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Ham Member Lookups: 365

 

I was first licensed as a Novice in 1961 in Memphis, Tennessee and later received my general and advanced tickets. During a tumultuous period in my life, I let my license lapse.   I restudied for the test again recently and received my Amateur Extra in 2011. Ham radio and astronomy were my big interests growing up. I subsequently received a BA and MSEE in electrical engineering and have had the great fortune of being the system engineer for many deep space radios at my employer.  As such, I was able to work on many space missions with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). A dream come true…

These deep space radios (called transponders) are used to receive uplink commands, transmit spacecraft data and turnaround a ranging signal.  The uplink is around 7.2 GHz and the downlink is around 8.4 GHz.  The radios are used to communicate with the JPL Deep Space Network and employ coherent phase modulation on the uplink and a subcarrier, BPSK or QPSK on the downlink, so they are nothing like our SSB ham transceivers.  Also, the carrier tracking threshold is around -157 dBm, far lower than your ham transceiver! The radios use special high-reliability, radiation tolerant parts and can cost around $1.5 million because of that.  I have had a transponder on every planetary mission (except Pluto and Pluto is not a planet) so I have effectively Worked All Planets!  The newest radios (Small Deep Space Transponder), including a small 15 watt X-band solid state PA which I helped design, are on all the recent Mars missions including all three rovers. Pictures of these products are below. I also have contributed to the design of the transponder for the new Orion spacecraft.

SMALL DEEP SPACE TRANSPONDER

15 WATT X-BAND SOLID STATE PA

A good friend (Roger Block, former KD7UT) was a ham and passed away several years ago. His wife gave me most of his ham radio and test equipment you see in my picture.  I have a ICOM 756 Pro II, a 1977 Dentron MLA 1200 power amplifier that outputs around 500 watts and a Bird wattmeter. I also have a HP 141T spectrum analyzer, a Heathkit dual trace scope, various lab power supplies and a MFJ antenna analyzer. 

We have antenna height restrictions where I live, so I mounted my Mosley TA-32 to my roof to hide it from most of my neighbors.  A picture of my “stealth beam” is below.  The driven element came from my 1964 beam in my original ham station!  The mount is a Rohn URM with a Baird mast adapter.  Pricy but VERY sturdy… To shorten the elements as much as possible, I reduced the length of the outer elements to work on 17, 15 and 10 meters rather than 20, 15 and 10 meters.  Works great on 17 meters!

17,15,10 METER MOSLEY TA-32 "STEALTH BEAM"

BCNU!  CARL

 

6195612 Last modified: 2015-07-16 00:23:25, 3882 bytes

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