Contact

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Contact DVD cover.

Movie (1997)

Starring:
Jodie Foster (Eleanor Arroway)
Matthew McConaughey (Palmer Joss)
James Woods (Michael Kitz)
Tom Skerritt (David Drumlin)
William Fichtner (Kent)
John Hurt (S.R. Hadden)


Eleanor Arroway first became interested in making long distance contacts using an HF Ham radio when she was very young. As she transmits on 14.2 MHz, she uses her call letters 'W9GFO'. You can see multiple QSL cards on her wall, but the farthest QSL the movie shows her making was to K4WLD in Pensacola, FL.

Eleanor's curiosity continued to grow as she got older and she later became a scientist. Dr. Arroway traveled to Puerto Rico to work on a project called the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program using the Arecibo Observatory. After years of listening, she finally discovers a strong signal repeating a sequence of prime numbers from the star Vega on 4.4623 GHz. As Eleanor is driving back to the lab, she gets on her Motorola walkie-talkie and lets everyone back at the lab know about the signal. There's a lot of communication back and forth on the radios between her and the other scientists (who also use a Motorola walkie-talkie) while she is on the road. Kent, one of the main scientists, finds a better frequency to receive the signal on and re-tunes to 8.9247 GHz. There are multiple flashbacks to Dr. Arroway's past showing her using her Ham. If you don't mind subtitles, it's funny to see how they type the call letters. As you can see below, they show it as "W-9 GFO" and "K-4 WLD". Another funny thing I noticed was that one of the scientists was holding the walkie-talkie backwards as he's talking to Dr. Arroway.


Collins KWM-2

The KWM-2 power input is 175 watts PEP on SSB or 160 watts on CW. It transmits on voice or CW with a nominal output of 100 watts for complete coverage on 80 through 10 meters. Crystals are provided for all HF bands except 10 meters where one crystal is supplied with provision for two additional crystals.

Collins KWM-2 and on the right is a 516-F2 power supply

Young Eleanor trying to make a contact using her ham radio.
Eleanor turns the radio dial to a better frequency.
Eleanor gets excited making her farthest contact over 1,000 miles away. Notice the QSL cards on the wall.
Very sad after her fathers passing, she tries to contact him through her amateur radio.

Hallicrafters SX-62 & Philips B3X91A

The SX-62 is a single conversion general coverage receiver for AM, CW and FM. It fully covers 540 KHz to 110MHz in six bands. Introduced in 1948, it has 15 tubes.

Hallicrafters SX-62 and on top a Philips B3X91A radio.

Motorola HT-1000

Charging one of the two Motorola walkie-talkies.
Got a little excited and held the radio backwards while talking to Dr. Arroway.
Now holding the Motorola correctly, Eleanor can probably copy him better.
Dr. Arroway speeding back to the lab.

Other Related Shots

Not a bad idea here how she marks her QSLs.


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