Viewed from space, the Isle of Man, to an astronaut, is like a rare bird. As they orbit earth, astronauts like to tick off unusual locations below. Recently, Radio Ham, Matty Cunningham just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
“I do try to make contact with Space Stations, if I know they’re going to be overhead.
It’s quite exciting, when you’ve sent out a signal and someone picks it up,” Matty Cunningham explains. “Recently, I was lucky enough to contact Charles Simonyi, an American who’s paid $25 million to be a tourist on the International Space Station.”
Charles Simonyi is the Hungarian, former chief architect of Microsoft and is the genius behind most of its famous applications.
The International Space Station
Matty knew that Charles is, himself, a licensed amateur radio operator who is keen to make contact with “Hams” here on earth.
“He’s involved in a number of educational projects,” says Matty. “In fact, after we made contact, he let me know that he’d be contacting a project in Hungary.
Another project I listened in to was located in the Netherlands.
They were particularly interested in how he was sleeping, to which he replied that he was sleeping very well and had had plenty of dreams.
I swapped a signal report with Charles and wished him the best of luck from the Isle of Man.”
Charles was able to tick off the Isle of Man as a “rare” find whilst Matty added a second astronaut to his list, having previously spoken with a German astronaut at Christmas.
"The equipment I use to communicate with Space costs around £200 but can be picked up for £50 second hand. It’s incredible,” comments Matty “but you certainly don’t need a space age budget to chat with someone who’s orbiting overhead.”
last updated: 04/04/2008 at 12:26