The question "can I hear the space shuttle on HF?" is often asked. The answer is no, not directly. However, what we can hear are some of the interesting behind the scenes traffic working Cape Radio in support of these launches. Whoizit? Cape Radio is at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The facility is run by a private contractor who operates and maintains all the HF radio's for the Eastern Test Range (ETR), which is the official designation for the facility at Cape Canaveral AFS. The facility is actually located across the Banana River from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and is not affiliated with NASA in any way. However ETR, better known as Cape Radio, does support all shuttle launches and unmanned launch vehicles. What is heard? There are two nets on HF for every shuttle launch. The first is Safety of Range. This net is usually controlled by "DoD Cape" on a circuit set up by Cape Radio. There is usually a U.S. Navy ship tasked to "launch danger area support" on this net. Sometimes a U.S. Coast Guard cutter is also deployed to assist. The job of these ship's is to ensure that no planes or ship's are in the area where if a rocket would have to be destroyed, debris may fall. They generally ID by the ships name, such as "USS Moosbruger" (DD-980). Also on this net are KING 1, 2 and 3, the U.S. Air Force Air Rescue HC-130's, as well as some other assets. The second net which is active every launch is controlled by "BRD" or the Booster Recovery Director. The two Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB's) carried aloft by the shuttle are jettisoned at two minutes, seven seconds into the flight. They are retrieved from the Atlantic Ocean by special recovery vessels and returned for refurbishment and eventual reuse on future Shuttle flights. The BRD net coordinates the two SRB recovery ships; M/V Liberty Star (callsign WRPH) and M/V Freedom Star (callsign KRFB). What frequencies are used? These two nets can make use of any of the hundred or so HF frequencies available to the Eastern Test Range. However, early listening to ETR primary frequency 10780.0 kHz. as early as 16 to 24 hours before scheduled launch time, will reward the listener with Cape Radio giving the working frequencies for both nets as the assets check in. If you miss this, then its a hit and miss affair. Other shortwave listening One last way to catch shuttle action is to monitor comms via the Goddard Amateur Radio Club in Greenbelt, Maryland. "WA3NAN" retransmits the air-to-ground Space Shuttle communications for all non-classified shuttle missions on: 3860 kHz. (LSB); 7185 kHz. (LSB); 14295 kHz. (USB); 21395 kHz. (USB); and 28650 kHz. (USB) plus or minus 5 kHz. for interference. Internet Also, check this url for scheduled missions: http://www.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/countdown/countdown.html HF Frequencies Frequencies used for past Shuttle launches Freq Mission Use UTC Remarks 2622.0 STS-63 Booster Recovery 0521 2622.0 STS-76 Booster Recovery 0523 2764.0 STS-63 Range Safety 0401 2764.0 STS-67 Range Safety 0225 2764.0 STS-68 Booster Recovery 0755 2836.0 STS-68 Range Safety 0653 3041.0 STS-76 Range Safety 0739 3120.0 STS-56 Range Safety 0426 3120.0 STS-68 Range Safety 0508 3187.0 STS-55 Booster Recovery 0440 3187.0 STS-56 Booster Recovery 0325 3187.0 STS-64 Range Safety 1108 3187.0 STS-68 Booster Recovery 0746 3187.0 STS-69 Range Safety 1108 3365.0 STS-59 Range Safety 0734 3859.0 STS-54 WA3NAN 1329 3859.2 STS-69 WA3NAN 1346 3860.0 STS-78 WA3NAN 1449 3860.2 STS-51 WA3NAN 1142 3860.2 STS-57 WA3NAN 1245 3860.3 STS-56 WA3NAN 0509 3860.3 STS-63 WA3NAN 0522 3860.5 STS-68 WA3NAN 1054 3860.5 STS-70 WA3NAN 1342 3860.5 STS-76 WA3NAN 0813 3861.4 STS-74 WA3NAN 1256 4520.0 STS-68 Range Safety 0653 4704.0 STS-68 Range Safety 0949 4992.0 STS-76 Range Safety 0705 5011.0 STS-67 Range Safety 0006 5180.0 STS-56 Range Safety 0310 5180.0 STS-56 Booster Recovery 2339 Attempt #2 5180.0 STS-59 Range Safety 0731 5180.0 STS-61 Range Safety 0459 5180.0 STS-87 Range Safety 1814 5180.0 STS-95 Range Safety 1900 5190.0 STS-68 Booster Recovery 1037 5190.0 STS-69 Booster Recovery 2310 5246.0 STS-86 Range Safety 1951 5246.0 STS-95 Booster Recovery 1926 5711.0 STS-69 Range Safety 1516 Attempt #2 5711.0 STS-70 Range Safety 1323 5711.0 STS-71 Range Safety 2003 5711.0 STS-76 Booster Recovery 2335 5711.0 STS-77 Launch Failure Exercise 1159 5810.0 STS-51 Range Safety 2034 6897.0 STS-54 Range Safety 1338 6937.0 STS-75 Range Safety 1818 6937.0 STS-82 Range Safety 0730 6937.0 STS-84 Range Safety 1543 7184.2 STS-54 WA3NAN 1329 7184.8 STS-55 WA3NAN 1450 7185.0 STS-58 WA3NAN 1439 7185.7 STS-85 WA3NAN 1441 7765.0 STS-77 Range Safety 1038 7765.0 STS-78 Range Safety 1436 7765.0 STS-80 Range Safety 1956 9023.0 STS-74 Range Safety 1303 9043.0 STS-54 Range Safety 1335 9043.0 Delta II Launch 11/98 2200 10780.0 STS-51 Coordination 1953 10780.0 STS-58 Coordination 1443 Cape ID'ed as FISHER 10780.0 STS-59 Coordination 1831 10780.0 STS-61 Coordination 1913 10780.0 STS-69 Coordination 1845 10780.0 STS-75 Coordination 1815 10780.0 STS-76 Coordination 2122 10780.0 STS-77 Coordination 1637 10780.0 STS-80 Coordination 1735 Cape ID'ed as FISHER 10780.0 STS-81 Coordination 0123 10780.0 STS-83 Coordination 0248 10780.0 STS-84 Coordination 1435 10780.0 STS-85 Coordination 0119 10780.0 STS-86 Coordination 1948 10780.0 STS-95 Coordination 1800 11217.0 STS-72 Range Safety 0930 14295.0 STS-79 WA3NAN 1615 20185.7 STS-61 WA3NAN 1610 Copyright 1998 R.D. Baker/Popular Communications magazine. Based on original article in the Communications Confidential column "Monitoring Space Shuttle Launches" (June, 1998) parts of which are reprinted with permission here. Additional mission logs or other information always appreciated. Please forward to Rick Baker at CommConf@concentric.net This file may be freely distributed so long as the file remains intact and is not edited in any way. File originally posted on Worldwide UTE November 1998.