So what is the deal with these fast radio bursts, or “FRBs” from space? It’s been reported that a repeating source of these signals has been discovered and identified by the CHIME observatory located at the University of British Columbia. (BBC Story Here) So what does that mean to the Ohio Valley Experimenters Club?
Well to be perfectly honest, aside from being a pretty neat story, it doesn’t mean a whole lot to us unless they can speak PSK31, CW, RTTY, or DMR (even though that’s “not really ham radio” so I hear..). And although it would be pretty great to have one of our members make contact with the source of these radio signals for the first time, I have a feeling that the people of earth could probably find another more suitable resident smart person to ask the good questions. And lets just be brutally honest here, would we REALLY want our first contact with extra-terrestrials to be made by a ham radio operator? Although imagine the irony if the first contact was between a local ham here on earth, and some random alien-ham doing his/her thing on their planet. What do you think they would discuss? Because I’m fairly certain it would go something like this:
Earth Ham – “The weather here is pretty nice. We had rain yesterday, but it has since cleared up. I was able to pick up my medication from the Walmarts yesterday between rain storms which is good, but the XYL was pretty unhappy that I couldn’t get those gutters cleaned. Back to you Alien Ham”
Alien Ham – “Yeah its been pretty nice here too. But it rained acid for a bit, which hurt. My XYL was also unhappy I couldn’t clean the florp from my florpkens, but I’ll just have to do that another day.. 73 Earth Ham, and keep doing that hammy thing you do…”
Anyway, back to reality..
So what do the discoveries of these signals mean to the rest of us earth inhabitants? I don’t know. But what I DO know is that if we as hams could find some way to receive these signals using off the shelf components in our shacks, it could definitely add to the weight of their discoveries. Or at the very least, it could enable us to help validate or debunk whats going on so that we can move on to the next big scientific discovery.