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Monday, September 10, 2007

monitoring for meteors on APRS

If you have been reading this blog the past few months, you know I use APRS to determine band conditions on 144 MHz. Today, Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, the inventor of APRS, suggested using APRS to monitor the band for meteor scatter propagation.

Here is the text of Bob's message, which he posted on the APRSSIG:
If you live in a remote area with only one APRS digipeater that you can hear, then you have a good chance of hearing some APRS packets via Meteor scatter.

Just point a good beam towards a high-density APRS area some 500 to 1000 miles away tuned to 144.39. (A preamp also helps)... Go to sleep and see what you have captured by the next morning. Just look on your map for any stations in that distance range. If you got any, then look at the path and be sure they were not heard via any digipeaters. If you heard them direct, or their local digipeater direct, then chances are you heard it via MS. Or TROPO.


Under the recent optimization of the APRS network under the New-N paradigm, the amount of QRM due to dupes on the national APRS channel has been significantly reduced. This means those people in remote areas that normally only hear one digipeater, will hear lots of silence between the packets. These silent periods are all great opportunities to hear distant packets via meteor bounce (from the other 10,000 signal sources in the USA for example).

A beam that is low (to minimize hearing local QRM, but that can see down to 10 degrees or lower on the selected horizon, will be best.

During meteor showers, we can actually configure the local digipeaters for one night to be even further reduced from out-of-area QRM making it easier to hear more silence while still supporting local APRS only.

You can do this any night, or you can wait for the next Meteor Showers in Oct, Nov, Dec and Jan.

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