LITTLE FERRY, NJ.., January 17, 1998-- For the past century, the hobby of Amateur Radio has challenged the technically inclined with its promise of instantaneous global communications. The world's radio amateurs, also known as hams, have contributed to virtually every breakthrough enjoyed by the telecommunications industry, including the development of the Internet. Ironically, the widespread availability of low-cost digital communications (including cellular telephone, email and the web) has in recent years slowed the growth in ham radio's ranks. Now the amateur radio community is revitalizing itself by applying its members' talents in search of other life in the cosmos.
"As our society becomes technologically mature, the role of ham radio has to change," observes Dr. H. Paul Shuch, a lifelong radio ham and the Executive Director of the nonprofit SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) League. "Searching for life in space requires the kind of radio skills which hams possess, and cannot be conducted simply by logging on-line. It involves the design and construction of antennas, receivers, and signal analysis hardware and software -- which is what ham radio is all about." With over 700 members in 40 countries on six continents, and a plan in place to grow to 5000 stations in its global radio astronomy network, The SETI League is "the ultimate ham club," according to Shuch. This week he embarks on a two-week lecture tour of Australia and New Zealand, as part of his three-year-old effort to inform and involve radio amateurs around the world.
SETI scientists seek to determine through microwave and optical measurements whether humankind is alone in the universe. Since Congress terminated NASA's SETI funding in 1993, The SETI League and other scientific groups have been attempting to privatize the research. Experimenters interested in participating in the search for intelligent alien life, or citizens wishing to help support it, should email to join_at_setileague_dot_org, check the SETI League Web site at http://www.setileague.org/, send a fax to +1 (201) 641-1771, or contact The SETI League, Inc. membership hotline at +1 (800) TAU-SETI. Be sure to provide us with a postal address to which we will mail further information. The SETI League, Inc. is a membership-supported, non-profit [501(c)(3)], educational and scientific corporation dedicated to the electromagnetic Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.
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