Ham Radio

Introduction to Meteor Scatter

Here are a few pages about meteor scatter characteristics and some suggested equipment.

  1. Read installation page to install and configure software.
  2. Read daily operation to use meteor scatter after software is installed and configured.

Meteor Showers

  • So ... you want to benefit from a meteor shower?
  • Example: The Geminids start on Dec 10 and peak on Dec 14th, 2013.
  • Meteor activity is measured in ZHR (zenith hourly rate), typically 80-120 for Geminids
  • You might note an apparent surge in speed past local midnight, as your vantage point turns into the oncoming shower, adding the velocity of the Earth to the approaching Geminids.
  • Where in the sky in Gemini?
    Hint: Gemini lies between Taurus to the west and Cancer to the east. The brightest stars in Gemini are Castor and Pollux on Orion's Belt. But it doesn't matter to hams. The meteors extend everywhere across the sky. The radiant point is not important.
  • When can you see Gemini? It has to be up in your sky to see it. No matter where you live worldwide, the greatest number of Geminid meteors usually fall after midnight. But you can watch this shower in late evening as well.

Requirements

  • Use WSJT software
  • Use modes FSK441 and ISCAT
  • Use Ping Jockey to learn who's listening to meteor scatter
  • You can expect 400 - 1200 mile range
  • Best sky angle is 4 - 14 degrees (closer stations are higher in the sky)
  • Therefore, use 30' tower at most, since you don't want an extremely flat low-angle pattern
  • Use beams with pear-shape pattern (avoid beam with lots of sky lobes)
  • Best angle is for both stations to bounce off a perpendicular meteor (worst angle is to reflect from a meteor moving in a direction parallel to both stations)
  • From my home near Seattle, the 400-1200 mile circle will reach all of California: Circle of 400 to 1200 miles

Recommended Equipment

  • Recommend 5-el six meter beam (shorter doesn't have enough gain, longer doesn't illuminate enough sky)
  • Recommend 12-el two meter beam
  • Recommend all the power you can muster (100w will make contacts, 300-500w will make more contacts)

DTV Carrier Frequencies

For USA and Canada, you can watch for over-the-air DTV pilot signals for an easy target. Note that analog TV carriers previously monitored for meteor activity were shut down on Dec. 31, 2015 at midnight. Choose a channel that does not have local interference. See a YouTube video by "RadioHamGuy" too see example signals, www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WEV4kDL2UA Also check out roswellmeteor.com.

Channel MHz Mode
2 54.309 USB
3 60.309 USB
4 66.309 USB
5 76.309 USB
6 82.309 USB

 

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