Central Pacific Edition
Class in Session
A New Meaning to “Distance Learning”
Our first direct contact with remote explorers was a success! Kathy Lamont and 14 of her gifted 5th graders from Antietam Elementary in Woodbridge, Virginia chatted with us via some complicated radio maneuvers. The equipment on board Vigilance communicated via HF (high frequency) radio link to a station on the Big Island of Hawaii; from there a system called “Echo Link” piped the audio onto the internet, and Kathy was able to receive it on her phone.
As prep for the talk, the kids had watched some of the videos from the Nauticos site, read articles and created a graphic about what they learned so they could share with the class. Some of the questions they asked us were:
“What does the REMUS 6000 run on?”
“Where did the AE doll go on the REMUS?”
“How far from land are you?”
Though it was admittedly a little hard to hear the kids, Tom gave excellent responses expanding on the answers: REMUS is powered by batteries; the AE doll rode in the battery compartment; and the nearest populated land (Tarawa) is about 600 nautical miles from us. Kathy told us, “I was impressed with how quiet my kids were. I told them the audio would be low so they’d need to be quiet, and they were. I got a few raised eyebrows with the answers, which was cute. When we were done a few kids said, ‘That was cool!’ which is fun to hear from 11 year olds just listening to audio.” A big thank you to Gary Belcher (KH6GMP) on the big island in Hawaii who helped the radio guys set up the connection.
Tonight at around midnight the radio guys will turn their antenna to the sky as they hope to make contact with the ISS (International Space Station) for a few minutes as they whiz overhead.