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.

 

 


  

A first-person history by an Airway Keeper's daughter

Life on the (Radio) Range at Medicine Bow WY in the 1930s
Category: Vintage Radio
 Most vintage radio enthusiasts are aware of how intertwined the development of radio and aviation were.   Many still enjoy using low frequency receivers and DX-ing the "beacon band" which was a key element of the first generation of aviation radio and navigation.   Before there were radio beacons, pilots depended on visual beacons - the flashing (rotating) light...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  12/31/2019 
  

Remembering Michael Hopkins, AB5L (SK) - a unique individual

Founder and humble scribe for the Five Meter Liberation Army!
Category: Vintage Ham Radio
Michael Hopkins AB5L is fondly remembered by early denizens of the internet and specifically the "Boatanchors at the Porch" mail reflector.   A truly unique individual, Michael made the internet a happier place through his eclectic interests (ranging from Tecraft converters to ferrets) and his wonderful imagination and storytelling ability.  Through his writing, we le...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  12/23/2019 
    This all started when I discovered a fantastic collection of vintage photo QSL cards on a Google+ site – I’d encourage every ham to spend some time looking through this amazing bit of history:   https://plus.google.com/115747543308902188110The photos capture a wide range of ham gear and stations from the spark era through the 70’s, and nearly every picture trigger...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  12/11/2019 
   I have no interest or affiliation with the company and discovered this product when I was looking for a good degreaser to clean my jukebox.   IT IS THE BEST!I like data, so I put confidence in the test results that can be viewed in the infographic below.I also like RESULTS and this stuff delivers.   Greasy dirt and grime are instantly dissolved and wipe away.   You ca...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  12/09/2019 
   Some pieces of vintage ham gear are not really unique, but are so rare as to almost never be seen.   The Multi Elmac PS-500 power supply is an example, it was sold as an AC power supply for the A54 and A54H transmitters in the mid-50s. There's nothing special about it - just a big transformer with 5 volt rectifier, 6.3 volt filament, and 500 volt secondaries.  Two nice chok...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  11/14/2019 
  

My experience with the Nouveau 75

a new AM QRP transceiver from the 4SQRP group
Category: Technical
Mini-review of the Nouveau 75 by W9RANI like it, warts and all!OK, maybe not quite that "mini"...here's a few of my impressions of this innovative kit from the 4 State QRP Group.I've been interested in amplitude modulation of a class E PA for some time and after Dave Cripe said to stay tuned for the next 4SQRP offering, I wasn't too surprised to see what it was, and bought on...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  11/12/2019 
   International Crystal Company of Oklahoma City was certainly best known for its crystals but the company was also a not-insignificant player in the CB radio manufacturing business, and also had a pretty extensive line of experimenter kits.   The kits typically had one to three tubes on a PC board and provided a single function, such as an RF amplifier, or transmitter, although some were ...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  08/02/2019 
   Equipment manuals and handbooks of the 1950s and 60s were filled with complex oscilloscope screens and discussion of ripple and as a result proper alignment of a phasing rig eluded most hams.    But a clever New Zealand ham, Fred Johnson ZL2AMJ was able to see what everyone else had missed, and published a short note in the NZ ham magazine in 1972 that makes the process simple and r...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  07/20/2019 
    Finding myself in need of a tool to remove a bad bearing on a blower from a linear amplifier I first tried the usual automotive type gear puller but it wasn't able to get underneath this small 5/8" OD bearing.   So I improvised a tool that took 10 minutes to make, cost a few cents, and had the job done in no time at allThe secret is wedges sold at the home improvement stor...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  07/16/2019 
  

W9RAN Field Radio

Vintage light aircraft radios repurposed
Category: Technical
In the early days of aviation radio, transmissions originated from the ground using the longwave transmitter also used for homing,  and pilots acknowledged by wagging their wings.  It didn't take long to realize the benefits of having transmitting capability onboard the plane as well, and the first generation of aircraft radio used the low HF band.    Given today's...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (ranickels),  05/11/2019 

VIEW News Item

Making A Transistor Radio

in memory of Rev. George Dobbs G3RJV (SK)
VIEW News Item

Take the Boatanchor Survey!

Let authors and organizers know what you're interested in
VIEW News Item

W9RAN's "VERSA-TR" (as featured in Dec. 2018 QST)

A Versatile T/R solution for SDRs and vintage radios
VIEW News Item

MICROPHONIA! is here

Cool mics from my collection and ones I wish were
VIEW News Item

WBBM-AM tower moves to Bloomington IL

watch the old tower fall (video link below)

(There are currently no Blogs.)