Dade County Hams Contact International Space Station

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Members of the Dade County ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services) group were at Cloudland Canyon State Park Saturday and Sunday, participating in ARRL Field Day.  During the event about 200 people came, visited and learned about Amateur Radio, including the press and local elected officials.

During the 24 hours of event "Ham Radio Works” was more than just words as the  D.C.ARES hams proved they can send messages in many forms to terrestrial and extraterrestrial stations, without any other infrastructure in a crisis, before the next disaster strikes.

A special station was setup to allow unlicensed people to “Get-On-The-Air” under the guidance of a licensed operator. This GOTA station was busy all 24 hours. Seven-year-old McKayla Beldyk made two contacts, one on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons. McKayla stated, “She wasn’t going home until she made a second contact.”  McKayla has caught the bug; she is now studying to take the Amateur Radio Technician exam this summer.

Contacts were made with other stations around the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and outer space in Morse code and by voice communications.

At 11:01 p.m. the ISS, International Space Station, rose from the West –North-West and crossed towards the West-South-West. For two quick minutes, the station was visible. After making some quick changes to the radio frequencies, changing cables and to a handheld directional antenna WK4DS, David Saylors pointed the antenna at the fast moving bright light in the dark sky. AJ4VX, Richard Beldyk, called the ISS. After a few attempts, NASA Astronaut Karen Nyberg on the ISS responded just before the ISS disappearing into the Earth’s shadow and could not be tracked. 

A roar of excitement erupted and was heard echoing the canyon by all present after the contact was made. 

“As a kid in the 60’s the astronauts were my idols, I could name every astronaut from Alan Shepard on the Mercury-Redstone 3 through those in the Apollo 17,” said Mr. Beldyk. “Ever since I got my amateur radio license, I have wanted to make contact. I have listen and watched as they passed overhead but have never been able to make contact. Being able to use a battery power transmitter with a handheld directional antenna to make contact was very exciting.”

The FCC issued a special event call sign of K4D to the group for use during their first field day.   

This Dade ARES group is for amateur radio operators that would like to take part in emergency and special event communications in the Dade County.   They have a weekly net at 7 p.m. on Thursdays on 146.595 MHz simplex.  They will also meet on the last Friday of the month, at 7 p.m. at the sheriff's office in Trenton. Hams and non-Hams are welcome to attend the meetings. For more information on Amateur Radio, contact the Public Information Officer by email at pio(at)AJ4VX.com



Drivers Education Program Offers Spring Break Course

The Spring 2016 Drivers Education course will be offered March 28, 29, 30 and 31 at the Public Library Downtown, 1001 Broad St., not at Northgate Mall.  The class will be Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m. each of those four days.  In Spring of 2015, the Tennessee State Legislature made legislative changes to restrict the use of traffic ... (click for more)

Saturation Patrols Scheduled For Super Bowl Weekend

Law enforcement agencies across the Cumberland Plateau Region and Eastern Tennessee, including the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, will be conducting saturation patrols on Saturday and Sunday. The saturations will take place from 3 p.m. on Saturday until 11 p.m. on Sunday. Patrols will take place where alcohol-related crashes and DUI arrests have occurred in the past. Officers ... (click for more)

Arrests Made In Connection With Fire At Brainerd Trophy Shop

Fire investigators Captain Moore and Captain McElvain made two arrests Friday night in connection with the fire at the Brainerd Trophy Shop that occurred  on Friday  morning. Gene Wegg and Pamela McNabb, have been arrested and charged with arson by the Chattanooga Fire Department. The two allegedly broke into the Brainerd Trophy Shop and set fire to the building, ... (click for more)

TBI Case Leads To Charges For Woman In Death Of Whitwell Boy

A joint investigation by special agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Whitwell Police Department has resulted in charges for a Whitwell woman in connection to the death of her boyfriend’s son. At the request of 12 th  District Attorney J. Michael Taylor, TBI apecial agents began investigating the death of six-year-old Lucas Michael Dillon on March 29, ... (click for more)

The City I Used To Know

“They Dead”, the innocent young voice said as tears began streaming from my eyes.  Foolishness that didn’t involve him snatched away his childhood in the blink of an eye.  Why?  Why has my city become known more for gangs and violence than the River Front, Lookout Mountain, and a fun little theme park?  What happened to hot summers at Lake Winnie, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Stick Of Dynamite

You may have seen the Tennessee Legislature jumped on the bandwagon to send “an atomic bomb” to Washington this week. The “bomb” makes Tennessee the fifth state to adopt a Convention of the States Project that will hopefully limit the power and the jurisdiction of federal government. The official wording is “to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power ... (click for more)