ISS school contacts provide an opportunity for radio amateurs across the country to get publicity for the hobby in their local newspaper.
Simply hearing Tim Peake using amateur radio from the ISS is in itself a newsworthy event which can be used to promote your local amateur radio club and the hobby in general.
Essex Ham have made the most of the publicity and educational outreach opportunities presented by receiving the school contacts.
When Essex Ham’s Pete Sipple M0PSX received a signal from ISS astronaut Tim Peake talking to Sandringham School students in Hertfordshire he contacted his local newspaper, the Southend Echo, and told them about it. The newspaper was very interested to hear that someone in their local area had actually received the ISS and published the story.
Subsequently Sarah M6PSK and Pete M0PSX, both members of Essex Ham, took amateur radio into St Michael’s School in Leigh-on-Sea to enable the pupils to listen in to Tim Peake’s transmission from space to a school in Norwich. As well as receiving the astronaut, Year 4 and Year 5 pupils were able to send greetings messages through the ISS digipeater. They were successfully digipeated and received in Norway, Germany and The Netherlands.
At the time of writing Essex Ham have generated four separate stories about the Tim Peake contacts in different newspapers. Additionally they were able to explain about amateur radio to many young people some of whom may one day go on to become part of a new generation of radio amateurs.
If you submit a story to your local newspaper about receiving the ISS please let us know at m5aka<at>amsat.org
The RSGB produce a handy Media Guide and Template press release, see
Press release used to report reception of Tim Peake download here.
Essex Ham Educational Outreach http://www.essexham.co.uk/news/essex-school-tunes-in-to-iss.html
Local newspaper reports reception of Tim Peake on ISS https://amsat-uk.org/2016/01/13/local-paper-tim-peake-iss/
Dates of future Tim Peake amateur radio school contacts are at
Listening to the ISS on a handheld radio https://amsat-uk.org/2016/01/10/listening-iss-on-handheld/
Essex Ham – What is Amateur Radio? http://www.essexham.co.uk/what-is-amateur-radio
Find an amateur radio training course near you https://thersgb.org/services/coursefinder/
A free booklet is available aimed at introducing newcomers to the hobby that can also be used as a handy reference while getting started, see