Note: This is a re-post from the ARRL national website here.
ARRL Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology alumnus Mariusz Zielinski, KB1MDS, invited ARRL Lifelong Learning Manager Kris Bickell, K1BIC, Lifelong Learning Administrator Ally Riedel, KM3ALF, and ARRL Communications Content Producer Michelle Patnode, W3MVP, to witness an exciting November 2 Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact with students at Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School in Palmer, Massachusetts, where Zielinski teaches. Pathfinder Amateur Radio Club students queued up to ask mostly technical questions of NASA astronaut Serena Maria Auñón-Chancellor, KG5TMT.
The Pathfinder ARC said the ARISS project became “a school-wide endeavor, capitalizing on our students’ interests in the trades and STEM subjects, giving them an interdisciplinary opportunity to apply their various skill sets.” Over the 2-year run up to the contact, Pathfinder students fabricated the antenna-aiming and mounting hardware. The club said on its website that it “incorporated many of the technical areas to construct the radio station and prepare for the ARISS contact and challenged our students to learn more about wireless technology and radio science.” One goal of the project was to “provide an educational opportunity for students, teachers and the general public to learn about wireless technology and radio science through Amateur Radio,” the club described.
Palmer Town Councilor Robert Lavoie, Massachusetts Representative Todd Smola, and Massachusetts Senator Anne Gobi were on hand to present a citation of congratulations from the State of Massachusetts House of Representatives.
Wearing an “ARISS 2018” T-shirt designed by students, Zielinski told a WWLP television reporter that the successful contact was even more exciting than the Boston Red Sox recent World Series win.
Further assistance and support was provided by fellow Teachers Institute alumni and Pathfinder instructors Schley Warren, KA1TDL, and Frank Legassey, KC1IYH, as well as from Jack O’Donnell, KC1GZB; Susan Grimaldi, WA1SJG, and Al Grimaldi, KB1XG, of the Mt. Tom Amateur Repeater Association. Legassey, an electronics instructor, and O’Donnell, a physics instructor, earned their Amateur Radio licenses during a January 2018 exam session at the school.
Others pitching in included Gary Thomas, AA1UE, of Wealth Technologies; Ronald Osimo, K1CRR, of the Cheshire County DX Radio Club; ARISS mentor Steve Taylor, W1HQL; Aggie Zielinski, and Anatoliy and Elen Borryssenko of A&E Partnership.
Videos of the Pathfinder contact have been posted on YouTube.