Jordan’s King Hussein died on this day in 1999, after being in power for 47 years.
King Hussein was proclaimed King of Jordan in 1952, and only 18 when he took the throne in 1953. He died of cancer at the age of 63.
King Hussein was an amateur radio enthusiast. As a ham radio operator, King Hussein was known as JY-1.
Here’s a clip of King Hussein on the radio, talking with NASA astronaut Owen Garriott in 1983. Garriott, a ham radio fan, was the first astronaut to get an amateur radio gig up in space, on the Space Shuttle Columbia. While he was passing over the Red Sea, he made radio contact with King Hussein. Listen in as Hussein (“Juliet Yankee One”) talks with Garriott (“W Five Lima Foxtrot Lima”):
According to the American Radio Relay League (AARL) — Hussein was a life member — the conversation with the space shuttle was a high point in the king’s ham radio career.
You can read more background about it here from NASA.
And here’s an obituary of sorts from the AARL.
Bonus trivia: Owen Garriott also talked on the radio with U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater, another ham radio enthusiast (Goldwater died in 1998, at the age of 89).