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This excellent answer to First Ham Radio contact from space; what frequency, what kind of antenna, and how did they route the coax out the window? in Space Exploration SE contains the block-quoted material below.

Question: What might a "split-ring on a printed-circuit board" antenna for 144 MHz transmitting through a downward-looking Space Shuttle window look like? How big would it be?


This happened on the first Spacelab flight, STS-9.

The antenna (split-ring on a printed-circuit board) will be placed in the upper crew compartment window on the aft flight deck.

Source, NASA Educational Brief for the Classroom, STS-9 and Amateur Radio_ This document gives a detailed writeup on the operations.

(Owen) Garriott is pictured in JSC's Building 9 One-G Trainer with the handheld unit. The edge of the Orbiter starboard overhead window is visible behind him.

enter image description here

Source, NASA Photo

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I went looking for photos of W5LFL operating in orbit that included a view of the antenna in the window, but I couldn't find any. I did find NASA Photo S83-36894: Astronaut Owen Garriott trains for a space shuttle mission using ham radio which is described as "Astronaut Owen Garriott in Ham Radio simulation in One-G trainer in bldg 9A" and I think there's a pretty good chance that the white thing in the lower-right corner of the window is the antenna.

No construction details are visible, but we can at least get an idea about the size: the aft viewing windows, according to NASA materials, were 14.5" x 11" (368 x 279 mm). Assuming the thing we see in the photo I found, it seems to be about half the size in each dimension (~ 180 x 150 mm). Even if that's not it, it probably wasn't bigger than the window.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the research! Generally NASA photos are licensed to the public and can be copied to imgur if you like If there's any more general information about the sizes of '"split-ring on a printed-circuit board" antennas for 144 MHz' for general amateur use, that would be great to know too, though maybe there are not tight constraints on the size. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    May 6 at 2:20
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh I never heard of a split-ring resonator before today so I leave that to someone who has a clue :) $\endgroup$ May 6 at 2:36
  • $\begingroup$ There are some flat, mountable antennas for ham or near-ham frequencies available commercially as well. One example is digikey.com/en/products/detail/pulselarsen-antennas/PSIBVU78/… $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Aug 24 at 19:14

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