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Radios, Radar, and the Totem Cafe - v1
12-30-2017, 02:02 AM, (This post was last modified: 01-20-2018, 02:00 AM by Chmaanta.)
#1
Radios, Radar, and the Totem Cafe - v1
Like the skip code post I recently put up, this topic is one I’ll revisit and update as I have new things to add. Any helpful comments will be folded in as well. Hopefully someone finds this useful.

There are places in the book that use terms that parallel terms used in radio communications. Or really, any wireless communication. The most abundant source, though, seems to be in “The Totem Café Caper”.

I’ll start by saying that much of what I interpret in things is based on converting what Fenn says to an idiom, adage, metaphor, etc. He uses plenty of them in the book directly while others are slightly subtler. I also find that he will say something twice in different ways, but the same “saying” applies. For instance, in “The Tome Café Caper” Forrest first hides behind the trees so the cars can’t see him to splash him. Later in the chapter, he hides behind a tree with the pie so Frosty won’t catch him. The “saying” is “Can’t see the forest through the trees”.

For the radio stuff, I’m relying partly on “You’re canned” and “dock my pay”, both of which Forrest said he didn’t understand. I think an apt saying in this case is “It’s Greek to me”. i.e. Greek could be used in this chapter to some extent. There are a few other Greek things as well, such as the Greek letters Sigma and Tau being in the cloud on page 114. But first, some non-Greek things.

Starting with the images, you have a picture of Fenn as “The paperboy”. In a broader sense, that makes him a “carrier”. A carrier signal is the backbone that messages are transmitted on.

Next, his mom always seems to be listening to things. She’s just about the only one that listens to Fenn. I think she could be imagined as an antenna. Later in the book, she listens to Fenn while looking out the window for the postman (another carrier). Antennas have specific gain “windows” that they are designed for. She also listens to the top ten bands. Bands are another radio frequency term. I’ve pondered if she doesn’t specifically listen to something like the “L” band.

Next up is Frosty. He makes beeping noises like a truck backing up. His voice changes frequencies. His polarity is uncertain, but it doesn’t make a difference with Fenn. He stands in one place transmitting funny wheezing/white noise sounds. These are all terms related to photons and communication.

He’s also a quasi-ruler and this is where the Greek can come in. A “dyne” is a ruler and can take on a connotation of a “petty ruler”. If Frosty is homosexual then he would be a homodyne. If he’s heterosexual he would be a heterodyne. Either way, these two words succinctly condense what Forrest is saying. And both words have strong ties to wireless communication/radar. Further, Forrest would have learned about these techniques in his early days in the Air Force in radar school and likely again as pilot.

There are other smaller things going on. Forrest loves his boss then hates him. His emotions are being modulated. He’s hired/fired/hired, which is more modulation. He also mentions Scagg’s grocery store in the chapter, but I believe it was more likely Skagg’s grocery store. The corrected letter is “K”, which is what radio call signs start with. More subtly, he talks about bouncing cars. You can imagine them going up and down, up and down, as they travel forward after hitting a bump. Next, he talks about traveling along Farm to Market roads in Texas after leaving the A&M. The roads are abbreviated "FM". Fenn travels via fields, going from AM to FMs. Next, rectifying things comes up a number of times... this might imply amplitude modulation.

In his second book he talks about Skippy making his own crystal radio.

So, it appears that you have a transmitter (Frosty), a carrier signal (Forrest in the middle), and a receiver (Lillie Fenn). If you can get those lined up correctly, then you might get a series of beeps that might be something like Morse code.

I pursued this further. Frosty’s real name is Conrad “Frosty” Tornes. One thing I found is that there is an aircraft transmitting beacon in north Montana with the name of “Conrad”. The 3-letter Morse code signal is “CRD”. It’s on channel 293. It’s just east of Conrad, MT.

One thing I can't nail down is whether it should be amplitude modulated or frequency modulated. There are arguments for both types of encoding.

I haven’t had the time to pursue this much further. I figured it was developed enough, though, to put it out for others to see. Maybe someone will benefit from some of the stuff in here.
Reply
12-30-2017, 06:56 AM,
#2
RE: Radios, Radar, and the Totem Cafe - v1
A short thread I saw the other day about the beacon/beckon topic.

http://www.chasechat.com/showthread.php?...ght=beckon
Reply
12-30-2017, 08:21 AM, (This post was last modified: 12-30-2017, 08:44 AM by geydelkon.)
#3
RE: Radios, Radar, and the Totem Cafe - v1
(12-30-2017, 02:02 AM)Chmaanta Wrote: Like the skip code post I recently put up, this topic is one I’ll revisit and update as I have new things to add. Any helpful comments will be folded in as well. Hopefully someone finds this useful.

There are places in the book that use terms that parallel terms used in radio communications. Or really, any wireless communication. The most abundant source, though, seems to be in “The Totem Café Caper”.

I’ll start by saying that much of what I interpret in things is based on converting what Fenn says to an idiom, adage, metaphor, etc. He uses plenty of them in the book directly while others are slightly subtler. I also find that he will say something twice in different ways, but the same “saying” applies. For instance, in “The Tome Café Caper” Forrest first hides behind the trees so the cars can’t see him to splash him. Later in the chapter, he hides behind a tree with the pie so Frosty won’t catch him. The “saying” is “Can’t see the forest through the trees”.

For the radio stuff, I’m relying partly on “You’re canned” and “dock my pay”, both of which Forrest said he didn’t understand. I think an apt saying in this case is “It’s Greek to me”. i.e. Greek could be used in this chapter to some extent. But first, some non-Greek things.

Starting with the images, you have a picture of Fenn as “The paperboy”. In a broader sense, that makes him a “carrier”. A carrier signal is the backbone that messages are transmitted on.

Next, his mom always seems to be listening to things. She’s just about the only one that listens to Fenn. I think she could be imagined as an antenna. Later in the book, she listens to Fenn while looking out the window for the postman (another carrier). Antennas have specific gain “windows” that they are designed for. She also listens to the top ten bands. Bands are another radio frequency term. I’ve pondered if she doesn’t specifically listen to something like the “L” band.

Next up is Frosty. He makes beeping noises like a truck backing up. His voice changes frequencies. His polarity is uncertain, but it doesn’t make a difference with Fenn. He stands in one place transmitting funny wheezing/white noise sounds. These are all terms related to photons and communication.

He’s also a quasi-ruler and this is where the Greek can come in. A “dyne” is a ruler and can take on a connotation of a “petty ruler”. If Frosty is homosexual then he would be a homodyne. If he’s heterosexual he would be a heterodyne. Either way, these two words succinctly condense what Forrest is saying. And both words have strong ties to wireless communication/radar. Further, Forrest would have learned about these techniques in his early days in the Air Force in radar school and likely again as pilot.

There are other smaller things going on. Forrest loves his boss then hates him. His emotions are being modulated. He’s hired/fired/hired, which is more modulation. He also mentions Scagg’s grocery store in the chapter, but I believe it was more likely Skagg’s grocery store. The corrected letter is “K”, which is what radio call signs start with. More subtly, he talks about bouncing cars. You can imagine them going up and down, up and down, as they travel forward after hitting a bump. In his second book he talks about Skippy making his own crystal radio. There are other things too, although I don’t have them in front of me.

So, it appears that you have a transmitter (Frosty), a carrier signal (Forrest in the middle), and a receiver (Lillie Fenn). If you can get those lined up correctly, then you might get a series of beeps that might be something like Morse code.

I pursued this further. Frosty’s real name is Conrad “Frosty” Tornes. One thing I found is that there is an aircraft transmitting beacon in north Montana with the name of “Conrad”. The 3-letter Morse code signal is “CRD”. It’s on channel 293. It’s just east of Conrad, MT.

I haven’t had the time to pursue this much further. I figured it was developed enough, though, to put it out for others to see. Maybe someone will benefit from some of the stuff in here.

Thanks for the post. I enjoyed reading it since we speak the same language. Are you a ham radio operator?


http://www.nysun.com/obituaries/michael-...ons/55145/
Reply
12-30-2017, 12:33 PM,
#4
RE: Radios, Radar, and the Totem Cafe - v1
Excellent post!
Reply
01-01-2018, 10:14 PM,
#5
RE: Radios, Radar, and the Totem Cafe - v1
To challenger and (whoever else sees beacon): In an early chapter, Forrest's dad says something like "who would you rather look at your car, somebody who has book learning or somebody who has worked on cars for years?" What I thought was interesting is he only says "worked on cars" not "fixed cars for years". It could be a subtle hint that what you really want is a "fix" in there. That's like a beacon.

To geydelkon and Beavertooth: I had fun writing it. I'm not a ham operator, but wish I was.
Reply
01-02-2018, 11:58 AM,
#6
RE: Radios, Radar, and the Totem Cafe - v1
(01-01-2018, 10:14 PM)Chmaanta Wrote: To challenger and (whoever else sees beacon): In an early chapter, Forrest's dad says something like "who would you rather look at your car, somebody who has book learning or somebody who has worked on cars for years?" What I thought was interesting is he only says "worked on cars" not "fixed cars for years". It could be a subtle hint that what you really want is a "fix" in there. That's like a beacon.

One interpretation of "worked on cars" is a conductor/ticket-taker. I don't think that is what he meant, but just offering an outside-the-box view of how tricky he can be with words at times.
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