DROWNING IN ÆTHER

Entry

The days are slowly getting longer and the sun’s cycles are syncing with the satellite’s circadian rhythm. The past months it had been passing Rotterdam only during night. As the daylight, I hope my chances of receiving it are also increasing. I have to admit I start losing faith, I am on the hunt for half a year now … maybe it fell silent forever? After 55 years of activity that seems like a possibility, there is no way to check. The coming days it will pass during sunset. I take my tools to the lake and set up at a sunny spot on the pier. It is a clear day, not even a single cloud. As the sun slowly goes down I eagerly point the antenna towards the horizon. The following seventeen minutes I slowly track the satellite’s trajectory from south-southeast via east to north. While I continuously tune the receiver and adjust its filter I hear nothing but noise. Towards the end of the reception I suddenly spot a flickering light in the distance. I first think it might be Polaris - the North Star - but then I notice it is moving. The spot is following the same path as the Transit 5B-5 and disappears behind the trees at the same time as the satellite tracker calculated. Did I just see it?! I pack my tools and rush back to my studio. I want to dissect the recording in the DAW. I relisten to the whole reception and zoom into the spectrum analyzer. Near the end of the recording I notice a curved line, it is only two seconds long and looks like an extremely distorted sine wave. The signal is very faint but it might be the satellite’s carrier frequency!