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Man makes contact with the International Space Station using homemade antenna

Man makes contact with the International Space Station using homemade antenna

How one amateur radio enthusiast managed to take his hobby interplanetary.

Space exploration is no cheap feat - after all, NASA is requesting over $3.3 billion in investments for its 2024 budget.

And yet not all of the space-related tech needs to be cutting-edge.

In fact, an amateur radio enthusiast made a homemade antenna - and it's helped him connect with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

YouTube user @KB8M - whose name is Doug - posted a video in July showing him getting in contact with the ISS when it passed over his home in Michigan.

He's seen holding a fairly rudimentary-looking antenna attached to a radio - but you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, because this simple bit of tech managed to do the business.

After a number of attempts saying his call sign, "Kilo Bravo 8 Mike", Doug finally got a response.

American astronaut Warren 'Woody' Hoburg radioed that he could hear Doug "loud and clear" from the ISS, and added: "Welcome aboard."

As you can probably imagine, Doug was pretty pleased with his result. Underneath the video, he wrote: "I've made numerous voice and APRS [Automatic Packet Reporting System] contacts over the FM satellites and the ISS repeater.

The ISS would have to be in a particular position for you to be able to contact it via radio.
Matthias Kulka / Getty

"But I've always wanted to talk to an astronaut. Over the Memorial Day weekend I finally made that contact. I made contact with the ISS and talked to Warren 'Woody' Hoburg. What a thrill."

And people in the comment section very much agree with Doug.

"Dude's hailing a 100 billion dollar spacecraft holding just a small radio and an antenna in his hand. Love it," one impressed YouTuber wrote.

Another commented: "Hearing 'welcome aboard' from an astronaut in the ISS is probably the coolest thing you'll ever hear. Even just watching this made my inner child celebrate."

While a third said: "Wow that's amazing! It's weird to think that you can just talk to someone that's technically not even on the same planet as you with just a handheld antenna!"

Doug fashioned his own antenna to get in contact with the ISS.
KB8M/ YouTube

According to the website Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS), many astronauts on the ISS have become licensed radio amateurs, 'to communicate to stations on Earth while traveling in space'.

ARISS is a program that encourages children to reach out to the ISS, to help spark interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects.

Scheduled contact sessions are often hosted by astronauts on the ISS with radio licences.

Featured Image Credit: KB8M/ YouTube