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Alien Message

A cache by Winini Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 06/30/2003
Difficulty:
4 out of 5
Terrain:
3 out of 5

Size: Size:   micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:


To celebrate my third month of Geocaching, I've designed my first cache for the puzzle solvers in the Bay Area. Some of my highlights (or lowlights) of my first three months:
  • I will have about 139 finds, over 61 without a GPS.
  • I have cleared my closest 3 caches (not 3 pages, only 3, 1.3 miles. Thanks RAT!).
  • I will have about 23 FTFs.
  • I have located caches in two countries.
I am dedicating this puzzle to Mr. RAT, since he's one of the cachers I expect will solve this one and for vexing me with all his well designed puzzles. No hints for now, but I will supply some, if necessary, over time. As of July 18, clues are being supplied until I convert this into a normal cache by posting the solution. Now as of October 31, I have posted the solution and for those who want a normal cache, just look at the final clue for the actual coordinates. This puzzle should give you some mental and physical exercise. Hope you like it!

The above coordinates are NOT the location of the cache, but the actual cache is within 3 miles of them. The actual coordinates are hidden within the puzzle below.

A month ago, on Sunday May 11th, 2003, I was watching two Voyager reruns on channel 67 late at night. In the background, I heard my X-band receiver starting to crackle mysteriously. So I turned on my DAT recorder and started capturing data.

I nudged my receiver (which strangely looks like a rectangular cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil, I'm so cheap!) and noticed the maximum strength of the signal seemed to be in the direction of the constellation Ophiuchus. When I moved it off center, the signal dropped and when I realigned it to Ophiuchus, it again showed good 5x5 strength. I tracked it for about 7 minutes and then it was gone.

Computer analysis of the signal indicated it was a binary code that repeated just under every 19 seconds. I didn't know if it was like that movie where an alien DNA factor was being transmitted or it was music from a space radio station. Maybe it's an alien SOS or some greeting of a space pioneer coming our way at warp factor 5.

I've attached a transcript of the periodic signal of 1's and 0's. To shorten the transcript by a factor of four and help avoid transcription errors, I've converted it into hexadecimal (each hex character is really four bits: 0x=0000b, 1x=0001b, 2x=0010b, 3x=0011b, 4x=0100b, 5x=0101b, 6x=0110b, 7x=0111b, 8x=1000b, 9x=1001b, Ax=1010b, Bx=1011b, Cx=1100b, Dx=1101b, Ex=1110b and Fx=1111b). Example: 3F7F is really 0011 1111 0111 1111 in binary.

Here's the message (in hexadecimal):

3F7F 2002 0E02 0802
03F7 F000 0000 F884
A27F 4920 2280 0F88
4426 1412 8A29 252C
8C62 4201 30B8 9442

4920 A460 3000 0001
0884 C27F 5120 2480
1187 C305 1142 4891
15FC 7C20 0127 38A2
8251 40A8 A033 D030

C124 5092 2429 7F0F
0809 C608 A284 5122
2BF8 F44 000 <-- the last three zeroes are single bits

See if you can find the meaning of the message.

The cache is a small magnetic container. Bring a pen to sign it.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

[location] Vg'f fubegre ohg fgrrcre gb pbzr va sebz n fgerrg fgnegvat jvgu N pbzcnerq gb bar fgnegvat jvgu W.
Gur pnpur vf nobhg gjragl srrg bss gur genvy arne n ybpxrq tngr.
[puzzle] Gurer'f n cvpgher pyhr abj.

Decryption Key

A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M
-------------------------
N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z

(letter above equals below, and vice versa)