Infos von Mike (so wie ich sie bekommen habe)

  • Hello Peter,

    I enjoyed meeting and talking with you last evening. I appreciate your enthusiasm and willingness to help build and promote the idea for "Sputnik Party". I hope you don't mind if I forward to you all of the information and communications I have had thus far on this topic.

    I must catch the ferry to Switzerland shortly, so I will only send on or two items for now. The rest will follow either next week from Italy or upon my return home.

  • Hello Don,

    Thank you for your message and the photographs

    There are clearly two subminiature tubes visible in the color photo. It was normal for these tubes to be coated with a conductive paint in order to provide a measure of shielding when working at high frequencies.

    Yes, the blue tubular components are ceramic capacitors of the type that normally range from one to less than one thousand picofarads. These are commonly used in high-frequency circuity.

    The silver component marked "17" is almost certainly a quartz piezoelectric crystal. 20MHz falls just within the range of crystals designed for use in the fundamental mode. The 40MHz crystal very likely was built to operate at one of the many vibrational overtones (which are not usually harmonically-related). Again, this is normal practice.

    The red items mounted on the bulkhead that's used to mount the tubes are stand-off insulators. The provide convenient tie-points for making connections.

    The red component that's soldered to the multi-lugged white item in the lower right-hand corner is a resistor.

    The two green items appear to be radio-frequency chokes (RFCs) although I can't see them well enough to be certain.

    Likewise, I can't quite make out the yellow and reddish components located on the left-hand end. The yellow items may be capacitors and the reddish item may be wire-wound inductors or resistors.

    I have read else-where that when the receiving station had access to a particularly strong signal it was possible to hear a residual back-wave while that particular transmitter was supposed to be off while the other was active. This was most likely due to the oscillator signal bleeding through the inactive power amplifier stage. The signal would have been heard some tens of decibels below the active transmitter signal level.

    However, this observation tells us that the oscillator itself was producing energy at the final frequency (at either 20 or 40MHz). This is useful information because it's quite common to run the oscillator at a sub-harmonic and multiply the frequency in a later linear stage. In such case a subsequent stage would be deliberately biased to operate as a non-linear amplifier. The Fourier components generated would then be selected by filtering and then amplified.

    If the entire radio-frequency generating apparatus used in the Sputnik transmitter is shown in this photo then I would say we are looking at a MOPA (Master Oscillator -> Power Amplifier) arrangement in which the oscillator is allowed to free-run (that is, it's not keyed on and off) at the final output frequency (20 or 40MHz). The oscillator signal drives a second vacuum tube acting as a power amplifier. The on-off transmitter keying would be accomplished by turning on and off this power amplifier stage. This would be consistent with the reports of backwave-radiation. It is entirely possible to operate with a 1watt DC power input level using a crystal-controlled oscillator driving a single power amplifier (a total of two vacuum tubes). In fact, two-stage vacuum tube-type amateur radio transmitters from the 1930's onward operated at far higher power levels; 75 to as much as 100watts.

    I'm led to understand that three silver-zinc batteries were used in the capsule. One was used to power a fan while the other two were used for the transmitters. Yes, the word "battery" normally implies a series connection of more than one electro-chemical cell. For example, I once owned a tiny, WW2 era, lead-acid battery that consisted of dozens and dozens of minute cells wired in series to produce 67Vdc; which was sufficient to power a vacuum tube type emergency transmitter. A single battery could easily provide the plate voltage necessary for a 1watt transmitter. Historically, these were called "B-batteries." "A" batteries were used to energize the heater or the filament while "C" batteries provided the required bias voltage.

    It's not possible to set-up a DC voltage using a transformer. Instead, an AC voltage is required. An electro-mechanical vibrator (basically, a buzzer with electrical contacts) was commonly used to provide an alternating current from a low-voltage supply in those days. However, this would be an absolute non-starter for use in a space-craft given their dismal reliability.

    In 1957 it just might have been possible to use a transistor multivibrator to produce the AC. However, this adds an unnecessary and failure-prone link in the supply chain. For this reason alone I am quite confident in thinking the battery directly provided the anode and screen supply voltages needed by the vacuum tubes. To this I might add that the Soviet vacuum tube industry produced a number of tubes in those days that were capable of operating at fairly hefty power levels using lower than normal voltages. I would not be surprised to learn the Sputnik transmitter anodes operated with as little as 36volts.

    I'm afraid I shall have to end here, Don. My wife and I are leaving for a month-long holiday in Europe on Monday morning and my check-off list is far from finished.

    I should have started this message by thanking you for promoting me to think about Sputnik-1 again. In fact, you've given me an idea for a proposal for a new amateur radio operating event. I posted my idea to a mailing list of amateur operators today. Thus far I've received some ten or twelve positive replies. My friend Arnie Coro, CO2KK, is the host of a long-running radio program, DXer's Unlimited, that is broadcast from Radio Havana via short-wave. Arnie is quite enthusiastic and has already promised to advertise the event on his show, at least when the time comes. Another reply came from my Russian pal, Oleg, RV3GM. Oleg is very active in the Russian amateur radio community. Today he wrote

    "I tried to find Sputnik-1 transmitters circuit diagrams but
    unsuccessfully sorry. My old friend Dean Manley KH6B lived in Michigan
    in 1957 (ex W8FGB). He had listen Sputnik-2 signals on 20005 kHz and
    received a special QSL card for it (see attached file)."

    FYI, I have attached the file to this message. It might be of interest for your book. A QSL card is a written verification of reception used by amateur radio operators and short-wave radio listeners. A QSL card from the Sputnik flights is very cool indeed! While permission would have to be sought to use this I expect most radio hams would be tickled to hear of the interest. His mailing address is

    2058 AINAOLA DR
    HILO, HI 96720-3638

    Perhaps you could obtain a higher-quality image as well from him as well?

    Speaking of which, would you mind if I posted your Sputnik-1 transmitter photos on my blog (with full credits)? If you'd rather I did not it's no biggie. I won't share them with anyone without your permission.

    I've really got to scram now! Thanks again for the interesting information, Don. BTW, my own web page is at

    You might be interested to see my project using some rather rare, ex-Soviet, high-current, Gallium-Arsenide tunnel diodes. I also did a joint project with Jack Ward of the Transistor Museum using a very early, point-contact transistor which, of course, was developed at Bell Labs.

    I'll forward to you my proposal for a commemorative Sputnik Sprint this coming October.

    Best wishes,

    On Sat, Jun 4, 2011 at 2:47 PM, Don P. Mitchell wrote
    > Hello Mike,
    > Thanks for your comments about my website. I’m working on a book now, but haven’t updated my site for a long time.
    > Here are two pictures of the transmitter workings inside sputnik. I processed the color image a little to bring out details, I’m sending that too. As I understand it, sputnik had two transmitters (20 and 40 MHz) and a relay that alternated power to them. Some sources say the tubes used were 1P24B and a couple people in Russian forums claim it was a 1Zh24P. I’m going to ask Oleg Ivanovsky about this. He designed the satellite, but he didn’t actually build the radio. He’s very much alive and well, but who knows how much he will remember from more than 50 years ago…
    > I think two tubes are visible in the color image, on the left side, but they look like they’ve been painted black for some reason. The blue components look like ceramic capacitors. I’m guessing there is at least one or two crystals (would the two transmitters share one crystal?). Could the gray/green object in the center with “17” on top be a crystal?
    > My training is physics, so I understand the basic principles, but I don’t know anything about tube radio circuits. Would a 20.005 MHz transmitter have a 20 MHz crystal and then something that nudges the frequency by 5 KHz? Would the batteries be put in series to make the 90 volts or whatever it takes for these tubes, or is that generated by a transformer?
    > Best regards,
    > Don

  • Peter,

    I purchased several of the 1p24b tubes here at Friedrichshafen (although I paid quite a bit more that $1 each!). Of course, we are free to use whatever tubes we like, but these Russian subminiatures are inexpensive, plentiful, and historically pertinant.

    Mike, AA1TJ
    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Stewart Bryant
    Date: Sun, Jun 19, 2011 at 10:55 PM
    Subject: Re: [QRP-L] Sputnik 1 Transmitter
    To: Mike Olbrisch
    Cc: Michael Rainey,1p24b


    -----Original Message-----
    From: []
    On Behalf Of Michael Rainey
    Sent: Sunday, June 19, 2011 14:27
    Subject: Re: [QRP-L] Sputnik 1 Transmitter

    My thanks to Graham VE3GTC, Steve WB6TNL, and Bill N2CQR for your input and
    assistance on the Sputnik QRP event proposal.

    Steve suggested the event should last more than one day due to 15m
    propagation uncertainties. He suggested 22 days...the length of time Sputnik
    1 continued to operate.

    Sergi, UA3ALW, seems to think the 1P24b might have been used; or something
    along those lines.

    The 1P24b does seem like a good candidate. It is small, efficient and it is
    capable of producing an RF power output of 1watt at 40MHz. It looks like a
    nice little QRP PA tube.

    I'll keep my eyes peeled at Friedrichshafen for some 1P24b tubes.

    73/2 de Peter, DL2FI
    Proud member of Second Class Operators Club SOC and Flying Pig Zapper #OOO (Certificated Kit Destroyer)

  • Hello Bruce,

    Thanks for the great info! I suppose the Russians could have sold the Kansas museum an empty shell. Most museum visitors wouldn't know or care. It will be very interesting to hear what the curator has to say. Looking on the bright side...if the museum did remove the innards it will make it that much easier to gain access to the opposed to taking down and opening up the sphere itself.

    Peter, DL2FI, is currently making inquiries with some of his contacts in the former USSR as well.

    Off-topic, but perhaps of interest; here are the circuits for the Vanguard and one of the Explorer satellite transmitter circuits.…ttd&realattid=f_gig9jt4l0

    I'm in the process of de-jet lagging here...still lying in bed and only half-awake, having arrived in Rhode Island late last night from a zig-zag series of flights out of Milan yesterday.

    Mike, AA1TJ

    Sent from my iPad

    On Jul 6, 2011, at 6:20 AM, Bruce & Judy Barley <> wrote:
    Well guys, it's like they say... You win a few and you lose a few.

    The Collections Manager and her assistant both were taking an extended 4th of July holiday, so I didn't get to visit with either of them. I do have names, phone numbers and e-Mail addresses, so I will be in touch with them.

    Independently, I did find out that the Sputnik I on display is a hollow ball. It is suspended from the ceiling by two cables at about a height of 7 feet. The display is out in the open, and you can walk right up to it. I did so, and gently pushed on one of the cables. From the deflection it was obvious that the display had a mass of no greater than about 10kg - including the antennas.

    Now, while the satellite appears to be empty, that doesn't necessarily mean that it was acquired that way. The guts may have been removed (and hopefully put into storage) prior to mounting for display. I will follow up on this. If this doesn't pan out, I may have to start looking at possible sources of information from Russia, although there may be other sources of information here in the U.S.

    I got several pix of Sputnik I plus some other really great artifacts that I will be putting up on the Web to Photobucket. I'll send you the link. The trip was almost an all-day event. I got there just after they opened and didn't leave until after 3pm. Would you believe they've got a Vanguard I satellite on display? It's a tiny thing! 6.44" in diameter (smaller than a basketball) and weighs only 1.5 Kg. I got some pix of this guy, too. There's a Russian Lunokhod I (Moon-walker) on display. Yes, I got pix.

    It was a full day of just wandering around by myself. Without the XYL, who gets impatient, I was able to read all of the tags and descriptions without being pulled along because I'm "taking forever".

    A really neat surprise for visitors is that the instant you walk in the front door of the museum, you are standing underneath a SR-71 Blackbird that is suspended in an aggressive in-flight attitude right over your head! The nose of the craft, though is just 3-feet off of the floor. You can walk right up to it. Yes, I got pix.

    The Russian exhibits include a Vostok (flown) and a Voshkod space capsule. German exhibits include a captured V-1 (Buzz Bomb) and a V-2 Rocket. This place has the largest collection of Russian space artifacts outside of Russia. Its collection of space artifacts is second only to the National Air and Space Museum. They also have the Liberty Bell 7 (Gus Grissom) from the Mercury project and the command capsule from Apollo 13.

    It's a neat place, guys. I bet you would also take at least a full day! Enjoy!

    Bruce - KKØS

    73/2 de Peter, DL2FI
    Proud member of Second Class Operators Club SOC and Flying Pig Zapper #OOO (Certificated Kit Destroyer)

  • Friends,

    I gave a talk to the Northern Vermont Amateur Radio Club last night. One of the fellows came up to me afterwards to say that he'd met the son of one of the original "Navaho Code Talkers" on the air some time ago. He mentioned to his contact a book that he had on the subject. His contact asked if he might be allowed to read it and take it with him to a reunion of the old Code Talkers. So Bob, the fellow that I talked to last night, sent the book out West with a request that his contact collect as many signatures as possible in the book.

    Bob sent me a scan of one of the signed pages this morning. Please notice the horse's head that one of the old-timer's drew at the top of the page. Talk about having pride in one's culture. Simply wonderful.

    I put in a plug for the Sputnik QSO Party last night as well. I'm pleased to report the response was quite enthusiastic. In fact, two of the fellows there recounted the story (with a gleam in their eye!) of how they copied Sputnik-1's signal as youngsters back in 1957. We may have struck a nerve here...or so I hope.

    I currently have a prototype for a simple "Sputniker" transmitter on the bench using a 1sh29b in the oscillator and a 1p24b working as the PA. As in the original, the input DC PA power is 1watt. The crystal-controlled oscillator uses an inexpensive ESS 21.060kHz xtal. So far, all systems are GO.

    BTW, here's an example of how inexpensively these lovely little tubes may be purchased. Oleg, RV3GM, and his pals might be able to do even better.

    Although there are only so many ways one can build a two-tube, crystal-controlled MOPA transmitter, we'd still very much like to nail down the original transmitter circuitry. Bruce, KK0S and Peter, DL2FI are following up leads to that end.

    Once we're a bit further along I'm hoping that someone will step-up to produce a kit. Actually, last evening someone raised their hand to ask if a kit were already available.

    Mike, AA1TJ

    73/2 de Peter, DL2FI
    Proud member of Second Class Operators Club SOC and Flying Pig Zapper #OOO (Certificated Kit Destroyer)

  • Dear Friends,

    Although the PA efficiency on my Sputniker prototype is a bit less than I'd hoped for, all appears to be well otherwise. My current circuit is producing 450mW into a 50 Ohm load for an anode DC input power of 1watt (same as Sputnik-1). I'm presently using 70Vdc at the PA anode. The circuit itself is dead-simple: an untuned, xtal-controlled Pierce oscillator drives a Class-C PA that's self-biased by rectified PA grid current. Just half a fistful of a parts is needed for this one.

    I'm using a 1sh24b (1j24b) in the oscillator followed by a 1p24b; both of these are ex-Soviet subminiature tubes. This morning I purchased 50 each, of both of these devices from a seller in the Ukraine. I'll be sending you fellows a pair of these tubes as soon as they arrive, just to get you busy on the bench ;o). The only other thing you'll need that probably isn't already in your junk box is a 21.060MHz quartz crystal from ESS ($2.50). I'll purchase some of these crystals as well and include them in the package for those of you who can't easily obtain them otherwise.

    Speaking of which, would someone outside the USA be so kind as to forward several pairs of these tubes and xtals to Arnie, CO2KK and his amigos in Cuba? The US embargo prevents me from posting them directly to him. Please let me know...thanks!

    Of course you'll need a power supply. The filaments require 1.2V at a total (two-tube) load of 200mA. The total current draw from the B+ line is around 17.5mA in my circuit, so even a string of 9V batteries would work fine, and would be directly in line with the original Sputnik-1 design!

    I'll post the details of the circuit I'm using on my blog in the coming days. I hope that all of you will build your own variation on the "MOPA" theme and then let's compare notes. I would offer to post everyone's results on my webpage, only, it would be much better if we could beg a bit of space on a recognized web-site (G-QRP, QRP-ARCI, etc.) in order to provide a central clearing house for the various designs. Perhaps the same website could offer the tubes, crystals, and eventually kits for purchase? Kaj, OH6EH, suggests that the kitting itself be a multi-national effort (along the lines of the International Space Station?); everyone. It's already turning out that way, given that the Russians have the tubes, the crystals come from America (or is it China?), etc..

    Thank you Oleg, Seabury and Jim for your ideas on the actual event! When it comes to event organization I gladly defer to you. I do agree with Steve's comment that a one day event on 15m, propagation-wise, is like hosting a summer picnic in Vermont...chances are it'll rain on that day. I agree it would be better to begin the event on October 4 and let it run for some extended period; thus increasing our chances of enjoying decent propagation. Steve suggested 22 days; the duration Sputnik-1 continued to transmit.

    My idea is that everyone should be welcome to answer our Sputnik clones, but perhaps only the clones themselves should send the "Beep beep beep beep beep beep de RV3GM (to use an example) calls. Allowing everyone (QRP or QRO) to participate would not only encourage more activity, it might help to showcase QRP to the normal QRO crowd. One thing that, Peter, DL2FI impressed upon me in our talk is that it should be an international, all-inclusive event.

    So let's keep talking about the event and the circuit design. All input is most welcome. Nothing is set in stone at the moment (not even in wet sand actually ;o) However, October 4 is not that far away!

    One more thing...I heard a story on the radio yesterday about a man that collects 1950's Space Kitsch. You know what I'm talking about: old cars with huge fins, crystal radios shaped like little rocket-ships...the stuff we all grew up with. It might be said that we all went a bit Space-Crazy. Well, we aren't driving around today in Jetson-type rocket cars, but think how far we've come since that day in October 1958. Amid our head-long rush to the next best thing I think it is more than fitting that we stop to remember where we came from.

    Gosh, I miss Carl.

    By the way...does anyone happen to have an extra government surplus "astronaut space suit" lying around (see attachment)? It looks like I'll be needing one come next October 4rth. ;o)

    Beep, beep...
    Mike, AA1TJ

    73/2 de Peter, DL2FI
    Proud member of Second Class Operators Club SOC and Flying Pig Zapper #OOO (Certificated Kit Destroyer)

  • Guys,

    Please don't rush out to purchase a 21.060MHz quartz crystal for your Sputnik transmitter. I was able to purchase a rock for everyone at an excellent price (many thanks to one who shall remain anonymous!). I'll send the crystals out with your set of tubes. If you receive this message I have you on my mailing list.

    Also, someone has kindly offered to forward the components to Arnie. Thanks fellows!

    G3VTT and G3YVF will be reporting the results of their build in a future edition SPRAT.

    David, NM0S, will prolly figure out how to do a Class-E PA with his subminiature Russian glass ;o)

    Vacuum tubes in appropriate!

    Mike, AA1TJ

    73/2 de Peter, DL2FI
    Proud member of Second Class Operators Club SOC and Flying Pig Zapper #OOO (Certificated Kit Destroyer)

  • Fellas,

    I came across an online blurb for the recent book, Sputnik: The Shock of the
    Century, by Paul Dickson
    ; a worthwhile read, judging from the introduction
    and first chapter.

    "Someone brought out a shortwave radio, and soon a beeping noise filled
    the room. A Russian scientist, Anatoli Blagonravov, confirmed it was Sputnik.
    "That is the voice," he said dramatically. "I recognize
    it." John Townsend Jr., one of the scientists at the party, recalled
    watching Blagonravov: "I knew him quite well, and I could tell that he was
    a little surprised and quite proud. My reaction was 'Damn!'"

    And so an abstraction now had a voice. It also had a name - Sputnik.

    Many of those at the party adjourned to the Soviet Embassy's rooftop,
    attempting to view Sputnik with the naked eye. Several of the American
    scientists drifted over to the American IGY headquarters in Washington, where
    they began speculating on what impact the satellite would have. They feared
    that the American people would be disappointed.

    It also dawned on them that they had better start tracking the satellite's
    orbit. They got in touch with the American Radio Relay League in West Hartford,
    Connecticut, asking its 70,000 members-all "ham" radio operators-to
    lend a hand and help track the Sputnik. In less than twenty-four hours, reports
    on the satellite were coming back to the National Science Foundation, where a
    temporary control room had been established. Eventually, these hams and other
    amateur and professional trackers would consider themselves part of a great
    international fellowship known as ROOSCH, or the Royal Order of Sputnik

    That's right guys...ROOSCH...the Royal Order of Sputnik Chasers. And to
    think that fifty four years later a second great international fellowship would
    rise from the ashes...ROOSCCH, or the Royal Order of Sputnik Clone
    ! ;o)

    (BTW, October 4, 1957 is an important date in American history for a second
    reason. On that evening the first episode of Leave it to Beaver made its

    One more thing.

    A fellow came up to me after my talk last week. He told me that he'd lived
    down in the Washington D.C. area for many years and for some reason he had
    contact with a certain U.S. senator. The senator had given this fellow a book
    that had been published in 1959, titled, The Conquest of Space, by
    Chesley Bonestell. This particular book was filled with autographs. As it
    happens, this particular book had been passed around for all present to sign
    during a dinner honoring Robert Goddard on the evening of March 16, 1962.

    Photocopies of several pages of this book arrived here in the post over the
    weekend. Wow! check out the autographs...John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Virgil (Gus) I. Grissom,
    Alan B.
    , Werner von Braun, Pierre Salinger, John
    H. Glenn, James E. Webb
    among many other "notables" from the period. This fellow assures me
    the book will eventually be donated to the Smithsonian Museum. I agreed
    it is the perfect place for such a wonderful artifact. He granted me permission
    to share these images with my friends...which is exactly what I'm doing here. I
    hope you enjoy them.


    Mike, AA1TJ

  • O-ho-ho!...

    For my pity
    I'm convince that
    ex USSR was first in Space run but Americans save self history closely
    and accurately, it's fact!

    Last days I have
    read a lot about Sputnik-1 and have correspondence with lot
    of people. For
    my sorry and for my surprise
    nowhere and nobody know exactly
    details of Sputnik-1 transmitter circuit. All engineers who
    was designed and assembled that TX are died and nobody knows where is
    original documents stored now (or stolen?) :-/ Thanks Mike for interesting

    > ...he was a little surprised and quite proud. My
    reaction was 'Damn!'"

    Oleg "Mr. 72" RV3GM / KH6OB

    === In QRP We Trust! ===

    73/2 de Peter, DL2FI
    Proud member of Second Class Operators Club SOC and Flying Pig Zapper #OOO (Certificated Kit Destroyer)