by Ray Larsen
© 2011 (all rights reserved)
An article from the FEBRUARY 2011R issue of THE STAR BEACON.
HAM Radio and UFOs, Part 2.
The Universe is a mighty big place! Astronomical observations applied to currently accepted physics theories tell us that the farthest reaches of the universe are 14.7 billion light-years distant from here. It takes 14.7 billion years for the light from the most distant of galaxies a very long time to arrive and be registered by sensors in our telescopes. The Speed of Light (C in formulas) is 186,000 miles per second. That works out to a bit over 671,000,000 miles per hour! Our fastest spacecraft, launched in the 1970s to explore the outer planets of our solar system, have reached speeds around 38,000 MPH after energy stealing “slingshots” around Jupiter and Saturn.
These amazing little craft have been flying for over 34 years. They are so far
out there that their signals have become very weak, but they are still in radio
contact with NASA’s recently upgraded Deep Space Network, which should still
have communication until 2025, when the crafts’ atomic batteries will have
become too weak to power the transmitters reliably. The speed of the Voyager
spacecraft are decreasing more quickly than theory predicts, which is still one
of the many unsolved mysteries of science.
C may seem very fast to us, but in terms of the distances around the stars in our local galactic neighborhood, it is more like a snail. A signal to or from the nearest star, Alpha Centauri, takes about 4.3 years, one way. Signals around our solar system take seconds to hours. To the moon and back is 2.7 seconds. Energy emitted from a flare on the Sun takes 8 minutes and 19 seconds to arrive here on Earth. To our spacecraft in the outer solar system, it can take tens of hours for the signal to traverse the space.
Around the time that the basic structure of the universe, our Milky Way galaxy, and our place in it was becoming clear to scientists (early 1960s), astronomer Dr. Frank Drake developed the Drake Equation. Often mistakenly attributed to Dr. Sagan, it attempts to predict the number of advanced civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy, taking into account many variables.
Dr. Drake had been studying Pulsars, then a mysterious source of radio waves that come in pulses. When first discovered, some astronomers speculated that they were beacons built and operated by the very ETs we were looking for. Further observation revealed they are actually collapsed stars composed entirely of neutrons, hence the name Neutron Star. They rotate rapidly and generate an energy beam of radio waves. Like the sweeping light of a lighthouse, our radio-telescopes pick up the signal when the beam sweeps by our direction.
Out there in our galaxy and in other galaxies are numerous natural sources of radio signals and radio noise. Astronomy was once limited to the visible light part of the electromagnetic spectrum until Karl Jansky, a Bell Telephone engineer, was tasked with tracking down sources of noise that interfered with long distance calls. He found what he was looking for and it was coming from outer space, in the direction of Sagittarius toward the center of our galaxy.
Realizing that there was more to the information the universe was sending us, astronomers took this discovery and started building radio and infrared telescopes. They picked up plenty of interesting, but natural signals coming from objects like black holes, neutron stars, other collapsed stars, distant quasars and more. The signals were then mapped on top of the optical images of the same object. This data helped astrophysics research scientists figure out how the objects worked.
Dr. Drake went on to found SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Their primary objective is to detect radio signals, sent out by ETs on planets of nearby stars, not UFOs in our local area, which don’t exist in their belief system. SETI has used time on many large radio-telescopes to listen for ET signals from stars considered to be good candidates for having Earth-like planets. They listen on two primary frequencies, 1.42 GHz (the Hydrogen Alpha line) and 1.57 GHz (the OH Hydroxyl line) along with the frequencies in between.
Radio astronomers discovered that the background noise generated by stars in the galaxy (our Sun emits noise on all frequencies) is naturally lower at those frequencies. Lower noise levels increase the probablity of detecting a signal. So, they reasoned that would be the logical frequency band for ETs to use in sending out messages designed to be easily found by anyone listening.
So far, there has been only one signal picked up. The “WoW” signal was detected in 1977 by Dr. Jerry Ehman while operating the Big Ear radio-telescope at Ohio State University. A very strong signal on 1.42 GHz, it appeared to come from the direction of Sagittarius. To this day, SETI is still pointing radio-telescopes at that patch of sky, hoping to find the same signal again. So far, it has not re-occurred.
In addition to using the big radio-telescopes, SETI also has Home members who have built homebrew radio-telescopes using unwanted C band dishes from old satellite TV receivers. With new electronics added to the old dish, the Home SETI member now has a useful amateur radio-telescope for a very small cost, generally less than $1,000.
History shows that amateur astronomers make many discoveries missed by the pros.
Many of these radio-telescope builders are also HAMs. For a good example, see
the Web page for “drseti” below. Given the opportunity, many HAMs would not be
able to resist transmitting a signal in hopes of a nearby ET craft receiving it
and sending back a reply. This has been done many times and so far, no replies
have been received.
Paul Allen (Microsoft billionaire) has donated a large sum of money towards the construction of Dr. Drake’s vision of many small radio-telescopes in an array (the Paul Allen Array) that can point them all in a particular direction. The sum of all the small dishes equals a very big dish antenna.
On Nov. 17, 1974, Dr. Drake sent out a powerful signal on 2.38 GHz from the Arecibo dish (located in Puerto Rico), the world’s largest, aimed at the M13 star cluster. This signal will take 25,000 years to arrive and another 25,000 years for a reply to be received here. It is said that this was done to demonstrate the capabilities of some newly installed equipment at the telescope. This may be the strongest intentional radio signal sent by a professional astronomer, though around the turn of the last century, Nikola Tesla claimed to have sent out a signal and received replies (he thought they were from Mars or Venus), which are now thought to have been generated by natural sources.
Marconi also claimed to have received signals from Mars. In 1999 and 2003, a series of mathematics based messages were sent out from the very capable Evpatoria Planetary Radar (RT-70) under the direction of Russian communications scientist Dr. Alexander Zaitsev in Ukraine. They were called the “Cosmic Call” messages. Arrival times to the target stars are in the 20-60 year range.
Recently, theoretical physicist Dr. Stephen Hawking voiced his concern that it may not be a good idea to attempt to transmit to ETs, as this might give away our position in space, inviting a disastrous invasion. He must have been watching the TV series “Dark Skies” or “V”. I have some news for Dr. Hawking. It is too late. Signals from our radio and TV transmitters have been radiating out into space for nearly 100 years. Our early radio programs are out to about 80 light-years now. Signals from powerful TV transmitters are out to over 50 light-years. Such signals lose their strength at great distances, becoming buried in the galactic noise at about 200 light-years out and are no longer detectable.
Just imagine ET watching some of our early TV programs. It is certainly
possible. The frequencies used by our radio and TV signals are way below the GHz
frequencies SETI prefers to listen on. If ET did the same, they would never
detect our leaked radio and TV signals, missing out on Gunsmoke, Andy
Griffith and the young Johnny Carson. Today, because of the digital age,
fewer signals are inadvertently leaking out into space. All the old analog TV
transmitters have gone dark, replaced by low-power digital stations.
For those of us who have had UFO encounters or seriously studied the UFO enigma, it is obvious that Planet Earth is being visited by beings from civilizations advanced enough to travel the stars like we travel between cities and have been doing so for a long time throughout our history.
To move a physical ship through space at speeds faster than C requires a high level of propulsion and energy generation technology. It would be totally impractical for ET to use radio waves or any other form of electromagnetic energy (such as laser beams) to communicate between their ships and with their home planets, due to the inherent time delays imposed by C. They must have discovered a faster way to communicate. What in the universe could it be?
In the TV series “Star Trek,” a method called “Subspace” radio is used. A conventional electromagnetic radio signal using a special type of antenna is injected into subspace, which exists under our normal space-time. The signal is conveyed through subspace at about warp 9, arriving hundreds of light-years away in only a few hours.
Abduction reports often indicate that ETs telepathically communicate with each other and with the abductee. In July of 1952, George Van Tassel had his first of many telepathic contacts with Ashtar, who claims to represent the Galactic Federation of Light and commands a big fleet of spaceships. Van Tassel claims that, with the proper training, anyone can do this! On Jan. 19, 2011, Michael Ellegion reported on Coast to Coast about his recent telepathic communications with Ashtar. Though some experiments have been done, we really don’t know if telepathic communications travel faster than C, though it is thought by many ESP researchers that telepathy is non-local and instant, regardless of the distance covered.
Recent research in physics has revealed that certain fundamental particles can be entangled using super cold particle traps and laser beams. When separated by great distances, entangled particles are linked by something, because if an experimenter reverses the spin of one particle, the spin of its partner in entanglement follows suit and reverses its spin instantly, apparently violating the limit of C. Some leading edge theorists speculate that quantum entanglement may be the underlying physical basis for telepathy.
Gravity waves are another possibility; most physics theories predict that gravity waves move at C, but there have been experimental results finding speeds faster than light. Gravity wave detectors built on Earth have picked up nothing so far. A much more sensitive space-based gravity wave detector, LISA (Laser Interferometry Space Antenna) is planned (its launch is a top priority for NASA) and it will be very interesting to see what it picks up. NASA’s Web site proclaims, “Gravity is talking, LISA will listen.” The birth of a black hole and collisions of them should send out huge gravity waves. Like throwing a rock into a calm pond.
In the TV series “Stargate SG-1,” communication with SG teams on other planets is only possible when the stargate is open. The radio waves from standard, handheld radios travel through the wormhole (a shortcut in space-time) at the same speed a person would be transported from here to another planet.
Way back in the 1970s, I read a science fiction book (it won a Hugo award) written by Robert Silverberg, Tower of Glass. In the book, the Bill Gates of his time, Simeon Krug, wants to respond to an ET signal by building a mile-high tower of glass filled with mysterious equipment. He has the money and the android workers to get it built. Krug’s tower of glass is designed to transmit using Tachyons. The Tachyon is a particle predicted by physics theory to exist between C and C squared (a very fast speed, indeed). So far, no physics experiment has detected an actual Tachyon.
I think it likely that a future HAM experimenter will discover a method of detecting and transmitting Tachyons. Perhaps we will finally find the ET communications we have been looking for.
Be sure to tune in to TSB next month as we will explore some actual claimed
communications between HAMs and ETs.
Ray Larsen writes from Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
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