SETI - REVISITED? by Bob Wexelbaum, W2ILP
Some time ago I wrote about the futile search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). This useless search was promoted by popular scientists and book authors, including the late Carl Sagan. I, as an engineer, debunked any notion of communicating with distant intelligent life by applying the simple math involved with substituting real numbers in the one way radar range equation, which clearly showed that space attenuation at astronomical distances would limit ET to Earth signals, even by super high power radar or light pulse methods. In fact such communication would be impossible!
Since it is April, I at first thought it would be OK for me to say that I had been contacted by an ET ham on a distant planet and end by saying that my claim for DX-ET was bogus, while admitting that it was just an April Fool’s joke…But no…I can’t pull a prank like that on the experienced ham operators, who I hope will read this fine print.
We now know that there is no intelligent life on any
planet in the solar system, except ours.
Aside from that fact, we know that there are now over 277 confirmed
planets that orbit around stars other than our own Sun. This could at least put
a numerical dent in the famous Drake equation, which predicts that there must
be intelligent life on some planets if there are astronomical amounts of
them. There remain more planets that are
now only suspected of existing by the professional astronomers. Thus we can not unconfirm
Drake’s prophesy. Why an
extraterrestrial would want to signal us on Earth, even if he she or it could,
is another question. Perhaps there are
intelligent authors on the distant planets that are like Carl Sagan, and they
are presently only listening to see if we are intelligent enough to waste all
of our energy to beam a signal to them.
The distant planets are all called exoplanets. Any intelligent ETs
on them should be called Exoites, not just generic
extraterrestrials. Naturally we are
going to recognize the largest of these planets before we are able to notice
any smaller ones. It seems that the
largest planets are like Jupiter and Saturn.
They are gigantic balls of burning gas and not likely to support any
cool life, as we know it. In spite of
the majority of these exoplanets being many hundreds
or even thousands of light years away, there has recently been a exoplanet spotted that is only 63 light years away from
Earth. This planet was reported to have
an atmosphere of methane by Mark Swain of NASA’s Jet Propulsion
Laboratories. Where there is methane
there could be life! Intelligent or
ignorant life could be generating the methane as a biological byproduct! Perhaps if intelligent this is the final
hope for a SETI contact by light or radio communication! Perhaps the Exoites
on this planet have become so populous that they have filled their atmosphere
with methane, which is worse than CO2 or “greenhouse gasses”, ozone layer or
Heaviside layers. Oy-vay!
What are the Exoites doing about their exoplanet’s global warming?
This could be an example of there literally, as well as figuratively,
being too much BS. A QSO with an exoplanet that is 63 light-years away could take at least
126 Earth years and a formal exoQSL card from the 2nd
district QSL Bureau in
…Not with a Bang, but with a Whimper
For those following the serial drama of our
For those just tuning in, in recent episodes of our melodrama, MetroCor, the New York City metropolitan area repeater coordinating organization, gave NB2A authority to operate on our frequency for the most picayune neurotic reason – We had not sent them letters every time Northrop Grumman moved our repeater. When we called them on it, they offered a compromise with both repeaters contributing to share the frequency. A key component was the use of different PL tones. Once NB2A heard about this, he actually disabled his repeater’s PL to intentionally cause chaos. We then filed with the FCC.
Well, a couple of weeks ago, Riley Hollingsworth of the FCC sent NB2A a short e-mail with a courtesy copy to us, very quietly asking if NB2A would be so kind as to restore the PL on his repeater. I looked carefully at the e-mail; if you didn’t know that good ol’ Riley heads FCC enforcement, you might not have even caught the implications. The only clue was the return e-mail address ended in fcc.gov.
Apparently NB2A did understand the underlying message and
in a day or so his repeater stopped keying up every time that ours does. Whether there was additional correspondence,
if he put his own PL back on, or if he went off the air completely, I cannot
tell. I only know that the
So unless NB2A is planning a new surprise move, the situation did not end with a bang but rather with a whimper.
FIELD DAY –
I am disappointed to say that my impassioned plea in last
month’s President’s Page to get input from the membership about the upcoming
Field Day has been extremely sparse. If
this represents the levels of interest in the club participating in Field Day,
then the message is not to bother. I
find that hard to believe however. The
die-hards that I expected to hear from (loudly) have not let out a peep. C’mon – let’s have some yells of outrage
here!! E-mail me at email@example.com or
snail mail me at GARC –
73, Ed, WB2EAV
GRUMMAN AMATEUR RADIO CLUB
MINUTES OF GENERAL MEETING 3/19/2008
Karen KC2OPX, secretary.
The meeting was called to order by Ed at 5:45 PM.
TREASURERS REPORT – Ed, WB2EAV REPEATERS Gordon, KB2UB
Finances continue to be in good shape. 533 is operating properly. Everything is in good shape for now.
VE REPORT – Bob, W2ILP NET REPORT- Zack, WB2PUE
There were no applicants. Thus there was no Thursday night net was attended by the usual people.
GARC VE Session in March. . Sunday morning net lacked a net controller. Jim Rauscher, W2WDD was in hospital.
Northrop Grumman requires liability forms only from employees. Employees will now be getting this newsletter only by e-mail. We continue determining what equipment is covered by present insurance.
We are trying to invite Frank Fallon, the Hudson Director, to be a guest speaker.
Gordon demonstrated a 30 foot collapsible antenna mast that has possibilities for Field Day. It is light and easy to carry. We remain waiting to hear from the NG Recreation Dept. about using the same location that we used last year for Field Day. Ray, W2DKM is checking out various other locations.
The meeting was adjoined at
40 Meters: 7.289 MHz at 7:30 AM EST Sundays.
2 Meters (via repeaters): 146.745 MHz (-.600)at Thursdays.
145.330 MHz (- .600) at Thursdays.
[Tone for both repeaters is 136.5 Hz] (ARES/RACES) Mondays
General Meetings of the GARC are held on the third Wednesday of each month, starting at 5:30 PM. The meetings are usually held at the Ellsworth Allen Park in Farmingdale. Driving directions and maps can be obtained from http://www.mapquest.com It is suggested that the GARC Web Site be checked to be certain of meeting location, which may change after this newsletter is distributed. Board meetings are held eight days before the General Meeting.
GARC WEB SITE
The web site of the GARC can be found at http://www.qsl.net/wa2lqo/ Webmaster is Pat Masterson, KE2LJ. Pictures of GARC activities, archives of newsletters, roster of members, and other information about the GARC may be found there.
It is with deep regret that
we note the passing of James Rauscher, W2WDD, on
The Internet link of this month comes from a suggestion by Stan Rogak, KB2QFT. This web site has a wealth of engineering formulas. They are arranged so that you can plug in real numbers and calculate real answers. It has them all, not just the electrical ones, that ham should be familiar with.
It is: http://www.Calculatoredge.com
In the future engineers will no longer have to learn any elementary arithmetic or algebra. They will only be expected to locate the relevant formulas and plug in the numbers. Yep…They told me that the days of the slide rule were numbered….and now I see that electronic calculation may be achieved by anyone who has access to the Internet.
Here is another cryptogram:
FHBGCLRIFGH FQ HGI AHGMNPOVP. AHGMNPOVP FQ HGI MFQOGL. MFQOGL FQ
HGI ICWID. ICWID FQ HGI YPRWIT. YPRWIT FQ HGI NGEP. NGEP FQ HGI LWQFZ.
LWQFZ FQ IDP YPQI. –BCRHA JRXXR--
Solution to March’s Cryptogram:
INFORMATION IS NOT KNOWLEDGE. KNOWLEDGE IS NOT WISDOM. WISDOM IS NOT TRUTH. TRUTH IS NOT BEAUTY. BUATY IS NOT LOVE. LOVE IS NOT MUSIC. MUSIC IS THE BEST. –FRANK ZAPPA--
There will be a VE session in April. As this newsletter is being completed, we have at least two registered applicants. This will be our first VE session to be held in 2008, as we have not been called upon by prospective applicants, until now.
I once brought my 2-Meter HT to a meeting of a non-ham group. Nobody seemed impressed by it. A curious kid did ask me why I was carrying such a large black Cell Phone. I told him it wasn’t a Cell Phone and asked if he knew anything about Ham Radio. He said that he never heard of Ham Radio and if he couldn’t privately call his own buddies on Ham radios he wasn’t interested in it.
The ARRL wants us to get more kids interested in becoming hams. I dunno if that is possible. It is not just because kids don’t know about Ham Radio; it is because most intelligent kids know more about Cell Phones, e-mail and the Internet.
Checking the MetroCor web site, I found that the 146.745 frequency is
still listed as
73, w2ilp (Ignoring Little Phones) - Cells are too small.
CQ de WA2LQO
VOL. 81, NO. 4
Bob Wexelbaum W2ILP
All the members of GARC (we hope!)
CQ de WA2LQO is published monthly by the Grumman Amateur Radio Club for its members and friends. Send articles and amateur equipment advertisements to: W2ILP. Articles may be sent by e-mail or postal mail. They can be in MS Word format or simply in plain text. Articles will only be edited when permission is granted by the author.
For insertion to the WA2LQO website, information may be sent to Pat Masterson.
Pat Masterson’s e-mail address: Pat-Masterson@tampabay.rr.com
Ed Gellender’s e-mail address: Edward.Gellender@ngc.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
GRUMMAN AMATEUR RADIO CLUB OFFICERS FOR 2008
President Ed Gellender WA2EAV X02-14 516-575-0013
Vice President Gordon Sammis KB2UB Retiree 631-666-7463
Secretary Karen Cefalo
Treasurer Ed Gellender WB2EAV X02-14 516-575-0013
1Yr Board Member Zack Zilavy
1YrBoard Member Dave Ledo AB2EF
1Yr Board Member Bob Christen W2FPF
2 Yr Board Member Bob Wexelbaum W2ILP Retiree 631-499-2214
2 Yr Board Member Jack Cottrell WA2PYK Retiree 516-249-0979
Trustee WA2LQO Ray Schubnel W2DKM Retiree
STANDING COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN
FCC Exam Coord. Bob Wexelbaum W2ILP Retiree 631-499-2214
Webmaster Pat Masterson KE2LJ Retiree 813-938-4614
you may read in the President’s note there is still uncertainty as to whether
there will be a GARC Field Day this year.
Do not come to the conclusion that there will be no GARC Field day yet. Ray, W2DKM and Karen, KC2OPX are still looking for a site because it seems unlikely that
we will be able to arrange to use Northrop Grumman property for a FD site. Ray wants to brass pound all night and there
may be a few phone operators who want to operate as well. Last year I did not stay overnight. This was because I was adjusting to new
medication. I am now quite stable and
unless I develop new medical problems I can stay overnight if needed. I did however stay overnight during Field
Days in many previous years. I was
discouraged by the lack of operators last year.
I arrived at the site early on both Saturday and Sunday. I was not there on Friday for the build up,
but I was there on Sunday for the tear down.
The lack of participation seems to be contagious. Members seem to lose motivation when they
learn that others have lost interest.
Some members who had been able to get their children involved with Ham
Radio have found that their children now have other interests and other priorities. Perhaps it may be time for those parents and
grandparents to enjoy their hobby on their own. Perhaps their kids will take up the hobby
later when they too can qualify as old timers.
People often return to hobbies many years after they go out of
mainstream style. Ham Radio offers a
challenge and that challenge changes with the Sun spots and the increase of
spectrum usage and RFI from others.
There are those who take the risk of climbing mountains because they are
there. There may always be Hams who
will brave the Ham bands, no matter what the conditions are. A Long Island QRP
club is going to have an informal picnic at
73, Bob w2ilp (Intentionally Lowering Possibilities?)