Please visit ON6WJ's "Sputnik Made in Belgium" page by clicking here.
On the evening of the first day of operation I had this note from Colin, G3VTT.
"I used the Sputnik TX at powers of 400mW and 700mW with 80 volts and 110 volts respectively although keying was better at the lower voltage and oscillator start up more reliable. My circuit used link coupling tuned with a 60pf trimmer to the antenna and HT keying of the PA.
I worked UA1ASB, RK1NA, SM4EVC who gave a report and then sank into the noise, RA3AL, G3TYB up the road and W9RGB. This last QSO was a real one with 'intelligence' passed as Vic told me he had last heard the Sputnik signal whilst at college in '57.
I only have a 40m wire here and could have done better with a beam but I guess my wire was better than the four original whip antennas on Sputnik although it had a distinct height advantage!"
Jim, W1PID, posted on QRP-L a log of the stations that he worked on the first day out. Jim was running 1w to a Windom antenna.
I had some trouble with my homemade regenerodyne receiver for most of the first day due to a steadily increasing internal noise level. It eventually reached a level that made it impossible to continue. Contrary to the popular metaphor, real frogs will jump out of a slowly heated kettle well before they come to harm. I, on the other hand, apparently will put up with a slowly increasing noise level long enough to miss most of the stations calling me! In fact it only required 20 minutes to locate and correct the problem once I decided to act. The trouble stemmed from a noisy transistor in the regenerative IF amplifier/detector stage. Swapping this transistor with a spare solved the problem completely. I apologize to those stations who called, but failed to raise me on account of this issue. For example,
Date UTC Freq Call MY HIS Exchange 4 Oct 1220 21.061 PA0PJE 459 449 Netherlands 1/2W 4 Oct 1243 21.059 DL3JIN 539 559 Germany Peter 4 Oct 1255 21.062 UA4FCO 559 559 Yuri 5W 4 Oct 1258 21.061 ON4ADR 559 579 3W 4 Oct 1324 21.060 G3UYM/p 579 579 Cambridge Harold 5W 4 Oct 1449 21.060 ON6WJ 579 569 Josef Sputnik 700mw 4 Oct 1541 21.060 DL4VM 539 559 Saar Tom 5W 4 Oct 1548 21.061 CO2KK 559 569 Arnie 4 Oct 1557 21.059 PA0PJE 579 579 1W 4 Oct 2012 21.064 WA5BDU 339 539 AR Nick 4 Oct 2019 21.060 N0UR 559 579 MN Jim 5W 4 Oct 2031 21.061 DL4CW 439 559 Joe 4 Oct 2204 21.060 CT4RL/1 559 559 David 5W
5 Oct 1244 21.060 UA1CEX 559 559 Vic 1w G5RV Heard but NOT worked: 4 Oct 1220 21.061 G3VTT Not worked 4 Oct 1312 21.060 IT9NMJ Not worked 4 Oct 2028 21.061 K0ZK Not worked was 559
Peter/DJ0GD wrote to say
"Hello Mike ,at 1500Z I hrd ur call and dashes 539 also same at 1545z. I wkd DL3PB Sputnik 400 mW 549 but only 10 Miles away. I hrd him clg you later. Wkd UA4FCO but he sad was clg U but not heard."
Once my receiver problem was corrected the contacts came pouring in. Here's my contact log as of the end of the third day.
Date UTC Call MY HIS QTH HIS STATION 4 Oct 1220 ON4ADR 519 559 Belgium 3w 4 Oct 1409 NN6T 559 569 AZ ~1w 4 Oct 2027 N0UR 449 579 MN 5w to 3ele Yagi 5 Oct 1430 KA3P 539 569 FL 5 Oct 1447 WB5BRD 449 589 AR 75w to Invee 5 Oct 1500 WA5TCZ 599 599 LA 50w to Yagi 5 Oct 1546 DL6HG 539 559 Germany Sierra @ 1.5w 5 Oct 1619 SP7BCA 559 569 Poland 5w 5 Oct 1635 DL4HG 539 559 Germany Sierra @ 1.5w 5 Oct 1639 DL6MN 529 569 Germany 5 Oct 1713 DL3PB* 339 539 Germany 400mW Sputnik 5 Oct 1736 CT4RL/1 419 329 Portugal 5w 6 Oct 1827 AB9LM 559 559 IL 5w 6 Oct 1847 WA4SQM 569 579 GA 6 Oct 1934 DL4HG 549 559 Germany Sierra @ 1.5w 6 Oct 1954 DF2OK 419 589 Germany 5w The contact with DL3PB shown above doesn't actually count as a QSO,
given that we lost contact with each other roughly one second before
he would have copied my report to him. Otherwise, we copied both
call signs and I copied Peter's report of my signal. While not technically
a QSO, any information exchanged between two stations located nearly
6000km apart, both of which are running 400mW to simple wire
antennas, is bound to be a thrill. What's more, a receiver made from
three germanium transistors - all of which pre-date the 1957 Sputnik-1
launch - was used on one end! N0UR very kindly sent me an audio file of my 250mW Sputnik signal as
received in Minnesota (1642km distant) on the first day. Please click here
to listen. Notice the little burst of "doppler shift" at the beginning of
my transmissions ;o) DF2OK surprised me with a recording of my 400mW Sputnik on
6 October at ~20:00 UTC. Please click here to listen. All the way to
Northern Germany...Vielen Danke Michael! Shown below are some photos of the Sputnik QSO Party set up here at
AA1TJ. My receiver appears in the first photo. A crystal-controlled (24MHz)
converter built around a 2N128 surface-barrier transistor precedes a
regenerative IF amplifier/detector made from a second 2N128 transistor.
The detector is followed by an audio amplifier using a single
2N109 vintage germanium transistor. The same 1.2Vdc supply used to heat
the Soviet "Rod Tube" filaments is used to power this receiver.My transmitter is appears in the next photo. The RF output power is 250
to 400mW; depending on whether I use 57V or 72Vdc on the PA screen/anode. The circuit board appearing in the foreground bears the transmitter keying
and R/T switching circuitry. A pair of modern, high-voltage transistors are
used to key both the oscillator and the PA stages. A simple time-delay circuit
applies a steady +57Vdc to the oscillator screen/anode as soon as the key is
depressed. The DPDT relay activates at the same instant in order to switch
the antenna and mute the receiver. Both the oscillator supply and the DPDT
relay switch off a second, or so, after the key is released at the and of a