James F. Bay Elementary School 

ISS Contact

February 4, 2004


The digital recording below was made on February 4, 2004 at approximately 17:55 UTC in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, using an ICOM PCR-100 computer controlled receiver with a Ringo AR-2 vertical antenna up about 20 feet.  It was sampled and recorded at 8 kb/s, 8000 Hz mono using the PCM wav file format on a 2.1 GHz PC.  The downlink frequency was 145.800 KHz.

The recording starts with the school contact between Mike Foale (NA1SS on the space station) and the school ground station (W5RRR) already in progress.  The space station had not reached above our horizon until four minutes after it had in Houston, Texas, when the school first made contact with the space station.  The signals in the recording start off scratchy and weak and you have to really listen to understand what Mike Foale is saying. Within ninety seconds of first hearing the signals, the space station was well above our horizon and the signals quickly rose to S9 +20.  The signals continued to be strong from that point until the end of the contact.

Only the space station side of the conversation can be heard as the school ground station was over the horizon from us.  All periods where the ground station was transmitting have been removed and replaced with a second of silence.

It is interesting to note that Mike Foale failed to use proper amateur radio procedure when signing off by not saying his station's call sign, NA1SS at the end of the communications and instead simply said, "Bye-Bye..."

Below are the questions the students asked Mike Foale:

How far is the Space Station from earth in miles and kilometers?
Can you see changes in weather patterns on earth from space?
Can you detect changes in landforms on earth from the International Space Station?
Are you able to see and measure sunspots from the International Space Station?
Can you see the phases of the Moon and do they look the same as they do from earth?
In what direction do plants grow in micro gravity?
Can you wear contact lenses in space and if so how do they stay on the surface of your eyes?
Does water have the same boiling and melting points in space?
Do your taste buds still work the same in zero gravity?
Do people snore in space like on earth and does it sound the same?
What has been your hardest adjustment to life on the ISS?
Have you seen any meteors or space dust fly by the ISS?
Can you really see the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids of Egypt from the International Space Station?
Does your hair and fingernails grow at the same rate in space as on earth and do you give each other haircuts?
Can you see rainbows and lightening occurring on earth from the ISS?
Does evaporation occur at the same rate in space as on earth and does water dry quickly on your clothes?


WAV file of James F. Bay Elementary School  ISS Contact (approx 1.6 MB)

(Right click the link above and use save-as to download the WAV file to your PC)


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