Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Revitalized Jamesburg dish Now Sending Texts to...aliens?

The once famous Jamesburg dish (wikipedia link), located in Carmel Valley, California, was restored and used by hams to do EME experiments and events after its prime mission to capture and relay communications from Apollo 11, Tiananmen Square, and Intelsat came to an end.

The massive 30m wide by 100ft tall Jamesburg Dish

The site was later bought by Jeffrey Bullis, sold the old communications equipment for scrap, and turned into a private nerd-topia. After his youngest son died, he sold the site and put it up on http://www.jamesburgearthstation.com/ .

A private company calling themselves Jamesburg Earth Station Technologies, LLC bought the site. This company spawned another, called Lone Signal, LLC. The executives come from diverse backgrounds -- entrepreneurs, fashion design, and hospitality execs -- along with a team of PhDs and engineers. No hams that I know of, though.

Anyway, the idea behind LoneSignal is to allow people to send texts and photos to star systems with potentially habitable planets. The current one is pointed at Gliese 526, a red giant star 17.6 light years away that's believed to have a planet inside it's habitable zone.

The first text is free, but the rest are about $1 a piece. You can buy bulk credits for a discount.

The 30m wide Jamesburg dish will be using a 2KW C-Band transmitter (6700-6875MHz) and will send the coded texts in CW and FM formats. Interestingly, in the FCC-OET Program Description, they'll be using an Icom ID-1 to modulate the FM signal. I'm sure the aliens are going to have a tough time demodulating D-STAR. :D

Their experimental license application is located here.

Using some quick math, the dish should provide about 64 dB of gain, and with 2 kW input, that translates into an EIRP of 5,931,547,041 watts.

That's 6 gigawatts.

TL:DR: In 17.6 years, the Gileseans may get my CQ. I hope they QSL via the bureau.

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