Maybe it the case of having too much time on my hands or dreaming of the ultimate DX but lately I’ve been thinking about how hobby radio will evolve if we ever break free of this rock and colonize other planets (babble warning!).
The Earth has been leaking RF into space for decades and even with the impossible vast distances that our universe specializes in, they’ve still traveled a very long way. Transmissions at HF are pretty much useless as they aren’t able to get out into space and any type of communication between planets will be limited to higher frequencies (at least from inside our atmosphere).
Also directionally plays a huge part, as which ever way you look at it your going to have to beam a signal in the general direction of your target world.
This will mean a whole new set of tables just to work out timing along with which way to basically point an antenna or dish as you’ll have to take into account the Earths rotation, target planets rotation, both planets movement around their own solar system, relevant position of solar systems to each other…. and the list goes on.
EME (earth-moon-earth) where the moon is used as a reflector already gives us an idea of the technical aspects involved with the large amounts of power and stacked arrays or dishes needed to make this a success.
Maybe the challenge could come from a new form of QRP where lower and lower RF power levels are use to try and make contact with other colonies.
The Need for a Different Kind of Repeater
Beating the effects of all the ionization that surrounds our planet could be overcome easily by the use of geostationary ‘repeater’ satellites. Instead of using satellites to quickly span the curvature of the earth, they can simply be turned outward.
Unlike the feat of moving a large body of people and materials to another planet this satellite technology is already at our disposal with so many (private and commercial) comms satellites in use already.
Depending on the distance between worlds there’s also going to be a long delay between sending out and receiving a signal back. This isn’t going to be much of an issue within our own solar system, but start moving out of it and the simple QSO becomes a very long winded affair 🙂
Maybe its all too much Sci Fi, only time will tell but just imagine having a satellite gateway to another planet then transmitting via a SDR type radio while dealing with (hopefully) a totally different propagation to our own and doing it all in ultra slow motion because of the transmission delay, glorious!.