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SETI Is Amateur Radio
by Richard W. Wilson, W5ETI (email Chiefbroom @

Editor's Note: The following letter appeared on page 25 of the December 2000 issue of QST, the monthly journal of the American Radio Relay League.

I must take issue with a letter in the October QST titled "SETI is not Amateur Radio." Mr. Kadner seems to think the hobby is only about chatting and not about science, as though radio's connection to the sciences is something new.

He states that he got into Amateur Radio in the late '50s. In that case, he may have missed a great article titled "Astronomy and Amateur Radio" in the November 1943 issue of QST, written by Hollis French, W1JLK. In the article Mr. French proclaims, "Radio development has entered a stage in which the amateur experimenter of necessity must become an amateur in other vitally related earth and sky sciences. He must learn to understand and use new tools and apparatus in order to make the most effective use of the very high and higher frequencies. The factors which govern weather and the electromagnetic field of the earth - astronomical, meteorological and topographical. Radio is not strictly a terrestrial art. With advancing knowledge, ever closer relations appear between the science of astronomy and the art of radio communication. These are more evident as we pass the limitations of the old astronomy of position and enter the fascinating field of astrophysics, where radiation becomes the foundation of the science."

There have been many exciting articles published in QST over the years concerning the role that radio amateurs can play in furthering Earth and space sciences, including SETI. I believe the hobby of Amateur Radio can be broad enough to include whatever our interests dictate; there are no bandwidth limitations on our imaginations. Personally, I find the scientific application of radio, in any form, just as "romantic" as a good old down-to-Earth QSO. Besides, how much more exciting could a radio contact be than one with another world...a DXer's dream! I just hope they send their QSL info. That's a card and/or certificate I must have!

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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