Friday, May 22, 2015

"I Love Lucy" Seen by Aliens? Uh, No.

This month is the 58th year since the "I Love Lucy" Show's original run ended in 1957.

Someone on the Free Republic forum mentioned to me that the "I Love Lucy" Show might have been seen by aliens around some far star by now.
No, they can't watch "Lucy" (from "Galaxy Quest" [1999])

Uh, no.  Don't believe everything you see in movie.  Take it from a radio engineer, they can't.

Not every signal is designed for detection in a weak-signal environment, and the black-and-white NTSC television signal during "Lucy's" run in 1951 - 1957 definitely was not.

The transmitted signals of the original "I Love Lucy" episodes are now 63.57 light years (LY) from Earth.  The signal-to-noise ratio of these signals is so low-- and has been for a long time--that no physically-realizable receiver that could be built by our putative alien friends out there to receive them.  (With the physics and engineering we know, granted.)


Yes, really.

Suppose "I Love Lucy" was transmitted by a station that transmitted 1 Megawatt (EIRP) that was pointed toward our alien's system on October 15, 1951.  That's not much of a stretch; there were many VHF TV stations of that power class. Let's suppose it was on VHF TV Channel 6 (no longer used), which was on a frequency of about 87.8 MHz.

Let's further suppose our aliens, being far in advance of humanity, built an antenna dish in orbit 100 km (62 mi) in diameter, designed to point itself straight at us.  A dish of that size -- which no human effort could construct today -- has a calculated gain of 97.3 dB @87.8 MHz.  Compare your lowly log-periodic TV antenna at 11 dB of gain; our aliens' dish is 10^((97.3-11)/10) = 426.6 MILLION times better at "pulling in" signals than your average TV antenna.

At a distance of 63 LY, the free-space path loss is so incredibly high-- 366.9 dB at 87.8MHz.  Even with their monster antenna, the signal the aliens receive would be incredibly weak:  -199.6 dBm.  With this weak signal, there would be no possible way for the receiver to detect the amplitude-modulated video signal in the 6 MHz-wide TV channel, even if you immersed the receiver's first amplifier stage in liquid helium, a few degrees above absolute zero.  The thermal noise floor at -270°C is -125.8 dBm.  An NTSC video signal requires at least 50 dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for studio-quality video, and roughly 20 dB for snow-filled ghosts. Our aliens only have -125.8 - (-199.6) = -73.8 dB SNR.

No "Lucy" for them!

Even fictional Alpha Centaurians (4.3LY away) couldn't have seen the first "Lucy" episode in 1955; they'd receive it on their 62-mile-wide orbital dish at about -176.2 dBm, which gives them a non-usable -50.4 dB SNR.  Remember, they need +20 dB SNR for snow-filled reception.

Suppose they just wanted to hear Lucy's cackle, instead of seeing her smiling face.   Well, NTSC TV sound is modulated using FM, in about a 100 kHz bandwidth, using a ±25 kHz deviation.  Even if the aliens knew this ahead of time, and used frequency-compressive feedback in their receiver to reduce the speech bandwidth down to 60 kHz, this gives them a noise floor and SNR improvement of only 10 x log10(6/0.06) or 20 dB.  Even the Alpha Centaurians in 1954 would have had a -30.4 dB SNR on Lucy's voice.  And FM needs a 20 dB SNR just to beat scratchy old AM voice quality.

If the aliens aren't in our Solar System, or very nearby, they aren't going to see  our TV transmissions, historic or modern.   And them's the facts.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Ya Got a Drone On Ya, Jeh!

Sub-tyrant* for "Homeland Security" Jeh Johnson is worried about drones.  Not the government's drones, you understand, no, in his view, government must have a monopoly on surveillance.  No, Sub-tyrant Johnson is worried about drones in the hands of private citizens, Ol' Backwoods suspects, because they could be used to watch him and his fellow sub-tyrants.

"When the government fears the people, there is liberty." -- John Basil Barnhill, in a published 1914 debate with socialist Henry Tichenor.

Sub-tyrant Johnson, as quoted in the Weekly Standard, because his original statement was on a cable channel nobody watches:
Sub-tyrant Jeh Johnson,
DHS chief Jeh Johnson agreed with Chuck Todd that drones could make protecting 2016 presidential candidates more difficult. And, Johnson said as an example, he was a giving a speech recently when he looked up to see "a little drone flying over my head."
Yeah, I bet he's so worried about the 2016 presidential candidates, given that (if the Constitution as amended is followed) his regime's power will be coming to an end.

More likely, he's worried that the American people will record video-- and broadcast it over the internet -- from their drones, catching various sub-tyrants in acts of tyranny and treason to the Constitution.

Drones, like small arms, are a mighty advantage to people faced with government tyranny.  If you can record video of the tyranny being done, oppose it with deadly force, and then have a way to broadcast the tyranny far and wide, well, governments worldwide quail in fear of that kind of citizenry.
*Sub-tyrant - Ol' Backwoods new term for Obama's minions and enablers of tyrannical statism worldwide. Like it?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

"El Pres" & Target Stands

"El Presidente" IPSC Classifier
"El Presidente", a shooting drill created by Col. Jeff Cooper some fifty-ish years ago, is still part of IPSC, as a classifier stage.  It consists of two rounds on three targets spaced 1-3 yards apart (depending on the sport), a magazine reload, then two rounds again on each of the three targets. Par is getting all 12 rounds on the "A" zone of the target, in 10 seconds or less.  See the diagram at right (hat tip: Handguns Magazine).

Ol' Backwoods is dry-fire and live-fire practicing the "El Pres" these days to try to become a better pistol shooter.  It has all the elements required to be a better shooter: sight (re) alignment, trigger control, and magazine reloads.

The drill is shot left-to-right, then reload, then left-to-right again, with 2 rounds on each target as it is passed.  Watch the video of champion shooter Max Michel doing the drill, first at Grand Master speed, then at C-class shooter speed.  The latter is more like Ol' Backwoods' speed!

To be able to shoot the drill at the outdoor range, or on private country land, I'm building 3 target stands, like this one:

To build one of these target stands, you'll need:
  • About 12' of 1-1/2" Schedule 40 PVC pipe; the longest pieces are the uprights, at about 20" long;
  • (4) 1-1/2" Schedule 40 PVC Tees;
  • (1) 8' 2"x2" lumber, cut in half.   Actually, these are around 1.5" square, and are small enough with some trimming to fit tightly in the PVC Tees.
  • (4)  1-1/2" Schedule 40 PVC 90-degree elbows, to use as "feet"
  • PVC cement, screws
  • Masonite (which I used) or cardboard backing, so cheap paper practice targets can be used.
I've recently gotten Ben Stoeger's dry-fire book, and have been listening to Triangle Tactical Podcast a lot.  Luke from Triangle Tactical is an acquaintance of mine, from my GRNC days.

Happy shooting!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

This 2-Bit Tyrant Will Be Twice As Bad as Eric Holder

Yep, the Senate confirmed Lynch, and 10 "Republicans" voted against YOUR freedom:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Senator Orrin Hatch (UT)
Senator Lindsey Graham (SC)
Senator Jeff Flake (AZ)
Senator Thad Cochran (MS)
Senator Susan Collins (ME)
Senator Mark Kirk (IL)
Senator Kelly Ayotte (NH)
Senator Ron Johnson (WI)
Senator Rob Portman (OH).

The last 4 are up for election in 2016.

My Senator, Jeff Sessions (AL) was opposed:
“The Senate must never confirm an individual to such an office as this who will support and advance a scheme that violates our Constitution and eviscerates established law and congressional authority,” he said Thursday. “No person who would do that should be confirmed. And we don’t need to be apologetic about it, colleagues.”
Sorry, sir, but your colleagues did it anyway.

Mark it down, friends: this woman will try to bring stealth ammo bans, stealth gun bans, and all manner of schemes to deprive you of your natural and enumerated Constitutional rights.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Vanderboegh: NRA Negotiating with Democrats to BAN TRACER, 'SPECIALTY' AMMUNITION

Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea say their sources believe the NRA is about to stab gun owners in the back yet again.  If this is true, then Wayne Lapierre and Chris Cox has better explain why, and back out of any such negotiations NOW.

(As of 4/15/15, 0830CDT, this story is still unfolding, and Ol' Backwoods is still updating; MULTIPLE UPDATES BELOW.)

As explained by sources here and in the nation's capitol, the outlines of what one called "this cynical deal with the Devil" are as follows: 
1. The ATF will be let off the hook by broadening the "sporting purposes" language and legislatively negating their own determination that millions of heretofore legal pistol-grip shotguns produced over the past decades by companies like Mossberg are "destructive devices." 
2. The NRA will get to claim credit for, as one source said, "riding in out of the storm on a white horse and claiming to have saved millions of firearm owners from federal prison, even though," he added, "everybody in the room with an IQ above room temperature understands that politically and legally there is no (expletive deleted) way that ATF can enforce this ruling on anybody. They can't and they won't . . so" he concluded, "the NRA will claim to have saved their members from a boogeyman that never really existed." 
3. In return for allowing NRA to claim the credit, the Democrats demanded another ammunition import ban on "specialty ammunition," to include tracers. Some sources agreed that this last "gimme" was a "throwaway," in the words of one. "Look, their M.O. is to always demand more than they know they can get in to get the thing they really value. They'd like to get it but what they really covet is knocking a bigger hole in the Constitution by (widening the 'sporting purposes' language) . . . this deal will give them one big enough to drive Diane Feinstein's limousine through."
Get this, you linguini-spined NRA board members and directors:

"Shall Not Be Infringed" means exactly that!

We have got to fight, fight, fight this!

Why should good companies like Piney Mountain Ammunition be penalized?  There's not even any logic for this!  Where are all the mass murders using TRACERS?  Not that mass murders are an excuse to ban anything, but usually, the gun-grabbers try to make some connection.

These gun-grabbing fanatics and their political enablers must be stopped.  They will take, take, take, take, until there is nothing left to take, unless we the people stop them.

(Piney Mountain Tracer Demo)

UPDATE I: David Codreas's details on this treachery.

UPDATE II: The estimable Claire Wolfe comes to the table with a statement Ol' Backwoods agrees with 100%:
Any organization that claims to be pro-gun should want GCA ’68 gone. Not “improved.” Not “interpreted in a more favorable way.” Any organization that claims to be pro-gun should also want the ATF thrown into the dustbin of history. Not rescued from itself. Not made more efficient or more popular. 
The old JPFO, Aaron Zelman’s JPFO, was vocal in wanting both these obscenities banished, vanished, booted, and gone forever. 
Right on, and so do many of us Gentiles, too.  Read her whole article, particularly if you aren't familiar with the Nazi origins of the Gun Control Act of '68.

UPDATE III: Dean Weingarten, who was there when Vanderboegh confronted Chris Cox of the NRA, chimes in.

UPDATE IV: Chris Cox of the NRA denies everything.  Naturally, but it might also mean that the backroom deal has fallen apart. Good.

UPDATE V: Herschel Smith calls out the NRA Board of Directors.

UPDATE VI: Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea stand by their sources, despite the attacks.

UPDATE VII: Dean Weingarten posts a lengthy defense of Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea and their sources, on the Loaded Gear blog .  Dean, you'll remember, recorded the "ambush" interview with Chris Cox of the NRA, in which the latter denied that the NRA was negotiating to trade your rights away.

UPDATE VIII: Herschel Smith answers those who are screaming for Vanderboegh and Codrea to reveal their sources:
You know, people who demand to know sources are idiots.  What do they think – that journalists and bloggers are going to give up people who entrusted themselves to give needful reports?  I always protected my sources.  I expect David and Mike to do the same thing.  I would lose respect for them if they didn't.  It’s about more than just expediency.  It’s about honor.  People who demand to know sources don’t understand honor.
And, it's not like Vanderboegh and Codrea don't have a track record of accuracy and good sources.  Anybody remember Fast and Furious?

Friday, March 27, 2015

The 2nd Ain't a Right To Sporting Goods, People!


Good, thank you, Mike Lee (R, UT).  Emperor Zero ain't gonna sign it, but you gotta start somewhere.

But, from the article:
According to The Hill, Senators David Ritter (R-La) and James Inhofe (R-Okla) have also introduced their own amendment. More narrowly drawn, theirs focuses on the ATF by prohibiting that agency from “attempting to ban bullets that are primarily used by hunters and sportsmen.”
"Hunters and sportsmen"?


The 2nd Amendment is not the right to own and use sporting goods; it is the right to own and carry infantry weapons of military utility (per US v Miller, and the Founders), which includes handguns, light arms AND crew-served weapons (for SHAME, Hughes & Reagan!) that able to project deadly force at distance, that are equal in power to the Government's arms.

Anything less is capitulation and destined to put us in chains.

Yes, the citizens' guns are made to kill.  Get over it, simpering government boot lickers.

This unconstitutional Nazi (yes, I'm looking at YOU, Senator Thomas J. Dodd!) "sporting use" crap has got to be expunged from Federal and state law.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

In Which I AGREE With the Black Panthers?

Ayup.  Can y'all believe it?

Russia Today:
New Black Panther Party wants to ‘arm every US black male’
Now Darren X says he wants black people to start feeling safe again when they walk along America’s streets. 
“Our initiative is for black men and women to start arming themselves and for us to start patrolling our own communities. That way we have a visual, we have an eye on what is going on in our neighborhoods. So our mission is to arm every black man that can legally be armed throughout the Unites States of America,” he said.
Good for y'all, Darren X!  And this ol' bearded white guy agrees with you!  Come on down to my range; if y'all can be safe, we'll train together!

Y'all heard me.  Ol' Darren is speaking truth here.  People should be patrolling their own neighborhoods armed, no matter what color they are. The citizen militia is as American as the Constitution and the Liberty Bell.  Our problem today is a government monopoly of potential violence that has stood for too damned long.

Thing is, I've heard conservatives say that "too many blacks are armed." Wrong, and racist.   Bloomberg agrees with y'all if you think that!

No, disarming citizens is not the solution. Actions come from the content of the heart, not the content of the holster.

Not only do I agree with the Panthers here, I'll go farther: every black, every white, every Asian, every race, creed or color or American should be armed.   It is our birthright.  Every single American, even non-violent felons.

An armed society is a polite society. And besides, it's an enumerated Constitutional right.

If homey pulls a gun on me, unprovoked, I am well within my rights to pull mine in self-defense.  It's only right.  An armed society is a polite society.

Wild West? Nope, not quite. We should have it so good. Their crime rates were minuscule in comparison to our Democrat-controlled, gun-banning cities.

A few weeks ago, Ol' Backwoods was shooting pistols and rifles with a couple of black fellas on a shooting range in a majority-black county here in Alabama.  A lull had fallen over the range, and we were talking, about ISIS.  This middle-aged black man told me that if ISIS ever tried in Alabama what they did in Oklahoma or in France, that he and his friends "would cross racial lines" and stand shoulder to shoulder with whites, our rifles sighted against any invader or terrorist.  I believed him.  And I told him I would be glad to stand with that man and his friend in that day.

That, y'all, is America.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What's Wrong With America?

This now-classic 5-minute monologue by Judge Andrew Napolitano in 2014, which allegedly got him fired from Fox News, gives us the situation we are now in.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Techy Tuesday: Full-Duplex Chip is Nothing but Hype from Theoreticians

Ol' Backwoods is a seasoned old fart, and when I read hyped-up stuff like this, I just have to speak up:
New technology may double radio frequency data capacityA team of Columbia Engineering researchers has invented a technology — full-duplex radio integrated circuits (ICs) — that can be implemented in nanoscale CMOS to enable simultaneous transmission and reception at the same frequency in a wireless radio. Up to now, this has been thought to be impossible 
[horse hockey! --BE]: 
transmitters and receivers either work at different times or at the same time but at different frequencies. 
The Columbia team, led by Electrical Engineering Associate Professor Harish Krishnaswamy, is the first to demonstrate an IC that can accomplish this. The researchers presented their work at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco on February 25. 
“This is a game-changer,” says Krishnaswamy. “By leveraging our new technology, networks can effectively double the frequency spectrum resources available for devices like smartphones and tablets.”
Look, this ain't no "game changer", and if these pointy-headed scientists knew anything about practical radio systems, they'd know it sure ain't "impossible" to transmit and receive at the same time. (I worked on systems designed in the 1960's that did just that.)  It's just there's a more power-efficient way to operate a radio system.
Some of y'all know: I am a practicing radio-frequency (RF) design engineer, with over 25 years of experience, spanning products from gas pipeline telemetry to satellite communications to automatic water meter reading. I’m also a ham radio operator, and have been since I was 14 years old. Radio communications is literally my bread and butter, and my life’s work.
And Ol' Backwoods is telling you: this is hype. This is nothing but hyperbole to pump up the public perception of the work of theoreticians who have never designed a practical radio communications system. This is NOT a world-changing technology.
In fact, it’s more power-efficient NOT to do full-duplex transmission, like the old analog cellular phones used to do. Modern cellular and VOIP networks break digitized voice into “packets”, and the receiving of packets is interleaved with transmission of packets, so that the phone does not have to transmit and receive simultaneously. Yes, this adds a delay to the transmission, but unless the two people talking are in the same room (and why?), they don’t care about a slight delay.
Full-duplex voice belongs to a bygone era. Nowadays, it can be emulated by packetized digital voice techniques far more power-efficiently than real full-duplex.
If these people want to solve REAL problems, why don't they work on devices that would make a real difference to spectral efficiency, such as band-selective analog-to-digital converters (ADC's).

Friday, March 13, 2015

Obama: Guns as Easy to Get As Books, Fresh Vegetables (Two of these things have Constitutional protection, dufus)

Speaking during a town hall event at Benedict College on Friday, Obama asserted that in some places, it’s easier to buy a gun than it is “to buy a book” or “a fresh vegetable."
“And as long as you can go into some neighborhoods and it is easier for you to buy a firearm than it is for you to buy a book, there are neighborhoods where it’s easier for you to buy a handgun and clips than it is for you to buy a fresh vegetable — as long as that’s the case, we’re going to continue to see unnecessary violence,” Obama said.
They're "magazines," not "clips," you ignoramus.

I shouldn't have to explain this to a "Constitutional scholar", but two of the things you spoke of, Mr. President, are ENUMERATED CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.  The 2nd Amendment says you Feds (and now the states, via the 14th) shall not infringe our rights to own (that means buy) and carry a gun.  And the 2nd Amendment insures that the 1st and the others aren't breached.

Fresh vegetables are available, but they aren't protected from government infringement by our Founding document. Guns are protected from government depredations, same as printed materials are.  For millions of us, guns are just the same as books.

Get over it, Obama, you traitor.

And learn this: I WILL buy and sell guns, whether or not you domestic enemies of the Constitution make null-and-void "laws" against it.  (Go back and read Marbury v. Madison, you dunce-cap "Constitutional scholar.")  I will, and so will MILLIONS of others.  We are SICK of you perverting the Founders' Republic into your Marxist vision.

You want to see "unnecessary violence" ?  A civil war would be "unnecessary violence".  If you don't want one, stop pressing us, stop trying to take our birthright.  If you and your minions (e.g., B. Todd Jones) keep it up, one of these days, we will have to take arms as our Founders did when the minions of the mad King George tried to take their equivalents of AR-15's and M855 .  Why not avert "unnecessary violence" by leaving us the hell alone?

A final word: we will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER disarm.  Get it?