Community station in broadcast first

08 January 2016

SandringhamA Hertfordshire community radio station has secured a broadcasting coup by relaying the first amateur radio call from the UK to a British astronaut on the space station.

Pupils at Sandringham School in St Albans linked up live with Tim Peake as the International Space Station flew overhead this morning.

They were able to ask questions - ranging from queries about liquid hydrogen and molecular forces to whether a helium balloon rises in space - and the live link was relayed by local community station Radio Verulam.

A number UK schools are set to use amateur radio to link up with the ISS during the course of Tim's mission.

Sandringham pupils used amateur radio equipment and a tracking satellite dish to connect to the ISS and the call was led by a pupil who had recently passed her radio exams and is now a licensed amateur radio user.

The last decade has seen the number of community radio stations increase from just a handful to more than 230 stations, each reflecting the local needs and interests of its audience.

Community radio is a not-for-profit sector, largely run by an army of 20,000 dedicated volunteers, who collectively work for around 2.5 million hours1 every year to bring original programming and locally-made content to listeners around the country.