SPUTNIK!  A 50th Anniversary Commemorative about the St Joe's High Radio Club W8KTZ!    
Oscillosope display of Sputnik-1 'beeps'. <BR>
Click on the 'Sputnik Beeps' Tab for a recording St. Joe's High School Radio Club
     Celebrating the heyday of Ham Radio, and the Birth of the Space Age:     

W8KTZ -- 50 Years after Tracking SPUTNIK, SPUTNIK-2, and SPUTNIK-3!
--and then onto The Airplane Adventures -- The Africa Mission -- Moonbounce -- and more!

Beats Navy by 4 hours
on WEWS-TV-5 in 1957
Sputnik Beeps
50th Anniversary
Sputnik Story
Oct 4, 2007
The Saga of The SJHRC
"How It Happened"
Mike Stimac
"The Early Years"
"The Fabulous Fifties"
"The Cyclotron"
"Airplane Adventures"
"Call Sign History"

Steve Canyon Comics features "Mr Michael"
Member Directory
Member Stories,
Memories, and More!
Contact Info, Roster,
& Happenings
Cleveland Hamfest 1998
VASJ Open House 2006
Villa Angela St. Joe's History
WKYC TV-3 Webpage
WCLV Classical FM
50th Anniversary
Sputnik Stories
Oct 4, 2007
CQ Magazine
FLYING Magazine!
MPLAB PIC Projects
Media Montage

Sputnik produced many "Media Moments!"

Many magazine and news articles covered the adventures of the St Joe's Radio Club gang tracking the very first space satellites Sputnik, Sputnik-2 launched by the Russians in the Fall of 1957, and Sputnik-3 in May, 1958

An oscilloscope photo of the first Sputnik "beeps" recorded on tape by the club made the cover for their feature story in January 1958 CQ magazine, and was recently remembered in the October and November 2007 issues of that magazine.

In all, the St Joe's Radio Club had gotten onto 7 TV shows and were covered in more than 30 radio news stories and 20 newspaper articles, before they stopped counting.

The students literally got their "fifteen minutes of fame" by relating their adventures "live" on WEWS TV-5 in Cleveland, on Sunday Dec 1, 1957. That included movie footage taken while they were doing the actual Sputnik tracking.   The movie was later made into a science visual-aid film.   Sputnik and the ensuing space-race produced an explosion of interest in Science and Engineering as choices of study that extended well beyond the 1960's race to put a man on the moon!

In the years that followed, the students were repeatedly on TV-5 programs with their own Science Fair projects!  --no doubt positively influenced by this experience, but in the end it was the fantastic radio club that gave them a can-do attitude and convinced them anything was possible.

Besides amateur radio, their moderator and mentor Mike Stimac encouraged them to obtain commercial radio operator licenses "as a backup" to any career or job they might pursue.  But this group was especially linked by an event that would thereafter cause all broadcasting and communications to be dependent on satellites and "rocket science." On the heals of Sputnik, a flying program followed!

Thus, several worked as avionics, communications and broadcast engineers as they went on to college, or served in the military.   Many were affected by the "mentoring", later becoming technical specialists, inventors, scientists, and engineers.   Perhaps fittingly, one of them served a long career with WEWS-TV and headed the National SBE! --Another had a life-long career with NASA! --and yet another had a life-long career as a university physicist and then acted as moderator of that school's school radio club!  So it went.

St. Joe's High School
Radio Club

Cleveland, Ohio

Call Letters: W8KTZ


The St Joe's Radio High School Club (SJHRC) prevailed from 1951 to 1979.

During that time about 150 students learned Morse Code, got licenses, built and repaired transmitters and receivers, and performed public-service work, such as providing communications for special events, conducting Halloween Vandal Patrols, participating in Civil Defense drills and RACES --the Radio Amateur Communications Emergency Service.

On October 4, 1957, the Russians jump-started the "Space Race" by launching Sputnik, the first space satellite!

The students had tunable receivers, rotate-able antennas, and the manpower to immediately start tracking the signals; --and they recorded the beeps on magnetic tape.

The tracking stations for the "official" planned U.S. satellite launch program were equipped with dedicated fix-tuned receivers and special antennas set for 108 MHz and NOT the "common" 20.005 MHz and 40.002 MHz frequencies the Russians blatantly had chosen for their worldwide public-relations coup!

By the time the U.S. Govt. equipment could be changed over, the SJHRC had recorded thousands of feet of tape.

Sputnik was battery-powered, and the 20 MHz signal started to falter in just 8 days.

When the FBI came to take the 20,000 feet of tape for analysis they said the club even beat the Navy station by 4 hours!

On November 3rd the Russians launched Sputnik-2 with a dog Laika on board.

By this time, the boys had even invented the "Orbitometer" --a circular slide rule, to predict with great accuracy, the location of the satellite at any time. School officials started pursuing the idea of a patent.

On May 15, 1958, a massive 3,000 pound Sputnik-3 was launched! Instead of beeps, they now heard telemetry coded in the form of a Morse code "L" --didahdidit-- perhaps chosen in memory of Laika!

This is the St. Joseph High School Radio Club (W8KTZ) legacy web page, currently celebrating the tracking of the first "Sputniks" 1957-1958, 50 years ago.   Remember to periodically check in as we continue to expand this website and add archival material to include more memories from the years before and after the Sputnik adventure, such as the Airplane Adventures, the Africa Flying Missions, Moonbounce, general activities, and news from members & friends, as well as reunions and gatherings.   Tell us how you discovered this website, and whether you remember the radio club.  We would love to hear from you!  We would like to post any memories and archives you might be able to send us.

"Members from the St. Joseph High School Radio Club (SJHRC) 1951-1979   are working on ways to locate more old members and associates for our get-togethers and reunions.   We had a "50-Year" Sputnik REUNION dinner on September 29, 2007, have given talks and presentations on TV and at ham gatherings and schools, and have written several articles to help locate more old members, working toward the "Big" reunion that we had right at the old school building, now VASJ, on September 28, 2008.   Please contact us and spread the word to anyone you know who may be interested.   We will continue to build a web page at sjhrc.org which can be consulted for updated information as we are able to post it."

P.S.: We would appreciate having this mentioned in appropriate newsletters and webpages, especially ham radio club newsletters along with our contact information.  

---updated June 3, 2012 -- 0700 hours EDT

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