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From: MerlinsDad


So were Lester Maddox and Strom Thurmond, and a host of others I could name

Another thing about all microwave energy is that metal (and some hard surfaces depending on the frequency) reflects it quite nicely. So if there is a metal object that is angled to the beam, (e.g. a parked van, a tractor-trailer rig, a freight container, some energy efficient building walls and windows, houses with foil clad material in the outer walls) it will reflect that portion of the beam to hit people and things well away from the aimed area. This can even, depending on the geometry, send a good portion of a beam back to hit things behind the operator.

Something like lightweight woven metal fabric sewn into clothing can be incredibly effective against it, as long as the largest aperture is smaller than 1/4 wavelength. Wavelength is C/frequency in space (and normal atmosphere is a close approximation although the speed of light in air is slightly less than in a vacuum.

We radio geeks exploit this slight variance to send VHF and UHF signals well beyond the horizon when there is a strong temperature inversion layer at the proper altitude. This is a "tropospheric duct" and depending on the intensity, sometimes you even see optical mirages as well as hit repeaters on 2 meters and 70 cm hundreds of miles away, as clearly as if you were right next to the tower.

This also causes some peculiar radar anomalies, that we were trained to recognize when learning to run Skywarn net control. Localized inversion layers can bend the radar beam into the ground, sometimes well beyond the visible horizon, and produce phantom debris fields, strong Doppler shifts, strong reflectivity targets that can resemble the signature for large hail, and other things that a novice might misinterpret as a severe weather event. This emphasizes that radar imagery is only a tool, and should not substitute for common sense in one's meteorological awareness. A weather inversion generally means no severe weather because there is warm air trapped over cold air, which is incredibly stable.

One of those crowd control devices under such meteorological conditions could deliver a painful sensation to people potentially tens of miles away.

Speaking of intense weather inversions that not only bend radio waves well into the UHF spectrum and beyond, about 30 years ago there used to be a Lamb County Hamfest in February - in Littlefield, TX. It was a pretty big event for a town that even then was just a wide spot in the road. To get there on time, a bunch of us would get on the road at maybe 4:30 to 5 AM, as it was a solid 3 hour drive from Midland-Odessa.

We'd usually communicate via the VHF / UHF repeaters, or sometimes on 40 or 80 meters using NVIS, as there would be people leaving from places like Monahans, Odessa, Midland, Stanton, Big Spring, all headed north, to be joined by folks departing Lubbock about the time we arrived near there. So the "herd" would grow as we went through various communities that had a few hams going up there.

Well, that night / early morning there was an incredibly intense weather inversion. When I was somewhere between Odessa and Andrews, I could see a distinct "flying saucer shape" ring of lights hovering above the horizon and spinning. This was the sodium vapor lights illuminating Loop 289, a 26 mile circle that goes around the original city (which has since sprawled several miles outside).

Normally you *never* can see the entire circle at one time. In this case it was a flattened ellipse which gave a truly incredible "close encounters" sort of visual phenomena.

Why did it seem to be spinning? Because they fed successive light towers off of different phases. So each light filckered 1/360th of a second after the one to its immediate clockwise position in a nice ABC sequence. Because the phase wiring sequence to balance the power load was consistent for every single tower around the loop, this sequential flickering created the illusion of motion, and the human eye and brain wiring are incredibly well adapted to sensing horizontal movement (as are most other mammals and some other classes of vertebrates).

But this was a solid 120 miles away. And there was a lot of chatter about it on the radio, and most of us figured out really quickly that many strewn out more than 70 miles apart could easily communicate on simplex thanks to the powerful refraction.

We ended up on 146.52 because those talking on 146.76 were simultaneously keying up Midland and Lubbock's repeaters on the same frequency, when normally you have about a 40 mile coverage dead zone between the repeaters.

This was before the dual receiver configurations in the same band of new radios like the Kenwood D-710, so someone would occasionally switch back to 146.76 to let stragglers know that simplex was covering a gigantic area.

So we had a wide area rolling net on VHF that normally you'd have to be down around the LUF on the HF bands (usually 75 / 80 meters) all the way to Littlefield. We had people pop up on frequency from as far away as El Paso, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio, and for a while we heard someone in Garden City, Kansas, but the inversion evidently didn't reach the Rockies.

It seems that somehow professional sports are the most expensive content cable operators have, or at least had. That might have changed since the 1990s, when several ham radio folks worked for one of the major cable companies.

kizmet1 said:

Cops may sit in the info for something bigger to happen. Going to court for a small offence might be too expensive

Yes. They want to identify the troublemakers, and then some carefully targeted surveillance often will catch these perps committing something far more serious, later - serious enough to take them off the streets for decades.

Jeri (azpaints)

From: Jeri (azpaints)


Part of my test to see if I can post.  Do you consider Twitter to be a valid fact checked news source or a social media platform consisting mainly of opinions of unknown tweeters with or without factual backup?

Jeri (azpaints)

From: Jeri (azpaints)


How were the police marking cars? 


From: kizmet1


Some sort of spray. Nothing more said of it.
I suppose if they used commercial paint they could be sued for damage to car paint.

From: Showtalk


They expect people who never watch sports to pay for the content.  


From: Showtalk


Twitter is a mixed bag.  Some of the sites are professional but most are full of opinion and a lot of immature content. I don’t  like it much after running those stories for years by hand.  That is why we made it into an auto feed, so there would be a steady stream of new stories.  Some are good, some are bad, a lot are mediocre.  If you set it up carefully, you can get headlines.

Showtalk said:

They expect people who never watch sports to pay for the content.

Indeed. Those of us who never watch sports should not have to subsidize those who do. It's not like something like health care, where you might not need it for most of one's life but when you do, from an accident or injury, it can bankrupt you, so the risk should be spread among everyone.

But sports is a choice. If I go into a restaurant and order the chicken fried rice, then I shouldn't have the filet mignon added to my ticket just because 15% of the patrons order it.