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Friday, April 6, 2018

The Race To Crack The Nazi Code
by Ralph Simpson

The Enigma machine was a cunning invention and major advance in cipher technology, which gave the Germans confidence in the secrecy of their messages during World War II. This was a reasonable confidence but proved to be wrong and eventually fatal.  The story of the Allies conquering the overwhelming odds against breaking the Nazi code is a story of ingenuity and intrigue. Alan Turing led the Allies efforts to break the Enigma, which significantly shortened the war and ushered in the age of computers.

The success of cracking the Enigma was kept secret for 29 years after the end of WW2, despite 15,000 people working on the effort. This secrecy is especially incredible for us living in the age of the internet, WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden. Over 35,000 Enigma machines were manufactured, but only 350 are known to exist today. You will see one of these rare machines and have a chance to type in your own secret messages.

Bio: Ralph Simpson worked in the computer industry for 32 years, at IBM and Cisco Systems. He is now retired and volunteers at a local history museum. He wrote a book on cipher history called, Crypto Wars: 2000 Years of Cipher Evolution. He is also an avid collector of cipher machines, which you can see on his website, Ralph lives in San Jose in a restored Victorian house, which is also home to his Cipher History Museum and a very understanding wife. They have three grown children.

Past Meetings
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Club Meetings

The Palo Alto Amateur Radio Association meets on the 1st Friday of the month at 7:00 pm (19:00 J) (except when the first Friday lands on a holiday and typically moved to the 2nd Friday of the month).

PLEASE NOTE: The meeting location has changed. We will now be meeting in Meeting Room H6, in the Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto. Further information is below.

Click Here For Detailed Driving Directions

Location: Cubberley Community Center; 4000 Middflefield Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303.
Telephone: (650) 329-2418.

After the meeting, many members gather for beer, pizza, and eyeball QSOs at Round Table Pizza, located on El Camino Real, just a few blocks north of Ravenswood Avenue.
Location: 1225 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Board Meetings

The PAARA Board meets on the 3rd Wednesday of every month at 7:00 pm at the home of Marty Wayne, W6NEV.  Address is: 1039 Bryant Way, Sunnyvale, CA.  We conduct most of our club business there in order to allow more time for guest speakers and socializing at regular club meetings.  Any PAARA member is welcome to attend.

A few meetings throughout the year have pre-defined agenda items. These include:

September Board Meeting
The Nominating Committee is appointed by the President to decide on a slate of candidates to be recommended to the membership.

October General Meeting
The Nominating Committee presents its nominations to the membership at the regular club meeting.  Nominations from club members opens at the beginning of the meeting, and closes at the end of the meeting.

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