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Perseid Shower Poses Meteor Scatter Possibilities

08/10/2013

The Perseid meteor shower, the best annual shower for Amateur Radio meteor-scatter work, peaks overnight August 12. Unfortunately for viewing purposes, peak activity will happen during daylight hours across North America. Space.com advises stargazers with clear skies to seek out the meteor display during the pre-dawn hours of August 12 and 13, when the absence of bright moonlight will boost your chances of spotting a meteor — or bouncing a radio signal off meteor trails.

The peak should occur between 1815 and 2045 UTC, with an expected peak (zenith hourly rate) of 100 per hour. Meteor-scatter communication uses the ionized trail of a meteor as a passive reflector for VHF and UHF signals — 6 and 2 meters are excellent bands — and a simple but effective station is within the reach of most amateur experimenters.

Most meteor scatter enthusiasts employ software such as WSJT, developed by Joe Taylor, K1JT, for meteor-scatter communication. The software can decode fraction-of-a-second signals reflected from ionized meteor trails. Visit the WSJT website to learn more and to download a copy.

For another approach, APRS enthusiasts may want to check out the APRS Meteor Scatter Email System webpage.

 



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