W5AZN reflects on Sputnik 1
Sputnik 1 was launched on October 4, 1957 and transmitted radio signals at 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.
I was almost 4 years old at the time, but I do remember my Dad trying to listen to Sputnik's radio beacon on a Hallicrafters Model S-77A shortwave receiver.
Last evening (October 4, 2007) I reminisced about that night fifty years ago. This time I was prepared with satellite tracking software, an ICOM 32AT handy-talkie, and an Arrow directional antenna. Standing in the backyard at 0313 UTC, radio tuned to 435.30 and antenna pointed to the Western horizon- I once again listened to the “beep-beep” of a satrellite beacon – this time emitting from
AO-51. Between the beeps a woman's voice said, “Congratulations on the 50 th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 1”
Fifty years later Dad is gone but I still have that old Hallicrafters radio. Reflecting back, I realiize how significant that moment was back in 1957. No, not the Cold War or the Space Race, but that this was my first introduction to radio and electronics.
And now you know the rest of the story.
Jim – W5AZN