What is SETI and this site?
SETI is an acronym for "Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence." As a scientific field, SETI has had an interesting history, which is well outlined on the other SETI links on this site. Suffice it to say that SETI, although once sponsored by NASA and funded by the U.S. Congress, is now in the hands of private sponsorship, with no U.S. government funding or involvement from NASA.
This site is part of the documention of a SETI project of amateur radio operators Val Phoenix KG2PM and Mike Hancock N5LHM. The project includes the construction of a small amateur radio astronomy telescope and its use in SETI. The telescope will be installed and operated from the KG2PM location in Houston, TX. This website contains detailed information on the construction (in progress) of our radio telescope which will be used in the SETI Project. The telescope is now part of Project Argus, the microwave SETI project of the SETI League, Inc.
What does ham radio have to do with SETI?
Plenty! The first radio telescope ever built was constructed by a ham radio operator, Grote Reber, back in 1937. It was a parabolic dish built in his backyard, designed to confirm readings made by a Bell Laboratory engineer, Karl Jansky. Jansky was attempting to isolate noise in telephone lines and accidentally discovered the radio universe. Today there are groups of ham radio operators who are also experimenting with amateur radio astronomy.
What kind of ham activities have to do with science?
There are many hams associated with the SETI League's Project Argus or similar SETI programs. Satellite communications have been around for many years. Hams routinely communicate with each other using these satellites, using morse code, phone, digital packet systems, etc and more techniques are being developed all the time. Some hams uses Earth-Moon-Earth (EME) techniques to bounce signals off the moon to each other. Very difficult it is, too, requiring sophisticated technology and excellent opertaing skills from the hams. Some of the Shuttle astronauts are ham radio operators and participate with other hams around the world in the SAREX program - Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment. In other science besides space, ham radio operators are helping biologists track endangered species in the wild. The Burrowing Owl project is a good example of this. Finally there are many hams engaged in various levels of experimentation in all areas of the radio spectrum. Check the links page to learn more about these projects. This is where the future of ham radio lies.
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