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QSO with International Space station (na1ss)

On September 20, 2010 I made my first contact with the International Space Station (ISS). I had made contacts using the ISS as a digital repeater before, but this was the first time I contacted an astronaut. The astronaut I contacted from my car was Col. Doug Wheelock and he used the callsign NA1SS. The contact took place at 21:33 UTC (5:33pm EST).

Below you will find some images of my mobile station used to contact the ISS and an audio clip of the contact.

The bat mobile

The car is a 2009 Scion Xb and the antenna you see on the roof is a turnstile antenna for the 2 meter band. No, I don't drive with it.

The Bat Mobile

The turnstile antenna was originally used as a rover antenna for an ARRL June VHF QSO Party, but I used a shorter mast this time so that the roof of the car acts as a reflector to aim the signal skyward.

The 2m turnstile antenna

The antenna is made from some left over Arrow antenna elements and is mounted on some PVC.

The 2m turnstile antenna

The antenna is mounted on the roof with a magnetic mount. You obviously can't drive with this antenna since the magmount is rather small and the antenna would need guying to prevent it from being blown off the roof.


The center piece of the mobile station is an Icom IC-706MkIIG radio that belonged to my friend Ed, K3IXD (SK).

Icom IC-706MkIIG

Sounds from the sky

The actual QSO is very short. Just a call to the ISS and the acknowledgement that I've been heard on the ISS. Contacts with the ISS are usually short in order to give as many stations as possible the chance to work the ISS.

This is audio clip of my short QSO with NA1SS, the International Space Station:

QSO KR1ST with ISS, NA1SS - MP3 260kb

QSO KR1ST with ISS, NA1SS - WAV 1.4Mb

Below is the audio of the complete pass as I was able to hear it at my location.

Complete Pass ISS (NA1SS) 09/20/2010 - MP3 2Mb

Complete Pass ISS (NA1SS) 09/20/2010 - WAV 11Mb

The Confirmation (QSL)

On 10/13/2010 I received a confirmation of my contact (QSO) with the ISS in the form of a QSL card. This is what the front of the card looks like:

ISS QSL Card Front

And this is the back of the card:

ISS QSL Card Back


It is fun trying to catch the ISS on a pass above your horizon. To see when your next opportunity may be to work the ISS, visit the website or the ISS Fan Club web site.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to drop me an email.

--Alex, KR1ST