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looking for meteor scatter information

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  • looking for meteor scatter information

    Quick intro: Nick from Victoria, BC, Canada. Primary interest is the propagation of MW broadcast signals over long distances, preferably across oceans, and of course identifying and logging stations that propagate that far.

    So, why join a forum primarily interested in much higher frequencies than medium wave?

    A former work associate of mine is a physicist who knows about some of the signal strength recording that I do of long distance propagation of medium wave broadcasters, and, having an interest himself in observing meteor showers, asked me a propagation related question. He knows that that at one time there was a commercial operation that used meteor scatter to transfer small amounts of data to distant points in Canada. He was wondering if anyone has determined the density of meteor showers by recording the presence of, or possibly signal strengths of, meteor scatter effects upon long distance receptions of commercial broadcasts on FM or TV.

    We did find a couple of interesting web links, including a very detailed science fair project, but has anybody on the group done anything like this, or knows of someone who has?

    Plus a question from me that came out of the discussion with him. Do you see frequency effects when DXing meteor scatter? For example, meteor scatter in one portion of the FM band, but not another?

    Thanks for any pointers anyone can offer.

    best wishes,


  • #2
    Hey Nick, welcome to the WTFDA Forums. Looks like no one has *stumbled* upon your introduction thread. I typically am watching other topic forums and just happened to notice a NEW person in the Introduce Yourself section. Again welcome!

    I am a longtime enthusiast of FM meteor scatter (Ms) dxing. I can tell you there are a good handful of FM dxers in this group that devote a certain amount of their radio listening time to this aspect of the hobby. I would expect Saul Chernos in Ontario to chime in, as many of us might consider him the unofficial king of FM Ms dxing in the WTFDA.

    Perhaps a few links that would interest you, in case you haven't already stumbled upon them. There is Meteorscan, a Europe based project which has 24/7 monitoring of meteors and meteor showers...

    There is also Live Meteors, an audio research project *listening* to meteors...

    And Meteor Watch, a kind of news watch website on everything meteors...

    Besides the regular meteor showers, which are connected to comets and their dust particle trail, on any given night a person can hear the effects of meteors burning in the Earth's outer atmosphere on an open channel (frequency) on an FM radio dial. The BEST way to receive these Ms pops, pings, trails, and trains, are to have a decent FM receiver connected to a directional yagi antenna. Learning the nuances of Ms dxing would actually be a rather large manual of information. Something as simple as understanding the *types* of meteor debris that enters the Earth's outer atmosphere will make a difference in how you pursue dxing meteor scatter. A simple point - some comets are mostly rock and ice. Debris burning up in the outer atmosphere from those type of comets will be very short and fleeting in length of duration. On the other hand, a comet that has a higher content of metal will leave particles (as small as grains of sand size!) that when entering the Earth's atmosphere, can burn intensely and its ionized trail can last for two to three minutes. Those are rare and fun to encounter. Ones of those length, which can even last upwards of 5 minutes and bring in multiple signals, are referred to as *trains*, a term coined by ham radio operators several years ago.

    For a quick read primer on this subject, try this two page article written by one of the WTFDA's members several years ago...

    And YES - length of a meteor burn on the FM spectrum is much more noticeable at the lower end (I.E. 88 Mhz) compared to the high end (I.E. 107 Mhz). The reason being, the wavelength difference of the frequencies.
    Jim Thomas
    Springfield, MO EM37

    "Let's just plop them in front of the TV. I was raised in front of the TV and I turned out TV." - Homer Simpson

    Fall & Winter 2019 dx equipment
    Antennas - Antennacraft MXU59 UHF antenna & home-brew version of Antennacraft VHF Y-10-7-13 antenna @ 25'. Both antennas fed through a Channel Master 7777 30dB pre-amp.
    Tuners - Zenith DTT901 converter box; AirSpy HF+ sdr; Silicon Dust HD Homerun Dual ATSC tuner, using Rabbitears autologger support.


    • #3
      Thank you for the welcome, Jim, and my apologies for not having noticed it sooner. I checked back several times in the first couple of weeks after posting, and didn't see your reply, then I took an hiatus from checking myself, so it's been awhile since I checked back

      Thanks for the extensive information. I'll mine it for my scientist friend, and hope that he can find something of interest there. I'll also check with Saul, as I know of him from MW DXing.

      all the best,