Remembering Sputnik 60 years on
The world’s first satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched on October 4, 1957, by the then Soviet Union that heralded it as a national triumph, and started the space race.
Not only was this an important achievement, but an historical milestone that opened space exploration.
The Russian language Radio magazine for radio amateurs published articles on the proposed telemetry system and the intended downlink frequencies. An English language version later appeared in the QST magazine of the ARRL.
The United States also revealed its intent to launch a satellite during the International Geophysical Year 1957 – but the USSR was first.
When launched it had four external antennas to transmit on 20.005 and 40.002 MHz at about 1 watt heard throughout the world by radio amateurs including those in Australia.
Sputnik, a 58 centimetre diameter polished metal sphere, was seen from Earth as it travelled 29,000 km/h taking 96.2 minutes for each orbit. It had no stabilisation system.
There were two aluminium casings that bolted together using a seal to create an air tight housing for two transmitters plus a simple temperature and pressure sensing system.
Scientists studying it garnered information, like the density of the upper atmosphere deduced from its drag on the orbit, and the propagation of its signals that helped better understand the ionosphere.
At a time the WWV time and frequency standard station near Fort Collins, Colorado USA stopped its night transmission on 20 MHz to avoid interference with the telemetry.
The signals continued for 21 days until the life of three silver-zinc batteries, two for the transmitters and the other for ventilation, ended 26 October. Sputnik burnt up and re-entered earth’s atmosphere on 4 January 1958.
To commemorate Sputnik 1, special callsign R60SAT will be on air from October 1 to 8. For further information including the awards available, please visit the qrz.com website.
Salvation Army Seeks Amateur Radio Operators for Possible Caribbean Deployment09/29/2017The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) has been asked to recruit SATERN Amateur Radio operators for potential deployment to TSA’s Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Division. SATERN National Liaison Bill Feist, WB8BZH, emphasizes that this is a recruitment request to be on standby only.
“This will not be an easy deployment so operators interested in deploying on behalf of The Salvation Army should carefully read and ensure that they can meet the conditions and requirements,” Feist said.
SATERN is seeking Communications Specialists who can provide their own radio gear and be able to handle at least a 2-week deployment in the Caribbean under “hardship” conditions. Deployment could be as early as next week.
Full information is available on the SATERN website.
The FCC has announced that the Office of Management and Budget has approved, for 3 years, the information-collection requirement of the Commission's March 29 Report and Order (R&O) that spelled out Amateur Radio service rules for the two new bands - 630 meters and 2200 meters. The R&O in PDF format can be found at, https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-17-33A1.pdf . Notice of the action appears in today's edition of the Federal Register. Before using either band, stations must notify the Utilities Technology Council (UTC), formerly the Utilities Telecom Council, that they plan to do so, and if UTC does not respond within 30 days, they may commence operation. The website to notify the UTC is, https://utc.org/plc-database-amateur-notification-process/ . Last March 27, the FCC adopted the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) implementation Report and Order (ET Docket 15-99), amending its Amateur Radio rules to - in the FCC's words - 'provide for frequency-sharing requirements in the 135.7-137.8 kHz (2200-meter) and 472-479 kHz (630-meter) bands.' Section 97.313(g)(2) of those rules requires that, prior to starting operation in either band, radio amateurs must notify UTC that they intend operate by submitting their call signs, intended band(s) of operation, and the coordinates of their antenna's fixed location. The new rules do not permit any mobile operation. 'Amateur stations will be permitted to commence operations after a 30-day period, unless UTC notifies the station that its fixed location is located within 1 kilometer of Power Line Carrier (PLC) systems operating on the same or overlapping frequencies,' the FCC said. PLC systems are unlicensed. 'This notification process will ensure that amateur stations seeking to operate [on 630 or 2200 meters] are located beyond a minimum separation distance from PLC transmission lines, which will help ensure the compatibility and coexistence of amateur and PLC operations, and promote shared use of the bands.' The FCC announced that it is making effective immediately the Part 97 rule amendments, Part 97.3, 97.15(c), 97.301(b) through (d), 97.303(g), 97.305(c), and 97.313(k) and (l), which do not require OMB approval.