From a post to ALT.BOOKS.DAVID-WEBER dated March 11, 1998:

Grav pulse comm pulse generation

    Glad you like the universe <g>. However, a point which seems to be being missed is that both the grav lance and the FTL com pulses are effectively generated using the drive of the "firing" vessel. In the case of a recon drone, the dirve nodes are much too weak to provide the brute power for an effective weapon, but the technology is quite similar. In starships (and LACs) the beta and/or alpha nodes are used to generate FTL pulses... and also the burst of gravitic energy which the lance uses to attack enemy sidewalls. In other words, the lance is already a "laser" version of the FTL com's "torch." (Or, put another way, the com is a "gravitic laser" stepped down from weapons grade levels to communication levels.)

    BTW, the RM is further refining its FTL com technology and as of the end of Echoes of Honor they are up to about the 3rd generation of the system. The new coms (which are also built into the new Shrike-class LACs) feature major improvements in two areas:

    (1) Pulse repetition rate is much higher than for the original, slow system--for starships and LACs, at least. The drones are still stuck with the old system simply because of the power requirements; even with their on-board fusion plants, they are effectively required to charge a capacitor bank before they generate each pulse.

    (2) Starships and LACs are now able to generate FTL com pulses using single beta or alpha nodes. What this means is that they can cycle through their available nodes, sending individual pulses in sequence in very tight "windows," thus enormously increasing data transmission rates.

    Just thought you'd like to know. Now I'm sure some of you Hemphill types are going to sit around figuring out ways to use the new tech to poke holes in the ways the Manticoran Alliance actually uses them. Kvetch, kvetch, kvetch! ;-)