You know how to spot a ham radio operator? Look for any number of antennae outside their front door or somewhere in their yard. That's what it looks like at a friend of mine's apartment. It's why no one ever sees him; he's always talking to someone on his radio.


And now that I've learned with WHOM you can communicate, I'll have to ask him if he has actually spoken to someone at the International Space Station. That's right, ham radio operators can speak to astronauts aboard the ISS because those aboard the ISS also use amateur radio. I had no idea this happens, and I happens far more often than I would have realized if I DID know. explains:

Some ISS crew members make radio contacts during their breaks, pre-sleep time and before and after mealtime. Astronauts have contacted thousands of hams around the world.

That is absolutely amazing. Like anyone else, I would think, the space program has fascinated since I was a child. I was far too young to remember seeing the moon landing, but I've been front and center for every other development, if possible.

And I call being able to talk to someone in outer space a MAJOR development, even if that reality "developed" a long time ago. By the way, here's the other end of how all that works. To the heavens we go for a demonstration from Expedition 25 commander Doug Wheelock:


Do YOU want to be able to talk someone on the space station? Or ANYONE anywhere who also has an amateur radio? Daviess County Emergency Management has extended the invitation on its Facebook page:

We are seeking residents in our region interested in attending HAM radio training to become volunteer emergency communicators during times of major disasters/emergencies. You could be our only means of communications for local government, medical, and first responder agencies. Imagine relaying critical life-saving information from a fire department to the hospital, or law enforcement to life-flight. No experience necessary.

If you want to sign up, just go to The course is a two-day course--March 23rd and April 1st.

Have fun.

LOOK: 31 breathtaking images from NASA's public library

In 2017, NASA opened the digital doors to its image and video library website, allowing the public to access more than 140,000 images, videos, and audio files. The collection provides unprecedented views of space. Stacker reviewed the collection to select 31 of the most breathtaking images, including the first from the James Webb Space Telescope. Keep reading to see these stunning images, curated with further information about the captured scenes.

More From WBKR-FM