In the century or so since radio technology has been with us, it's spawned a huge community of amateur enthusiasts and tinkerers alongside the professionals, and those part-time hobbyists are as active as ever in 2015. Case in point: 52 year-old UK resident Adrian Lane, who recently had a brief but exhilarating conversation with the astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS).

Remember that the ISS is orbiting more than 320 km (200 miles) above Earth and travelling at around 29,772 km/h (18,500 mph), whereas ex-lorry driver Lane was busy in his garden shed in Coleford, Gloucestershire. The radio enthusiast had spent several weeks trying to make contact with the space station after learning it was due to pass over his house.

"I was buzzing. It's not every day you get to talk to some guy out in space," Lane told The Daily Telegraph. Having made the necessary calculations, the father-of-two sent out his unique call sign when he believed the ISS would be in range - to his surprise, he got a message of welcome in return.

"I said to them how wonderful Earth must look from up there," he added, saying the total conversation lasted around 50 seconds in total. "They said 'Oh Adrian, it's amazing, you can't imagine what it looks like from up here.' He said it was very dark but when you look down at Earth it is full of colour. I basically asked who he was and how things were in space that day. It was such a rush."

Astronauts on board the ISS spend much of their time taking care of more important and scientific tasks, but they have been known to regularly engage amateur radio enthusiasts during breaks or in their downtime at the weekend. It's made possible thanks to a ham radio installed on board the space station for various educational projects and initiatives - it can be reached through low-power radios, small antennas, and computer laptops if you have the technical know-how.

Most of the time, communications are officially approved by NASA. For example, schoolchildren from the UK are scheduled to talk to Britain's first fully fledged astronaut, Tim Peake, using the same ham radio technology later on this year.

Lane says he spends most of his time communicating with fellow amateur radio enthusiasts around the world, something that doesn't meet with his wife's approval. "She hates it with a passion," he admits. "We've had so many rows over it. Even the kids know where to find me. Where's dad? Oh, he's in the shed again."