[FPSPACE] Remembering Perry and Slater
nodin at sbcglobal.net
Fri Apr 27 04:45:58 EDT 2007
I should have included the following link to Sven's site which includes the display of that original equipment! Cheers to all, Ed
Edwin Cameron <nodin at sbcglobal.net> wrote:
In mid-2002, I was treated to a most amazing treat. It was a barbecue at the farm of Derek Slater, the fellow who equipped the very first effort made by Geoff Perry at the Kettering Boys School to capture telemetry signals from Russian spacecraft. I have not, until now, rendered my sincerest thanks to the gracious host. But, I do it here and now, in this most appropriate forum as one of the pioneers. Thank you Derek Slater for all you meant to making these noisy telemetry things public when so much of it was shrouded in secrecy on both sides.
While there at the farm, we talked with dozens of "space cadets" from around the world, many the members of Perry's most prestigious Kettering Group. Aside from my knowing Geoff Perry before his death through earlier meetings in the UK and in the US when he came to NSA, I had not, to my knowledge, met any of the other members of the Kettering Group until that 2002 meeting. Geoff had asked me at times after he got to know what I did and where, why I didn't join the group, but it was prohibited as long as I had accesses to the highest, most sensitive secrets of the US, because the Kettering Group was considered to be a foreign organization -- never mind the close association, still not fully disclosed, between the UK and the USA even at that time.
In classes that I developed and taught for those within military and government services who were to decipher foreign telemetry, I used the film, titled as "Bleeps and Mr. Perry!" And, in the US it was, "The Boys Who Cracked the Soviet Secret!" Neither of these is available today, as far as I can determine, though I have a VHS copy of the US version somewhere. But, it was very well done, and highlighted the excellent work of Geoff Perry, Derek Slater, the boys of Kettering, and even the visiting girls who had math and science taught at the Boys' School.
The high point of the 2002 visit to the farm came when Derek asked if anyone wanted to see the original equipment used at the Boys' School! Wow! When I entered the room where the equipment was stored and displayed, I could imagine sitting there forty years before, listening to satellite telemetry as one of Perry's and Slater's boys. Like a lot of Americans, I heard Sputnik, live on the radio in 1957. But, it was nothing like the exploits of those Kettering boys and girls. By 1968, I was doing it professionally, but secretly. You can hear some samples of that early type of telemetry by going to Sven Grahn's website. The following link will get you to one of the PDM signals common to many early Soviet satellites: http://www.svengrahn.pp.se/radioind/Luna3beeps/Luna3beeps.html
For those of the Kettering Group who were at that meeting of the Kettering Group in 2002, perhaps the last, it was my honor to meet you all there. Thank you for making a dream come true. And, thank you, again, Derek Slater! (And, the barbecue was first rate; almost as fantastic as the visit and meeting you!)
Edwin "N Odin" Cameron
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