October 4, 1957, Sputnik was launched and it started the modern Space Race. I really like this old QST cover – even as tattered as it is. The post WWII workers had gone through training to become technicians of every kind – I loved the old advertisements in QST where companies would train hams to become technical sales or mechanical or electronic technicians:
I think it was a fantastic time – innovation and plenty of good jobs for Americans. And if you did have a college degree, you were in good shape too:
My Father and brother did not have degrees, but years experience in aerospace – my father worked for Thiokol Reaction Motors Division in Denville, NJ and that is where they built the engine for the Surveyor, which went to the moon to collect samples – in the early 60’s. In fact, there was a connection between Thiokol and Hughes, and we almost moved to Southern California in 1969. That was delayed until 1979, when my father took a job at Lockheed – where he and my twin brother worked on the Space Shuttle tiles.
I’ve been working on the Collins KWS-1 Power Supply, and am now ready to do the re-capping and swap the old selenium rectifier out for a 1N4007. I got the details from Howard Mills, W3HM, who will be sending the RF Deck back to me soon. I’ll have the power supply done just in time for the RF deck, and my first QSO using this grande old rig – which pre-dated Sputnik by a few years. But working on this rig gives me a little peek into the past – and when the Space Age was just ramping up.