[amsat-bb] Friendship 7 details?

B J va6bmj at gmail.com
Tue Jan 10 04:30:33 UTC 2017

On 1/10/17, Jim White <jim at coloradosatellite.com> wrote:
> I worked Apollo comms from late 67 until 71 in Hawaii and on Eniwetok
> Atoll.  As I recall prior to Apollo there were astronauts deployed to
> all the ground stations who were sort of local CAPCOMs.  They talked
> back to the Cape and later Houston by land line, some by 4 wire land
> line.  If there was any HF involved it would have been to places like
> the Seychelles via commercial links or to the tracking ships.
> It was with the advent of the ARIA aircraft that we started using HF
> between them and shore stations, and using them, shore stations and
> ships to connect the astronauts back to the single Houston CAPCOM.  The
> ARIA filled in the over-the-ocean gaps between the shore stations.  We
> built an elaborate system of multiple HF links to assure good comm
> through as many as 8 aircraft during the first few orbits and at
> recovery.  One of the innovations we worked out was cross patching the
> AGC from a tone in one sideband of an HF receiver to the other channel
> to suppress the white noise when no one was talking. That let us do very
> effective double HF hops, plus S band. For example from Hawaii to
> Eniwetok on HF, Eniwetok to the ARIA on HF, S band via the dish in the
> nose of the ARIA to the Apollo capsule - with no more white noise than a
> phone line. There are some very good web sites about how all that
> worked.  One is
> http://honeysucklecreek.net/other_stations/ARIA/index.html  There are
> also some great stories on flyaria.com
> The most challenging part of the HF piece of this was that the launches
> almost all occurred as dawn was happening over the Pacific, and that was
> where they fired the engine to leave earth orbit (TLI) so we had to have
> ARIA comms to them for those first orbits.  Imagine the challenge of
> establishing full duplex quite HF comms with 4 aircraft taking off
> before dawn from a couple of Pacific islands, then leap frogging
> frequencies up the bands until the Apollo capsule came over a couple of
> times in late morning. This was pretty much the height of the cycle so
> we might go from 5 MHz to 22 MHz freqs in a couple of hours with perhaps
> 5 or 6 frequency changes.   It was actually much more complicated than
> I'm describing here with 5 ground stations around the Pacific and as
> many as 30 HF frequencies in use at once.  All wonderful fun for us hams
> in the program, building these complex HF networks in changing
> conditions under great pressure not to mess up.  And great fun using
> 10KW to 40KW transmitters and huge fields of Rhombics, giant rotatable
> log periodics, vertical logs, 400' tall discones and pretty much every
> other HF antenna you can think of.


Your experiences would be great material for The Space Show:


or, maybe, QSO Today:



Bernhard VA6BMJ @ DO33FL

More information about the AMSAT-BB mailing list