Monday, 17 December 2012

Meteor Scatter

The recent Geminid meteor shower got me wondering whether I could hear anything with my current, rather lowly setup, having pretty much failed with satellites (that's another story...) so I set to to discover information on where the action is

It is not that easy to find, of course! is quite informative on gear if not frequencies. So, having read and digested that I then went looking for where the skeds are arranged

Every web page points you to pingjockey, but as far as I can see nearly everything, if not everything, is US based. Then there's on4kst's pages. These are used by Europeans. Once logged in you'll find pages with QRGs on.

But in the end, I heard activity using the good old fashioned route of rotating the large knob on the front and listening. 144.370 seems to be used as a calling channel, certainly in Europe. Indeed, activity seems to be so sparse that the two calls I have heard so far have all opted to carry out the QSO on the channel, which certainly makes life easier

Then there's the mode. ISCAT seems to be the flavour used for 6m MS, because the bursts are longer. A slower mode is preferable. However, for 2m, FSK441 seems to be the mode of choice: it gets the entire message in several times in a short space of time.

So, I'm listening using FSK441 on 144.370. Fortunately, it's all recording what it hears and, much to my surprise, I have managed to capture a couple of CQ calls from foreign stations on my collinear.

The best so far is one from EA3AXV, captured at 16:02 on the 16th. Here's what I saw:

I wonder what power and antenna system he was using. he's about 1300km from me, so the capture is a good one

There is, according to the experts, no point in even trying a QSO without substantially more than 100W and a beam. The beam must be a mixed blessing, and I imagine one doesn't want too much directivity. is a useful reference for when showers occur. But there is always activity.

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