JUNE 2006 VOL. 79, NO. 6
Of the 17 SETI promoting scientists, the works of only three are well known to me. They are Frank Drake, Carl Sagan and John Kraus.
It was Drake who based the probability of the existence of Intelligent ETs, on his famous equation.. See http://www.activemind.com/Mysterious/Topics/SETI/drake_equation.html By plugging large numbers into his equation, Drake concluded that high IQ ETs must exist elsewhere in the Milky Way galaxy. In my opinion it may or may not matter how many stars (suns), and planets may exist in the galaxy, because the coincidental existence of a planet that supports life forms of a higher order than humans does not just depend on the kind of statistical evidence that a Quality Control engineer might use to predict how many bad transistors might exist in a very large production run. It was Kepler, I believe, who said that if you dropped a pencil a number of times approaching infinity, one time it will fall up. I think that Drake stretches for that sort of logic. Thus it could be stated that the infinitely small probability of a miracle had to be accounted for in an infinite number of pencil drops, because infinity is so large a quantity that it would also be miraculous if one could count that far and remain on the same gravitational platform following usual laws.. Conversely nothing is perfectly certain, even the Gravitational Law of physics, when dealing with infinity.. So OK I can believe that there may be ETs out there who want to call us up because there is an astronomical number of planets out there…but I don’t believe that they will be doing it in the manner that the SETI pioneers expected or were willing to spend both our government’s and their own time and money on. My doubts rise because I know that there are also a near astronomical number of dandelions that pop up every May…but that doesn’t lead me to believe that even one dandelion might just happens to be a talking tulip or the home of a radio ant that is smarter than the average ant.
It was Carl Sagan who publicized SETI and organized a
group of both amateurs and psudoscientists in his “Planetary Society” and “SETI
League”. (I admit I was initially sucker enough to join myself.) They became obsessed with SETI and lobbied for
government funding in Congress. Some
were hams, who joined with SWLs and other listeners in the fruitless task of
listening for ET signals. The receivers
of opportunity being discarded satellite TV dishes and their associated
microwave receivers; as well as some listening time using the giant antenna at
The next SETI scientist I was familiar with was John Kraus. Kraus was the author of “Electromagnetics”,
the text book which I had to use in college for a two semester course on that
subject. He also authored a text book
called “Antennas”, which is probably the best antenna book for the few people
who can deal with the dels and curls of Maxwell’s Equations. Kraus
was, no doubt, a pioneer of Radio Astronomy, and so one wonders why a man of
such credentials would promote SETI.
This all came about by what was known as the WOW signal. Apparently while performing radio astronomy,
an unidentified coherent signal was received by Kraus’ “Big Ear” at
I am now going to introduce another equation, which is more relevant than Drake’s equation. I came across versions of it when I worked with ECM receivers, which are microwave receivers for receiving signals from friendly and enemy radars. They are similar to the fuzz busters that motorists use to get warned about police radar traps, only much more sophisticated. The ranges that these units need to cover are trivial compared to the distances to any possible communicating planet, but in spite of that, the basic range equation remains the same, as it contains the same functional parameters which can be used to calculate the maximum distances from which discernable signals can be received, which could be able to overcome the losses of the space attenuation that is caused by distance.
. It may be easier to get there by using
the Goggle browser and clicking on: One-way Radar Range Equation. I’m running out of space here so I’ll leave
you at this point and continue next month.
Meanwhile if you like to do math, you can play with this equation,
putting in the best parameters that you think the alleged ET geniuses might have
in the way of microwave power, antenna, selected wavelength, etrc.. You can find how many miles or kilometers are
in a light year and how many light years (
Our May meeting was held at the Bethpage Credit Union
building. It was a nice meeting room, set up with all the A/V equipment that we
would need. Our turnout was low as usual, but we had a video, and lots of good
coffee and donuts. The usual suspects were in attendance, plus some folks we
don’t see to often. Our next meeting is June 21st at UL in Melville.
We’ll try to start the meeting at 5:30. I’m not quite sure what we will be
doing for entertainment, but I have some really good possibilities. One is
somewhat interesting. It seems that last year, a couple of DXers went to
At the June meeting, we will have a brief discussion of our upcoming Field Day operation on June 24th. I spoke about this in some detail in the last newsletter, and will try to finish it all up next week. Hopefully, you can spare a few hours working with us that weekend. See you then. –Pat KE2LJ
GRUMMAN AMATEUR RADIO CLUB
MINUTES OF GENERAL MEETING 5/17/2006
Karen KC2OPX (not present)
The meeting was called to order at 5:57 PM by Pat.
TREASURERS REPORT – Ed, WB2EAV REPEATERS – Gordon, KB2UB
continue to be in good shape. There is need to move the
VE REPORT – Bob, W2ILP NET REPORT- Zack, WB2PUE
Karen, KC2OPX upgraded to General Class. The Sunday Morning Net was poor as all could
Another applicant passed General written test not copy each other.
but failed 5 wpm CW.
VEs present were AB2NT, KC2HNN, W2ILP and W2QUV.
Field Day preparation was discussed. Field Day 2006 will be held in the same location as last year.
Some new ARRL rules award extra points if new or young hams operate.
Miller, NN2C brought a recording of a DX expedition to
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 9:00 PM EST Thursdays.
[Tone for both repeaters is 136.5 Hz] (ARES/RACES) Mondays 9 PM.
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
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.
INTERNET LINK OF THE MONTH FOR INTERNERDS
One good contact often may lead to others. While monitoring the Hellschreiber reflector I saw that experiments continue with different flavors of Hell, as well as new digital modes. There are several programming hams who are experimenting with software that they develop and they build upon a basic audio spectrum analyzer as they experiment. The software to generate this audio spectrum analyzer is made available by DL4YHF at:-
http://www.qsl.net/dl4yhf/spectral.html Actually this is a home page which can link you to the software, once you decide to get it. I suggest that you print out the 7 pages at this address with a color printer and read about the “Spectrum Lab” features and applications for yourself. The spectrum analyzer, that you can then create, can enable you to acquire signals in a waterfall display, similar to the software for digital modes previously discussed in this newsletter. It can do a lot more, including displaying signal tracks in lots of different colors, and many possible applications are mentioned at the web site above. I don’t have space to explain further here but details are on the web site. The program loaded easily, but not from the slow qsl. net site as explained. If you have a set up for digital mode connections that is all you will need, but if not, all you need do is connect the audio output of your SSB HF transceiver or any radio receiver to your computer’s sound card audio input and you are in business. DL4YHF has been able to make a direction finder for a VLF receiver.
The Spectrum Lab spectrum analyzer could be used as a tool to acquire and identify the mode of any signal, but don’t waste your time looking for ET signals….Read my analyses of the SETI program in this and the next issue of this newsletter.
Mel Cohn, K2MC, pointed out that I had made in error in my Hellschreiber article last month. I had said that Art Linkletter said, “Aren’t we devils?” on a show called “Truth or Consequences”. It wasn’t Linkletter who was the MC. It wasn’t K2MC either. It was RALPH EDWARDS. Goggle confirmed that Edwards passed away in November 2005. Linkletter ,who said “Kids say the funniest things”, is still alive and kidding.
Dave Ledo, AB2EF, gave me an article from “Electronic Products” magazine, to read and ponder over, titled “Carbon Nanotubes Boost Ultra Capacitor Storage Density”. I might discuss this technological nano-progress in the development of nano batteries in a future newsletter. Right now my nano-brain cells are busy thinking about giant Suns that are many light years away in our galaxy, so I admit it is difficult for me to switch into the nano mode at present.
Bob Christen, W2FPF e-mailed me the solution to the May cryptogram. In spite of my error in encoding the ‘r’ in ‘prefer’, Bob solved the puzzle. He must like cryptogram solving as he began to work on this one as soon as he infolded his May “CQ de…” at the board meeting.
Here is another cryptogram:
ZHZ EJB CMCT KCVT JQ V YHZ INVEHAS VUUJBAWVAW CMCA HQ KC GVAWCZ WJ DC JAC? --RVUYHC PVXJA—
Solution to May’s
Cryptogram: WE PREFER TO BELIEVE THAT
THE ABSENCE OF INVERTED COMMAS GUARENTEES THE ORIGINALITY OF A THOUGHT, WHEREAS
IT MAY BE MERELY THAT THE UTTERER HAS FORGOTTEN THE SOURCE. –
CQ de WA2LQO June 2006 VOL.
79, NO. 6 EDITOR Bob Wexelbaum W2ILP (631) 499-2214 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS PAT MASTERSON, KE2LJ And 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: KE2LJ or W2ILP ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS If you want to
submit articles or amateur equipment ads via e-mail do the following: 1. For submission
direct to editor call him at above number to set up a transfer. 2. For e-mail
transfer: Internet Address I have received
the software for generating new tests for the Technician Class
License. This month will be the last
time that I will be able to use the old Tech tests. I’ll discard any that remain and print
new ones for July’s VE session, when their use will be mandatory. This month I started to write about SETI here and I will
continue next month. Please let me
know what you think about the SETI and OSETI programs and if you agree or
disagree with my conclusions. . Field Day plans are now underway and I hope that we will
be able to do some operating that I can report about in the next
newsletter. Since you won’t hear
from me via this newsletter until after July 4th , let me wish
all a happy Independence Day. 73, W2ILP (Intelligent Life Planets?) (Impossible Loony Propaganda?)
CQ de WA2LQO
VOL. 79, NO. 6
Bob Wexelbaum W2ILP
PAT MASTERSON, KE2LJ
And 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:
KE2LJ or W2ILP
If you want to submit articles or amateur equipment ads via e-mail do the following:
1. For submission direct to editor call him at above number to set up a transfer.
2. For e-mail transfer:
I have received the software for generating new tests for the Technician Class License. This month will be the last time that I will be able to use the old Tech tests. I’ll discard any that remain and print new ones for July’s VE session, when their use will be mandatory.
This month I started to write about SETI here and I will continue next month. Please let me know what you think about the SETI and OSETI programs and if you agree or disagree with my conclusions.
Field Day plans are now underway and I hope that we will be able to do some operating that I can report about in the next newsletter. Since you won’t hear from me via this newsletter until after July 4th , let me wish all a happy Independence Day.
W2ILP (Intelligent Life Planets?)
(Impossible Loony Propaganda?)
AMATEUR RADIO CLUB OFFICERS FOR 2006 President Pat Masterson KE2LJ V01-01 516-346-7125 Vice President Gordon
Sammis KB2UB Retiree 631-666-7463 Secretary Karen
Cefalo KC2OPX 1Yr Board Member
Zack Zilavy WB2PUE Retiree 631-667-4628 1Yr Board Member
Bob Christen W2FPF
2Yr Board Member
Bob Wexelbaum W2ILP Retiree 631-499-2214 2Yr Board Member
Jack Cotterell WA2PYK
Retiree 516-249-0979 Trustee
WA2LQO Ray Schubnel W2DKM Retiree STANDING
COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN Meeting
Programs Contact a Board Member FCC
Exam Coord. Bob Wexelbaum W2ILP 631-499-2214
Treasurer Ed Gellender WB2EAV X02-14 516-575-0013
1YrBoard Member Dave Ledo AB2EF
GRUMMAN AMATEUR RADIO CLUB OFFICERS FOR 2006
President Pat Masterson KE2LJ V01-01 516-346-7125
Vice President Gordon Sammis KB2UB Retiree 631-666-7463
1Yr Board Member
Zack Zilavy WB2PUE Retiree 631-667-4628
1Yr Board Member Bob Christen W2FPF
2Yr Board Member Bob Wexelbaum W2ILP Retiree 631-499-2214
2Yr Board Member Jack Cotterell WA2PYK Retiree 516-249-0979
Trustee WA2LQO Ray Schubnel W2DKM Retiree
STANDING COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN
Meeting Programs Contact a Board Member
FCC Exam Coord. Bob Wexelbaum W2ILP 631-499-2214
It is not as easy to clamp tube or AM screen modulate as one might expect. This is because the audio signal must be level shifted so as to be DC coupled to the screen grid and this requires some circuitry. The tubes used for RF finals and clamp tubes were not really designed for this purpose and because of that it is impossible to AM modulate at close to 100%. It is also impossible to over modulate, which is an advantage. The third grid of a pentode tube is known as the suppressor. Suppressor AM modulation has also been attempted. This can’t work with some tube types because what passes for the third grid is not really a grid. it is a number of small beam forming plates. Such tubes are called Beam-Powered Pentodes. Some have the beam plates connected to the tube’s cathode internally, making suppressor modulation impossible. The remaining possible way to modulate AM wise is to drive the tube’s cathode with audio. This is sometimes done in UHF transmitters where the RF tube (such as a klystron) has its control grid at RF ground, but it is not practical in other ham configurations.. So now we will leave conventional amplitude modulation and continue by talking about single sideband, which is the most popular mode for analog telephony that hams use today. When SSB became popular among Hams in the late 1950s , hams stopped using separate receivers and transmitters. Transceivers became popular because they were more economical. Many of the most expensive circuits involved with SSB were needed for both transmitting and receiving, so it became practical to build transceivers that could use the identical circuits for both. Next month we’ll talk about why SSB is advantageous and how SSB works.