RAN Technology

Apollo 11 and Collins Radio


General Information 0 Comments 07/21/2019 

“Every American voice transmitted from space was via Collins Radio Co. equipment”

Those who may be interested in the technical details and the history of the space program leading up to Apollo should find plenty of interesting reading at this site:

https://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4204/contents.html

Used with permission.

The Manned Space Flight Network antennas operated in the S-Band, on frequencies around 2.2 GHz. The system employed was known as the "Unified S-Band System" (USB). This system combined tracking and ranging; command, voice and television into a single antenna.

S-Band frequencies were minimally attenuated by the Earth's atmosphere and were suitable for both Earth orbit and Lunar use.

A USB-equipped antenna could transmit and receive simultaneously. Voice, telemetry and television were all received together. From the Lunar Module, for example, slow-scan television was frequency modulated on the carrier, and telemetry was phase modulated on the subcarriers. In addition, the system allowed for very accurate ranging to determine the distance of the spacecraft from Earth. JPL developed the Block III Receiver Exciter and Mark I ranging system. Collins Radio developed nearly all of the remainder of the USB system.

Some Apollo-era communications modules are part of the display at the Collins Museum in Cedar Rapids.   Virtually every unit was redesigned after the tragic capsule fire in 1967 to a more modular approach that incorporated hazardous area protection techniques.  

Fortunately "space collectors" have preserved this hardware and no doubt kept at least some of it out of the landfills and scrappers.   The pictures below are from the http://www.collectspace.com  website  which is well worth a visit.

See the "Gallery" section for more photos.

 

 


   I know many of us who enjoy restoring and repairing vintage gear look forward to winter when there is less competition for time and energy, and a chance to really make a dent in our "to be fixed" piles.    A couple of years ago I set time aside for "Heathkit Singlebander Week" and went through every one of them I had, with the result that they're all working ...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  01/19/2023 
   Leo Meyerson had been in the ham radio retail and manufacturing business for over 25 years, and by 1970 he was ready to retire.  His son took over the WRL distribution and retail business but the Galaxy Electronics manufacturing operation was sold to his long-time friend Andy Andros WØLTE, founder and president of Hy Gain Electronics in nearby Lincoln NE.   The CB radio eleme...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  11/26/2022 
   Most of the articles on this site are about hams, or  ham radio.   This one is not about a ham but about a man who built as much a reputation through HF radio as any ham on top of the BPL ever did.    Don Taylor is one of those rugged independent-minded people who thrive on a lifestyle most of us couldn't even imagine - as a trapper in Canada's Yukon wildernes...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  10/31/2022 
    Most radio fans know the history of KDKA  but maybe not "the rest of the story".In November 1920 the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company began operation of a radio broadcasting station, KDKA, in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, often described as the "Pioneer Broadcasting Station of the World."  KDKA is generally considered to be the first commercially...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  09/09/2022 
   The microwave network constructed by AT&T Long Lines and other telecommunications companies in the past 50 years were engineering masterpieces using state-of-the-art technologies and some were designed to withstand nuclear attack during that Cold War era.     This is a non-hardened site on top of a mountain in upstate New York that existed long enough for graffiti taggers t...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  09/08/2022 
  

The Pioneer 530

made by JAARS for Wycliffe Bible Translators
Category: Vintage Ham Radio
In 1917 a missionary named William Cameron Townsend went to Guatemala to sell Spanish Bibles. But he was shocked when many people couldn’t understand the books. They spoke Cakchiquel, a language without a Bible.   He believed everyone should understand the Bible, so he started a linguistics school (the Summer Institute of Linguistics, known today as SIL) that trained people to do Bible ...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  07/02/2022 
    Visitors to the Elgin National Historic area along the Fox River in Elgin Illinois may not realize they are at the site of a famous shortwave radio station - W9XAM - the time signal station operated by the Elgin Watch Company.Elgin was the only watch company maintaining an observatory that observed, recorded and broadcasted time from the stars correct to the hundredths of a second. Located a...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  05/09/2022 
  

The Mosley Commando II

Made in England and scarce even there
Category: Vintage Ham Radio
The Mosley CM-1 receiver is quite well known and not especially hard to find in the US even though it was the only radio produced by the company that has been well-known for antennas since 1939.   Or is it...?A full-page ad (advert for you on the other side of the pond) appeared in the RSGB Bulletin in 1963 for a nice looking and very capable SSB transmitter called the "Commando II&...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  04/15/2022 
   I'm not ready to publish a description of exactly HOW it works, but 20 minutes effort with scissors and tape produced a prototype  Droplet Energy Generator that allows me to say for sure that IT WORKS!I duplicated the design shown in this video.   I wrapped a scrap of plastic in aluminum foil, then applied a strip of double-sided tape and to that attached a piece of PTFE thread-...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  03/30/2022 
   When I was first licensed in the 1960s in Nebraska, two groups of hams were commonly heard on the air before those with jobs got off work - other teens like me and the disabled hams.   Some of my earliest Novice ham buddies were blind students at the Nebraska School for the Blind in Nebraska City, and there were many other visually-impaired hams, all of whom were exceptional operators, e...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  03/21/2022