From the ARRL... NEWINGTON, CT, Mar 29, 2001--Casual Amateur Radio contacts with the hams aboard the International Space Station have been few and far between. That could change next month when a special event day for ham radio has been declared. "The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS, team has received permission from the ISS controllers to declare April 12 Cosmonautics Day--a special event day for ham radio on the International Space Station," ARISS spokesperson Will Marchant, KC6ROL, announced today. The ARISS international team is asking the ISS Expedition 2 crew--on a voluntary basis--to run general QSOs over Earth's major land masses to help celebrate Cosmonautics Day, Marchant said. Given the interest expressed by earthbound hams in making a contact with the ISS, the ARISS team also hoping the crew will be enthusiastic about the idea. Cosmonautics Day will mark the 40th anniversary of the first human space flight by USSR cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the 30th anniversary of Salyut 1--the first space station, and the 20th anniversary of the initial launch of the first reusable space vehicle--the space shuttle. Marchant said the crew will be involved with stowage activities on April 12, "so they should have a fair amount of flexibility in adjusting their schedule." Two hams now are aboard the International Space Station--Expedition 2 Crew Commander Yury Usachev, UA9AD, and US astronaut Susan Helms, KC7NHZ. Helms already has made a few casual contacts and this week participated in a scheduled ARISS contact with a California elementary school using the station's NA1SS call sign. It's not known if Usachev has been active on the air while over Russia. The following frequencies have been announced for ARISS general QSOs: Voice and packet downlink: 145.80 (worldwide); voice uplink: 144.49 for Regions 2 and 3 (the Americas, and the Pacific); voice uplink: 145.20 for Region 1 (Europe, Central Asia and Africa) ; packet uplink: 145.99 (worldwide). The ISS Amateur Radio packet system still is not operational, but Marchant said ARISS has been working with the crew to get it working and hopes it will be up and running by then. Marchant said that specific operating times and modes for Cosmonautics Day, as well as additional details, will be announced on the ARISS Web page.