June 7, 2022:  Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, Inc. (ARISS-USA) is very pleased to announce that the Quarter Century Wireless Association, Inc. (QCWA) has made a highly notable contribution–$4,500—to support the ARISS program.  QCWA President Ken Oelke (amateur radio call sign VE6AFO) presented the generous gift to ARISS-USA at the 2022 Hamvention in Xenia, OH, during the ARISS Forum. ARISS is the acronym for Amateur Radio on the International Space Station. 

Ken hopes the funding will catalyze individuals and other groups around the globe to follow suit and contribute to ARISS.  He commented: “I had asked Rosalie White (amateur radio call sign K1STO), the ARISS-US Delegate for ARRL, about new initiatives ARISS may have and learned of new education programs set into motion and about ARISS’s enhancements being developed for its amateur radio station on the International Space Station (ISS). Those things are in addition to the ARISS team’s daily operating activities—ARISS educational radio contacts for schools and education groups with astronauts orbiting on the ISS. I believe ARISS provides a great opportunity to the QCWA to stand out in the Amateur Radio Community, and to carry out QCWA’s education mandate described in its constitution.”

In late 2020, Astronaut Chris Cassidy (amateur radio call sign KF5KDR) installed ARISS’s new radio system on the ISS. Crew members with ham radio licenses began using it for scheduled ARISS education radio contacts. In addition to supporting these student interviews, the radio system allows amateur radio operators to engage with the ISS using Automated Packet Reporting System (APRS), making cross band repeater contacts, and downloading special slow-scan TV (SSTV) images downlinked by cosmonauts.

ARISS-International Chair Frank Bauer (amateur radio call sign KA3HDO) thanked QCWA members for their tremendous support, stating: “This funding will help propel forward some of the ARISS educational activities that were recently put in motion. Also, the gift will spur on the ARISS team working on radio system enhancements.” He noted: “It is fantastic to see amateur radio groups such as QCWA generously offering a gift to ARISS. It shows potential future ARISS benefactors, foundations and corporations that the amateur radio community believes in ARISS and wants to further ARISS’s goals.”

Rosalie thanked Ken for the QCWA Board of Directors and members standing with ARISS, and said: “The entire ARISS team conveys its deep appreciation for this exceptional generosity! We hope your members are enjoying ARISS packet and cross band repeater contacts and ARISS SSTV sessions while knowing countless students are engaged in science and technology activities tied to space and radio.”

Individuals and groups wanting to help ARISS can go to https://www.ariss.org/annual-fund.html, and in many cases, gifts are tax deductible donations.  Donors giving $100 or more are awarded a beautiful ARISS Challenge Coin.