Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sputniks 'Round the World

I briefly heard G3VTT calling last Friday with his Sputnik "clone" at 14:31 UTC. Here's a nice picture of his transmitter; built from mostly vintage components.

Colin's caption for the next photo: "Snappy change-over...only one switch and a croc-clip!" Notice also his high-voltage supply (80 or 120Vdc).

Here is a photo of Dan, WA6PZB's Sputnik and J-36 bug. Very nice indeed!

Nick/WA5BDU's very 50's Sputnik transmitter. More info on his blog.

Yuri/UA3UAD's Sputnik appears in the photo below.

This Sputnik belongs to Alex/RN3AUS.

Here's a close-up of Alex's Sputnik transmitter.

Oleg, RV3GM very kindly sent me a list of contacts made to-date by the ops at QRP-RU

Oct 4,
- RK1NA QSO with G3VTT/Sputnik 449/449
- UA1OKO works "Sputnikers" PA0PJ, DL3JIN, ON6WJ and ON5AG/QRP
- UA1CEG worked ON6WJ/Sputnik 589/599
- UA3UAD/Sputnik @ 1W, QSO's with G5RV, G3IOR, ON4ADR, ON5AG, S51NP
- UA0SBQ @ 1w worked HB9AFI and YT3AA

Oct 5,
- RN4AO/Sputnik @ 1 W, QSOs with G3IOR, DL3JIN, DL3NRV, ON4ADR, ON5AG

Oct 7
- RN3AUS/Sputnik @ 300mW QSO with DL4HG/qrp

I received a nice message from Victor/UA1CEX

"Working on 21060, power 1watt, I used Elecraft K-1 and G5RV antenna. I did the follow QSOs: ON6WJ, DP7TU, W1PID, G4PPK, PA0ATY, DL1NFF, ON4MB, S53AF, DL4VM, M0BAU, N1EA, DJ8UB, EW8A, LZ2RS, IW5ELA,PA0PJE, UN8PT, RN4AO, G3UAA, UU7JQ, ON3QA,OK1FAO, DJ0GD, DL3PB, DL9MDW, I2MDI, UA4AES, US5EVD, OK1DXK, W3PO, DL1JGV,OK1KL.

Among them, Sputnik stations are: ON6WJ, W1PID, RN4AO, PA0PJE, UU7JQ, DL3PB, US5EVD. It was a great pleasure, to work in Sputnik days."

Here are two photos of G3MFJ's lovely build. My thanks to George, G3RJV for both passing the "valves" to Graham and sharing Graham's photos with me.

My own Sputnik log of stations worked now includes

Date       Call          His    My    QTH        Notes
7  Oct.   ON6WJ     339   239   Belgium   Sputnik to Sputnik QSO!
7  Oct.   ON6WJ     559   559   Belgium   2nd Sputnik to Sputnik
11 Oct.   F6FAI       599   539   France     100w to 43m end-fed wire
11 Oct.   EI5JZ       559   339   Ireland
13 Oct.   ON6WJ    539    229  Belgium   our 3rd Sputnik 2X QSO!


  1. Hi Mike,

    On october 4 last year I participated with a small 2 tube transmitter consisting of 2 DL98 miniature tubes, for I did not have the Russian tubes... Made 3 contacts with UA1OKO and RK1NA over 2500 km, and also W1PID at 5520 km... The output was 500mW and the antenna a groundplane. The receiver I used was my K2. I have heard your sigs several times but was not able to contact you.
    I tried to send this message before but somehow it did not arrive... Now I got the 1P24B and 1SH29B-P so this year I hope to be active again using these tubes.
    Peter, PA0PJE

  2. Hi Peter,
    Thank you very much for your message. I'm sorry that I didn't hear your call last October. I had problems with a noisy transistor in my receiver early-on which caused me to miss some calls.

    Very FB on your two Russian contacts and W1PID is my good friend, Jim! I hope you have fun with those amazing Russian subminiature tubes, Peter!

    Beep, beep...
    Mike, AA1TJ

  3. In case anyone is still interested, here's what the original one looked like:-



  4. At last! After some breadboarding, drilling and tweaking, I've managed to buid my own Sputnik transmitter! I built it according to http://dl3jin.de/sputnik1_tx.htm , with a few modifications of my own, and it seems to work well. Here it is:


    B+ is about 110v, with 58v on V1 screen grid and 92v on V2 screen grid. Output power is 550-600 mW into 50 ohms, with good note and frequency stability. To prevent chirping I leave the oscillator stage permanently on, and key the rig through B+ of the power amplifier. This is consistent with what I believe most other builders do. I'm using a simple solid-state interface for keying, so no B+ on the key, for peace of mind and better keying. Unfortunately, having the oscillator always on means that I hear mostly my on signal on RX instead of the other party, but so far I have not been able to come up with an effective solution to this.

    OK then, just in time for this year's upcoming Sputnik QSO Party :-)

    72/73 de Carlo/IZ4KBS

  5. Dear Carlo, I was away from home (and my notes) when your question arrived. But it looks as though you've made a spendid job of you Sputnik before I could even answer...well done, OM! Yes, I allowed the oscillator to run continuously as well while transmitting. In fact, we have evidence that the original Sputnik transmitter did the same. Sustained oscillator signal bleedthrough can be heard in the background of recordings made under strong signal conditions back in 1957. I hope to work you this coming Octobet 4, Carlo...or at least I hope to hear you as I'm planning to transmit with my Vanguard satellite reproduction (<25mW)....although, if the band condtions won't support such small signals I will add on a small rocket booster stage :-) Happy Beeping, Carlo!