The International Space Station (ISS) is mankind's outpost in Space. And even at this remote spot there are hams and a ham station. Most of the astronauts and cosmonauts are licended hams and on board of the ISS there is a VHF/UHF ham tranceiver. The callsign used on board the ISS is either NA1SS or RS0ISS.
Besides the traditional amateur radio contacts this ham station makes it possible that school children from all over the globe can talk to an astronaut or cosmonaut in the ISS. These school contacts are supported by the agencies running the ISS (NASA, ESA and Energia) and they are an excellent promotion for amateur radio as most of these school contacts are covered nationwide by newspapers, radio and TV.
The organisation who takes care of these school contacts is ARISS (Amateur Radio on the ISS). They make the arrangements with NASA, ESA or Energia and provide the technical and organisational support for the schools. ARISS also takes care of the ham station at the ISS and in regard with this a great opportunity is coming up :
The ISS is still under construction and within the next year a new module, named Columbus, will be added. Now we have the opportunity to have additional (and much better) antennas for the ham station mounted on the Columbus module. This is a big challenge, on one hand technical (constructing the antennas) and on the other hand financial (raising the money for buiding, testing and mounting the antennas). The major part of the financial needs is donated by ESA, AMSAT (UK & NA), the Belgian governement and numberous amateur radio societies and individual ham's. But there is still a remaining 30000 € (40000 USD) needed. The construction of Columbus has reached its final stage, so our time is short. All hams are asked to support this unique project with a donation on the account that has been opened by AMSAT Belgium :
Please don't forget to reference the transfer as " Donation Columbus ".
Donators within the European Union will not have to pay any additional banking costs (beyond the costs of a national money transfer) if they use the international banking number (IBAN) and mention the international identification code (BIC), thus even the smallest donation is useful. It is also possible to donate using PayPal.
If you want to donate otherwise please contact ON4WF , the ARISS-Europe chairman.
On the ARISS-Europe website a special Columbus page has been added. Donations are listed from societies as well as from individuals.
Taking into account the regulations on privacy protection, donations are listed as anonymous, unless the donator states his identity as reference for the transfer.
On the ARISS-Europe website you find a list of donations that is permanently updated and distance from the target shown.