A transmitter of the type that was on board Sputnik 1 when it became the world’s first artificial satellite, and started the space race, has been recreated by Dutch radio amateur.
The 58 cm polished metal sphere broadcast radio pulses that were heard as it went around the earth for 21 days during the life of its battery. It was in space for three months travelling about 70 million kilometres, before re-entering the atmosphere to burn up in January 4, 1958. Throughout the world radio amateurs heard Sputnik transmissions on 20 MHz and 40 MHz.
What is known is that Sputnik was pressurised with nitrogen, had whip antennas, valve radio transmitters and a fan to keep it cool. Now Frank Waarsenburg PA3CNO has recreated one of the Sputnik radio transmitters, using a set of the original Russian tubes.
Until 2013 the design was a state secret, but Oleg Borodin RV3GM found a schematic used for the transmitter. The valves were a wire-ended design with all electrodes mounted on rods the length of the glass envelope, making them resistant to acceleration and vibration that could be expected during launch.