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Operation Moon Bounce

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the boing dept.

Communications 103

linuxwrangler writes "Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first transmission of human voice via moon bounce. The voice was that of James Trexler and the technique became an important method of communication for the military that was used until the advent of the communications satellite. It is still a popular activity for ham radio operators."

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Packet #1. (4, Funny)

SIGALRM (784769) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793196)

... transmission of human voice via moon bounce ...

But then there is always the problem of...

Packet #2. (5, Funny)

SIGALRM (784769) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793201)


...latency in the transmission.

Re:Packet #2. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793220)

A whole few seconds.

Re:Packet #2. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793223)

that was one of the very few truly funny slashdot submissions ive read in a long time. congrats.

Re:Packet #2. (3, Funny)

f8ejf (755486) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793228)

I never thought I'd spill coffee through my nose with anything regarding EME. Well done! 73 de F8EJF

Re:Packet #2. (1)

overloadhz (734883) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793249)

If I only had mod points... that's one of the funniest... no, *THE* funniest, FP I've ever seen. GJ!

Re:Packet #2. (1)

Jacer (574383) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793425)

That was the most brilliant display of Karma Whoring ever, holy wow. I laughed my ass off.

Re:Packet #2. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793437)

It's a shame that Funny mods don't actually add to your Karma. Mod those two posts "Underrated"!!!

Re:Packet #2. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9794549)

Funny mods don't actually add to your Karma

Really? How do you know this...? I'm not doubting you, just was curious where you found this info?

Re:Packet #2. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9795251)

In the moderation FAQ, here:
http://slashdot.org/faq/com-mod.shtml [slashdot.org]

Note this is a fairly recent change.

Re:Packet #2. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9794009)

Except that funny moderations no longer have an effect on karma :-(.

Bad Taco!

Re:Packet #2. (1)

Feztaa (633745) | more than 10 years ago | (#9795533)

The joke's on him! He doesn't get karma for funny mods ;)

Re:Packet #2. (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794027)

And I thought .. buffering .. listening to MP3s .. buffering .. with RealAudio was bad .. buffering .. normally!

Re:Packet #2. (3, Funny)

aaronrp (773980) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794675)

You're looking at it the wrong way. It's not excessive latency -- it's short-term data storage. For longer-term storage, use Marsbounce.

Re:Packet #1. (0, Offtopic)

slackingme (690217) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793203)

First reply to first post!

Not this time. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793207)

You fail it!!

YOU FAIL IT!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793230)

oh and your mom smells like rotten sardines

Move over VOIP.. (4, Funny)

harlingtoxad (798873) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793212)

Moon Bounce is the new wave of telecommunications!

Re:Move over VOIP.. (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794075)

From the looks of these antennas [arrl.org] , we're going to need a bigger Pringles can!

Re:Move over VOIP.. (1)

Throtex (708974) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794379)

I was expecting a higher frequency of puns like this one.

How about the next data storage medium? (1)

Jeremy Singer (717636) | more than 10 years ago | (#9795888)

How much data can you temporarily store as bits between here, the moon, and back?

Satellite! (4, Funny)

chrispyman (710460) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793219)

Oh, so that's why we call the moon a natural satellite!

naturally (0, Offtopic)

cvsup-head (797957) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793224)

Ever notice the "beat the rush and see it early" link at the top of slashdot when a new story is about to come out?

Sounds good, doesn't it? To be able to view the pages linked to in the article before the tens of thousands of other slashbots click to view them.

Did it ever occur to you that you're taking part in cyber-terrorism?

That's right: Slashdot's editors are cyber-terrorists. They coordinate a DOS against small websites, and they attempt to collect moeny from people who wish to be spared the effects of said DOS. Terrorism, plain and simple.

You can fight this and other crimes by slashdot's editors by joining anti-slash [anti-slash.org] . Anti-slash is committed to forcing the editors to own up to their numerous crimes against the geek community. Until our demands are met, we will relentlessly discredit them as a news service through trolling and other means.

Also, props to poopbot and the alan thicke troll. We remember your accomplishments.

In sacred jihad,

jihadi_31337

| _ __ | |
_) |_|_)__/_| |
(_) o

Re:naturally (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793232)

What a waste of humanity you are.

Re:naturally (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793443)

You're a racist bigot.

Re:Satellite! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793456)

Ugh. Can someone explain why this is funny?

Re:Satellite! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793795)

Now now, its nappy time Johnny, we'll talk about this later :D

satellite communications (2, Funny)

RTPMatt (468649) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793226)

the technique became an important method of communication for the military that was used until the advent of the communications satellite

Well, i believe this made the moon a communications satellite. but im just a nit-picker ;)

*boing* *boing* (1)

DeeBs (755536) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793233)

Got my hopes up, for a second I thought the article might be about a sweet new amusement park ride.

"Step right up folks, the new, the amazing, Moon Bounce! Yes thats right, our state of the art ride shoots you off the surface of the Earth, slamming you into the moon, and bouncing you back, hopefully unharmed. Only 5 tickets per ride, but you must be at least 4 feet tall to participate"

Re:*boing* *boing* (0, Troll)

SamsaraTC (799888) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793338)

Got your hopes up? Between the article title and your subject, I thought it was about butt sex. Y'know, the romantic kind, like: "Hey, honey, since it's our anniversary, what do you say we open that bottle of wine your Mom gave us, light some candles, and spread rose petals on the bed for a little moon bounce?"

Even better (5, Informative)

f8ejf (755486) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793236)

Laser EME (moonbounce) without using the moon retroreflectors! [k3pgp.org]

73 de F8EJF

Re:Even better (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793248)

k3pgp.org is that website by any chance sponsored by the KDE project?

Gee, but I thought... (1)

lofi-rev (797197) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793241)

these [safeorders.net] were moon bounces?

No M$ on the bounce is good (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793271)

The moon will one day be M$ON so we can not bounce when that happens.

thank you

Voice via Moonbounce *NOT* (5, Informative)

Fallen Andy (795676) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793291)

Amateur Radio Enthusiasts do CW (morse) communications using moonbounce, not voice. Given the path loss (c.a. 240dB) and power constraints on amateur stations voice is er.. difficult? (Michael: go look at Trexler's antenna spec!)...

Re:Voice via Moonbounce *NOT* (2, Insightful)

DF5JT (589002) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793667)

" Amateur Radio Enthusiasts do CW (morse) communications using moonbounce, not voice."

[ ] You know W5UN, or (if you are old enough) K1WHS

Re:Voice via Moonbounce *NOT* (3, Interesting)

sploxx (622853) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793723)

Well, CW *and* voice.
I know a ham (I also have a ham license, but not the neccessary money for the equipment) who demonstrated this a few years ago and it was just amazing!

He has a lot of equipment and some agreements with the goverment for increased output power.
So he was able to do a few kW (5?)@2.5GHz on a 9m fully steerable dish and voice/SSB modulation if I recall correctly.
Now, the first beautiful thing was seeing the lights fade in sync with the voice because of the high power requirements of the transmitter :)

The response from the moon was clearly readable but noisy, this is very impressive if you calculate the minimum loss (in dB) that is just given by the geometry...

Re:Voice via Moonbounce *NOT* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9794079)

Sure. The typical ham has a 9m dish around somewhere. Check under that pile of QSTs.

Re:Voice via Moonbounce *NOT* (2, Interesting)

Rob Carr (780861) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793759)

Amateur Radio Enthusiasts do CW (morse) communications using moonbounce, not voice. [Note for Non-Hams: SSB is "Single Sideband" (a form of voice communication) and CW is "Morse Code" (the old "di and dah.")] A few years back, I'd set up my 2m SSB/CW unit with a high gain directional antenna and listen in on EME. Most of it was, as you point out, CW, but occasionally there'd be some voice in there as well. Occasionally, you'd even hear an SSB station communicate with a CW station. I don't know why copying the CW portion of a SSB/CW conversation is hard, but for me it's far more difficult than pure CW.

Re:Voice via Moonbounce *NOT* (2, Interesting)

DF5JT (589002) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794171)

" I don't know why copying the CW portion of a SSB/CW conversation is hard, but for me it's far more difficult than pure CW."

It's likely you are not used listening to SSB over a longer period of time. Switching between SSB and CW on the receiving side is extremely difficult, because you need to adapt your "internal" filters from very low bandwidth to rather large bandwidth.

I can listen to CW for hours and hours, but listening to SSB is extremely tiring and makes me want to throw away the headphones after a couple of minutes. Well, I drew the consequences and have lived without a microphone on my rig for the past 20 years or so.

Re:Voice via Moonbounce *NOT* (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794214)

sorry but most moonbounce I watched performed was AM voice. One gentleman sucessfully sent a packetradio broadcast via EME.

Out of the 50 EME sessions I sat in on in the past 20 years, only 2 were morse code. the last one was an ongoing experiment at doing EME at low power but long transmission times. and yes it was sucessful at doing EME at only 100 watts ERP.... data transmission only though.

Re:Voice via Moonbounce *NOT* (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794704)

AM? Why?

I believe that AM requires about six times the power as SSB to make a transmission that is of equal readability (sorry, I'm not sure what the proper terms would be.) So why did you choose AM? -- seems to me that SSB would have been a lot easier, either letting you lose a lot less power, or giving you more `effective' power to get through with?

Re:Voice via Moonbounce *NOT* (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 10 years ago | (#9795046)

Actually voice over the moon with the right conditions is done all the time. Somewhere I have some recordings on the 2m band where this was done - and you can clearly make out the audio.

47 GHz EME (5, Interesting)

pingus (542585) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793332)

At my local ham radio club, a guy just gave a talk about how he is attempting to implement a 47 GHz EME system. Is is interesting because of the technical challenges. Only a few other people actually operate 47 GHz stations. The travelling wave tube that most use was originally used for military work, for a project called Milstar. Interesting that at the time none of the traffic was coded to their satellites because it was considered intristically safe because it would be very hard to build a station for it.

Some operators do use voice, but have to use big time QRO (high power) stations because the path losses are so huge. Then with new DSP methods, voice communications can definetly work.

Re:47 GHz EME (3, Informative)

MuguLover (797587) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793560)

Funny you should mention that. The first 47 GHz moonbounce echoes have been reported as being observed yesterday. This was done by a Russian (Sergei RW3BP) living in a block of flats in Moscow using a 2.4m offset dish and high power. He had to use DSP techniques to detect his signal.

Re:47 GHz EME (1)

pingus (542585) | more than 10 years ago | (#9795642)

Interesting, as the person who gave the talk was working closely with Sergei on this project. Also I believe he was working with a few guys in Canada, VE4MA and some others. It was likely our speaker and him who made the contact. DSP really makes a world of difference.

Hey all (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793339)

Can't seem to get Ask Slashdot to accept my submission so here goes:

I'm a 28-year-old guy. When I make out with a girl, I produce lots of pre-come. It is often so much that my pants get wet. And it's tons worse if there's petting involved. This can be very embarrassing, especially if we're in public. I've gotten to the point where I'll wear a pair of shorts in addition to my boxers under a pair of jeans (heaven forbid this happens when I'm wearing khakis!). What suggestions do you have to avoid this embarrassment?

More info (5, Informative)

john_smith_45678 (607592) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793347)

More info on "Moon Bounce"

http://www.zetatalk.com/info/tinfo14e.htm [zetatalk.com]
http://www.af9y.com/ [af9y.com]

Re:More info (2, Informative)

Richard_L_James (714854) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793519)

Group photo of the 1st HAMS to do Moon Bounce [frars.org.uk] - The dish used came off British Telecom's "Post Office" tower in London. If you wish to see it yourself then come along to FRARS's HAMFEST on Sunday 8th August 2004 [frars.org.uk] . More moonbounce photos here [frars.org.uk] .

FRARS still has some of the leading experts in communications - including M0EYT / Paul J. Marsh [compuserve.com] who is currently just out in the middle of a field working 10Ghz.... Paul's probably on IRC as well right now [frars.org.uk] so I will see what I can do to highlight this discussion to him in a minute.

Phone (1)

Ms.XingTianCai (785422) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793363)

Ah yes, the first cell phone in action...

Not a Cell Phone... (1)

Teechur007 (305420) | more than 10 years ago | (#9798471)

Um...wouldn't it be more properly categorized as a satellite phone?

Nerds (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793373)

You gotta be some fucking nerd to take interest in this.

Niggers. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793460)

You know, black folk.

it's not as easy as it sounds (4, Informative)

quelrods (521005) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793378)

Moon bounce isn't something that one can conjure up at will with the flip of a switch. The amateur radio stations doing moonbounce have uber high gain directional antennas and pump 1.5kw (1500 watts), maximum legal power, into them. What you get back is a signal so faint that you then use various pre-amps and notch filtering to pull the signal out of the noise. I was fairly certain moon bounce on ham bands was limited to CW (contious wave aka morse code.) (Morse code takes a very minimal amount of bandwith and thus the power is focused instead of scattered across a large portion of spectrum.) iirc when the government did moonbounce they would pump something more to the order of 500kW.

Re:it's not as easy as it sounds (5, Interesting)

MuguLover (797587) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793580)

You are right for the lower frequency bands, but once you start moving up above 1000 MHz then EME is possible with much more modest systems. For example on 23cms (1296 MHz) you can work CW EME with 100W and a 3m dish, if you are peering with someone like HB9Q [hb9q.ch] or HB9BBD [hb9bbd.ch] then you can use a lot less than that.

The introduction of digital modes like JT44 and JT65 (using FFTs, correlation and strong FEC) has made a big difference and has made EME available for people with much smaller gardens and purses. Unfortunately there are a number of EME operators who insist that a digital mode somehow isn't "real" or that the contacts count for less. This is a shame and gives newcomers the wrong impression of a fine part of the hobby.

I intend to get active soon with a marginal system for CW work but more than adequate for the more advanced data modes.

For info about more reasonable microwave EME systems see G4CCH [g4cch.com] and N2UO [qsl.net]

Re:it's not as easy as it sounds (1)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793773)

Oh. So no chance of rural communities connecting to the net through a broadband moonbounce link then.

Damn, so much for that patent...

Talking backwards? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793445)

If they bounce the signal on the moon would it not be coming back reversed?

Seriously? (no, not really ;-)

Re:Talking backwards? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793455)

When you talk crap, do you shit in reverse?

Seriously?

Re:Talking backwards? (1)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793491)

Onay utbay ouyay avehay oblemspray ithway igpay atinlay omfray imetay otay imetay.

Re:Talking backwards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793875)

No, but it will invert left/right (ie. Kerry will sound like Bush, and vice versa). If only we could get some of the major news media to use this method ;)

Re:Talking backwards? (1)

juggledean (792527) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793938)

It will if it is circularly polarized

Moon bouncing (1)

PKC Jess (797453) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793450)

Although we may not think about it that much, we owe a lot to the moon for all the things we bounce off it or take whats bounced off it.

The light reflected from the moon provides large people to be able to see with increased accuracy at night (full moons obviously esecially)

We bounce lasers off of it as was recently discussed on /. to help prove general relativity.

We bounce radio signals from the moon for use in communication. (although to a lesser degree of course)

And although the future is quite fuzzy, I'm sure we'll be bouncing things off that dry old rock for (hopefully) centuries to come.

I tell you, the human ability to use the moon for so many things (useless and not) astounds me.

Re:Moon bouncing (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794233)

The light reflected from the moon provides large people to be able to see with increased accuracy at night

wait a minute! you are telling me that small people can see in the dark unaided????

I knew there was a reson to not trust them!

Re:Moon bouncing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9794744)


We bounce lasers off of it as was recently discussed on /. to help prove general relativity


Testing Relativity with Laser Ranging to the Moon [aps.org] K. Nordtvedt, Jr.
Department of Physics, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana
Received 11 December 1967; revised 29 February 1968

Now CowboyNeal has been slow in getting some stories posted on the main page, but this is ridiculous!

Hand written proof! (3, Funny)

Lasuuco Tulkas (598141) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793462)

Finally! Proof that people in the 50's had handwriting as bad as my own [nasa.gov] !

Re:Hand written proof! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793744)

But his paper is lacking "Read and understood" signatures :P

Moon Bounce for imformation storage (2, Interesting)

BoxOfCuriosity (766117) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793485)

I read a SF book that used the moon bounce technique to store data. They had markers on the moon for navigation (just reflectors in the rock) People would use a transmitter on earth to send a burst of data to the moon and let it bounce back then retransmit it without storing it. just a loop. You could fit a certain amount of data in the lag. They used it on farther objects to get longer delays. Kind of a strange idea. Box

Re:Moon Bounce for imformation storage (4, Informative)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793528)

send a burst of data to the moon and let it bounce back then retransmit it without storing it. just a loop. You could fit a certain amount of data in the lag. They used it on farther objects to get longer delays. Kind of a strange idea.

It's nothing strange nor is it science ficton, it's called a delay line memory and it was used in early computers [ed-thelen.org]

Re:Moon Bounce for imformation storage (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793911)

IIRC, there also was some software to store data in invalid DNS requests and incorrect ping queries (with data).

Im pulling numbers out my ass here, but I think you could store 100KB of data using a t-1 and associated latency (of course, contacting far around world).

Re:Moon Bounce for imformation storage (1)

kc0dxh (115594) | more than 10 years ago | (#9803143)

Now, of course, we just use transporter buffers. The only trouble being that you sometimes have to jiggle the handle a few times.

Military Applications (2, Interesting)

identity0 (77976) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793496)

I haven't finished reading through the article, but I remember reading about this in one of James Bamford's book about the NSA, "Body of Secrets" or "The Puzzle Palace". Basically, when you bounce a directional radio beam off the moon, it can't be intercepted by anyone except those near the place on Earth where the beam bounces back to. This would allow Navy ships at sea to send a message from the open ocean, to the moon, then to Washington without having the message picked up by the Russians. Pretty neat trick, actually.

The reason this was in Bamford's book was that the USS Liberty, the Navy eavesdropping ship that was attacked by the Israelis in 1967, had this type of system on board and it was its primary method of communicating with the NSA people in the US. Unfortunately, the system was unreliable, and the hydraulics or pnumatics controlling the directional antenna often broke, making it unusable. Partly because of this, the ship never got the message to stay away from the conflict zone and was bombed. That's how I remember it, at least.

Maybe that's the danger of relying too much on bleeding-edge technology.

Anyone here heard of other stories of this technology?

Re:Military Applications (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793520)

for such a message as "stay away from that location" is hardly topsecret, they could have just used normal encrypted radio links. Were they using todays .com managers to decide that?

Re:Military Applications (2, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793544)

when you bounce a directional radio beam off the moon, it can't be intercepted by anyone except those near the place on Earth where the beam bounces

Except it's bullshit, because (1) the beam is hardly directional enough to aim at a location precise enough on the moon to bounce back exactly at a certain point on earth over twice the earth-moon distance (even a well collimated laser makes a big miles-wide splotch on the moon at that distance), and (2) the returning signal is mostly *scattered* back, just like laser light hitting some non-reflective object doesn't come back as a beam, and so you'd be hard-pressed to control the return path anyway.

You know, there's a reason why Bamford's writings are considered a lot closer to fiction than to history.

Re:Military Applications (1)

DF5JT (589002) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793678)

There is a time window when the moon could not be seen from any part of the former Soviet Union. Moonbounce communication during that time window were actually pretty secure, unless there were Russian ships around that could intercept the signal. Since these ships would have had to be equipped with high gain antennas that cannot be disguised easily, these ships were known to the US, together with their location, thus making it possible to calculate a time window during which secure transmissions were possible.

Re:Military Applications (1)

fl00ty (545502) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793994)

My dad was a communications tech on board a sister ship of the Liberty (USS Gerorgetown http://www.ussgeorgetown.com/gthistory.htm [ussgeorgetown.com] ) and from what I remember him telling me about it, they had more problems with the ship than the Tresscom system, because they used were old surplus ships. He spent a lot of time off the coast of Cuba listening to the local "news". I think he thought it was pretty cool and important because he would always tell us stories about that period of time, and didn't really say much about his time at Ft. Meade or Pearl Harbor, but then again he probably couldn't say too much workin for the NSA....

USS Liberty (3, Informative)

zogger (617870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794013)

they obviously had more than one kind of radio on board. The identity and their location was known to everyone concerned, israelis, the ship itself, and other US assets out in the med and elsewhere, along with various international HAMS who were monitoring what they could of the ongoing war taking place. The attack was delibarate, and designed to pin the blame on egypt (best credible analysis, IMO) in order to garner support for more US intervention and support for the israeli side. They went so far as to strafe survivors for hours in an attempt to kill all the witnesses. They didn't suceed, but to this day the attack continues to be excused as an "accident". The implications in todays politics are there, just extrapolate it as to how far a nation would go to get it's way in international affairs. I know this isn't an exact answer to your question with moon bounce radios, I just wanted to interject about radios in general and on the topic you raised of the attack on the Liberty. Here is a brief history of it for anyone:

http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0693/9306019.htm

June 1993, Page 19

This Month in History

The Assault on the USS Liberty Still Covered Up After 26 Years

By James M. Ennes Jr.

Twenty-six years have passed since that clear day on June 8, 1967 when Israel attacked the USS Liberty with aircraft and torpedo boats, killing 34 young men and wounding 171. The attack in international waters followed over nine hours of close surveillance. Israeli pilots circled the ship at low level 13 times on eight different occasions before attacking. Radio operators in Spain, Lebanon, Germany and aboard the ship itself all heard the pilots reporting to their headquarters that this was an American ship. They attacked anyway. And when the ship failed to sink, the Israeli government concocted an elaborate story to cover the crime.

There is no question that this attack on a U.S. Navy ship was deliberate. This was a coordinated effort involving air, sea, headquarters and commando forces attacking over a long period. It was not the "few rounds of misdirected fire" that Israel would have the world believe. Worse, the Israeli excuse is a gross and detailed fabrication that disagrees entirely with the eyewitness recollections of survivors. Key American leaders call the attack deliberate. More important, eyewitness participants from the Israeli side have told survivors that they knew they were attacking an American ship.

Israeli Pilot Speaks Up

Fifteen years after the attack, an Israeli pilot approached Liberty survivors and then held extensive interviews with former Congressman Paul N. (Pete) McCloskey about his role. According to this senior Israeli lead pilot, he recognized the Liberty as American immediately, so informed his headquarters, and was told to ignore the American flag and continue his attack. He refused to do so and returned to base, where he was arrested.

Later, a dual-citizen Israeli major told survivors that he was in an Israeli war room where he heard that pilot's radio report. The attacking pilots and everyone in the Israeli war room knew that they were attacking an American ship, the major said. He recanted the statement only after he received threatening phone calls from Israel.

The pilot's protests also were heard by radio monitors in the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon. Then-U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dwight Porter has confirmed this. Porter told his story to syndicated columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak and offered to submit to further questioning by authorities. Unfortunately, no one in the U.S. government has any interest in hearing these first-person accounts of Israeli treachery.

Key members of the Lyndon Johnson administration have long agreed that this attack was no accident. Perhaps most outspoken is former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Thomas Moorer. "I can never accept the claim that this was a mistaken attack," he insists.

Former Secretary of State Dean Rusk is equally outspoken, calling the attack deliberate in press and radio interviews. Similarly strong language comes from top leaders of the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency (some of whose personnel were among the victims), National Security Council, and from presidential advisers such as Clark Clifford, Joseph Califano and Lucius Battle.

A top-secret analysis of Israel's excuse conducted by the Department of State found Israel's story to be untrue. Yet Israel and its defenders continue to stand by their claim that the attack was a "tragic accident" in which Israel mistook the most modern electronic surveillance vessel in the world for a rusted-out 40-year-old Egyptian horse transport.

Despite the evidence, no U.S. administration has ever found the courage to ever found the courage to defy the Israeli lobby by publicly demanding a proper accounting from Israel.

How Does Congress React to These Complaints?

Most members of Congress respond to inquiries about the Liberty with seemingly sympathetic promises to "investigate." Weeks or months later they write again to report their "findings": "The Navy investigated in 1967 and found no evidence that the attack was deliberate," they say." Israel apologized, calling the attack a tragic case of misidentification, and paid damages for loss of life, injuries and property damage. The matter is closed.

The fact is, however, that the Navy's "investigation" examined only the quality of the crew's training, the adequacy of communications and the performance of the crew under fire. The Navy was forbidden to examine Israeli culpability and Navy investigators refused to allow testimony showing that the attack was deliberate or that Israel's excuse was untrue.

The Navy blocked all testimony about Israeli actions.

Instead of determining whether the attack was deliberate, the Navy blocked all testimony about Israeli actions. No survivor was permitted to describe the close in machine-gun fire that continued for 40 minutes after Israel claims all firing stopped. No survivor was allowed to talk about the life rafts the Israeli torpedo men machine-gunned in the water. No survivor was permitted to challenge defects and fabrications in Israel's story. Even my eyewitness testimony as officer-of-the deck was withheld from the official record. No evidence of Israeli culpability was "found" because no such testimony was allowed. To survivors, this was not an investigation. It was a cover-up.

Congress Goes Through the Motions

Occasionally a member of Congress will seem to probe a bit deeper, as Ted Kennedy once did. In response to requests, Kennedy asked Liberty survivors and others for input,which his staff then "studied" for more than a year.

Kennedy asked no questions, conducted no interviews, and showed no curiosity about the many discrepancies in Israel's story. Then Kennedy reported his "findings" in a letter to survivors. Carefully avoiding the circumstances of the attack, Kennedy's letter deplored the "tragic circumstances and loss of life" and declared that the facts about the Liberty must be uncovered "to the maximum extent humanly possible."

That letter, however, represented Kennedy's maximum effort. Appeals to Kennedy for some real help go unanswered.

The Guest Goes On

The best forum in the '90s for this story and related stories of the Middle East may well be electronic mail, the complex of computer and electronic mail systems that now span the globe.

For instance, the USS Liberty and theMiddle East are hot topics in the "Prodigy interactive computer service" run by Sears and IBM. With over 2 million members, Prodigy's "Israel" forums guarantee some lively and often bitter debates.

Unfortunately, the playing field often seems uneven. The cover-up side heavily outnumbers its critics, and is allowed tactics rarely tolerated from others. Criticism of Israeli policies is seen as "attacks on the Jewish homeland." Pro-Israel debaters charge that Israel's critics are "disciples of hate," and "pathological haters of Israel and all things Jewish."

The language gets worse. Prodigy allows Israel's critics to be called "sodomists," and "derriere bussing anti-Semites." The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, which prints an update on progress toward a congressional investigation every year on the June anniversary of the tragedy, comes in for special vitriol. The magazine is described almost daily as I a hate rag." Yet Prodigy's censors often reject even mild and factual rebuttals of such charges as "insulting."

Despite a near media blackout, and such invective directed at publications that defy it, Americans, do continue to support the USS Liberty and its survivors' association. Late last year the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 560 in Zimmerman, Minnesota, raised over $12,000 to create a rest stop and picnic area on donated land near a major highway as a memorial to the men who died on the Liberty. This makes the 29th public memorial to the USS Liberty.

The memorial area and an inscribed granite stone were appropriately dedicated in a ceremony attended by survivors, VFW members, Mayor Randy Hanson, and Liberty's heroic Congressional Medal of Honor-winning skipper, Captain William McGonagle, among others.

Inspired by community support, members of Post 560 are now telling the USS Liberty story to every VFW post in Minnesota. Member Stan Wuolle tells us that after they cover all of Minnesota, they will start on Wisconsin and the Dakotas.

In New York, meanwhile, Korean War veteran John Everts learned about the attack just last year and was similarly moved. Everts inspired two Korean vets groups in which he is active, "The Chosin Few" and "The Korean War Veterans" Kivlehan Chapter, to write more than 100 letters to Congress seeking the investigation that survivors mill are denied.

To date, no member of Congress has risked re-election chances by agreeing publicly to Evert's request. No one really expected that to happen. But efforts like these help members of Congress and the American public remember that Israel attacked the USS Liberty, deliberately and then lied about it. Sooner or later, Americans will insist that their government and their representatives in Congress find out why.

James Ennes retired from the Navy in 1978 as a lieutenant commander after 27 years of enlisted and commissioned service. He was a lieutenant on the bridge of the USS Liberty on the day of the attack. His book on the subject, Assault on the Liberty (Random House, 1980), is a "Notable Naval Book" selection of the U. S. Naval Institute and was "editors' choice" when reviewed in The Washington Post. Copies of the book are available from the American Educational Trust, publisher of this magazine, at $25.00 each.

And the words of that first bounce were.... (3, Interesting)

ro_coyote (719566) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793526)

"FIRST POST!!"

Re:And the words of that first bounce were.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793687)

I think it far more likely to have been some kind of GNAA press release.

Re:And the words of that first bounce were.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793811)

Surely you meant:

"F.....r.....i.....s.....t.....P.....o.....s.... .t.....!.....!"

Re:And the words of that first bounce were.... (1)

Konowl (223655) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794951)

Um.... I laughed when I read this, so I thought I'd take a glance at how it was modded.... why was it modded as Interesting? It was FUNNY, but not interesting...

Re:And the words of that first bounce were.... (1)

DeepHurtn! (773713) | more than 10 years ago | (#9795080)

When I see stuff like that, I assume it is just because some mod wants the poster to get at least a little bit or karma for a funny post.

Re:And the words of that first bounce were.... (1)

d474 (695126) | more than 10 years ago | (#9795507)

Apparently the modder bounced his mod off the moon and it came back a little fuzzy...

What about artificial moons? (1)

Decaff (42676) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793737)

Is there any record of the unauthorized use of artificial satellites to bounce signals?

Mirbounce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793820)

Yes, I believe Mir (the former Russian space station) has been used as a passive reflector.
Z

Re:Mirbounce (1)

Clueless Moron (548336) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794127)

MIR had a 2m ham packet station on it that was commonly used as a digipeater. That is, you sent it a 1200bps AX.25 packet and it simply repeated it for you.

Because of heavy contention, it was mostly "hello world" messages, but fun nevertheless. I used it myself. MIR was so cool...

Re:Mirbounce (1)

annisette (682090) | more than 10 years ago | (#9797994)

I agree, the MIR was remarkable, very "movie" worthy.

I did a paper for english class and we could choose our subject. I chose the MIR and short read several articles, especially about the fire on board, apparently it was a wee bit more serious than the public was led on to believe.

When the 02 canister went there was a very few moments to react. The cosmonaunt-commander (sorry forget the name) was one of the sharpest in the the space biz and made some amazing command decisions in a very short time.

Same with the collision with the supply capsule, too bad the cosmonaunts were hammered when they returned.

the MIR will be a reference for space survival for years to come, and lets not forget Apollo 13

Re:What about artificial moons? (1)

M1FCJ (586251) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793977)

Check this one out:

http://oea.larc.nasa.gov/PAIS/Echo.html

Re:What about artificial moons? (1)

M1FCJ (586251) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794084)

sorry, you were asking about unauthorized access, Echo (to my knowledge) was used by its owners only.

Re:What about artificial moons? (2, Interesting)

mikeb (6025) | more than 10 years ago | (#9795617)

It was widely rumoured that in the mid-to-late seventies some of the geostationary TV satellites got hijacked for various purposes. By 'widely rumoured' I mean that my ham radio boozing buddies talked about it quite a lot and several of them were broadcast technicians who used satellite up and downlinks at work. I have no first hand proof but they alleged that early geostationary satellites were simple transponders - if you pushed stuff up on the uplink frequency with the right amount of power and in the right direction it came back on the downlink. A popular trick was to slip a signal just to the side of the audio subcarrier at a modest level and then use it to send data or chat to friends. That is not easy to spot unless you look hard at the downlink spectrum.

This might all be speculation or not - I'd love to know. Maybe it's an urban legend.

Re:What about artificial moons? (1)

The Conductor (758639) | more than 10 years ago | (#9798668)

Google for "Captain Midnight", the guy who hijacked the HBO uplink.

Rick Brant did this in 1947... (3, Informative)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793814)

and in the fifties I read all about it in "The Lost City," a Rick Brant Electronic Adventure, by John Blaine. (Pseudonym of Harold Leland Goodwin). Like Tom Swift, but more up-to-date and nerdier. This is based on many-decade-old recollections, but they end up stranded on a mountain ledge in Tibet with a hand-crank generator. As I recall the book mentions that they need to crank quite hard to power the filaments in the vacuum tubes. It's Morse Code, of course, not voice. I seem to recall that the radio waves are described as being in the radar wavelength range, but it's really been a long time and I'm into very unreliable memory here.

I wish I could remember why they need to go to Tibet to test the equipment. Probably because If They Didn't, There Wouldn't Have Been Any Story.

Rick's father is a dignified scientist. Rick and his father are always accompanied by lovable sidekicks Zircon (?) and, um, can't remember his name exactly, it's not "Chowdah" but something like that--an Indian (not a native American, but a person from India) who speaks amusingly broken English and makes comic errors due to his entire knowledge of the Western world having been obtained from a copy of the World Almanac.

There seems to be quite a bit more about this at this website [rickbrant.com]

Re:Rick Brant did this in 1947... (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794289)

Hey, I loved the Rick Brant books since first finding them in the 6th grade. Great adventure imagination fodder for 10 year olds ;)

Rick's project in "Smugglers Reef" even inspired me to build an infrared nightvision system using surplus stuff from Edmunds Scientific and an old tv set for the HV power supply.

It's all fun and games .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9793979)

Until someone slashdots the Moon.

Operation Moore Bounce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9794125)

I swear, for 5-10 seconds my dyslexic self read this thread title as "Operation Moore Bounce" and I had an instant mental picture of Letterman dropping Michael Moore from the roof of the Ed Sullivan Theater. "That'd be pretty f*in sweet!" I thought to myself.

Re:Operation Moore Bounce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9794240)

why? your beloved spiderman movies had him as the assistant director.

go look at the credits moron-man.

Don't Forget the $100 Challenge (1)

superid (46543) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794136)

The challenge mentioned here [af9y.com] is still open, and remains so even after all the comments about how easy it must be that were made here [slashdot.org]

What! No KTLA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9794646)

KTLA were the first commercial radio station to bounce a signal off of the moon and back. I think it started "Hello World!"- now you know the rest of the story. The Government thought space aliens were arriving and the radio station got a lot of press, and I think that the FCC were peeved. It made all the newspapers.
KTLA are/were out of Los Angeles, CA, and the stunt was in the '54 -'57 time frame.

Project Diana (1)

Seabass55 (472183) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794823)

Though 1954 marked the first voice bouncing off the moon the first transmission bounced off the moon was in 1947.

It's A Sham!!! (1)

Arren (776080) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794911)

The Gubberment has you all fooled!!!
They really just bounced that first transmission off of a hollywood sound stage.....

Fight Wars Only 12-hours a Day (2, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796124)

technique became an important method of communication for the military

Okay, shut down the war until the moon rises again.

Let's see. Stealth fighter-bombers no moon. Communication yes moon. Bomb first, and talk about it afterwards.

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