OWEN GARRIOT W5LFL, SPACE-SHUTTLE COLUMBIA. “The whole family went outside on December 1, 1983 at approximately 6:30 local time to look in to the clear night sky to see if we could spot the Space-Shuttle Columbia. Being an amateur radio operator or (commonly known as a Ham) I took my 2 meter FM handheld transceiver with me. And to my surprise, heard somebody calling, “This is W5LFL in the Space-Shuttle Columbia calling the West Coast of North America.” My wife standing a little further away said, “who’s that ham driving around Salmon Arm?” Now this resulted in some head-shaking and lecturing by the ham operator standing next to her.
Then Owen Garriot called again, “CQ,CQ, CQ, West Coast! This is W5LFL in the Space-Shuttle Columbia. We are turning the ship around to point the antenna directly to earth and that should improve reception. We are presently 105 miles above earth. We will take calls on the other frequencies in 10 seconds.” But to my chagrin, the signals were worse instead of better. I called him on my small 1-watt handheld, but I wasn’t sure if he received me or not. Of course, there were hams from Los Angeles to Alaska calling him, so my chances of him hearing me were quite slim. Nevertheless, we were excited just the same to hear him talking, and we listened to him every day he was up there. This is only one small aspect of ham radio, but there are many more if you’re interested in ham radio. Please call Colin Sturrock at 832-7796 or Hans Berls at 835-8324.”