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 New Jersey could take centuries!  Life is too short to drink unaged wine and wait for an extra class exoite to transmit…. or to apply to the FCC in order to get a waiver to reply with more than 1.5 KW PEP.

       

 

 

             

 

Text Box: April  2008                                                VOL 81, NO. 4                                                Cir  100   100 


PRESIDENT’S NOTE by ED GELLENDER, WB2EAV

 

   Not with a Bang, but with a Whimper

 

            For those following the serial drama of our Bethpage repeater on 146.745, I must disappoint you that this episode does not leave you with a new cliffhanger to hold your interest until next month’s episode.

 

            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 Bethpage repeater is back to where it was, for better or worse.  We now can resume testing to determine if we can increase the power level in steps, fully in accord with MetroCor guidelines.  

 

            So unless NB2A is planning a new surprise move, the situation did not end with a bang but rather with a whimper.  

 

FIELD DAY – JUNE 28-29, 2008

 

            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 wb2eav@yahoo.com or snail mail me at GARC – P.O. Box 644Bethpage, NY 11714.

 

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.  

                                                                                                                                                                           

OLD BUSINESS

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.

                                

NEW BUSINESS

We are trying to invite Frank Fallon, the Hudson Director, to be a guest speaker. 

 

PROGRAM

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 6:35 PM

GARC NETS:

40 Meters: 7.289 MHz at 7:30 AM EST Sundays.

2 Meters (via repeaters): 146.745 MHz (-.600)at 8:30 PM EST Thursdays.

                                           145.330 MHz (- .600) at 9:00 PM EST Thursdays.

[Tone for both repeaters is 136.5 Hz]         (ARES/RACES) Mondays

                                          

MEETINGS

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.                                                                                                          

 

 

SILENT KEY

It is with deep regret that we note the passing of James Rauscher, W2WDD, on March 22, 2008.  Jim was a Grumman retiree who relocated to Bedford, Virginia.   He will be especially missed by many GARC members because he operated as Net Control station on 40-Meters every Sunday morning.  His signal often reached Long Island when all others were far below the noise level.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

INTERNET LINK OF THE MONTH FOR INTERNERDS

 

            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.

 

 

 

PUZZLE

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--

 

 

 

EDITORIAL

 

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.

Enuf sed.

 

Checking the MetroCor web site, I found that the 146.745 frequency is still listed as Bethpage, WA2LQO. 

Enuf Sed.

 

73, w2ilp (Ignoring Little Phones) - Cells are too small.

 

 

CQ de WA2LQO

April 2008

 VOL.  81, NO.  4

 

 

EDITOR

Bob Wexelbaum W2ILP

(631) 499-2214

w2ilp@optonline.net

 

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

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.

 

ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS

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 wb2eav@yahoo.com

 

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               KC2OPX                       631-754-0974
Treasurer                                  Ed Gellender            WB2EAV              X02-14   516-575-0013

1Yr Board Member    Zack Zilavy                 WB2PUE               Retiree     631-667-4628
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

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                           


GARC VE EXAMS

 

We are continuing to proctor exams for all classes of ham licenses on the second Tuesday of each month, starting at 5:00 PM.

 

The present exams are:-

The Element 1 CW exam is no longer required.

Element 2: Technician

Element 3: General

Element 4: Amateur Extra Class

 

The fee for 2008 is $14.00 for all exams taken in one sitting.

 

Applicants for upgrades should bring their present license and a photocopy of it and know their FRN number.

 

New, first time applicants should be aware that their Social Security number will be required on their application form, unless they register with the FCC for an FRN.

 

All applicants should bring picture ID such as driver’s licenses.

 

Until further notice exams will be given at:-

Briarcliffe College

1055 Stewart Avenue

Room: Long Beach #5

Bethpage, NY

Briarcliffe in Bethpage is located in a building that was formerly part of the Grumman complex.

 

All applicants should contact W2ILP to pre-register, so as to confirm location.  If no applicants apply, the exam session will be cancelled. 

 

For any information e-mail:-

w2ilp@optonline.net

or phone-

(631) 499-2214

 

Study material is available at the web sites of the ARRL

http://www.arrl.org

or W5YI

http://www.w5yi.org

All VECs use the same Q &A pools.

 

Since the beginning of the VE program the GARC has provided opportunities to take the ham exams monthly, during all 12 months of every year.

 

Bob Wexelbaum, W2ILP and the GARC VE team.

                                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

FIELD DAY?

 

As 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 Sunken Meadow Park.  This club collects no dues and has no formal meeting minutes.  They will operate QRP rigs from the park but not overnight.  They don’t compete on Field Day.  They don’t have to report to the ARRL.  They just have fun!  Maybe we should learn from them.  I dunno.

73, Bob w2ilp (Intentionally Lowering Possibilities?)