By Jim Stanton
Guest Writer 

Remember radios are not a thing of the past


July 25, 2019

Like millions of other people, fifty years ago this past weekend, July 20, 1969, I was watching world history being made on the television. The United States became the first country to put men on the moon. Like most teenagers of the time this got my interest in space to going at full speed. As time went by I more or less decided that watching the moon landing was about as close as I would get to any kind of activity to do with outer space. But twenty six years later I would get a little more closer and personal with outer space, in fact our local area has a little more experience with space than most people probably know about.

But first I want to update people on a current project a group of ham radio operators have going, if all goes well it will get to the very edge of space, in fact the name of the project is the 2019 Edge of Space Project.

We have a Face Book page with more information and some short videos about the project, if you have any questions, I'm sure the man (not me) heading up this project will be glad to answer them for you, you should be able to find it by searching for 2019 Edge of Space Project on Face Book. The planned launch date is August 24th with the 31st as a backup date if the weather is bad on the 24th.

We will be launching a weather balloon with various weather instruments and cameras on board. We are planning on having three cameras, one will be pointed to the ground, one to the horizon and one up at the balloon.

One instrument on board will detect radiation at different attitudes. We are hoping this balloon will get to nearly twenty five miles high and people as far away as a thousand miles will be able to monitor it as it gets higher. This is not the first time we have launched a weather balloon, we did one back in the early nineties and it got several miles high, you could see the curvature of the earth on the video.

The main difference here is the size of the instruments, now everything is miniaturized and we can operate most things off one circuit board, back in the nineties with everything so much larger we could only have one camera in the instrument package instead of three like on this one.

The time that me and several of this same group that launched the balloon in the early nineties got a little closer to space than most people was in March of 1995. We took part in SAREX the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment, this was a joint effort of NASA and the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).

We arranged for the students at Brewton Elementary School to talk directly to the astronauts on board the space shuttle Endeavour during mission STS-67 while in orbit. Some of you may remember seeing this on the local news, there were several local stations there for the contact. NASA handled all the publicity and told the local TV stations that this was a guaranteed or scheduled contact that would happen, not a random contact that might or might not happen.

The best part of this was seeing how excited the students were over being able to actually talk to the astronauts, each student had a few prepared questions for the astronauts. Whether or not you are a ham radio operator or not, if you are interested in ham radio and want to become a ham radio operator or interested in this project leave us a message on our Face Book page.

The Alger Sullivan Historical Society meets the third Tuesday of the month at the Leach House Museum in Century at the corner of 4th street and Jefferson Avenue, come join us and consider becoming a member.


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