Making a contact with the International Space Station can be a bit of a challenge. between the astronauts schedule and the narrow window of opportunity we have when the station is overhead; it’s more about luck than using fancy equipment to communicate. Here is a video I found on Youtube about Darryl Young, a ham in East Texas that had a successful contact using nothing more than a 2 meter mobile radio and a copper J-Pole antenna. No word if the antenna is a KB9VBR J-Pole, but the results would be similar. Check out the shot of the antenna at 1:50 into the video.
J-Poles are actually a very good antenna choice for contacting the ISS either by voice or digital modes. The antenna’s half wave design gives it a nice doughnut shaped RF radiation pattern that favors the horizon, but still puts enough energy out at all angles to maintain reliable contact with the station without needing to readjust things as the ISS moves across the sky at 17,000 miles per hour.