Surfin’: Hamming by Pinging
By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
This week, Surfin’ suggests scattering signals during the Perseids meteor shower.
Meteor burst communications -- also referred to as meteor scatter communications -- is a radio propagation mode that exploits the ionized trails of meteors during atmospheric entry to establish brief communications paths between radio stations up to 1400 miles apart.
The next meteor shower is the Perseids on the night of August 12. During the peak of Perseids, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour. Perseids is often the best meteor show of the year, which means (to hams) that it affords a lot of opportunities for successful meteor scatter propagation.
Personally, I had successful meteor scatter contacts on 144 MHz using about 100 W into a small beam, so you don’t need a behemoth of an amplifier and huge aluminum array to work the meteors; however, if you are not that well equipped, just listening for pings is an interesting and fun endeavor.
Until next time, keep on surfin’.