Ha Ha, So There!

David Stinson arc5 at IX.NETCOM.COM
Wed Nov 18 13:12:15 EST 1998

I've been listening to all the HF USB traffic
on 11175 KC while our forces rattle their sabers
at the Quaq from Iraq.  It's pretty neat to hear
"Sky King, Sky King, do not answer..." again.
Better listen while you can, folks.
HF phone links are going the way of CW.
I haven't heard anything on the old nets
like Quebec (6761) so maybe this is what
they have left.

All this advanced, juiced-up and mega-speed
digital-networked super encrypted comm systems and a few
flecks of comet dust make them warm-up the R-390s.
Gotta turn them sats away from the sand storm.
The total sat bandwidth available is probably quite
limited right now.  I'm guessing the routine traffic
is going HF while the sats take only the critical and
extra-secure stuff.

I'm reminded of an article in a technical journal
I read last year.  Seems there was this big conference.
With the change from simple, analog RF systems which served
customers well to interlinked, digital-encoded, multi-phase-
delayed multi-site simulcasted RF had come something else--
wide band noise.  All the assurances from high-powered
engineering labs had not prevented the laws of physics
from creating thousands and thousands of low-level mixing products.
Some repeater sites had become nearly unusable due to a
huge increase in noise floor and whopping intermod problems.

What to do?  Most of the conference was devoted to
even more complicated devices that will attempt
to communicate through and around the noise.
We old techs know that chopping the signal up
and attempting to sync it in even more complicated
ways is only going to make the problem worse in the long run.
Don't tell the young engineers-- they'll just roll their
eyes and keep believing their professors.
The house of cards will fall in its own good time.

At the Test Site in Nevada, we used simple analog systems for
many years with great success.  One dark day, some devil
whispered in the ear of someone with enough "juice" to convince
the grand poo-bahs that we needed to move into the "20th century."
We were forced to scrap our successful, reliable analog systems
for digital, mulit-site simulcast systems.

Years of time, thousands of man-hours of labor and millions
of tax-payer dollars expended--
and this "modern" system is about as reliable and useful
as a system of semaphore-flag wavers.  We traded a system
with a dozen failure modes for a system with a hundred-
dozen failure modes.  The results were predictable.

The greatest fictional character ever for someone with
solder-flux flowing in their veins has to be
that legendary problem-solver,
Chief-Engineer Montgomery Scott of Star Trek.
He spoke a bit of wisdom that should be stencilled
on the wall of every engineering department:

   "The more complicated they make the plumbing,
    the easier it is to stop-up the drain."

73 DE David Stinson AB5S
arc5 at ix.netcom.com

Occupied Texas, CSA

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