Profile: David Farn

Personal background
I am 52 years old and live in Coventry, England with my wife of nearly 25 years, Christine. My background and principle qualifications relate to radio engineering. I have been involved in Microwave radio link design, test and maintenance since 1973. These days I have my own limited Company but I am the only employee ! I work as a contractor for third parties most of the time.

Since I was about 13 years old, my main hobby has been Ham radio. My callsign is G4HRY and I enjoy VHF/UHF contesting. I am Treasurer of the local radio club in Coventry, which was founded in 1934.

I have always been interested in astronomy and have read extensively. As part of my honours degree, I completed an astronomy module offered by the UK Open University. I am currently helping with the design of a radio astronomy equipment for the British Astronomical Association Radio Astronomy Group.

Recently my reading has been centred on particle physics, quantum gravity and the main thrusts of modern physics. I cannot claim to really understand any of what I read, but I really enjoy kidding myself that I do.

I believe that there must be other sentient life in the universe but the chances of detecting any transmitted signals must be exceedingly low. My experiences of trying to detect weak signals when you know the exact frequency and time of transmission prove that to me. However, if we don't look for the signals we will never find them.
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
1. Yes extraterrestrial life exists. It may not be until we have built huge space based radio or optical systems that we find it. If we can exchange information with other life forms this is bound to give scientific benefits. The dangers are very low, the scale of the universe will make journeying between the stars impractical.

2. Yes we should send a beacon. The information sent will need to be simple mathmatical patterns making the signal clearly artificial. A dialogue will need some form of reference to be established.

3. I run SETI@home because it is the only way I can participate in a serious scientific experiment. I only wish that I could do more. I believe the project is a great idea. How else in this day and age of budget cuts would you fund the huge computing power required. My only concern about the way the experiment works is the choice of frequency. I have never agreed with the hypothesis that the hydrogen line is a good place to look. I do not belive that scientists at the other end would polute this part of the spectrum whilst studying natural emmissions. We should be looking for Radar signatures, where ? I wish I knew.
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