James Brown continues to run SETI.net, a privately-funded SETI search program using off-the-shelf components and software created by himself. Brown’s work may well be unique, for there seems to be no other working station collecting data that is run by amateur radio astronomers, and that poses a problem for observations like the recent series Brown has made at the frequency and coordinates of the so-called ‘Wow Signal,’ which was received just over thirty years ago on August 15, 1977.
The problem, of course, is that when Brown notes something of interest, he needs corroboration. If you are in the ranks of amateur SETI or radio astronomy enthusiasts and can coordinate observations with SETI.net, you’ll want to check Brown’s recent work (scroll to the bottom of the page) and contact him for further information. The Wow Signal was detected by Jerry Ehman at the Ohio State University Radio Observatory (known as the Big Ear). The signal, strong enough to elicit Ehman’s inscribed comment on the printout, was never repeated.
An interstellar beacon? Ehman came to believe that more prosaic explanations account for the signal, including the possibility of a signal bounce off space debris. But have a look at his complete writeup of the matter, which goes through the entire range of alternative explanations. And if this singular reception still intrigues you and you’ve got the expertise, consider how you might contribute to amateur SETI directly.