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The Kettering Group

Tyneside, UK
2024 Jul 24
Wednesday, Day 206

Curated by:

Kettering Group on the Web:

Book published on closure of the School

Kettering results, history, exploits and accounts

Contemporary Article

Geoff Perry item

Soyuz & Salyut - article by Geoff Perry

BBC News Feature

Chris Wood

Chris Wood died 2023 August 18.

His first involvement with the Kettering Grammar School Satellite Tracking Group was in the mid-1960s when he was outposted to Fiji by the UK General Post Office as a telephone engineer. He was perfectly placed to record signals from some of the satellites tracked by the Group as they went round their final orbit before landing in Russia. They passed nearly overhead at his location. It contributed to understanding some of the information they were transmitting.

He and Geoff Perry perfected a communications code that allowed a lot of information to be packed into the length of minimum price telegram. It was the fastest means of communication at the time apart from an extremely expensive telephone call.

Another big contribution to the Group was his work on the radio transmissions from the Nadezhda navigation satellites and clandestine Parus satellites. He worked out that each satellite used to broadcast coded almanacs of all operational satellites so users would be able to work out when they could pick them up and use them. He also noticed that the information they broadcast was updated once per week on a Thursday.

Chris once described the scene of a ring on his doorbell heralding the arrival of cousin Geoff accompanied by a gigantic four-channel pen recorder and a challenge to use it in order to read out the Nadezhda/Parus data. Later he built an electronic version that saved an awful lot of paper. The project was written up by Chris and Geoff for the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society.

For many year he continued to listen in to the satellites, using the transmitted almanacs to record when individual satellites went out of use and were replaced by new ones.

page date: 2024 Apr 2

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