Zarya - Soviet, Russian and International Spaceflight
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The Kettering Group

Tyneside, UK
2019 May 25
Saturday, Day 145

Maintained by:

Kettering Group Equipment in Detail:

Elsewhere on the Web:

Contemporary 1966 film of the tracking equipment

Radio Aerials

Aerials varied in sophistication from simple (a 20 MHz dipole) to more complex (the 144 MHz circularly polarised turnstile beam. There was never anything particularly complex.

Perhaps the most important was the 20 MHz Dipole strung between the two major buldings of the school complex. It was tracking the Soviet Zenit satellites near 20 MHz that was the main element of the first few years of tracking and was what brought the Tracking Group to the attention of the world.

Item Purpose Note Currently Residing
20 MHz Dipole Aerial Reception of HF signals near 20 MHz Constructed by Derek Slater

Suspended between the rooftops of the School Science Building and the Main Building near classroom A5 - downward slope of 15-20 degrees towards Science Building

Maximum sensitivity in the NW and SE directions
Formerly part of the Derek Slater collection, passed to British National Space Centre during 2011
Jaybeam 144 MHz CP Turnstile Beam Aerial Used by Derek Slater, initially to receive signals from ESSA metsats fordisplay/photograph on a laboratory oscilloscope

Later fitted to an equatorial mount constructed c1970 by the school metalwork/engineering department and moved to the roof of the main building for metsat reception
Originally hand held and steered, usually by a pupil, using feedback of the signal via earphones, later the same method was used with the equatorial mount

Constructed and donated by Vic Hartopp of Jaybeam Ariels (Northampton), built as 144 MHz rather than the 136 MHz requested
Aerial is in Derek Slater Collection

Equatorial mounting was left in place on the Shool main building, lost in demolition
Discone Aerial Reception of VHF signals Constructed by Derek Slater from re-used copper pipe originating from his parents' redundant central heating system

Was located on roof of Science Building

Was definitely in Tresham's possession 2007 December, current whereabouts unconfirmed
Tresham Institute - in storage?
2m, Three-element Yagi Aerial Reception of VHF signals Originally located on top of the Science Block with eletcrtrically operated rotator, the rotator was later removed because of unreliability

In 2000 it was still in place but one of the elements was missing

Tresham Institute - in storage?

Was definitely in Tresham's possession 2007 December, but current whereabouts unconfirmed
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