So I was reading the latest SBE newsletter and there was an op-ed by the SBE's General Counsel. I'm not going to talk about that op-ed because I don't know enough about the issues he mentions. What I do want to talk about is something mentioned in passing in that op-ed, TV channel 37.
Channel 37 is a channel that "has never been used by any over-the-air television station in Canada or the United States" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channel_37). Think about this for a minute. In all the umpteen million TV stations in the U.S. and Canada, nobody has ever used this channel. Why is this?
Turns out that channel 37 - or rather the frequency band from 608 MHz to 614 MHz - is very important to radio astronomy. Since radio astronomy deals with very weak signals - on the order of 10-18 watts - any activity on this channel has the potential of causing significant interference to those sorts of measurements (http://www.ae5d.com/37/). It's also used in Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), another technique used in radio astronomy and a subject I know nothing about. :)
So there's a bit of randomness for you. Reporting from the Channel 37 News Desk, I'm Kit Peters.