Saturday, August 25, 2012


When I was 12 years old I heard on the news that sputnik had been sent into orbit. I did not find out the transmiting frequency till a few days later. unlike now It was hard to get the technical information, no internet to look up information. I found the transmitting frequency by listing to Ham Radio operators on my Echofone short wave receiver. It was a big topic for the Hams. I tuned the receiver back and forth across the 20 Mhz. band, you see back then there was no digital read out. With the analog tuning dial you never knew the exact frequency you could only get close. I did not have the times the orbit would bring it over head. So many hours were spent listing to static. I only had a 100 foot long wire antenna, not too good for the weak 20 Mhz. signal. A few times I thought I heard the signal, but now I know I did not. Only now I know the sounds it was transmitting by listing to a sound bite from the internet. At any rate it was fun and educational for a 12 year old.
This is a photo of the Echofone receiver I used.

Below is a short clip from wikipedia and a sound bite you can listen to. I do wish I could have heard it back in 1957 but I'm glad to hear it now from a NASA recording. ...... Jack WB9OTX

Sputnik 1 was launched during the International Geophysical Year from Site No.1/5, at the 5th Tyuratam range, in Kazakh SSR (now at the Baikonur Cosmodrome). The satellite travelled at about 18,000 mi per hour, taking 96.2 minutes to complete each orbit. It transmitted on 20.005 and 40.002 MHz which were monitored by amateur radio operators throughout the world. The signals continued for 22 days until the transmitter batteries ran out on 26 October 1957. Sputnik 1 burned up on 4 January 1958, as it fell from orbit upon reentering Earth's atmosphere, after travelling about 37 million miles and spending 3 months in orbit.