The Hamvention awards committee recently announced that Kerry Banke, N6IZW, has won the 2022 Hamvention Special Achievement Award for his efforts in the design, development, manufacturing, and human spaceflight certification of the ARISS Multi-Voltage Power Supply (MVPS). The MVPS is a foundational element of the ARISS next generation radio system, which is now on-orbit. The Hamvention Special Achievement Award is given each year to a deserving amateur that has made an outstanding contribution advancing the art and/or science.
Now retired, Banke spent most of his career in the research and development of electronics systems as a microwave RF (Radio Frequency) electrical engineer. This included 14 years as Qualcomm engineer, developing innovative microwave wireless technologies. Kerry’s electronic interests span DC (Direct Current) to light with particular interest and expertise in microwaves. His ham radio operations have included transmissions on 136 kHz through Laser. Since 1982 he has served as host of the San Diego Microwave Group’s monthly meeting, sharing his expertise with other hams of like interest.
Mr. Banke’s exceptional support to Human Spaceflight Amateur Radio began in 1994 where he served as a school technical mentor and certified ground station for the Shuttle Amateur Radio EXperiment (SAREX) program. When NASA transitioned from the Shuttle to the International Space Station (ISS), Kerry became an exemplary member of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) hardware team. For seven years, working from his home and electronics lab garage in La Mesa, California, Mr. Banke led the circuit design, breadboarding, flight circuit board layout, assembly, and testing of the MVPS. The MVPS, which occupies a volume roughly the size of two stacked reams of paper, can connect into different ISS power sources (120 VDC and 28 VDC) and simultaneously power up to 18 devices with multiple voltage level input needs.
ARISS USA Executive Director, Frank Bauer, said “The ARISS team is proud of Kerry’s sustained exemplary support to ARISS. His contributions to our next generation radio system are transformative, enabling expanded ARISS operations for ham radio operators and enhanced STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education outcomes for youth.” Through this system 60 to 80 foreign and domestic ARISS school contacts are conducted each year with 150,000 to 200,000 students, teachers, and members of the public engaged. Amateur radio operators also enjoy over 100,000 digital and voice repeater connections from this radio system each year.