Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Meteorscatter fun !

I already experimented without much success December last year when the Gemenides meteors passed by. You can find my stories here and here. I was a bit sceptic after I made only one contact and even that one was only half. I knew the Perseid meteors would pass by at around my birthday, I knew that long before I even heard of the Perseids. When I was young my birthday was the only day of the year I could decide when I go to bed myself, it was a unwritten rule in our family. Most times at midnight my father and I would get out for a walk to see if we could see any "falling stars" to make a secret wish. And if it was a miracle, falling stars could always be seen at my birthday. Sometimes a few and hard to see. But I remember one year we could see it every 10 seconds, they were very bright and could even be heard! You can imagine this made just as much a impression on me as when my father called me to see aurora from the garden.

Anyway, since I just got my IC-7300 I decided to have it a go again. Just to see what I did wrong last time and what could be learned. I was active from 10-13 august and made 23 MSK144 QSOs from 18 DXCC. I think it's not bad with 50W into a 5 element yagi. Half of it was tropo or ES but the other half, especially at night, were real MS QSOs. Interesting to see that you can clearly see what meteorscatter is and what tropo or ES.

Above a screenshot from a QSO with SP3UR, at the right the waterfall, you clearly see the signal bursts. When the propagation is ES or tropo there are no bursts but one long signal with multiple decodes.

And this is what it is sounding (random recording), listen carefully:

What have I learned from these days by experimenting and asking:

- You don't have to aim your antenna at the meteorshower. Beam it to the station of choice. Or use a vertical.
- MS is not ES or tropo and can take time. Sometimes 10-20 minutes to complete a QSO. If you are a real fanatic it can last for 4 hours before a QSO is completed.
- If the calling frequency is busy it is a good habit to look for a free frequency at just call on 50.280, you can click the CQ 280 box in WSJT-X. It will automatically include your frequency in the CQ on the 50.280 calling channel.
- Many are just beginning with MSK144 (I am) it is fun but expect some errors from stations. Don't take it too hard.

It was a lot of fun these days, and others had fun as well. I got this e-mail from a happy Finnish radioamateur that made his first MSK144 QSO with me.

Hi Bas

I only say thank to you for our qso on msk144 mode.
I am so happy... old man and my first qso on that mode. two days i have tried.
Kenwood TS-480 SAT inside city area. no gad I say

Many msk qso's to you
73 de Elias

Isn't that great, this makes me happy as well. Thanks for the QSO Elias.

Range was limited to Europe. However it should be possible to extend range with a combination of MS, tropo and or ES.


  1. Great post, Bas! You are exactly correct about not having to aim an antenna. Indeed, a highly directional antenna might even be a disadvantage in general, but perhaps not if seeking a specific station, rather than any station that can be worked.

    The point is that, whilst meteors appear to arrive from a radiant (i.e. a single point in the sky), they travel and leave ionised trails over a very wide area of the sky. And then there are sporadic (non-shower) meteors to add to the fun.

    I sent out a few signals in the morning, but didn't get any responses. A few stations heard me, but they seemed only to be listening out.

  2. Geweldig Bas, een hele ervaring voor je maar het is je gegund.
    OP 2m heb ik wel ervaring met MS maar nog nooit op 50Mhz geprobeerd. Zodra ik tijd heb en er zijn wat stenen dan zal ik het zondermeer ook op 6m proberen.
    73 Hans

  3. Hallo Bas, mooi resultaat. Ik had de 12e vergeten te kijken, zat op Kreta met een kraak heldere hemel. Ik neem ook bijna nooit radio spullen mee op vakantie. 73 Paul PAØK


Thanks for your comment. Bedankt voor je reactie. 73, Bas