The following letter was published in

The Asbury Park Press, 4/28/98
The Tri Town News, 4/23/98
The News Transcript, 4/23/98
The Progress, 4/24/98

Dear Editor,

No one who witnessed the link-up to the MIR Space Station from Land O'Pines elementary school in Howell on April 9th, will ever forget the sense of excitement on the students' faces, as astronaut Andy Thomas welcomed them aboard MIR via amateur radio.

We are immensely proud of the students for studying to achieve the contact by themselves. Many of them worked very hard behind the scenes, to allow their fellow students a few moments in the lime-light. These students and adult volunteers can be justifiably proud of their accomplishment.

The project was a team effort. Many radio amateurs from Monmouth County gave generously of their time and expertise to make the contact a success.

It is especially appropriate to thank Mr. Joe Pate (Howell) who worked for several years to have the contact approved by NASA, Mr. Al Emer (Holmdel) an expert in space radio communication, and Mr. Gary Palamara (Howell) who gave us crystal-clear audio engineering; for a superb effort. These gentlemen took time off work and incurred considerable personal expense for the benefit of the students. The only reward they seek is to know that they have inspired the students to new heights in their hope for their future and the benefit of their fellow human beings. This kind of team work is the most valuable lesson the students would learn, and is in the best traditions of the amateur radio hobby.

Radio amateurs frequently use their skills in the public service; providing communications for sponsored walks, regularly working with local authorities to provide emergency communications in times of disaster, relaying health and welfare messages around the globe, etc. It is thus not surprising, but not widely known, that NASA would select such technically skilled and public spirited people for their astronaut corps. Indeed the vast majority of US astronauts are licensed radio amateurs.

( Readers who missed the report in the Asbury Park Press, may like to visit our web site at where audio, pictures, and reports of the contact are available)


Ken Cochran