Long Delayed Echoes

     Listening to Art Bell tonight and he related an incident where he heard his own 80 meter signal come back 3-4 seconds after transmitting.  While the distance to the moon and back is about right for that, generally moon bounce requires full legal powers, high gain antennas and frequencies much higher so that they penetrate the ionosphere, and even then voice is almost impossible, only narrow band Morse code which is very narrow bandwidth, is generally usable.  More over, the echo was a 20db over S9 signal not just above the noise threshold barely as you would expect with moon bounce.

     He tuned his transmitter up and down to make sure it wasn’t just someone sending it back to him somehow and it followed.

     I have also experienced this phenomena, but not as long of a delay and on 1200 Khz.  Back before 1210 Khz was in local use, I operated a pirate radio station on 1200 Khz, this was back in the mid 1970’s.  I had a radio to monitor our transmission in the studio.  One night when I signed off I heard the last second or so of our transmission after I cut the transmitter power.  A second at the speed of light is 186,000 miles, we were lucky if our signal reached 20 miles.

     I have read of many accounts of this phenomena, some with delays as long as 15 seconds.  I’ve yet to read a reasonable explanation.  The Wikipedia contains five theories, but none of them seem to account reasonably for the typically very strong signal strength of these echoes.

     I’m fascinated by these because I wonder if they aren’t tickling a much more exotic phenomena such as portals or some oddness in time.  All the theories given on the Wikipedia don’t seem to account for the signal strength of some of these phenomena.

     All of the incidents I’ve heard of have been relatively low frequency, 80 meter, 160 meter, AM broadcast band, but the Wikipedia documents cases at 432 Mhz and 1296 Mhz.

     Having been interested in TV and radio DXing for many years, I will note that there are many rare but interesting forms of propagation.  Even at optical frequencies interesting things occur.  One of the photos I use in my headers has a ship floating up in the sky.  Obviously the ship wasn’t really in the sky but differences in the density of the air bent the light reflection to make it appear so.  The same things and many others happen at radio frequencies.  So it might be something ordinary but at present unknown.  I find it fascinating none the less.

Voice of Vashon 101.9

     Today I heard one of the new low power FM stations while driving, “The Voice of Vashon”, on 101.9.  It had adequate signal to listen to except for interference from another station on the same frequency even though I was in Shoreline, probably 25 miles north north-east of Vashon.

     I wasn’t able to identify the other station.  The program material that was on was all in Russian and I don’t speak Russian.

     The station sounded reasonably well run, good audio, announcing, no dead air, and the signal was usable even out in Shoreline.

Dark Matter Digital Network

     I’ve added a new entry to the Resources list, the Dark Matter Digital Network.  This is an Internet broadcasting network that was assembled by Keith Rowland, Art Bells Webmaster.  It is absolutely superb.

     The audio quality of the Dark Matter Digital Network is very high quality throughout, and since unlike the old shows where guests were interviewed by telephone, with the attendant audio quality of a telephone, they are now interviewed via Skype and the network hosts, including Art Bell, also take calls via Skype.  As a result the show sounds like everyone is live in the studio.

     There are two audio feeds available free, MP3, and there is an AAC audio feed which is very high quality.  The show is in stereo so either listen with headphones or connect your sound card to your stereo.  You’ll want to take full advantage of the audio quality to fully appreciate the listening experience.

     The streaming feeds are free, even the AAC feed.  For an additional $5/month you can download podcasts of all past shows.

     In addition to Art Bell, Whitley Strieber’s Dreamland is there.  Art Bell airs 9-midnight weekdays, Dreamland airs 6-9pm Saturday.  Airing after Art is Richard Hoagland’s Other Side of Midnight show from midnight-2am.  They’ve got him listed on the website as midnight-4am, and he’s been wanting to do a longer show, but so far it’s been ending at 2am.

     Amateur Radio Operators will appreciate the QSO Ham Radio Show from 4-7pm on Sundays.

     This network is radio done right, technically superb, interesting, and fun.  Check it out.