October 4 marks the 61st anniversary of the launch by the Soviet Union of Sputnik 1, Earth’s first artificial satellite. The Soviets heralded the launch as a national triumph, and the space race between the USSR and the US began.
Sputnik 1 was a 58-centimeter diameter, polished aluminum sphere sprouting four antennas and transmitting a 1 W signal on 20.005 and 40.002 MHz, putting it within the range of nearly any radio amateur. Orbiting the planet about once every 96 minutes, Sputnik 1 could be seen from Earth. Following the launch, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology’s HF radio station WWV even halted its nighttime 20 MHz transmissions to avoid interfering with the satellite’s signal.
Scientists studying it gained information about such things as the density of the upper atmosphere, deduced from orbital drag. The propagation of its signals also helped to better understand the ionosphere. The US launched its first artificial Earth satellite, Explorer 1, on January 31, 1958.
“Black Swan 18” is a communications exercise aiming to test how well responders, emergency management agencies, and non-government organizations (NGOs) activate, operate, and complete communication missions, specifically in terms of the volume, accuracy, and speed of radio traffic. The scenario for the October 4 – 10 Black Swan 18 will be a series of winter storms and associated events. ARRL Field Organization teams have been invited to adapt this activity as the basis of their annual Simulated Emergency Test (SET). Operational periods by participating organizations should not exceed 48 hours.
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The ARRL website will update its security software on Monday, October 15 to meet standards required to continue accepting credit cards for internet purchases.
“For the vast majority of our members, there will be no impact other than a guarantee of better security when logging into and making purchases on the ARRL website,” said ARRL Headquarters IT Department Manager Mike Keane, K1MK. “Only those using old browsers or outdated operating systems will encounter a browser error message when trying to log in or make a purchase on the website.”
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