I'm located in Natchez,MS. I work CW and SSB on all bands 160 meters to 2 meters. I am now QRV on 70 cm and I'm working on getting QRV on 1.2 GHz. I like to chase DX on HF and CW has become my favorite mode. As you see I also work 6 and 2 meter SSB. For all you VHF'ers I'm located in grid sq. EM41HM. I'm also the only active weak signal 2 Meter operator in EM41 and I'm the only station QRV on 432 MHz from this grid. To see a Map of the grids that I have worked on 2 meters, click HERE
Updates: Thanks to K5QE and with the help of K5MQ, I am QRV on 432 with 150 watts to a M2 432-9wl at about 80 feet since 11/07/04. The feedline is 7/8" heliax and limited testing indicates its working fine. I even worked HB9Q via EME on my moonrise. As of 12-29-05 I am QRV on 2 meter EME with 4 x M2 2m5wl's with full AZ - El. Feed line is 10' of 1/2" Superflex to 60 feet of 1 5/8 " Heliax. The rotor loop is LMR-600 ultra flex and the phasing harnes is LMR-400. My four way power divider is a 1/2 wave homebrew. Prior to the four bay array I had 23 QSO's via the moon. I know the improved antennas will provide hours of EME fun. As on August 24, 2007 I have 48 States, 55 DXCC countries and 347 grids worked on 2 meters. Yes, I'm Having a blast.
I'm just starting a page as a primer on meteor backscatter. This page is still under constructuon so please no flaming yet. The link is HERE
2 Meter CW EME
IK3MAC Italy April 21, 2007 1914z 235kb
KB8FLA long single tone meteor burn "73"
Being the only weak signal VHF'er in a grid is more fun than you could dream of. Just think.....I get to be on the "other end " of pile ups like rare DX every band opening. This does have its draw backs . QSL request are heavy on anyone that lives in Mississippi and works DX . After VHF band openings I can expect a flood of QSL request. I have always answered these request for all stations in the log and will continue to do so. If you need a card from me I'll be more than happy to reply but keeping the above in mind, please send a SASE.
On HF I use a Icom IC-756 Pro II and for a back up rig Yaesu FT-100D . I run a pair of 3-500Z's in an Amp Supply LK500ZC. On 2 meters I run a Kenwood TS-790A, and a Down East Microwave Transverter on the IC756 Pro II for serious weak signal work such as EME. My 2 meter back up rig is a Kenwood TR-751A. The 2 meter PA for the terrestrial station is a Lunar-Link LA-22A(a pair of 3cx800a7's). For 2 meter EME work I run a Lunar-Link LA-22 (2 x 3CPX 800A7's) In the air at 70 feet I use a KLM KT34XA for 10,15,and 20 meters. Above the tri bander is the pair of Cushcraft 4218XL's being fed with 50 ohm 1 5/8"" heliax for terrestrial work. In between the two meter antennas is a M2 432-9wl fed with 7/8" heliax. Off the side of this tower is a homebrew clone of the Alpha Delta Twin Sloper I use for 40, 80 and 160 meters. On tower number two at thirty-five feet , I 'm using a M2 6m5 fed with 7/8" heliax and a F9FT yagi for 1296 MHz. Tower number three now has 4 x M2 2m5wl's fed with 1 5/8" with full AZ-EL. Here are some pics of me and my station (now out dated and maybe one day I'll get around to updating the pics). In the process of updating the station I took the 40 meter beam down since I have just about worked 40 meters out and moved 6 meters to a tower by itself. Here are some new pics of the 4 x M2 2m5wl's going up on 12-29-05.
I will be glad to run meteor skeds with anyone that needs to work this grid. Because of my job I'm on 24 hour call. All skeds are subject to change but this has only been a problem twice so far. If any changes in the sked are needed I will e-mail you ASAP so you will not be sitting at the rig when I not here. Since your looking at this on the web you most likely have e-mail or access to it. I prefer to set the skeds via e-mail. My home telephone number is private and unlisted to keep local stupid people I put in jail from harassing me on the telephone at all hours of the day and night. If you need the number for a sked I will give it to you . For skeds E MAIL me here.
Meteors are mineral or metallic particles that orbit the sun. Most meteors are small in size and many are microscopic. These particles are drawn into the earth's gravitational field as the earth orbits the sun. When pulled into the earth's gravitational field, the particles attain speeds from 22,000 to 220,000 miles per hour. As the particles enter the earth's upper atmosphere, they begin to vaporize. The vaporization process is seen as light. The heat released leaves a trail of free electrons and positively charged ions. Radio signals can be refracted or "bounced" from the ionized trail left by the vaporizing meteor. The duration of the vaporized trail is short lived. An operator may hear only a "ping" or fair propagation for 10 to 20 seconds or more. So you've never tried this before? Read A Beginners Guide To Working SSB Meteor Skeds below and start having fun.
Working VHF meteor skeds is fairly easy even if you have never done it before. Here's what you'll need to start. First you need an all mode transceiver or a transverter for the band you want to work. You can most likely work meteors on 6 meters every day if you can find someone to "run" with. During the major meteor showers that occur several times a year, you'll be able to work a few skeds on 432 MHz, a few more on 222 MHz, but 144 MHz is going to be your best bet by far. I have never ran a sked above 144 MHz and will leave that to someone else, and for this example I'm talking about the 2 meter band only. Ok you've got the all mode rig, so what else do you need? You'll need some type of amp. Lots of skeds have been completed with an 80 watt amp but, the bigger the better! I ran a 160 watt brick amp for 15 years and compleated most skeds with no problem. You'll also need an antenna with good forward gain. I'm using stacked yagis. Forward gain on the antenna will make up for less power in the shack. There's pros and cons about which is better, a single long boom antenna or a stacked array. Since I started using stacked antennas I've had better success. I would say no more than two antennas though because as antennas are added the directional pattern tightens. I used a 75 ohm phasing harness many years for my stacked antennas. When attempting EME contacts with JT65B I discovered the loss in the harness was tremendous. I couldn't hear echos from some of the larger stations in Europe let alone my own echos. For the best system performance use either a 1/4 wave or 1/2 wave power divider. You can buy the power divider or make your own. I made my own from instructions found here. These are simple to make, are low loss, and if built correctly will give a perfect match to your antennas. With power dividers you need only to use equal lengths of 50 ohm coax from the splitter to each antenna. For a single antenna I would consider 12dBd the minimum. Use low loss coax! At least 9913 type or Times microwave LMR-400 ultra flex. The LMR-400 has the low loss of 9913 type cables without the "water in the coax" problems of air dielectric cables. Everyone I know mounts there antennas horizontal for SSB and CW on VHF/UHF. You'll also need a receiver pre amp. The one in the "brick" amp will do but better "outboard" add ons offer more gain and less noise. I once used Ar2 but take a look at preamps made by LNA Technology. Chet at LNA Tech. has GREAT products and GREAT service I now run nothing but LNA Tech preamps and LNA T/R Sequencers. Because of license changes and the no code everything, Chet's business dropped off to the point where he went out of the preamp and sequencer business. This was a big loss to the VHF and up community. I've benn doing this for over 20 years and my money goes where I get the best results. With Chet out of business I'm looking for a new place to get preamps and other VHF equipment. I own DEMI gear and I'm not real impressed with it. Get a good set of headphones if you don't have any. Some "pings" may be 20dB over S9 but others will be just out of the noise.
Over the past few years there has been a lot of use of the new high speed digital or "sound card" modes for meteor scatter and EME. The WSJT mode FSK441 has just about taken over meteor scatter work but the chalange and fun of the SSB skeds is just not there. I now do most of my meteor scatter work on WSJT because there is more activity there. The most common digital meteor scatter mode is WSJT. I use it often now and it works good. It's sort of like RTTY with the exchange showing up as text. This mode is only for scatter and does not work very good if both stations are within normal ground wave range. WSJT is a high duty cycle mode so put a fan on that brick amp and turn back the drive on that tube amp. WSJT takes advantage of weak short burts that would be almost useless for SSB work and you can hear the pings. There is no need to wait for a meteor shower with WSJT. Most of the time it works so good that the random meteors that are almost constantly falling to earth will be enough for a contact. The digital EME mode is JT44 (JT65B). This works somewhat like WSJT. JT44 picks up the weak returns from the moon and displayes text on the program screen. Many of these returns are in the noise and are not detected by ear. I have some issues with working a station that you can't hear. I feel like that is more like one computer working another computer with the human interface all but removed, and these EME contacts need to be in a separate catagory than traditional EME. With that said about JT65B, I do use it and it does work. If you have a good high gain and low loss receiver setup you can hear some of the big gun EME stations in your speaker.Now for the sked. During the big meteor showers skeds used to be made on 3.818 MHz LSB. Since most operators now have access to the internet most skeds are done on one or more web pages set up for skeds. WSJT skeds are setup real time at Ping Jockey Central. SSB skeds can be setup by email or on the web at VHF Schedule Setup. Time to "run" the sked. Most meteor skeds will run for 30 minutes. Some are shorter some could be longer. You and the other operator decide before the sked starts. There is also a standard format for running skeds. Stations will transmit for 15 seconds at a time while the other station listens. Each minute is broken in four parts 15 seconds each. The station in the most western end of the path will transmit during the first and third 15 second periods. The most eastern station takes the second and fourth periods to transmit. GET A TIME PIECE WITH A SECOND HAND AND SET IT WITH WWV prior to the sked. When making skeds that's what is meant when someone says," I'll be first and third " or "You'll be(first and third) or (second and fourth). When its your turn it will go something like this......K5MQ N5KDA....K5MQ N5KDA....K5MQ N5KDA. It also helps to pause about half way into each 15 second period by saying "break",and listen for a second or two. This gives the other station a chance to transmit data if there is a "burn" and they are copying you. On good showers the 30 minute sked may be completed this way in a couple of minutes or even a few seconds. The standard signal exchange is "S2". When both calls are copied send calls and S2 until you hear "roger S2"..."roger S2.............". You then send "roger roger roger .......". When you hear "roger roger roger........." from the other end it a done deal. This may be turned around a bit depending on who is copying what. This sounds more complicated than it is. Give a listen to others and you'll see. It does not take long to get the hang of it but everyone I know still gets tongue tied. Give meteors a try. After you complete one sked you won't be able to get enough. Also during big showers hang out on 144.200 MHz and try random contacts. Good luck and good hunting!
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