I haven’t thought about this topic in years…but it is one that has been bugging me forever.
Thanks to reader James W. for bringing this huge bit of SciWoo (where real science and real woo-woo) come together.
I’d like to get your learned opinion on the matter of long delayed radio echoes (LDEs). I didn’t realize that there was any real mystery to it these days, but according to this article http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2016/07/ionospheric-memory-the-mystery-of-the-long-delayed-radio-echoes/ the jury is still out.
Radio wave propagation is complex stuff. My swag is that it’s merely atmospheric reflection/refraction with some scattering sprinkled in under the right conditions, but I’m far from being a expert on such things.”
Let me begin by saying that I am part of the jury on this thing having run into my first Long Delayed Echo (LDE) back when I was still in high school, as I recall.
My radio was nothing special (although quite collectible by today’s standards): A National NC-300 receiver that I had “hotted up a bit” in the front-end and had tweaked on the AGC system. It was a great radio receiver.
On the transmitter side, it was a Johnson Pacemaker. This is a phasing-type single sideband radio with a single 6146 tube final amplifier which put out right around 90 watts PEP…not much considering.
And the antenna wasn’t anything to write home about: An inverted Vee type up on top of what passed for a “tower” – a 40-foot piece of irrigation pipe that my Morse buddy Terry and I had walked on a Sunday morning from way up past Northgate down to the north end of Beacon Hill in Seattle, about half a mile south of the old Public Health Service Hospital.
Here’s what happened.
As I remember (imperfectly) it was around 11 AM on a mid-fall day and Saturday. There wasn’t anything which sounded like I wanted to chime in on, so I put out the general call for someone to talk to: “CQ, CQ, CQ-20 meters…” followed by my callsign at the time.
I unkeyed and was ready to tune carefully for a reply.
You can imagine when I heard – right dead-to-nuts on the same frequency ““CQ, CQ, CQ-20 meters…” followed by my call sign again, just as I had spoken it.
This would have been 1967. I was a transmitter engineer in high school.
At first, I would have sworn it was one of those “big gun” stations down in California (we called ‘em Kalifornia Killowatts) having some fun with me.
So I tried it again…and again…probably a half-dozen times. And always the same delay.
It was in the vicinity of 13-15 seconds. No one, I don’t care how clever they are, could pull this off with a recording. I know because I would start calling while still hearing myself – which meant the other station would be transmitting and would not be able to hear me.
What’s more I had a great signal: Consistently 20 db over S-9. None of the selective fading, such as you will occasionally get, even on SSB going Long Path.
Short path is when you talk to Japan by aiming an antenna at Tokyo from Seattle. Long path is when a directional antenna is aimed at Florida and goes the “long way around the world.”
That’s not too unusual (long path is fun). But this? No soap.
This was a by God and for-certain LDE and it is something I have never been unable to figure, and it is an absolutely genuine mystery of science. Stumper for fifty years.
Do I have some theories? Frankly, yes…but none of them make sense. Let me tell you why.
One theory is that you can get a phenomena called “ducted propagation.” This is a common mode of operation, especially near the equator and it’s well described as “transequatorial ducting.”
The problem isn’t that it can’t happen. The problem is that I was dealing with a 15-second delay.
I put a pencil to it: Radio waves at the speed of light would have to travel 2.790 million miles.
OK, suppose we argue that it could work out….
Logic cuts us short: Transequatorial ducting would have to circle the earth (I started to sweat the first time I ran these numbers in 1967) an astounding 111.6 times. And still have a 20 db over S-9 signal? No way, Jose.
OK, the next theory that came along was that there might be plasma clouds in space that reflected the signal.
Again, the numbers didn’t wash…and neither did the signal strength. To see, that would place our plasma cloud about 1.35 million miles away from Earth.
Oh, and did I mention that is almost four lunar distances?
No, that might work if the signal was really way, way the hell down in the noise at the threshold of my “hot receiver.” But this was like I was one hop away from myself…
There are other ideas I have tinkered with in the past and one is that this might have something to do with the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics. Under the MWI, the world is constantly splitting off into copies of itself, and then periodically, the branch we are on reconverges. But when it does, things are only close but not perfect. And if you happen to be on a planet which is bifurcating, you might hear “version one” of the planet going off into one Hilbert Space while the one I was on was sailing off in some other direction. Perhaps, at these precise instances, there is an opportunity to “map” the multiverse if you could get a high level of precision on how the split was occurring.
I don’t remember anyone putting this in a book, but since I’ve been working – scratching around blindly is more like it – on this change of mass at dimensional boundaries, it would sure make a hell of a lot of sense if the USGov up at HAARP was trying to map this phenomena with an array of radio receivers around the country (and world – we do have embassies and such…).
Everyone can visualize the semi-regularity of Old Faithful at Yellowstone. Might there be something along the same lines – a predictable effect under definable conditions – that could have a space travel, teleportation, military, or dimensional doorway/stargate relevance?
I hate to admit it, but yes.
Writing in 2012, Stan Horzepa wrote a column on the American Radio Relay League web site with world an even more incredible LDE:
“One story that originally appeared in Reader’s Digest, but showed up in Edwards’ book most definitely astounded me back then, just as I was just getting my feet wet in the radio hobbies. It told about the reception in Great Britain of a television broadcast from a Texas station over three years after its transmission!”
A Houston TV station being picked up in England is also told. Since that reported dated to 1953, a grand conspiracy novel would be written based on the fact that in the 1960’s, Europe went to the PAL color TV standard while the US stayed the course with the NTSC standard. (These had to do with lines and blanking, but they are not compatible and my, what a great way to keep the sheeps from the peeps, huh?)
On the DF5AI website, we learn that although LDE’s – such as mine – are most common on HF (3-30 MHz) but have been reported at 1,296 MHz, and sorry, but that would tube most plasma theories due to attenuation.
The article linked from Dr. Grassman (DF5AI’s) site to this article in VHF Communications from back in 1993 is also instructive. My report isn’t shown because, frankly, I didn’t know who the hell to report it to and most hams I told it to thought I was nuts. (Not that they were wrong, mind you.)
The most intriguing concept, again credit to Dr. Grassman, is this:
What if there is an interplanetary probe sitting somewhere up in space and it is “learning us” and is imitating us?
When you think about it, that would be a simple method for an advanced civilization to set up a kind of “Early Warning System” of warring species that might be inclined to bring warfare off their own planet, a path we are already well along…
IF this was the case, then such a probe would respond to periodic on and off radio calls – which would explain the wide frequency spectrum involved – way out of the realm that one would expect for a “nature” phenomena which I’ve observed to be either peaky as in a spike or Gaussian curves. The LDE effect is way outside that box.
The other thing – and most people don’t think about this much, I suppose, but since James W. made the mistake of asking, it could well be a warning.
A receiver and retransmitter orbiting far, far out in space might be just the ticket to either encourage the upright apes to “come on up” – but the ape set might be well-advised to be quite circumspect in their advances.
Humans don’t do so well with subtle, but imagine the existence of such a probe this way: Should it be telling us that we have been being checked by an orbiting “baby monitor” for eons?
And if so, has the LDE/”baby monitor” already gone off and called in the parents?
This would perhaps explain why Independence Day (I and II) are such interesting movies, along with the whole genre of apocalyptic films: Yes we (the kids) are not following the rather reasonable “house rules” that the “Parents” set down, even though they have been replanted several times where they have sprouted at monetarily-oriented religions, more power trip than much else.
The missing piece is what happens when the Parents show up – which shouldn’t be too long now that LDEs have been around a while.
I can see them sizing up the damage we have done to our room (Earth) and being properly pissed that we haven’t followed the sage advice in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
Namely to be “excellent to one another.”
They likely won’t come from space. It will likely be a dimension warp – which means we won’t see it coming, either. Or where we will go.
Yep…those parents are going to be super pissed, I expect. But then we’ve known that. The religions that have an unhappy endings and judgment time sketched-in have probably known it would come to this. Maybe even had a hand in causing it by throwing in with the really sick and egotistic to make it so.
And if an orbiting baby monitor is the source of LDEs…it may be getting too late to clean up our room.
Right around the time we set the room on fire with global war…2024 sounds about right – I expect parental intervention. Dial in the Crash of ‘17 and toss in seven years of tribulation.
Another sterilize and restart may be prescribed, but we know this wasn’t the first time anyway. We just lock up shit in the Smithsonian and the real versions of Warehouse 13 and pretend to be the grown up.
DFW. (dead freaking wrong)
Thanks Jim for asking. Not sure you’ll like the answer.
File under SciWoo.
Write when you get rich,