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02 Other Voices

George Hunt-Williamson's picture
Submitted by George Hunt-Wil... on Sat, 02/22/2014 - 13:37

What read we here?—Th’ existence of a God?
Yes; and of other beings, Man above!
Native of aether! sons of higher climes!

’Tis thus the skies

Inform its of superiors numberless,
As much in excellence above mankind,
As above earth, in magnitude, the spheres.

—Old Poem

2 Other Voices

Ancient records show beyond the shadow of a doubt that the saucers have been here for centuries. When radio was developed on the Earth, things began to happen.

The first report was made by the father of wireless himself, Marconi. In September 1921, J. C. H. MacBeth, London manager of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company arrived in New York and told astonished reporters that Marconi believed he had intercepted messages from Mars or some point in outer space. The signals, MacBeth said, had been received while Marconi was on his yacht in the Mediterranean conducting atmospheric experiments with wireless. Magnetic wave lengths high in the meter band had been picked up, although the maximum length of Earth produced waves at that time was 14,000 meters. The theory that the waves were produced by electrical disturbances was disproved by the regularity of the impulses. Although the impulses apparently consisted of a code, the only signal similar to Earth codes was one resembling the letter V in the Marconi code.

Marconi’s experiment is interesting because he, too, received the strange V. In almost all of the radio contacts made by Mr. R, this letter was frequently given.

In the following years, as radio was developed, a number of interesting discoveries were made. L. W. Chubb, director of research for the Westinghouse Electric Company, in announcing the perfection of beam radio transmission, stated that if communications with Mars was ever established, it would have to be with ultra short waves directed like a beam of light in order to penetrate the atmospheric layers above the Earth’s surface. Ultra-short waves are the nearest approach of radio waves to regular light waves. The Heaviside-Kennelly Layer is about seventy miles above the surface. At double that height is the Appleton Layer. These are layers of ionized gas that reflect radio waves. The Heaviside-Kennelly Layer reflects medium waves and the Appleton Layer the short waves. Beam transmission experiments, however, were made by the Danish expert, Hals, and two Scandinavian scientists, Stormer and Peterson, and they found that certain short waves penetrate both layers and travel far out into space.

Their signal echoes arrived from three to thirty seconds after transmission. Since the velocity of radio waves is the same as light, 186,000 miles per second (now known to be faster), it was obvious that the “layers” or bodies that reflected these signals were located at from 280,000 to 2,800,000 miles from the Earth. Apparently even these “layers” far out into space could be penetrated by a beamed wave approaching a regular light wave which passes through all ionized barriers.

Plans for a regular light beam signal were made by Harry Price, director of the National Laboratory of Psychical Research in London in 1930, but the project was abandoned due to insufficient funds. The site selected was the summit of Jungfraujoch in the Bernese Oberland, 11,000 feet above sea level. Ten tons of magnesium was to be ignited in oxygen in the focus of reflectors, and the beam directed on the snowfields of the Martian pole. This colossal flare, it was believed, would certainly bring a response if there were intelligent beings on the mystery planet.

On the night of 22 August 1924, the planet Mars approached to within thirty-four and a half million miles of the Earth. Radio silence prevailed from the broadcasting stations and scientists listened for a possible message from across space. Station WOR at Newark, New Jersey, was the first listening post to report. Other stations followed. And in Washington, DC, a photographic film record of the impulses was being made which has never been understood.

Plans for the experiment had been carefully laid. Dr. David Todd, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy at Amherst College, was the organizer of the international “listening in” test. At Dr. Todd’s suggestion the United States Government, through channels of diplomacy, requested that all countries with high power transmitters silence their stations for five minutes every hour from 11:50 p.m., 21 August to 11:50 p.m., 23 August. C. Francis Jenkins, of Washington, D C, had only recently invented a radio photo message continuous recording machine, and he was asked by Dr. Todd to take a record of any signals received during the experiment.

The recording device was attached to a receiving set adjusted to a wave length of 6,000 meters. Incoming signals caused flashes of light which were printed on the film by an instrument passing over its surface from side to side. The film was in the form of a roll tape, thirty feet long and six inches wide, and it was slowly unwound under the instrument and light bulb which responded to the transmitted sounds.

The Jenkins device was in operation for a period of about thirty hours during all moments of silence while Mars was closest to the Earth. Then the film was developed, and on 27 August, the astonished experimenters called in newspaper reporters. The film disclosed in black on white a fairly regular arrangement of dots and dashes along one side, but on the other side, at almost evenly spaced intervals, were curiously jumbled groups each taking the form of a crudely drawn human face. The inventor did not think that Mars was the cause of the phenomenon, but he said, “The film shows a repetition at intervals of about a half-hour of what appears to be a man’s face, and it’s a freak which we can’t explain.”

Although admitting that he was at a loss to explain its significance, Dr. Todd took a more serious view. He said, “We now have a permanent record which can be studied, and who knows until we have studied it, just what these signals may have been?” Army code experts worked on the film for some weeks without reaching any decisions, and a copy of the film was given to the radio division of the Bureau of Standards. The film is there today, and it is claimed it has never been understood.

It seems the significance of the human face is obvious, taking for granted it did come from somewhere in outer space. A crudely drawn human face would be a “calling card” of the human race anywhere!

The film had only deepened the mystery of the dots and dashes reported heard by widely separated operators of powerful stations. News dispatches of 23 August announced that R. L Potelle, chief engineer of Station WOR, Newark, New Jersey, between 7:30 and 10:00 p.m. on the preceding evening, received a series of dots and dashes that belonged neither to the Morse nor Continental codes. The signals were steadily repeated. After hours of study, the engineer decided that the word being transmitted was EUNZA. The word has no meaning in the languages of earth.

The word EUNZA reminds us again of our radio experiments. You will note later that we received the letters E U. It is possible that there is some connection? Is our E U really just a part of EUNZA?

An attempt to contact Mars by radio was made in October 1928, by Mansfield Robinson, a London lawyer, through the Rugby station in England. The message was sent on an 18,700 meter wave length, and it was hoped that some sort of response might be heard. A few minutes after Robinson’s message went out through space, Professor A. M. Low, the famous English scientist who was listening in, received a series of signals on his radio. He said: “It was a mysterious message, but it is hardly likely that it could have come from Mars. However, I must confess that I do not know who sent it. It was a series of dots and dashes.”

Here was a group attempting radio contact with Mars, yet when they received a reply they refused to accept the obvious! That is as stupid as deliberately going to the telephone, dialing a certain number, and when the party answers, saying to him: “I can’t understand you, but you couldn’t be my party anyway.”

Strange things were happening amongst the amateur radio men, too. In July of 1950, Byron Goodman (W 1 DX), Assistant Technical Editor of QST (official organ of the American Radio Relay League, Inc. and the International Amateur Radio Union), wrote an article entitled, “The Loneliest Ham in the World.” This article appeared in QST (Volume xxxiv, No. 7).

Mr. Goodman’s strange account and experience follows:

It was a good convention, although the rains may have held down the attendance a little. At the DX meeting I mentioned how at League Headquarters we often enjoy the confidences of foreign hams who are forced to operate under cover, and how these operators in the less “enlightened” countries really have a tough time of it. It just happens to be one of the interesting sidelights to working at the League, and I’ve told about it lots of times, without giving away any calls, of course.

The wind-up banquet was over early, and I figured it was a good chance to catch up on my sleep. But just as I got to my room the phone rang, and a voice at the other end asked if he could come up and talk a little DX. Well, no matter how tired you are you don’t pass up something like that, so I told him, “Sure. Come on up.”

I’d put my guest in his 50’s, but of course you never know. He told me his call, which didn’t ring any bells, and his name.

He took his with soda, and then announced, “Boy, I’ve worked more DX than anyone else in the world.”

Oh, brother! I thought. A crackpot. I know W1FH and a few of the others, and this guy wasn’t one of them.

“I don’t follow you, Mike,” I said. “W1FH has the most confirmed, and there are a few others right on his tail. How many have you got?”

“If you mean countries,” he said. “I don’t have any. I’m talking about real DX. I have to tell someone or I’ll bust. I figure I can talk to you because you know how to keep a confidence.”

“Oh, you can trust me,” I said, knowing I had about forty pounds and a few years on him. And I was closer to the door. “What do you call real DX?”

He sipped his drink and looked straight at me. He didn’t look like a nut. His eyes were clear without the glitter, and he wasn’t a nervous type. “Planets,” he said quietly. “I’ve worked four of them.”

My first reaction was to gag it and ask if he had the QSLs, but then I thought better of it. “What makes you think I’ll believe that, or even think it’s funny?” I asked.

“Look, it’s early,” he replied. “Come on out to the shack and I’ll show you. The Eastern train goes out at 9 a.m., and I’ll bring you back before midnight. You’ll get your beauty sleep.”

I’m a sucker for any new angle, so I went. He briefed me while I watched his Buick’s headlights take us through town and out the highway. “I got interested in 5 meters when hams were debasing tubes to get on 20,” he said. “That’s a long time ago, and I hadn’t had my ticket very long. There wasn’t a soul around here on 5, but I didn’t know enough to realize there weren’t a lot of fellows on across the country. After all, QST reported activity there.”

“That was before my time,” I explained. “Don’t blame me.”

“I called CQ on 5 every night every ten minutes for I don’t know how long,” he continued. “Then one night, as I turned around after my second or third CQ, I heard someone calling me. I was so shaky going back I almost pulled the key off the table. The signal signed MA1A but I never gave it a thought.””

It was someone I could work, and that was good enough for me. I gave him a signal report and signed over. He didn’t come back! I was frantic! Here he was, the first station I’d ever raised, and I lost him! Then, fully seven or eight minutes later, I ran across his signal acknowledging my report and telling me I was very weak. He wasn’t weak at all, and before we were through he had told me how to build a decent antenna, although I had a little trouble at times understanding his English. It was a screwy kind of skywire, like nothing in the books then or now. We made a schedule for the next night, and during the day I built the antenna. When schedule time came I called with a lot of confidence, but no answer. Then, after a lapse of about seven or eight minutes I heard him! This time we chewed the fat for five hours, always with the delay in his comeback. What he told me that night left me in a daze. He said he was on Mars! They had heard me calling QC every night, and practicing the code in between, and they had managed to dope out the language from what I had sent all those months. It’s true I had been amusing myself by practicing the code on the air-sending a page at a time from QST or Scientific American—but I didn’t see how they could figure out the whole language from that. It turned out that they hadn’t really, but after a few weeks of schedules and a lot of questions MA1A knew the language as well as I did. From the first he told me that if I mentioned this to anyone else our schedule would stop, so I didn’t tell a soul.

I kept looking for an angle. All I could figure was a big leg-pulling deal, so I rode along. “When was all this,” I asked.

“Oh, it started back in the 20’s,” Mike replied. “Since then we’ve moved higher in frequency, and he’s told me how to build in secrecy systems so no one will ever get on to us. I can’t tell you the details, but we never stay on the same frequency long enough for anyone to spot us. We swish through the 2-metre band hundreds of times an hour, but nothing would ever tag us except a TV receiver in that range.”

“And you’ve been keeping this schedule ever since?” I asked.

“That and a few more. When we first started, MA1A asked a lot of questions, and I noticed that when I told him about our aeroplanes and submarines and guns he wasn’t much interested. But since the war I have to go through all the magazines and papers for any dope on jet planes and rockets and atomic energy, because he asks a lot of questions about what we’re doing with them. Ever since he told me how to build a real antenna and a good station, we’ve had a solid circuit. He and his friends are smart ones, all right. The things they tell me always work, and it’s all stuff that hasn’t been in QST or even the I. R. E. Proceedings. As he helped me improve my rig, he started hooking me up with some of the other planets.”

This is really getting thick, I thought.

“Apparently these guys or things on Mars taught the earth language, at least my version of it, to the other planets, and told how to get in touch with me. I figured the whole thing might be a hoax, so I read up on astronomy and darned if everything didn’t check. Our dates were made only for times the other planets were visible on this side of the world, and the delay time always checked out on the button. The toughest place to get to was Jupiter, and I finally had to raise my peak power to 200 kilowatts before I could get through, although I’d been hearing them for weeks.”

What do you mean, “peak power,” I asked. “Are you using pulse?”

“Sure,” Mike replied. “It’s the only way I can get through and not have tubes that would look suspicious, just in case the law ever comes around. I put that in back in 1932, when I first worked Venus. Anyway, it’s part of our secrecy system.”

“How about phone? Didn’t you try it so you can hear what their voices sound like?”

“I suggested it,” said Mike. “But they said ‘No.’ Code was good enough for all they needed, they claimed. I figured they didn’t want to tip me off, in case they don’t have voices and would have to create artificial ones.”

It sounded reasonable enough, but I wasn’t buying any until I saw it. Just then Mike turned off the highway onto a dirt road, and we finally ended up in a small house. In the moonlight I could see a lot of masts.

“My antenna is made of wires strung from those poles,” Mike explained. “I change the directivity by phasing from the shack, and I explain to the few hams who have wandered by that it’s an experimental 40-metre beam. I’m never on 40, they don’t hear me, and they lose interest.”

Inside the shack the stuff looked real good. I didn’t see anything that looked like unusual techniques, though, and I wondered out loud about the secret stuff. Mike smiled and explained that the place had to look something like a ham station—the secret gear was hidden away and I was wasting my time snooping.

“When’s your next date?” I asked.

“Tomorrow night,” Mike replied. “But we can interrogate the band if you want, just in case someone’s on.” He warmed up the rig a few minutes and then threw a switch. The lights dimmed a bit and I heard a few transformers groan. A pip appeared on the panoramic and Mike centered it. He sat down at the table and worked the guy on the bug. The call was MM1F but I wasn’t impressed, because a lot of jokers with queer calls have sucked me in during the past decade or two, and I believe them when I get a QSL. Mike and MM1F exchanged reports and then chewed the fat about an ionosphere storm that was due, working fast break-in. MM1F could have been a ZL for all the difference it would have made in the procedure. I had to admire his fist, though it sounded just like tape. Then it dawned on me that the whole thing was a rib! There was no delay in the comeback! Some of the local boys must have planned the whole thing to make a monkey out of the New Englander. But the op at the other end had forgotten to allow some lag time! Pretty good, I thought, but they slipped up after all the elaborate built-up. I’ll just play along.

Mike signed off, there were no more pips on the screen, and he shut down and made a pot of coffee. We chewed about receiver sensitivity, pulse techniques, beam antennas, and the usual. I had to hand it to him—he knew all the answers. Occasionally I would get around to his rig, but he would brush me off on the tough questions with the excuse that they involved the secret stuff. On the way back to the hotel it was much the same deal, but he did give me a few ideas I’m going to try. That one about compound feedback has possibilities.

Mike made me promise I wouldn’t tell a soul about his work, declined a nightcap, and then I gave him the business. “By the way, Mike,” I asked, “why wasn’t there any delay on that planet MM1F you worked!”

“Oh, that was no planet,” Mike replied. “That was a mobile station, a space ship practically in our atmosphere. There are quite a few around these days, scouting the earth. Look me up when you’re out this way again.” He drove off before I had a chance to tell him I had the whole thing figured.

But have I? I just read about two airline pilots who have seen the darned things!

There are several things about Mike’s experience that tic-in with our own experiments. First of all, he said that the transmission from Mars, etc., was never “weak.” The signals we received were never “weak” either. He said that the language they used was strange. Could it be they spelled phonetically as they did with us? He also said that Jupiter was the most difficult planet to contact. You will note later our own radio records, and know that we had the same experience. They wouldn’t use radiotelephony with Mike, and they only used it once with us.

Yes, the saucers have been here for centuries, and the moment we developed our crude radio communication, they utilized that also.