Issue #059 of the NAQCC Newslstter

clipped from
From NAQCC VP John, K3WWP:
In that newsletter you’ll find info about our December challenge which involves activating the 80M band which has been sleeping of late. Make as many 15+ minute QSO’s on 80M as possible during the month and send us your report. Don’t forget the prize in conjunction with our challenges. All our winners of Gregg WB8LZG’s bug/paddle handle pieces have been delighted with them. You have a chance to be similarly delighted by mastering this month’s challenge.
In addition to more info about the challenge, you’ll also find the following in this edition:
2. The final results of our November sprint.
3. Featured Award of the Month.
3a. Latest award winners.
4. Latest general club news.
5. What our members have been doing – in the Member News section
And that’s not all, so click on over to right now and check it out.

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PC Beats WWII Computer in Code Challenge

By D’ARCY DORAN – Nov 16, 2007

LONDON (AP) — A rebuilt World War II code-cracking computer developed to intercept Nazi messages lost to a desktop computer Friday in a contest to decipher an encrypted radio message.

The challenge marked the first time the Colossus machine had been used since former Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered models of the top secret computer destroyed, according to Britain’s National Museum of Computing, which organized the contest.

Churchill had feared Britain’s national security would be threatened if the state of the art computer’s technical details ever leaked out.

However, not only was Colossus beaten by a home computer, but by one in Germany.

Bonn-based software engineer Joachim Schueth deciphered the message, which was encrypted by a Nazi-era Lorenz cipher machine and transmitted by radio from Paderborn, Germany. It took him two hours Thursday, an hour and 35 minutes faster than the Colosssus. He used ham radio equipment and a computer program he wrote especially for the challenge.

Schueth paid tribute to Colossus and those who used it during WWII at the Bletchley Park code-breaking center, outside London, saying their work was important to Germans because “it helped to shorten the lifetime of the Nazi dictatorship.”

But Colossus, the world’s first programable computer, was no match for its electronic descendants, he said.

“Putting Colossus in a competition with modern computers may be a bit unfair,” Schueth wrote on his Web site.

Colossus eventually completed the challenge in three hours and 35 minutes, after overcoming difficulties intercepting the distant radio signal and repairing a blown valve.

“We’ve lost appreciation of just how hard it was to intercept signals, interpret them and put them on Colossus and run them,” said Andy Clark, director of the Bletchley Park-based computing museum.

“The past two days have brought into sharp focus just how hard they had to work,” he said.

Experts spent 14 years rebuilding the Colossus using stolen design plans and by gleaning information from those who helped create the original.

Ten Mark II Colossus machines enabled code breakers at Bletchley to decipher top-secret communications sent by the Nazi high command.

The rebuilt computer will continue to operate as the museum’s centerpiece, Clark said.