The Man Who Trains Astronauts To Be Hams

Since 1983 many orbital space missions have taken along amateur radio gear.

The first ham in space was Owen Garriott, W5LFL. He was followed by Tony England, W0ORE, after which ham radio in space was formalized. First, under the title of the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment or SAREX and today as ARISS or Amateur Radio on the International Space Station. And with amateur radio a part of the astronauts training, someone on the ground has to teach them.

Recently, Amateur Radio Newsline's Mark Abramowicz, NT3V, had a chance to meet and talk with the man who really is the ham behind the ham radio operators in space: Nick Lance, KC5KBO:

Do you remember where you were when NASA embarked on the Apollo space program that culminated with U.S. astronauts landing on and exploring the moon? Nick Lance, KC5KBO, does.

He joined NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston at the time of Apollo 7 in the late 1960s. He was there through that historic Apollo 11 mission and worked for some 40 years for the space agency until his retirement Aug 1.

Space Station on Ham Bands

Are Sunspots Disappearing?


Are sunspots disappearing for good? Two solar researchers say this is the case. Amateur Radio Newsline's Norm Seeley, KI7UP, has more:

Most hams users know that there is a direct correlation between sunspots and high frequency propagation conditions. In general, the more sunspots there are, the more DX you will be able to work. This usually happens in 11 year cycles with the last solar maximum having taken place in 2000.

The current Solar Cycle which is Cycle 24 should peak in roughly next year in 2010. Only one problem. There have been few sunspots this year and very little easy to work DX. And now there may be an answer as to why. reports that astronomers Bill Livingston and Matt Penn of the National Solar Observatory in Tucson, Arizona, have found that sunspot magnetic fields are definitely waning. Not only that. They say that sunspots could completely disappear within decades.

Livingston and Penn have been measuring solar magnetism since 1992. Their technique is based on a complex system called the Zeeman splitting of infrared spectral lines emitted by iron atoms in the vicinity of sunspots. They reached their conclusion by extrapolating their already collected data into the future.

Where has all the DX gone?


Radio Hotline Launched

Most often than not, amateur radio operators have come to people’s rescue during natural or manmade disasters, providing relief to those marooned during floods, earthquakes, building collapse and others.

To provide this reliable mode of communication, the Amateur Radio Society of India and the Indian Red Cross Society have joined hands to establish a radio hotline here on Wednesday. It was inaugurated by Governor of Karnataka, H R Bhardwaj in the premises of the Red Cross Society here.

K N Rajaram, Secretary of Amateur Radio Society said the need of amateur radio during the crucial golden hour is invaluable in rescue missions.

Emergency Ham Radio help in India


Amateur Radio Station Featured in National Commercial

WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio Station at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, Florida, is featured in a 60 second radio spot for Duracell batteries.

The commercial, which begins airing this month, highlights the efforts of an all-volunteer army of ham radio operators for WX4NHC.

Narrated by actor Jeff Bridges, it describes the important role that radio amateurs play during severe weather conditions -- enabling communications with emergency medical teams, police and fire departments -- when the power goes out.

The narration underscores the importance of a reliable battery to power the portable ham radios, which are crucial to WX4NHC's work.

WX4NHC National Hurricane Centre


Bletchley Park History

With the declaration of peace, the frenzy of codebreaking activity ceased.

On Churchill's orders, every scrap of 'incriminating' evidence was destroyed. As the Second World War gave way to the Cold War, it was vital that Britain's former ally, the USSR, should learn nothing of Bletchley Park's wartime achievements.

The thousands who had worked there departed. Some continued to use their remarkable expertise to break other countries' cyphers, working under a new name: the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

The site became home to a variety of training schools: for teachers, Post Office workers, air traffic control system engineers, and members of GCHQ. In 1987, after a fifty-year association with British Intelligence, Bletchley Park was finally decommissioned.

For decades, the codebreakers would remain silent about their achievements. It was not until the wartime information was declassified in the mid-1970s that the truth would begin to emerge. And the impact of those achievements on the outcome of the war and subsequent developments in communications still has not been recognised fully.

Amateur Radio at Bletchley Park

Radio 2 Radio broadcasts amateur & HAM radio news and current events from around the world

Contact Radio Guy at to include your amateur or HAM radio news/event here