The summer meetings in Cleveland were winding down in November and most of the crowd had drifted off to the Olive Garden for the buffet. I was about to do the same when Marcus Gretch approached me - confronted me, really, with his big fat stupid head (just kidding, MG) - and gave expression to what I think a lot of us felt was the elephant in the room during the conference. And really, the elephant in the rooms, since obviously the conference didn't only take place in the Versailles Ballroom but also, over the course of four days, in all of those smaller rooms on the second floor. So, elephants, plural. Maybe.
The elephants in the rooms were the new Franzen paper on ISO-33928-7 sideband extenuators: specifically, how Tier III prerouters would (if they would) interact with existing efforts to beef up groundwave skimmers for reliable, non-corrosive nightsky transmissions. (We'll leave R-54's out of the discussion now lol; we will also leave out of the discussion the fact that this is effectively an NHEM issue only, and really only a USCM issue since the ESA/ASA pumpers will be online by Christmas LOL.)
But seriously folks... Mark's question (which I'm kicking myself for not asking myself) was: what about the new Tier III deflectors? Under the currently proposed scheme, they'd be shadowed or otherwise rendered obsolete, at a time when obsolescence has fallen out of favor (not complaining about that). And ISO-33928-7 would treat them in much the same way, i.e. under that spec, antigraviton guns would blast them into next year (literally). What to do, Mark wondered?
My idea (literally shouted down in Cleveland by the Ruppert contingent) was to re-purpose them as the very skimmers they were meant to replace, providing one less single point of failure along the groundwave routes (Graydon trenches, anyone?), at a time when nightsky relays are becoming ubiquitous. Fine; yet again, the world fails to see my brilliance (joke); I'm on board with the Ruppert solution of reflector-as-extramission-relay (which does, I must admit, have the added benefit of not landing us in hot water again with the FCC). But even with such precautions in place, sidebander artifacts don't simply go away, just because we'd like for them to.
Net-net, Mark's idea was simple and elegant: Pontix certification up and down the line. Bit of administrative overhead, but well worth getting the FCC off our back while basically keeping things status-quo.