The summary of the contact

Here is summary of the situation collected from some newspaper and magazine stories and the memories of OH8UV:

Pate, OH2SN, amused those present in the hamschak and relaxed the situation while telephone call with Bill Reed co in Johnson Space Center. That phone call started about 15 minutes before the sked and continued all over the sked and some minutes after the QSO. So we were kept to hand during the contact...

Pate, OH2SN, is on the telephone. He says:
-Everything is ready, one hundred cameras and 50 people in this small room.
-One hundred cameras?, Bill is suprised at Pates joke.
Everybody is laughing.
-I wonder if it has been very succesful with working the other schools? asks Pate.
-Yes, we have been very succesful. We have connected up a ... We have done all succesful except a one up in Dallas, Texas, where they had a big thunder storm. And it disturbed the contact.
-Oh, that's a pity. We have a very nice weather no cloudies at all, Pate says.
-Ok. we just passed in another station. That is going to rebroadcast a contact on a repeater down in Australia and a lots of farmers. The other station is VK3CFI. So there is a lot of people listening this, says another man from JSC.
-We are relaying this on 80 meters, so there are 350 pupils listening this qso near-by the school and a lot of OH-hams, Pate says and continues: -How is your weather?
-Here in Houston it was raining when I came in, it's dark we can't see it now.
-We have very nice spring time here, Pate says.

The shuttle is approaching. It's the time!

On the monitor we can see AOS (Acquistion of Satellite), the shuttle is on the horizon. We are waiting still 30 seconds, because then the signal will be very good. Endeavour will call us first.

Nothing heards.
On the telephone voice of the man says: -Ok. Start calling!

Markku, OH8UV, starts:
-N5QWL this is OH8AK, over.

Markku is waiting immediately a big signal, but nothing happens. He repeats the calls again and again, but no answer.

But where is the shuttle?

Minutes pass. At last Markku stands up and checks if all the cables are ok, if some reporter has dropped the microphone on them...
Markku says quietly: -Everything is OK.

The team seems to be very excited. Althought they have trained and prepared all possible disturbers and troubles, the real situation is still different.

-N5QWL, OH8AK, over. - The calls repeats.

Everybody are quietly and waiting. You can already sense a little frustration and sadness. And what about it, if the contact will not be succesful? A hudge preparations will be wasted. The medias has come "in vain". That is not possible!

-Are the rigs surely in good repair? somebody asks.
-Yes. They surely are! Markku assures and checks uplink and downlink frequencies again, even they have been checked 30 minutes before the sked by phone call with JSC. The main rig is FT736R QRV just on the right frequency and there is another FT736R and FT225RD for insure!

-N5QWL, OH8AK, over.
Still nothing.

-"There is now some confusion. Everything is here ok." Risto, OH8MOD, relays to 80 meter ham band.

You can hear quietly whispering on the phone. Also they are confused in JSC. Maybe the sked will be postponed to the next orbit. (Later on we heard that the backup sked should have been not until the next day!)
Is the rig ok in the orbiter? Is Jay on the right freq? They must be.

-N5QWL, OH8AK, over.
Markku seems very concentrated. Nothing shows up. You must beam the antenna. More callings.

At 0730 UTC we know Jay by his voice: -OH8AK,N5QWL all right.

Suddenly we get the contact.

Virva and Janne are smiling and they glance at Markku, who beams antenna little backwards.
Markku exchanges good mornings.
In the hamschack we can hear the applauds from the living room. TV-camera man clasps his hands which are red with perspiration.

Jay finds that there is not so much time left and the beginning rituals of the qso will be as short as possible. He asks: - First question?

Virva gets the microphone and the conversation with Jay Apt, the astronaut of the American space shuttle Endeavour, starts right up to the space.

You can listen first 2 questions by clicking here First questions (audiofile, 2quess.AU, 312 kB, 38 sec., 8 kHz) First questions (audiofile, 2quess.AIFC, 286 kB, 38 sec., 22.3 kHz)

-This is Virva speaking. You have been in space quite a long time. What is your most exciting experience? Over.
-Going outside of the space craft to the space on EVA. That is my most exciting experience. Over.
-You have also one woman with you. Is Linda awake? Could you tell me how did Linda become interested in being an astromaut. Over.
-She is asleep. She became interested because she is a pilot and thatÔs the highest column that a pilot can inspire...and she knows a lot of sciense. Over.

You can listen next 2 questions by clicking here Next 2 questions (audiofile, janneq.AU, 377 kB, 47 sec., 8 kHz) Next 2 questions (audiofile, janneq.AIFC, 351 kB, 47 sec., 22.3 kHz)

-This is Janne speaking. I understood that astronauts become taller in space. How does that feel? Over.
-It gives most people back pain. Over.
-Have you seen other satellites? Over.
-Yes, we have seen two. We've seen an unidentified satellite and Russian Mir Station. Over.

You can listen last questions by clicking here Last questions (audiofile, lastq.AU, 169 kB, 20 sec., 8 kHz) Last questions (audiofile, lastq.AIFC, 156 kB, 20 sec., 22.3 kHz)

Virva: -What have you eaten today? Over.
-Schrimp coctail, beef paddy and spaghetti. Also some cookies and some cashew nuts.
-Do you need more sleep in space than on the Earth? Over.
-We need less.
Janne: -Are you heads down or up? Over.
-Looking around the cockpit two are down and two are up.... You are in the beautiful part of the world and we are taking a lot of pictures.
-Can you see the snowline? Over.
-That's affirmative. We can't see the snowline. We can see the snow on an individual fields and on long roads...

Suddenly the signal from the shuttle was in the noise. According the tracking monitor the shuttle should have been under the horizon over one minute!
Virva gave the mic to Markku.
-N5QWL OH8UV..I'm sorry.OH8AK. Can you copy me?
-Yes a bit.
-Ok. You are going now down. Best 73. Thank you very much for this nice qso and also to Mission control and all the SAREX groups. Over.
-Roger. Thank you very much. It was a pleasure to talk with you.
-Ok.73 from the Santa Claus Land. N5QWL this is OH8AK now off and clear. Happy landing and God bless you. Over.
-Thank you. I hope one day to visit your beautiful country.
-73. (Just later on OH8UV understood what was Jay's last sentence. Few days later Markku had a random FM contact with Jay and welcomed Jay to visit Paltamo.)

So the qso was over. It was so exciting that we couldn't remember the last sentences, exact answer; even the reporters couldn't remember exact number of asked questions. We estimated that there was 6 questions, althought afterwards we checked there was totally 9 questions asked. We heard the voices on the telephone from the Mission control of JSC. Pate tried to get the answer.

At last Bill Reed said: -Excellent job. Congratulations!
Bill told us that first Jay had there something... (On that moment one of the camera men dropped his lens shelter and we couldn't hear the reason why we started the qso later than it should be.

Afterwards we heard that Jay had backup frequency on the shuttle rig and he solved the problem and managed to find the right frequency.)

We were joking that the shuttle was late because they had to fly up to the north and they must have met a heavy arctic wind...

-Good contact, said Bill.
-Great kids, found Pate.
Virva was laughing.


so then ...