"TV Signals From Texas Picked Up in UK... 3 Years After Station Goes Off Air
We've all heard it. It had to be true because the story was first published in Readers Digest in 1958, and reprinted a bazillion times since. But like most urban legends, the debunking has barely dented the original hoax.
Maybe most of you know the truth, but this was new to me:http://www.snopes.com/radiotv/tv/klee.asp
What Snopes doesn't mention, is that American TV ID slides were frequently reproduced in fleabag TV magazines, of which there were many in 1950. The American magazines, however, didn't reach London until a couple YEARS after publication in the States. Thus the out of date "report". Furthermore, these same magazines printed electronics projects, including one where you could build a fleawatt TV transmitter to broadcast still images to the next room. Somehow, these guys got a hold of some of these magazines, and hit upon the perfect scam:
1) Build the fleawatt TV tx, modifying it for English TV.
2) Cut out the ID slides from the zines, and/or make them up.
3) Invite a bunch of gullible people to view your "long distance superheterodyne TV set".
4) Send out the photos along with requests for funding your new "invention".
5) Take the money and run.
Yes, they were eventually busted, but by then the "lost TV signal" was legend.
Here's what WE know about propagation that THEY didn't in 1953:
1) Signals below 30 Mhz do indeed bounce off the ionosphere. This is how shortwave and "skywave" AM works. HOWEVER, the signals eventually run out of gas, and fade into zero. You can't listen to the 1934 World Series for this reason.
2) Signals above 30 Mhz (ie TV) penetrate the ionosphere and keep going. What we don't know is what happens to them. Do they fade to zilch? Go forever? Are aliens watching an original broadcast of I Love Lucy somewhere out there? What we humans know is that every attempt to receive signals from ETs has met with (mostly) failure. There HAVE been a handful of promising signals, but they have been so fleeting that they haven't been confirmed-AND they were never heard again. My pet theory is that the natural rotation of planets makes it highly unlikely that, if ET radio exists, we will ever pick it up. Likewise, the ETs will never get human signals. We know that planets rotate, all of them, around their suns. The likelihood of Earth being in exactly the right place to pick up ET radio is low.