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How the space race gave us GPS technology

Big Island ARRL News, 29 July 2017, 16:00 hrs, UTC, Post #274.


Accessed on 29 July 2017, 16:00 hrs, UTC.

Author:  Marie Christiano.

Please click link to read the full story.


An excellent account of how the International Geophysical Year (1957-1958) and the launch of Sputnik by the USSR profoundly changed our world by giving us the first Global Navigation System.  Today’s Global Positioning System (GPS) is a direct result of these early attempts to orbit satellites for both scientific and military purposes. I remember listening to the Sputnik signals back in October 1957 when I was a junior high school student.  My father’s old Zenith Transoceanic receiver did the honors as I heard the “beep, beep” signals of the Soviet space craft.  As I recall, we were encouraged to send signal reports to the U.S. Navy, which would, in turn, forward them to Moscow for analysis.

Marie Christiano’s presents her research in several easily understood sections, each complimented by photos, graphs, and diagrams:

The International Geophysical Year (1957-1958).

The Dawn of the Space Age–conferences, the launching of earth satellites, and attempts to develop Global Navigation Systems for science and defense purposes.

The Doppler Effect and how it increased our understanding of space communications.

The development of tools to find, track, and predict satellite locations.

GPS today.

I enjoyed this upbeat, positive article.  It brought back memories and reminded me of how I got involved in radio, science, and eventually Amateur Radio.

Don’t forget two big events coming to radio amateurs on Hawaii Island:

The Hawaii QSO Party, 0400 UTC, 26 August 2017 to 0400 UTC, 28 August 2017.  For details, contact Alan (AD6E) at

The VHF/UHF Grid Madness contest on Sunday, 17 September 2017, 1300 to 1700 HST.  For details, contact Stan Froseth (AH6KO) at  Stan recently sent out a reminder to all Hawaii radio amateurs.  I’ll republish his announcement later.

For the latest Amateur Radio news and information, please visit these websites: (this site). (Simple Ham Radio Antennas). (a weekly podcast updated each Friday afternoon). (Amateur Radio News & Information).

Please send your Hawaii Island ARRL news items to at least two weeks prior to your event so I can notify our local print and broadcast media in a timely manner.

P.S.–I was glad to see the ARRL publish Stacy Holbrook’s (KH6OWL) article on Alex Stengal (KH7CX), who pursues Amateur Radio despite being homeless.  Great story…read it and be inspired.

Opinions expressed in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated.

Thanks for joining us today.

Aloha es 73 de,

Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)

Public Information Coordinator

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section



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