-11-26 08:19.

Hope he will

I too hope he will but it is not as easy as saying "Gee, can I use the Russian callsign?". He has to pay to receive the training and certification from the Russians to use the radio. The money is likely not much of an issue but his interest and time are more of a drawback. One question he might ask is "Why should I go to all the trouble to use the amateur radio?".

Kenneth - N5VHO
http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/reference/radio/
http://www.clarc.org/jprod/component/option,com_weblinks/catid,14/Itemid...

Submitted by N5VHO on Sun, 2006-11-26 10:23.

Use the Internet

He plans to communicate via the Internet - his answer to a question I sent him:

Quote:
Q: Is there Internet access aboard the International Space Station? Will you update this Web site from the space station?

A: Yes, there is Internet access and voice-over-IP phone. These are US government assets and have to be contracted for and paid for separately. I am signing up for full access so I'll be able to make updates to this site during the flight.

_____________________
http://suzymchale.com/

Submitted by Kosmonavtka on Mon, 2006-11-27 00:32.

Define "internet access"

This is a question that I get all the time, "Does the ISS have access to the internet?". The answer is yes and no. The crew can email people using a store and forward system to relay email to the terrestrial email server. The two servers sync up about 3 times a day so, Yes, they can send and receive email via the internet. They cannot surf the web, stream music, order online or any of the other types of things that "having access to the internet" provides.

Simonyi will update his Blog by emailing files to be put on the site.

Kenneth - N5VHO
http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/reference/radio/
http://www.clarc.org/jprod/component/option,com_weblinks/catid,14/Itemid...

Submitted by N5VHO on Wed, 2006-12-13 19:00.

Re: Define "internet access"

N5VHO wrote:
This is a question that I get all the time, "Does the ISS have access to the internet?". The answer is yes and no. The crew can email people using a store and forward system to relay email to the terrestrial email server. The two servers sync up about 3 times a day so, Yes, they can send and receive email via the internet. They cannot surf the web, stream music, order online or any of the other types of things that "having access to the internet" provides.

Simonyi will update his Blog by emailing files to be put on the site.

Kenneth - N5VHO
http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/reference/radio/
http://www.clarc.org/jprod/component/option,com_weblinks/catid,14/Itemid,23/

An answer at Charles' blog to another, later question about internet access:

Q: How are you going to post your blogs during your spaceflight? Is there any way to write something to you during this flight? Are you going to create something like space e-mail to send messages into orbit?
- Andrey, Minnesota

A: I can answer "Ask Charles" in real time now using a publishing dashboard, and I will be able to do the same during the flight because I will have access to a high-speed Internet connection on board the space station.

*Confused!*

Submitted by Kosmonavtka on Fri, 2006-12-15 21:49.

Still learning

I think he only has half the info. He is still training and will likely realize the ISS connectivity is not 24/7 and is store and forward with occassional direct access. Once he finishes his training over the next couple of months, the reality of the capabilities will be apparent to him.

Kenneth - N5VHO
http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/reference/radio/
http://www.clarc.org/jprod/component/option,com_weblinks/catid,14/Itemid...

Submitted by N5VHO on Fri, 2006-12-15 22:21.

I see his point

Amateur radio aboard ISS is outdated. We're still stuck at MIR-like equipment configurations.
The world evolves but amateur radio does not.
Beside voice, we do not offer any other mean of communications. Updating a blog or sending text messages is actually impossible from up there. There are no plans to make it possible in the next future.
Lets keep going this way and sooner or later school contacts will be done using the VOIP provided by the US government.
The good news is that we will always be able to play with APRS.

Alain
IZ6BYY/WW3WW
Iss Fan Club Staff

Submitted by iz6byy on Mon, 2006-11-27 07:35.

I see his point

I'm still 100% in favour of continued use of the present amateur radio kit onboard the ISS (and any possible future 'upgrades'), we do have voice capabilities, - I also enjoy very much the time when the digipeater is switched on - I haven't copied any SSTV, but hope that this mode will become more active in the not too distant future.

To me, the point of amateur radio is to make the most of the equipment you can afford/build, I'm not in a position to be able to afford rotators and TX/RX equipment above UHF frequencies, so for me, the continuation of the 2m and 70cm crossband capabilities onboard ISS are all I can access.

I hope the school contacts may continue using the present technologies because if we move away from this arena to VOIP on Ghz frequencies, we take the whole shooting match further away from 'affordable' amateur radio, and so doing reduce the attraction of our hobby.

If the schools start using VOIP to contact ISS, then in some ways we could totally forget about amateur radio side of it and give the kids access to ISS via a cellphone.

I hope it's possible to keep the ARISS project as simple as possible, therefore making access (whether just listening, or TX'ing) available to as many people as possible on whatever budgets they have for equipment to do this.

Amateurs provided much help in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina using 'simple' equipment when the cellphones and landlines were down, so although some people may see this kind of kit as outdated, let us hope that many of us can see the abilities and usefullness of this 'outdated' kit!

Best wishes

Matty

Submitted by manxmat on Mon, 2006-12-11 21:33.

CQ CQ CQ DE RS0ISS RS0ISS RS0IS PSE KKK

ISS in CW? Why not!
So cheap, so powerful, so useful in case of emergencies (didnt CW save hundreds of souls during the Titanic accident???)...

Jokes apart we actually cannot send a text message to the crew. We cannot send them a picture. We cannot let them updtate their blog during flight. In other words we can do more or less nothing... That is why they are gradually leaving the ham shack and using more and more official assets.

One day Nasa will afford the expenses for VOIP calls during school contacts. That will be the day of the end of amateur radio on manned space operations.

Amateur Radio has always been (and should always be) all about experimentation, challenge and continuous improvement. There are no improvements at all on ISS ham stuff. The only attempt is in the Columbus segment and that is why I sponsor it with a banner on the very first page of this website.

And frankly, I think its not all about the costs. On the ground side, what scares most about improvements is the level of complexity that they might eventually introduce. Most of the people want to install a program, click "Next ->" a number of times and be ready for the action.
Amateur radio examinations are so simple now (I have a licence here, one in the US and another one in Australia) that every CB operator can easily become a licenced operator simply repeating the test a couple of times.
We want the ISS experience be worth a CB operator. Isnt anybody capable of installing UI-VIEW and connecting a couple of wires to a VHF radio good enought to make APRS noise on the ISS frequencies? No skills involved. All you need is couriosity.
This is good for the starters, but only for them. Astronauts prefer their Nasa laptop: something modern and truly useful.

Somebody might highlight that I am good only to complain and not good at all to propose solutions.
That is in part true. I am good enough to see the problem but I dont consider myself good enough to find a practical implementation of possible alternatives. I might have a general overview or some hints, but I am far away from putting drawings on papers. I am just an operator as most of the others, not an engineer.
I hope that 1% of my complaints will one day reach 0.1% of the real hard core ARISS scientists but I am afraid this will never happen.

If there wont be any real improvement Amateur radio in space will soon die... as the rest of our hobby. I hope the next years will tell I was wrong.

Submitted by alain on Wed, 2006-12-13 06:05.

Why not use WinLink

Seems to me that he could update his blog using amateur radio if the proper software were available on the ISS. Winlink allows emailing (which is how he will have to update his blog since the ISS has no direct realtime connectivity to the internet) so it should be possible. Just need a dozen or so winlink ground stations on frequency to relay the data.

Regarding experimentaion, ISS is slated to have some HF gear delivered and no astronaut has operated HF from space. I hope the Columbus module additions happen. Last I checked, the amateur antennas were not installed and the funding was short. Everyone better ante up if ISS is to have this improvement implemented.

Kenneth - N5VHO
http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/reference/radio/
http://www.clarc.org/jprod/component/option,com_weblinks/catid,14/Itemid...

Submitted by N5VHO on Wed, 2006-12-13 15:10.

Strategery

Now there is an idea: sign me up for winlink duty, I'm trying to figure out how all that works. I'd love to exchange CW qsl with ISS, but not holding my breath. The question is, really, how do we make ourselves, and therefore the ARISS equipment, useful to the men and women aboard ISS?

Bill really liked to talk to folks. Caught him last Feb. with one of my boys in the car, and when he aknowledged my callsign, was able to let Jacob talk to an astronaut on orbit. I said, "say hi, Jake." The child follows directions well, in his excitement, he said "HI JAKE!" ARISS responed with a nice QSL card. How much is that worth?

My last, brief QSO w/ ISS followed shortly after Ken N5VHO, who's always looking after us it seems, asked AnosheAnsari which direction a switch on the xcvr was set.

Thoughts:

1. Get Anoushe licensed. She wants to talk to astronauts, they know her, and enjoy talking to talk to her.

2. Come up with more interesting offering than point to point voice. Digital modes hold a lot of promise. Why shouldn't amateur stations pave the way for 24x7 live HTTP/FTP access from ISS?

Submitted by AD5TF on Fri, 2006-12-29 23:59.

One out of two

#1. Working on that....

#2 A bit tricky providing any 24/7 coverage to ISS. NASA can't even do that now. First, we need 3 well placed satellites or several hundred strategically placed ground stations (Some on boats).

In further news, Simonyi is now KE7KDP.

Kenneth - N5VHO
http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/reference/radio/
http://www.clarc.org/jprod/component/option,com_weblinks/catid,14/Itemid...

Submitted by N5VHO on Sat, 2006-12-30 00:40.