ARISS Contact – Duluth Children’s Museum

Posted on September 8, 2013


DchildrensMuseum-24x36The Duluth Children’s Museum hosted an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact on the morning of Saturday September 7.

The museum which, according to its website, was established in 1930, is the fifth oldest Children’s museum in the United States of America.

“The mission of the Duluth Children’s Museum is to spark children’s curiosity,” the site says. “The Duluth Children’s Museum is a place where children begin their lifelong exploration of an ever-expanding world.”

And since that ever-expanding world is moving further out into space, the museum was able to secure a scheduled contact with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station.

ariss announcement button

“The ARISS contact is a part of a comprehensive Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education plan intended to engage students and the community in the mission of human space flight,” the press release announcing the contact says.

The contact was direct via the Arrowhead Radio Amateur Club, W0GKP. The club formed one year before the Museum and it’s history goes back to the early day’s of Amateur Radio.

“The club was founded in 1929 and received its charter from the ARRL and was signed by W1AW, Hiram Percy Maxim himself,” the club’s biography states on the QRZ website.

Club members established a temporary ground station at the Duluth Children’s museum and established contact with the Space Station as it whizzed by at approximately 6 km/s and 400 km above. For the children of Duluth, the Space Station pass reached a maximum elevation of 66 degrees, a nice high pass. At my location, slightly north of Minnesota, the pass reached a maximum elevation of 58 degrees, still a very high pass.

My seven year old son and I caught the entire pass. I handled the positioning of my Slapshot Antenna during the pass while he handled the handheld transceiver and the audio recording equipment.


Flight Engineer, Commander Chris Cassidy, KF5KDR, handled the contact under the NA1SS callsign. After establishing contact with the ground station and promising to pass along greetings to his crew mate, Minnesota native Karen Nyberg, he answered questions from museum guests for the duration of the pass.

The audio was full quieting on our transceiver and the entire pass can be heard here:


The full reception report:

Date: 7 September 2013

Time: 15:06 to 15:15 UTC (10:07 to 10:15 am local)

Frequency: 145.800 +/- Doppler shift

Mode: FM

Signal: Full Quieting


Copied Commander Chris Cassidy, operating as NA1SS establishing contact with W0GKP and begin answering questions from children in attendance at the Duluth Children’s museum. We captured the audio from the entire pass including clear audio of both call signs during the initial stages of contact establishment and the final “buh-by” sign-off. There is some fading in the signal as the antenna is re-positioned to follow the station’s path. The noise level on the transmission increased dramatically toward the end of the contact, as the station moves close to the horizon. Equipment used consisted of a home-brew, handheld Yagi antenna and Yaesu FT-60R Transceiver.