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  What did this Electro-Mechanical panel do?

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Author Topic:   What did this Electro-Mechanical panel do?
stsmithva
Member

Posts: 1455
From: Fairfax, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 02-15-2009 12:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently bought a piece of non-flight hardware. The online seller's description was minimal at best, but at $10 I thought it was worth taking a risk. I'm not bragging about the low price - I'm just saying don't be afraid to tell me that it's not worth even that. I'd appreciate it if anyone could tell me what purpose it served based on the following:

It's a 4" wide, 11" long (counting the small black handle) modular panel (I don't even know the proper name for those). The front (the only part that would have shown on a control console) reads "7.35 KC +- 7.5% CHANNEL 11." The only control that could have been manipulated is a slot that could be turned to adjust the "BAL." There is also a "LOCK" knob that could be turned so this item could be removed from the console.

Inside, printing shows that it was made by "Electro-Mechanical Research, Inc." of Sarasota, FL.
Model No. 2878-01-7.35 +- 7.5
Serial No. 426

A bit of online research tells me that EMR made telemetry hardware for Mercury and Gemini, and indeed two of the metal panels are stamped "10-65" which would seem to indicate a manufacturing date of October, 1965. (Those stamps are too small to show up well in photos here, but they both have next to them a star with what seems to be "18" inside.)

Finally, a paper label on top has a "SERVICEABLE AUG 01 1972" stamp, along with a logo of a triangle with "K / NASA / 90Y" inside.

If this article really was in use at NASA from 1965 to 1972, that would be pretty cool. In fact, I am going to assume that transmissions from the lunar surface on Apollo 11 were transmitted on Channel 11 via THIS VERY PANEL, and it was a slight misalignment to the "BAL" slot that caused the "small step for A man" to be garbled.

Or this panel was in the staff break room television set, and was used to receive CBS affiliate WINK-TV out of Fort Myers so that Gene Kranz could watch "Green Acres" and the "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour." (Yes, I actually looked up a real TV channel 11 in Florida, and which CBS shows were top-rated in the late 1960s. I'm trying to put off some grad school work due tonight.)

Thanks for any information you could provide.

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 3174
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-15-2009 01:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Its application was for FDMA mod/demod of either terrestrial RF wireless or microwave/SATCOM communications paths.

Prior to introduction of digital multiplexing, this was a very common method of squeezing efficient utilization out of communications paths — allowing for multiple independent channels of telephone, tty, data circuits to ride a bidirectional pair of frequencies (rather then having to eat up spectrum, and use additional radio equipment for each separate communications circuit).

bunnkwio
Member

Posts: 50
From: Woodridge, IL USA
Registered: Jul 2008

posted 02-15-2009 04:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bunnkwio   Click Here to Email bunnkwio     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I saw that auction, and was on the fence but since there was SO little information about it, I passed on bidding. I'm glad a cS'er got it!

Thanks, Scott, for your always-valued insight! You're like a walking encyclopedia!

stsmithva
Member

Posts: 1455
From: Fairfax, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 02-15-2009 08:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott, thank you for your detailed answer. I can see why the "Air & Space" magazine writer turned to you for information and quotes when he or she was writing an article on buying space hardware. (The article was in a back issue I was reading recently.)

One more question: is there any way of knowing, perhaps by its markings, where it was used? Would many more sites besides KSC and Mission Control in Houston have had use for it?

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 3174
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-15-2009 09:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not optimistic...

This is the type of capability which would be deployed to support locations which dont have access to wired communications, and it would either be prohibitively expensive or not technical feasible to lay down a cable infrastructure between two points or a remote site which needed access to telemetry, telephonic and other information exchange services. It could also conceivably have been employed to demodulate spacecraft downlink (i.e. multiple telemetry channels) but if so I havent a clue as to which...

MadSci
Member

Posts: 189
From: Maryland, USA
Registered: Oct 2008

posted 02-16-2009 03:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MadSci     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry Steve, yours could not possibly have been used for the "one small step" broadcast, as that historic speech would have deserved a higher quality broadcast — like that available on the otherwise identical Unit I have that broadcast at 30.0kC on Channel 15!

I also picked mine up for a song as a bit of a gamble. I'm still learning about the unbelievable scope and breadth of Scott's knowledge, otherwise I would have had him confirm my great 'discovery' first!

Seriously, mine is the same, down to the first part of the model no. (2878-01-30.0+7.5 (by the way, the 30.0+7.5 is actually 30.0'plus or minus' 7.5 but I can't do the correct symbol here). The serial no. is 455. It was also made by EMR and has a star shaped inspection stamp (with an '18' in the middle) next to the (probable) date of 10-65. I wonder if someone just pulled these out of a single unit, they could be (fraternal) twins separated at retirement!

seb3091
New Member

Posts: 1
From: Bradenton, Fl, USA
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 03-23-2009 09:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for seb3091     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
EMR is now L3 Communications Aviation Recorders in Sarasota, Fl, the company that makes recorders for airplanes (black boxes), and this item looks like one of the assemblies that was built for NASA to collect telemetry data.

There were 6 or 7 different models of this type of assembly that was built for NASA, during the Apollo Project and after, and they all had different functions.

As assemblies of this type goes, there are always updates, and this particular model, from the date stamped on the inspection sticker, could have been either a first or second generation assembly.

Hopefully someone from L3 will post and let me know if I'm wrong, because I was an assembler, then later a quality control inspector at L3, not a tech.

The telemetry department is no longer there. It was relocated to the L3 division in, I believe San Diego, again, if I'm wrong, someone will correct me.

I remember my supervisor telling me that this particular model, and the others that look exactly like it (there were different sizes and function) were installed for launch pad 39.

If memory serves me, this particular product line was closed shortly before Loral purchased us. The contract with NASA came to an end, and they no longer needed these products.

Hope this helps.

sue12181
New Member

Posts: 2
From: Sarasota, FL, USA
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 03-23-2009 09:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for sue12181   Click Here to Email sue12181     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Steve, that looks like a small panel used in Telemetry Systems - Much of our work went to the Gemini project that was sent to Cape Canaveral. I worked at EMR for 17 years and recognize that as one of our panels, and inspection stickers. Will fwd to former and current fellow EMR employees and see if anyone recognizes which unit it used to "live in".

Will get back to you soon.

sue12181
New Member

Posts: 2
From: Sarasota, FL, USA
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 03-23-2009 09:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for sue12181   Click Here to Email sue12181     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by seb3091:
If memory serves me, this particular product line was closed shortly before Loral purchased us. The contract with NASA came to an end, and they no longer needed these products.
Right on, Saun, your memory is better than mine -- Loral left Sarasota and became a part of LTIS and all "rack and stack" items were sent to San Diego just before I left the company in 1995 along with the telemetry product line. It appears the seal isn't broken either which would be a miracle at this point in time!

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