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Alien Talk Ain't Cheap

6:20 PM -- File under: Now That's a Long Distance Call... The Website, www.TalkToAliens.com, announced today that it has developed "the world's first Intergalactic Communication System" and "is transmitting phone calls from the public into deep space. The system is online 24 hours a day."

Oh boy.

Here's the rest of the press release:

    To use the system's "Intergalactic Transmitter", a person simply dials a phone number (1-900-226-0300) and talks. The phone call is routed into a transmitter and the person's voice is beamed live into space via a 10.5-foot parabolic dish antenna. The call costs $3.99 per minute. The fee helps offset the expenses of developing, operating, and maintaining the system. The "Intergalactic Transmitter" was designed by RF engineers with over 75 years of combined experience in terrestrial and satellite communications. The transmitter was carefully engineered to be 100-percent compliant with all pertinent FCC "Part 15" regulations.

    The project has been in development for over five years -- since January, 2000.

    The transmission signal, itself, is a frequency-modulated carrier operating at 2.43211 GHz. This frequency was chosen as it is in an RF band commonly used on earth. As stated on www.TalkToAliens.com: "If any intergalactic entity is already 'listening in' on earth happenings, they should be aware of this portion of the RF spectrum -- and give you the best chance of being heard."

    Where, in space, are the messages being sent? According to www.TalkToAliens.com, the antenna is pointed into the area of space with the highest density of regional stars and, thus, hopefully towards planets and other civilizations. That region is commonly referred to as the "Milky Way" -- the galaxy in which our own solar system resides. As the sky appears to turn over the earth, the parabolic antenna sweeps through much of the Milky Way Galaxy -- and its estimated 400 billion stars.

    What other services are planned? The www.TalkToAliens.com Web site indicates that other enhanced services are in development, such as ways to broadcast typed messages into space -- including e-mails and Instant Messages (IMs). They are also engineering a system to accept the public's incoming digital photos and video-camera feeds -- and broadcast them into space.
This is truly a remarkable day in the world of space communications and billing folks for silly phone calls. If anyone wants to join me in celebrating this achievement, I'll be down at the hotel bar, wearing a hat made of aluminum foil, of course.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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