We're sure some of you out there are amateur radio enthusiasts; there is a large support community for radio operators (also known as hams for short) and they can make an effective way of carrying out a conversation over long distance with other fellow hams without the monthly costs that come from cell phones.
One lucky ham, 52-year old Adrian Lane, was able to use his radio setup from his shed in his back yard in Coleford, Gloucestershire, England to contact astronauts aboard the International Space Station almost 200 miles above the planet.
As it turns out, Lane had been scheming for weeks to plan out the perfect time for when the International Space Station would be above his house, and he had just a four-minute window to make contact with them when it finally did because the International Space Station orbits the Earth at a very fast 18,500 miles per hour.
Reports indicate that Lane was able to spend at least 50 seconds talking to astronauts aboard the International Space Station, and as it turns out, it's not all that uncommon for International Space Station astronauts to try and reach out to fellow hams back on Earth on their free time.
"I said to them how wonderful earth must look from up there," Lane told The Telegraph in an interview.
"They said 'oh Adrian, it's amazing, you can't imagine what it looks like from up here'. He said it was very dark but when you look down at Earth it is full of color. I basically asked who he was and how things were in space that day. It was such a rush. I was buzzing. It's not every day you get to talk to some guy out in space."
Lane also asked about how bright the stars were from up in space, and the astronaut responded saying that because there is no atmosphere in the International Space Station, stars are much brighter up there than they are looking up to the skies from Earth. It was also described how the Earth was full of color, while everything else around the International Space Station is just like looking at black nothingness.
If you're an amateur radio operator and want to try reaching out to the International Space Station, there is information on the International Space Station section of NASA's Web site explaining how the astronauts occasionally try to make contact with people down on Earth. You'll be able to find more information there if you ever plan to try it yourself. You can also check more about ham radio for satellites from xroadgps.com.
Although there is a slim chance you'll get in touch, you never know, you might get lucky like Lane did!
Source: The Telegraph