Category Archives: meteor scatter

A new personal 2m MS ODX…. and then another!

In the run-up to the Eta Aquarids, I’d been looking for opportunities to extend my best meteor scatter distance on 144MHz. To this end, I’d been trying quite ambitious tests with Lasse, OH6KTL (KP02oj/2098km) and Nikola, YT3N (KN04lp/2291km) with limited results. Lasse and I had managed to get signals in both directions but not complete a QSO, whereas I had only heard Nikola two or three times over a period of some months and I don’t believe he had heard me at all!

Given that the late winter/early spring months are in the doldrums for meteor scatter, I was looking forward to trying these long distance tests in the first of the summer showers, during the Eta Aquarids peak. OH5IY’s MS software, MSSoft (which I run in DosBox on my Windows PC), predicted a good path efficiency towards OH at around 05z, gradually rotating around through east and south east later in the morning.

So, on the 5th May (before any meteor outburst had been noticed), I started with Lasse at 05:21z and fairly quickly received a burst with partial calls, that enabled me to send a report. The next burst I received was several periods later and it contained calls and “R26”, so things were looking good! After a few more periods of transmitting “RRR” to Lasse, and still receiving “R26” back a few times, Lasse finally managed to get my finals and the QSO was complete for my new MS ODX of 2098km. Below are a few of the periods where I received a signal from Lasse – can you can hear them?

Early on the 6th May, when it was obvious there was some unusual MS activity from the Eta Aquarids, Nikola asked for a test, so we got running at around 05:41z. After some periods of no signal, suddenly… WOW! Something like a 22s burst from Nikola, unbelievable! I immediately started sending the report, and some periods again later, I had a tiny 120/3 (120ms long, 3dB over noise) ping that didn’t decode properly but looked like it might contain at least a report. Then right at the very end of that over (29.8 seconds!) I got a 160/5 ping with “I3KD YT3N R26 R26” – fantastic! I instantly changed to send finals (which also meant turning Auto off and on again quickly in WSJT, to get the message to change) which was just as well because in the very same burst Nikola received my RRR. So, the QSO was complete, for my new MS ODX of 2291km. Here are some audios from Nikola:

I have to give my thanks to Lasse and Nikola for believing it was possible to make the QSOs, and for all the previous, failed, attempts!



The Eta Aquarids 2013 outburst

The peak for the Eta Aquarids meteor shower was due, according to the International Meteor Organization, at 01z on 6th May, 2013. This is a fairly dependable shower, associated with Halley’s comet, usually providing a zenith hourly rate (ZHR) of around 60. This year, the peak coincided with a Europe-wide contest on 144MHz over the weekend of 4th/5th May, so it provided an opportunity to receive long-distance signals via the ionisation left by meteors as they hit the Earth’s atmosphere. However, it became apparent during the 5th that something unusual was happening: The meteor shower was “outbursting”, i.e. it was producing a much higher rate than usual, and the quality of meteor bursts was exceptional. So exceptional, in fact, that many contacts were made and reported as Sporadic E!

To give some idea of how good conditions were, I’ve created a playlist of some of the signals I heard over the period 5th-7th May. These are all on 144MHz, and all via meteor-scatter. It’s a shame about the busted QSO with YT1S, who I think was a bit taken aback when called by an EI!

Included in the audio are: 9A2L@JN86hf/1905km, DL1MAJ/P@JN58vf/1480km, DM3W@JO62xe/1509km, F0FYP@JN37lo/1190km, F1AZJ/P@JN28ok/1029km, F1EYB@JN23kk/1357km, HB9FAP@JN47ph/1361km, I4BME@JN54ql/1667km, IW1RGS/1@JN44mj/1523km, IW4AJP/4@JN54qe/1683km, IZ5ZWU/6@JN63gn/1799km, DR2X@JO40ql/1232km, DG8NCO@JO50vh/1402km, OE8HSF@JN76gw/1727km, OK1KAD@JO60ki/1476km, OK1KCR@JN79vs/1693km, OK1KIR@JO70dh/1574km, OK1VDJ@JN79us/1688km, OK2KGB@JN79qj/1678km, OK7O@JN69ou/1514km, OM8A@JN87wv/1909km, S57O@JN86dt/1852km, SP6HED@JO80il/1739km, YT1S@JN94ro/2187km, YU1EV@KN04cn/2240km, along with a couple of unknowns and chaotic bursts with multiple stations!