NTS, the OPN and the ISS

The following is from my Personal Blog (VA3QV.wordpress.com) describing an interesting contact made early Sunday Morning during Field Day.  Just a reminder that in this day and age the NTS can reach out…

The highlight of  Field Day came much later but did involve the NTS when around 0100 local with a Carleton Student at the controls.  There was a station calling CQ Field Day but every time they made the contact at the end the operator asked the contacted station if they could handle NTS Traffic for the bonus points and strange as it seems none of the contacted stations were willing to pick up the traffic.  When we finally got through to the station I instucted my operator (I think her name was Maria from Carleton U) to accept the traffic and I would copy it.  To be honest I was expecting the usual message to “Uncle Bill from your nephew at the Ham Radio Exibit at Field Day” but as the sending station was relaying the message you could hear a pin drop as the recipient was given:

Now this was something…  I have been connected with the NTS for many years and this was the first time I had ever heard of a NTS message being addressed to the ISS.  We accepted reciept of the message and then continued on with our Field Day after explaining to Maria the functions and history of the NTS… 
After Field Day I contacted the Ontario Section Traffic Manager and asked how I would route traffic to the ISS and it was decided I would try via AMSAT.  The local Canadian AMSAT Rep who happens to live in Ottawa (VE3VIG) send an email to the ARRL and at this time we are waiting to hear back to see if we send it to NASA or the Russian Space Federation for relay.  From what we have been told so far it appears that this is the first time a Canadian Amateur Radio Station has had to pass traffic to outer space via NTS and it could also be the first time that any NTS Message has been sent to outer  space and we are eagerly awaiting routing instructions and also to find out if indeed this was a first for Amateur Radio.
As I said earlier this was the highlight of Field Day for me…
Bob Sharp VA3QV Net Manager

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