Sunday, January 15, 2017

First Meteor Scatter Contact

Meteor in a Perseids shower, Wikipedia
It's not exactly ground-breaking in the Amateur Radio world, but I'm pleased to have made my first "meteor scatter" contact with another radio amateur.  Thanks to W4IMD, Peter in Georgia, who exchanged information with me over a path of about 1,100 miles on 50.28 MHz with about 50 Watts of power.  We used the software mode called "MSK144", developed by friend and colleague Joe Taylor (K1JT).

Meteors strike the Earth's atmosphere frequently, even in the absence of a big meteor "shower".  They generate a trail of ionization that lasts up to a minute or so (at 50 MHz), which is sufficient to exchange a bit of information between ground stations that have mutual visibility -- up to about 1,300 miles.

Strong meteor burst from N0TB in Minnesota displayed
on FlexRadio FLEX-6500 SDR transceiver
There are other worlds to conquer: working through Amateur Radio satellites or the ultimate in weak signals -- moon-bounce communication. All these have been done one way or another for decades, but they keep me learning new tricks!