Tales from Space Short Story Contest - On Now!

Tales from Space Short Story Contest - On Now!

A Rogue Signal

Parkes Radio Antenna Hobbyists’ Heritage Society reported on Tuesday that it had picked up a rogue radio broadcast Monday morning Australia time, from its antique, fully restored dish in Parkes, Australia.

Mitch McGafferty and Slim Grippen, Society President and Vice-President, reported that for nearly an hour, a rogue signal from Beta Quadrant could be heard on the old Frequency Modulated band of classic earth radio signal.

“We knew it was an old Earther signal, right away,” Mr. McGafferty explained excitedly, speaking down to this reporter from his perch on the gangway of the Parkes Antenna. The antiquated curve of the old dish, originally destroyed during the Maitre invasion, arced beautifully over his head, picked out against the blue Australian summer sky.

“You always hope,” Slim interjected, “when you’ve got a real, live rogue FM signal, that it’s going to be an authentic radio broadcast, not just some chit chat from a 1200 year old space flyby or miners bitching about the re-entry after offloading a cargo load. This was definitely not space chatter.”

The two old time radio enthusiasts explained that they knew the identity of the broadcaster right away.

“It was so clear,” Slim continued, “a perfectly modulated signal, and so Mitch and I looked at each other, and then we said to Stephanie-“

“Check the side band,” they said in unison, and laughed.

The side band is often searched to match a signal to one of the handful of Radio Free broadcasters in the GAGA’s history, notable ones being Thordin Goodfrey (20th-24th Century), Wayne Stubbs (22nd Century), Steams MacLelland (27th-28th Century), Angeline Bromley, Grandmother of Pharmaceutical giant Charles Bromley (37th Century) and in modern days Sam McCoy of Galactic News Network Fame. Each of the Radio Free broadcasters would ‘sign’ their frequencies with a notable, persistent modulation on the side band, like an artist hiding their signature in their work.

“We scanned it, and we couldn’t believe our eyes as the scope lit up the signal!” Slim exclaimed. “It was the unmistakeable side band modulation of none other than Nick Goodfrey.

The two enthusiasts continued to explain the rogue signal, and its verification. The broadcast was recorded, instrument readings inclusive, and was sent to the GAGA Radio Broadcast Frequency Archive for evaluation. Once the GAGARBFA returned a validation that the frequency and its transmission was indeed from Nick Goodfrey, the Archive sent out a ship to record the broadcast as it moved away from Earth and out into the universe… although true ancient radio enthusiasts are more interested in listening to recordings of the transmission as it was recorded whilst hitting the gigantic radio dish looming above my head at Parkes, as I interviewed the two hobbyists.

“So,” this reporter interjected, after patiently listening to ten or fifteen minutes of excitable radio enthusiast minutae. “What did the broadcast say?”

Mitch grinned broadly and responded, “It was a Hearts & Minds broadcast.”

“What was the ETB?” I asked, legitimately eager to know where in the vast canon of this particular Radio Free Broadcaster the new find may be placed.

“It looks like it was broadcast sometime during the Second Corporation War,” Slim answered, his eyes gleaming with excitement. “It appears to be a wartime broadcast, explaining about the ways in which Old Earth humans used to make ends meet and bear up under the strain of war.”

“We think Goodfrey was trying to bolster the spirit of the home front- it was aimed at the Jagascreen sector, a big source of fighters for the Second Corporation War.”

My eyebrows raise. Everyone with even a passing familiarity with either ancient radio, Radio Free broadcasting, the android Nick Goodfrey or classic Earth music knows about the Hearts & Minds broadcasts made by the robot throughout his existence. The last Hearts & Minds broadcast had been beamed at Earth from Nick Goodfrey’s private ship, the Zephyr, shortly before its disappearance- it seemed now that we had one more to add to the collection.

“Wow,” I replied, impressed.

Both radio astronomers began talking rapidly, expounding upon the quality of the signal, the chat they heard from the long-destroyed robot, the songs from ancient Earth, and more.

You can see the whole interview at the quanta-link , but for this reporter’s, her text entry is done- I have some listening to some very, very old radio to do.

Shared from Grindy Wasserhelm’s indie blog, Weird Shit I Find, first published 10/16/3977 Old Earth Calendar.

Editor’s Note: The original rogue signal broadcast was given exclusive airplay by Radio Free broadcasting giant, Groundrod Radio Ltd, of Old Earth. Its first broadcast of the signal was last Monday, and sources at GRR intend to broadcast the entirety of Nick Goodfrey’s Hearts & Minds broadcasts Monday nights at 7 pm, Pacific Earth Time, until they have completed the collection.

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