Apr

13

earth and moonArecibo, located in Puerto Rico has the largest radio telescope in the world. Its primary use is to listen for extra-terrestrial signals among other things. Next week (April 16th-18th), they're mixing things up by firing up the dish in transmit mode on 432 Mhz, aiming it at the moon and giving the small ham operators a shot at doing a little Moon Bounce (Moon bounce, or EME, is where you bounce radio signals off the moon and back to earth and carry on a conversation via the moon).

There should prove to be a pile up of immense proportion as this mission is geared towards giving the little guy a chance to do moon bounce and there will be about 300,000 guys trying to work the station. I won't participate as I've worked plenty of EME in my day and need to give someone else a chance to score this rare chance. Still, for those with police scanners and a decent homemade yagi antenna pointed at the moon, you should hear a helluva conversation in CW with occasional directions in voice SSB. I will listen to the operation but won't feel left out as I already got my fix of extraterrestrial communications, working both the International Space Station and Shuttle for a nice Quinella this week already.

Most people don't realize that there are hams on every shuttle mission, and there are always hams on the International Space Station which makes for some exciting radio work. Too bad that Ham Radio is a dying hobby, but that's a topic for another day.

Jeff Watson, surfer, speculator, poker player and art connoisseur, blogs as MOTU.


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