Celebrating 40 years Human Spaceflight Amateur Radio

On November 28th 1983, The NASA STS-9 Shuttle mission launched from Kennedy Space Center from pad LC-39A. One of the crew on this mission was Owen Garriot (W5LFL). He would become the first Amateur Radio Operator to make contacts from orbit. This first contact from orbit was with WA1JXN in Montana on Dec 1st 1983.

For the GSFC club, the STS-9 mission marks a special anniversary as well. In 1983 WA3NAN was granted permission from the FCC to retransmit shuttle space to ground voice audio. The STS-9 mission was the first mission WA3NAN performed shuttle transmissions for the whole mission and on multiple bands.

Just by chance a young David Smith (KA2GRL) who was attending college, recorded portions of the retransmitted audio via a Hammarlund HQ-140-X (a 1950’s vintage tube radio) in his dorm room. Unbeknownst to him, would work at the Goddard Space Flight Center and be a member of that same club 40 years in the future.

The following recording is off the air audio transmitted by WA3NAN. Voice being heard was a young Frank Bauer (KA3HDO) closing out the mission audio for STS-9 landing on Dec 8th 1983.

Drift in the 140x’s Beat Frequency Oscillator (BFO) accounts for the pitch changes in the audio.


Frank Bauer (KA3HDO) and Jim Gass (N3CJN)
calling W5LFL from WA3NAN

Dennis Roth N3AZB

Frank Bauer KA3HDO

Jim Gass N3CJN

John D'Ausilio KA1TB

Shuttle Retransmission Mugs
<-- Link to Retransmission Gallary -->