Monday, July 28, 2008

There Was A Star Danced, And Under That I Was Born....

The words of the Bard are fitting considering all the fun I've been having working meteor scatter on 2 Meters. 8 QSO's and more importantly to me, eight new grids. I've also had a couple of terrestrial contacts and new grids using the JT6M mode of the WSJT software.

For those who might think that I'm strictly computer guy, I also picked up a new grid over the weekend using that oldest of digital modes, good old CW. But the digital modes offer a significant advantage over even CW, with JT6M and other modes that are part of the WSJT suit able to detect signals several db below the noise level. Given my compromised antennas, this allows me the chance to work a lot of stations that would otherwise be impossible to log.

One of those stations that I've been trying to work most of the month without success is Dan, VE2DSB. A few nights ago he turned me onto a great tool that helps to visualize the current meteor showers, and the direction of those rox.

After doing a little reading in the out of print book, "Beyond Line of Sight", you can begin to grasp the geometry involved. But using the Virgo Sky View tool makes it much easier to visualize.

See for yourself at:

Virgo Sky View

There are also some great links available to help you understand how the direction of travel, speed of the meteor, and other factors affect your chances for a successful meteor scatter contact. Hope these are of help to other newcomers, as we approach the August 12th peak of the Perseids meteor shower.

The International Meteor Organization: Theory of Meteor Reflection

James Richardson, The American Meteor Society: Some Notes and Equations for Forward Scatter

While Sky View can help you to understand which directions of the azimuth have the greatest chance for success on any given day, don't forget that random meteors are constantly striking the earth's atmosphere. These meteors are not part of any shower, and thus don't fall from a given direction (or radiant as they say). The random nature of these events means that successful contacts are possible between almost any two stations within about 1,200km of each other, if they're patient enough.

Thanks to DL1DBC Sabine Cremer for creating this JAVA based web tool, and to my friend Dan, VE2DSB for sharing it with me.

73 DE N1LF

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