As part of the 2017 station building plan to get back on the VHF/UHF bands- I was able to get the 144 EME array completed the other day (minus the relays, preamps, power wiring etc..) but the antennas are functional. I have been playing around with SDR Console to see what I can hear with the Funcube Pro + dongle and have been impressed.
I had a few free hours (that turned into several) and got on the air for the 2017 Geminds meteor shower peak with the array. For those that do not know you can work station on meteor trails as they burn through the atmosphere. You transmitted signal reflects off the meteor and others can hear you. Back “in the day” when I was active in FN54, there were hours and hours of voice calls trying to work guys on the rocks. Calling for 30 seconds and listening for 30 seconds, then calling, then listening. Tiring but a lot of fun.
With the WSJT-X software, you can now use MSK144. Using the same mindset / sequence of JT65 or FT8, you can use he computer and sound card to send signals – in the hopes that they get reflected back to another station that can decode them.
I stripped out the Funcube Pro+ and went directly to the FT991 for the radio and able to cobble together an old Mirage 10160 amplifier (that was running @ 70w)with some real cheap coax jumpers all over the shack and operating table and got the station on the air. I logged on the ping jockey sked page and found a few stations that were willing to run some skeds with me.
I had no idea what to expect, but was excited to receive over a dozen stations (did I mention no preamp installed at his point!) and worked three, for three new states. Nevada, Idaho and Texas. I am happy with that for 70w and a ground mounted 4x13el array.
It does appear that I got active just as the peak was starting to decline. Many online say that the peak was about 6 hours early. I know I spent the last several hours calling with minimal or no pings. Fun none the less to listen to the pings “burn in”
Some screen shots of the software and the pings that were decoded. Yes, these are huge images.. sorry about that.
This activity helps to get the motivation going to get the Larcan 144 MHz KW amplifier up and running sooner than later. Needed electrical work will be done Saturday to get the beast ready to come to life. For now, I know that the station hears well, and when I swing the array towards the house- man is it noisy! I need to improve upon that!
If you are reading this and thinking ” That is cool.. how can I do that?” This link from M1BXF should help with some background info to get you started.
Hope to hear you on the air!