ISS 12 Commander Shooting for WAC, WAS and Maybe DXCC from Space

NEWINGTON, CT, Dec 14, 2005–ISS Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur, KC5ACR, has proven to be one of the more active Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) operators among ham radio operators who have occupied the space station. Early in his ISS duty tour, McArthur got on the air from NA1SS for Scouting’s Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) event in October, but he’s also been available during his off hours to make some quick, casual QSOs on 2 meters as well. In fact, McArthur’s having so much fun operating from space that he’s hoping to complete Worked All Continents (WAC), Worked All States (WAS) and maybe even DXCC from space.

“Bill McArthur continues to be active on voice and now has a couple of personal goals he is trying to achieve,” says ARISS Ham Radio Project Engineer Kenneth Ransom, N5VHO. “He is trying to talk to someone in every state in the United States. According to his log, he has managed to work 37 states so far.” In addition, Ransom says, McArthur wants to work as many countries as he can.

“He’s off to a good start with 28 DXCC entities in his log as of December 12,” he said. “These contacts have been with amateur stations on every continent with the exception of Antarctica.” That contact could happen this weekend, however. Although the IARU does not require WAC applicants to have worked Antarctica, Ransom says that ARISS tradition calls for an Antarctica QSO to achieve WAC from space “since the astronauts seem to have an unfair advantage.”

Expedition 9 astronaut Mike Fincke, KE5AIT, became the first ISS crew member to contact all seven of the world’s continents via Amateur Radio from NA1SS. Fincke worked KC4AAC at Antarctica’s Palmer Research Station for his last contact. In 1992, shuttle astronauts David Leestma, N5WQC, and Kathryn Sullivan also worked Palmer Station to complete their WAC list.

States on McArthur’s most-needed list are Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

“The list of DXCC entities is just starting to grow, so he needs a lot right now,” Ransom conceded this week. “I figure he can get it if we are able to add a handful of smaller entities.” He noted that Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, soon would be in Guantanamo Bay and will try to work the ISS from there. Ransom says he hasn’t included ARISS school group contacts in his counts and hopes McArthur will achieve his goals without them. “I hope Bill gets WAS and DXCC from space as well as WAC,” he said. “We won’t know the official results for months after the mission.”

During a brief 2-meter contact November 26 between the US Naval Academy’s W3ADO and NA1SS, McArthur cheered for an Army win in the traditional Army-Navy football game December 3. “Thanks very much for the contact, but I can’t resist,” said McArthur, a US Army officer and veteran. “Go, Army. Beat Navy!” It didn’t help. Navy won this year’s game.

Just before contacting W3ADO, McArthur discussed the crew’s Thanksgiving dinner with ARISS aficionado Al Lark, KD4SFF, in South Carolina, who was operating the Experimenters’ Group Amateur Radio Club’s N4ISS. McArthur reportedly made some three dozen casual contacts during Thanksgiving week, most of them over North America and a few over Europe and New Zealand.

Nine-year-old Mattie Clausen, AE7MC, of Oregon recently enjoyed her third QSO with McArthur, and the two now are on a first-name basis. McArthur made contacts with stations in the US on December 6. He also spoke with stations in Australia, New Zealand and the US on December 11.

McArthur is about halfway through his approximately six-month duty tour aboard the ISS. He and crewmate Valery Tokarev will return to Earth in April.

The NA1SS worldwide voice and packet downlink frequency is 145.800 MHz. In Regions 2 and 3 (the Americas, and the Pacific), the voice uplink is 144.49 MHz. In Region 1 (Europe, Central Asia and Africa), the voice uplink is 145.20 MHz. The worldwide packet uplink is 145.99 MHz.

When NA1SS is in crossband FM repeater mode, the worldwide downlink is 145.80 MHz, and the uplink is 437.80 MHz. All frequencies are subject to Doppler shift. The Science@NASA Web site provides location information for the ISS.

The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program is an international educational outreach with US participation by ARRL, AMSAT and NASA.