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Friday, October 5, 2012

Sputnik Party 2012 Soapbox

Poster by Steve "Snort Rosin" Smith

3 October from AA1TJ:

Here's an admittedly late reminder that the Sputnik Party begins

tomorrow (4 October). I've been preoccupied with non-hobby concerns in
recent months but I did manage to throw something together for the

My transmitter follows the lines of the 10mW, battery-powered, RF
beacon that was carried into orbit in 1958 by "Vanguard 1." You may
recall this is the one Premier Nikita Khrushchev characterized as "the
grapefruit satellite."

My present build uses essentially the same circuitry and componentry
as did an earlier, 20m version; details of which can be found at


The 15m version drives a 44m end-fed wire with 30milliWatts.

The receiver that I built for the event is essentially a "Q-multiplier
-> detector" type regenerative job. However, the Q-multiplication is
accomplished by a parametric amplification using a quartz-crystal
controlled pump. I thought it would be historically appropriate given
that parametric amplifiers were all the rage in the late 1950's.

I put together the keying and R/T changeover circuitry this morning.
When it appeared that "all systems were go" I began sending CQs on
21.060MHz. The band, or at least that portion of the band (the
receiver only tunes from 21.060 to 21.064MHz), seemed rather quiet,
but my 6th call netted a "dit dit dah dah dit dit." Resending my call,
I was very pleased to hear HB9DCL come back to me from just outside of
Zurich. The reports were 579/339. Frank was running 5W to a log
periodic antenna. I sure hope this is a sign of things to come!

I hope to be at the key by 1300Z tomorrow. Although my little
"grapefruit" only puts out 30mW, folks running "Sputniks" made from
ex-Soviet subminiature "rod tubes" should be at least two S-units
stronger. A number of European stations will be operating this year
and at least one station that I know of will be QRV from Japan. Just
listen for the beeps and give them a call!

Thank you,
Mike, AA1TJ


04/10/12  ( first day)
dear friends &Sputnikers
today a Belgian "sputnik clone" crossed the pond
first hit
15:22 with N0UR a 2 x sputnik "solid" QSO
Jim wrote: Thanks QSO, here is how you sounded in MN
( in attach)
16:00 second hit with AA1TJ , Mike "the inventor of all this Sputnik madness" hix 3 
this time a bit more difficult but at last we could manage to exchange reports,
between the QRM and noise at last got confirmation , 
Mike's sigs  here where 339 but still copyable
all OK with my 559 sigs then suddenly some other sputnikers came on the scene and I lost Mike
with my 60 years again excited as a young boy
as we made some history today hi x 3
will take a picture
for the moment a complete mess as the DC/DC invertor inside the sputnik  broke down
lost the very early contact with UA1CEG suddenly no more power in the SPUTNIK-cabine LOL
had to drag my new testbench power supply (still under construction )
or  lot of things to fix for those lausy 700 milliwatts hahahaha
73 to all


News flash...Sputnik worked Vanguard across the pond. I just sent this
letter to some of the guys

Dear Friends

I won't forget this morning's QSO with ON6WJ anytime soon! As he
beeped/called CQ I could hear him riding on waves of QSB. I kept
hoping he would end on the top of the wave. It happened one time and
Jos sent "AA1TJ?" but by the time I re-sent my call we were back in
the trough of the wave. He started calling again and once again I
crossed my fingers. Finally it happened, he ended on top of a
particularly strong peak...and sure enough, he copied my callsign. It
took more effort to exchange the reports but we eventually did it! He
confirmed my 559 and I did the same for my 339 report. It must be true
that anything worthwhile doesn't come easy, because the more difficult
the QSO the more I seem to enjoy it! I copied Jos' info: "SPUTNIK PWR
700mW = ANT 3EL YAGI" perfectly on my tiny receiver. Just as amazing,
he copied my 30mW transmitter made from one PNP Germanium transistor
dating from September of 1959. Needless to say, I'm a happy camper
today. Merci Beaucoup, Jos.

Just above my operating frequency I heard PA0PJE sending "CQ Sputnik."
You had a beautiful signal here, PJ! It was easily S6 on the peaks. My
transmitter frequency trimmer adjustment is buried in a rat's nest of
wires which I didn't dare stick my hand in so early in the day.
However, if I hear you again I will definitely risk it.

Thanks Carlo/IZ4KBS and congratulations on your Russian QSO. Any
contact all with this simple stuff is reason for a celebration!

...and now back to the Hobbit Hole for another dose of QRPp.

Mike, AA1TJ

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