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Net 2 and Alpha Tape during the Apollo 11 EVA

recorded at Honeysuckle Creek, 21 July 1969


 

During Apollo 11, a number of audio recordings were made at Honeysuckle Creek.

Several were made by the Station’s Admin Officer, Bernard Scrivener, at the direction of Honeysuckle’s Station Director, Tom Reid.

Among these was a recording, on 1/4-inch 7-inch diameter audio tape, during the lunar activity phases of Apollo 11.

This recording was of Net 2 (the co-ordination network for all the tracking stations) mixed with Alpha (the main internal Honeysuckle Creek co-ordination loop). It does not include Net 1 (the astronauts and the Capcom).

Mike Dinn writes,

“The Net2 and Alpha recording was made by Bernard Scrivener from the intercom in Tom Reid’s office. If you listen very carefully you can hear a PA announcement in the background at one point.” [Just after the first step, an announcement asks all personnel to move away from the Scan Converter – many are crowding around to see the action on the television monitors.]

 

Bernard Scrivener at 112A

Bernard Scrivener in Station Director Tom Reid’s office in December 1968, during Apollo 8.

In front of him is the Western Electric 102C speaker connected to the 112A intercom station next to it.

On the desk behind the telephone Bernard is using is the reel-to-reel tape recorder which was used to make the Net 2 and Alpha recording below.

Photo from Goddard News, January 13 1969.

Preserved by Mike Dinn, scanned by Colin Mackellar.
102C speaker ID thanks to Frank Sullens.

 

By the early 1990s, the 7" tape had been played back at Tidbinbilla and transferred to cassette.

While the wherabouts of the 7" tape is presently unknown, Mike Dinn retained a partial copy on one side of a C-90 Compact Cassette, covering 43 minutes of the EVA, starting 11 minutes before “TV On”. (In 2017, another partial copy was found by Colin Mackellar on a cassette tape preserved by Hamish Lindsay.)

Somewhere in this copying process, the tape was slowed down by a factor of 11%. Time markers common to both the EVA video and the “Net 2 and Alpha tape” (especially the “TV on” announcement and the switch to Parkes) were used to determine the correct time frame of the tape. Happily, once the speed correction was applied, the other time markers (switches between the stations to Houston TV. etc.) fitted to within a second or two.

Note also the references to Parkes from 07:57 onwards. This is because the data from Parkes, as well as Honeysuckle’s ‘wing’ station, Tidbinbilla, was processed at Honeysuckle before being sent to Houston.

Below, you can download the file and also follow the transcript (which starts just before TV On).

 


Net 2 and Alpha combined with Net 1 (Air / Ground).

audio Here is a 31.6MB mp3 file, created by Colin Mackellar in 2003, combining the above audio file (on the RIGHT channel) and the Air / Ground Net 1 (on the LEFT channel).

Starts 10 minutes and 52 seconds before “TV On”, and 12 minutes 38 seconds before the switch to Honeysuckle’s TV.

The synchronisation could have drifted by a few seconds by the end of the tape, but it is fairly close.

 

Audio and Transcript

Excerpt: Net 2 and Alpha only, from the start of the TV – this part of the recording is covered by the transcript below.

audio 1.25MB mp3 file encoded by Mike Dinn and speed-corrected by Colin Mackellar.

 

Timings and transcript revised May 12 2004 by Colin Mackellar – with help from Mike Dinn and John Saxon.

The transcript is modified from the version originally published on Mike Dinn’s website as part of his “The Truth About The Dish” section.



Items of special interest are in bold.
Conversations on Alpha (and not sent on Net 2) have an orange background.

 

Glossary
(after Mike Dinn, 2000)

 
RTC Houston Real Time Command (most likely Hank Jenkins).
TIC Houston Telemetry Instrumentation Controller (Walt Hrab, Houston).
Network Houston’s ground network controller, sitting in the main control room (Ernie Randall).
Houston TV TV/Video selection controller (Ed Tarkington, Houston).
Ops Honeysuckle Deputy Director Mike Dinn, Director Tom Reid and Operations Supervisor John Saxon.
SDDS Honeysuckle Signal Data Demodulation System (Kevin Gallegos).
PAM Honeysuckle Pulse Amplitude Modulated channels (Laurie Turner).
Data Honeysuckle Data / Telemetry (Jim Hanlon).
SB1 Honeysuckle USB 1 (Len Litherland).
Net 2 World wide network, Houston to/from tracking stations.
Alpha The main internal Honeysuckle intercomm loop.
Sydney Video Charlie Goodman at OTC Paddington in Sydney, responsible for selecting the video source to be sent to Houston (from either Parkes or Honeysuckle).
   

 


In this version of the transcript, all times are relative to the “TV online” announcement, which is at 02:54:00GMT.

Time
Speaker Transcript
-0:57
Honeysuckle (Dinn)
Honeysuckle LOS CSM.
-0:34
Houston TV (Tarkington)
Goldstone video, Houston TV, Net 2.
Goldstone
Goldstone video, go ahead.
Houston TV
Roger, are you receiving any kind of FM downlink?
-0:16
Goldstone
Houston TV, Goldstone video.
Houston TV
Go ahead, Goldstone video.
Goldstone
Roger we do have FM downlink, we are not receiving TV at this time.
Houston TV
Roger.
-0:04
Honeysuckle (Litherland)
Copy possible TV, OPS.
00:00
Goldstone
[Goldstone] TV on line, Goldstone TV on line.
00:05
Honeysuckle (Dinn)
Honeysuckle video on line.
00:07
Houston TV
Houston TV, we have both sites 5 by.
00:17
Houston TV
Goldstone video, Houston TV.
Goldstone
Goldstone video, go ahead.
00:21
Houston TV
Can you confirm that your reverse switch is in the proper position for the camera being upside down?
Goldstone
Stand by, we will go to the reverse position.
00:31
We are in reverse.
Houston TV
Roger, thank you.
01:36
Honeysuckle Operations Area announcement “Will all personnel move away from the Scan Converter please…” (rest garbled)
01:42
[Houston TV switches to Honeysuckle.]
01:45
Houston TV
All stations, we have just switched video to Honeysuckle.
02:20
[Armstrong steps onto Moon]
04:15
Honeysuckle (Reid) Data, Ops 1 Alpha.
Data (Hanlon) Data.
04:17
RTC
Honeysuckle, RTC, Net 2.
Honeysuckle (Saxon)
Honeysuckle.
04:22
RTC
Roger, take your on site history, put end of file please.
Honeysuckle (Saxon)
Wilco.
04:45
[Houston TV switches to Goldstone, but the Goldstone picture is now negative.]
04:57
Houston TV
All stations, Houston TV. We have just switched to Goldstone video.
05:37
Honeysuckle (Saxon)
RTC, Honeysuckle, Net 2.
05:39
[Houston TV switches back to Honeysuckle.]
05:46
Houston TV
Honeysuckle, Houston TV. We have just switched back to you again.
05:50
Honeysuckle (Saxon)
Roger.
Honeysuckle (Saxon)
RTC, Honeysuckle Net 2.
05:56
RTC
Go ahead Honeysuckle.
Honeysuckle (Saxon)
Confirm end of file.
RTC
Roger, thank you.
06:01
Houston TV
Goldstone TV, Houston TV.
Goldstone
Goldstone TV, go ahead.
06:03
Honeysuckle (Reid)
Ops, PAM.
Honeysuckle (Turner) Ops, PAM on Alpha.
Honeysuckle (Reid) Switch to Bank 2.
06:06
Houston TV (to Goldstone)
Roger, would you check your polarity switch please.
Goldstone
Roger.
06:11
Houston TV
Roger, that’s better.
06:19
Honeysuckle (Reid) Data, Ops 1 Alpha.
06:21
Data (Hanlon) Data.
06:23
Ops (Reid) I’ll leave it to your discretion, you can release one man at a time to go and look at that TV if they want.
06:28
Data (Hanlon) Roger, thank you very much.
Ops (Reid) Just for a few minutes and then back.
Data (Hanlon) Roger.
06:32
Ops (Reid) SB1.
SB1 (Litherland) SB1 on Alpha.
Ops (Reid) Same comments apply to you.
SB1 (Litherland) Right, one man per time to watch TV.
Ops (Reid) At your discretion.
  SB1 (Litherland) Roger.
06:44
PAM (Turner) Ops PAM on Alpha.
Ops (Reid) Ops.
PAM (Turner) Has signal level gone down on prime?
06:50
Houston TV
All stations, Houston TV, switching to Goldstone.
[Houston TV switches to Goldstone.]
PAM (Turner) Bank 3 and the wing and Bank 2 look about identical. Bank 1 from Receiver 4 is the worst at this time – er, Receiver 1, SDDS 4.
Ops (Reid)

Wait a minute. You’ve got receiver 4 and receiver 3. That’s
what you’re talking about.
That’s Receiver 4 into FM 2, SDDS.

PAM (Turner) Roger, that is the best at this time.
Ops (Reid) OK, that’s the one you’re using isn’t it?
PAM (Turner) We are, at this time.
07:31
Ops (Reid) Data, Ops 1, Alpha.
Data (Hanlon) Data.
Ops (Reid) Did you just change the input on the PAM, or did you change boards or what?
07:41
Data (Hanlon) We just switched on to PAM.
Ops (Reid) Switched input, OK.
Data (Hanlon) Roger.
07:57
Ops (Reid)
SDDS, Ops 1 Alpha.
08:00
SDDS (Gallegos)
SDDS.
Ops (Reid)
Can you confirm we are receiving Parkes data now?
08:09
SDDS (Gallegos)
Ah – ah yes Ops, they’ve taken the multiburst off.
08:12
Ops (Reid)
OK, ah
take out receiver 1 and put in Parkes main
– demod 4 PM.
08:28
SDDS (Gallegos)
Roger, Parkes main into demod 4 PM.
08:31
Ops (Reid)
in lieu of receiver 1.
08:33
SDDS (Gallegos)
Wilco. Standby.
08:36
Sydney Video (Goodman)
Sydney Video, Houston TV, Houston TV, Sydney Video.
08:41
Houston TV
This is Houston TV, go ahead.
08:42
Sydney Video
Please be advised I have a very good picture from Parkes, shall I give it to you?
Houston TV
Roger.
08:49
Sydney Video
You have it.
08:51
Houston TV
Roger, beautiful picture, thank you.
08:53
Houston TV
All stations, we are switching to Parkes at this time.
  [Houston TV switches to Parkes, then momentarily to Goldstone and then back to Parkes.]
  SB1 (Litherland) SB1 on Alpha.
We’re going tape change – we’re going manual for a minute.
09:05
Ops (Reid)
SDDS Ops 1 Alpha.
SDDS (Gallegos)
SDDS.
Ops (Reid)
What does that look like?
09:12
SDDS (Gallegos)
Standby.
09:17
It looks good Ops. I’ll take the voice from there. Do you want me to take the voice?
Ops (Dinn)
Looks OK does it?
09:23
Goldstone
Houston Comtech, Net 2.
Houston
Houston Comtech.
Goldstone
Did you copy that uplink on the downlink at that time?
Houston
Yes sir we did.
Goldstone
Roger.
09:31
Network (Randall)
Honeysuckle, Network, Net 2.
09:33
TIC
Honeysuckle, TIC, Net 2.
Honeysuckle (Reid)
Network, Honeysuckle.
09:38
Ops Ops 1, Data on Alpha.
09:39
Network
Go ahead TIC.
09:40
TIC
What is the signal strength from Parkes?
Honeysuckle (Reid)
Standby.
09:42
Data (Hanlon) We’re getting high bitrate LM on Decom 1 wideband.
Ops (Reid) Roger.
09:51
Honeysuckle
Signal level is negative 89.
TIC
Negative 89, thank you.
09:54
Data (Hanlon) Has there been a reconfiguration?
Ops (inaudible) reconfigured Parkes (inaudible)
Data (Hanlon) Roger.
10:00
SDDS (Gallegos) SDDS, Ops 1 Alpha.
Ops Go SDDS.
SDDS You want to take the PLSS from SDDS 1 PM?
Ops (Reid) Standby.
10:10
Ops (Reid) Data, Ops 1, Alpha.
Data (Hanlon) Data.
Ops (Reid) Is narrowband 2 configured to SDDS 4 PM?
Data (Hanlon) Narrowband 2 is configured to SDDS 4 PM.
Ops (Reid) Select narrowband 2.
10:25
Network (Randall)
Honeysuckle, Network.
Honeysuckle (Reid)
Network, Honeysuckle.
10:30
Network (Randall)
Right, you might pass on to the Parkes people that their labour was not in vain, they’ve given us the best TV yet.
 
10:37
Honeysuckle (Reid)
Roger, thank you very much, they’ll appreciate that, they’re monitoring.

 


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