Thought for the day: Do you think electrons have a negative influence on society?
Amateur radio operators employ a wide range of methods to get their radio signals from one place to another. Today, I'm gonna tell you about one of the more unusual ones.
Now, I don't know exactly what prompted the first contact of this kind, but I like to imagine it went something like this:
Amateur radio operator Harvey Ham and his long-time girlfriend Hope were enjoying a romantic evening together ...
Harvey: (pensively) Especially that moon.
Hope: Almost looks like you can touch it.
Hope:(fanning herself to blow whiffs of fragrance his way) Getting any ideas?
Harvey: (still pensive) I sure am.
Hope: (smiling) I've been waiting a long time for this.
Harvey: Really? Just came to me. (distracted and mumbling) ... a lot of directionality ...
Hope: Direction? Yes, I think this is definitely the right direction for us.
Harvey: (still distracted and mumbling) ... a heckuva lot of gain ...
Hope: (growing impatient) Yes, gain! We have a lot to gain! So, pop the question already!
Harvey: Um, okay. (He turns to her and peers intently into her eyes.) Do you think I could bounce a radio signal off the moon?
That's right. Believe it or not, EME stands for EARTH-MOON-EARTH.
And although Harvey may be lacking in the romance department, he's absolutely right about requiring a heckuva lot of gain (and power) to finesse a moonbounce. But that's exactly what some amateur radio operators do. With the use of impressive antenna systems, they focus a high-powered signal directly at the moon. The signal then bounces back to earth, where another EME operator can receive it.
Here's a peek at some of the antennas at the home of Georgia's own EME guru, Ray Rector, WA4NJP.
Here's Ray with some of his EME dishes, which he designs and builds himself.
And here's a better look at some of those stacked beams.
Yup, no telling what an amateur radio might use to send a signal, or what he might use as an antenna, either. That's only part of what makes the hobby so doggone ... romantic.