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by H. Paul Shuch
Executive Director Emeritus

Regular readers of this website are doubtless aware that my wife, Muriel Hykes, passed away a few months ago after a prolonged illness. Thus, I now find myself rattling around in a six bedroom, four bath, three story house with a four car garage, sitting atop 1/3 of a hectare of semi-rural hilltop in Hepburn Township, just north of Williamsport PA. Though the five sons Muriel and I raised here are long grown and gone, with families of their own, considerable other wildlife abounds in the virgin forest just behind the mostly empty house. Despite the idyllic surroundings, it is clearly time for me to downsize.

The ground level story of this sizeable residence houses the microwave circuits laboratory where I was privileged to develop numerous radiotelescope receivers, antennas, amplifiers, and back-end processors in support of The SETI League's educational and scientific mission. Just behind the lab sits the very first Project Argus station, now technologically obsolete but still marginally operational. Between that dish and the aforementioned forest, surrounded by a grove of forty tall Arbor Vitae trees, sits the still uncompleted Very Small Array, a test-bed and prototype for future SETI research radiotelescopes.

The VSA project ground to a halt with the 2007 global financial crisis, before its planned front-end and back-end electronics could be completed and installed. But, it served as a proof-of-concept which facilitated the issue of US Patent Number 6,593,876, "Adaptive Microwave Antenna Array," upon which much larger, more capable phased arrays may some day evolve. All of the above is thoroughly documented at this link.

The uncompleted VSA stands now as a testament to the tenacity of SETI science. I would hate for it, and the lab, to be parceled out to a salvage yard when I sell my house. But, maybe there's another way.

One of the few positive aspects of the recent COVID pandemic has been that it has taught many of us how to work from home. Might some enterprising SETIzen perhaps desire to escape big city life, settle in to a large house in the rolling hills of Central Pennsylvania, and continue the work I started here? If so I invite you, interested reader, to drop me an email to Come out for a short vacation (I certainly have plenty of vacant guest rooms!), take a look at the lab, the array, and -- oh, yes, the house, and maybe you'll want to play Let's Make a Deal.

The market value of a residential property can be easily estimated by a qualified real estate appraiser. But what is the value of preserving a piece of SETI science history? To borrow a catchphrase from the MasterCard advertisements... Priceless!

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in editorials are those of the individual authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of The SETI League, Inc., its Trustees, officers, Advisory Board, members, donors, or commercial sponsors.

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