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SteveNickolls

New to Meteor Detecting

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.hi Steve,

This thread is so interesting I have been following it and wish we had such a clean source of RF to use as a meteor detecting radar as the Graves Radar.

About:

Can anyone explain if that means a returned trail with a Doppler changed signal frequency above 2kHz equals a meteor that was moving towards my location from Graves?

The RF doppler shift that you observe is due to the relative change in range between your antenna and the meteor.If the meteor was moving towards your antenna then there will be increasing RFD. If the meteor is moving away from you then the frequency will be dropping. If the meteor was moving on a circular path in relation to your antenna then no RF Doppler shift would be observed.

Jeremy.

Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for this confirmation, as someone new to this I thought I understood things but then the 'doubts' and limited understanding set in, so it's good of you to help explain and confirm things for me-cheers!

************************************************************************************************

Hi John, thanks for your information and photo. I have looked through the original article in Sky at Night magazine by Paul Hyde. the dimensions given for the central dipole are two 479mm lengths od copper tubing with a gap of 15 mm between them. The director element is 836mm long and the reflector element 1076mm. The centre to centre dimensions between the director and central dipole is 235mm and dipole to reflector 265mm.

************************************************************************************************

Hi Steve, Sorry to hear you have to now sort out connecting the FUNcube device to your cable. As I was starting completely from new and the article mentioned 'fiddly SMA plugs' I got WH Westlake Electronics to cut my cable to length and fit an SMA connector on one end so I just had to screw 'one to the other'.

Regards,

Steve

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Looks a good one but I wonder how it would fair with meteor scatter? I thought they had to be outside with unrestricted view SE as per the S@N instructions?

Cheers

Steve

True but its a portable ant and you were looking for multiband.

A simple ant that is quite effective and can be used indoors, ie loft space, is the coaxial dipole.

These can be made very cheaply out of RG213, if cut correctly will match nicely.

Going back a few years I used to use one on 70MHz,

During the summer it was very easy to have a regular contact with another station in Gibralter.

The ant was in the loft and I used about 2.5watts at the dipole to work the other station via Sporadic Es.

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.hi Steve,

This thread is so interesting I have been following it and wish we had such a clean source of RF to use as a meteor detecting radar as the Graves Radar.

Jeremy.

A longish shot...........what about trying VOR beacons in the airband.

Here we would listen for them during sporadic E openings, so they may be heard via meteor?

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Hi guys

So thinking I could just get an adaptor for the aerial coax plug to Sma fitting on the FCD mmmmm, not so easy apparently so I now need either to crimp an Sma plug or a Sma to BNC adaptor and then fit a BNC plug on the coax!. I guess there must be a good reason for Howard who designed the FCD to use Sma plugs!

Steve

PS thanks for the antenna info John!

Is this what you are looking for ?  http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/251591328336?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

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Hi,

After reading the S@N article I thought I'd give this a try and I have a SDR-Radio dongle on order and due to arrive early next week (Not the FUNcube)

I still need to build my antenna but that shouldn't take too long.   I've found lots of articles on the web and some good instructions on software configs but will need another look through to make sense of them. 

I have a spare PC sitting idle at home and the plan is to set that one up as a full time meteor detector.   Once I get this set up and working I'd like to get to look around 20Mhz for detecting Jupiter ... but I guess one step at a time.

Some good, interesting info in this thread  -  Thanks

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Use of VOR beacons sounds interesting, may have to research this one. Not a bad thought though. The more I read about this meteor detection the more I would like to have a go. But I would like to understand what is happening where there are interference effects and propagation through the various layers before the signals reach our antennas.

I have a few ideas but they are expensive to implement. The idea is to sought out the meteors or anything else moving up there based on their position and velocity.

Jeremy.

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Here are a few links that people following this thread may find useful / interesting (if you've not already seen them)

Nice Britastro guide 'Detection of Meteors by Radar' PDF  http://www.britastro.org/radio/projects/Detection_of_meteors_by_RADAR.pdf

> First part covers some of the 'how'. Section 4 onwards covers the GRAVES radar, equipment and software.

These 3 sites cover Spectrum Lab setup & config:

http://www.tvcomm.co.uk/radio/how-to.html

https://code.google.com/p/cdar/wiki/SimpleMeteorDetection

http://www.bcmeteors.net/index.php/radio-methods/87-radio-detection-basics?showall=&start=1

**  I can't comment on how good or bad any of these config guides are (not having tried any) but posted in case they are of use to others.

Finally there is this site: http://www.rtl-sdr.com/rtl-sdr-quick-start-guide/  with lots of info on SDR-Radio dongles (non FUNcube).  

The 'Featured Articles' are intersting showing what else you can use your dongle for, like NOAA weather sat images, Wx Balloon data and Aircraft tracking data (ACARS).

Al

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Thank you Al. The reference to the britastro.org work is good one and serves  an excellent introduction. Their references refer to :

http://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/2440/37976/3/01front.pdf

I will try to get my hands on the whole document in the next few days, here they refer to the use of the weather radar in their meteor experiments.

Jeremy.

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Steve you sure lit a fire under my grey matter!

An observation…

At my QTH not having the pleasure of a CW transmitter such as Graves I must target over the horizon commercial TV stations for my signal source.  My assumption that…a vertical dipole, tilted up 45 degrees, facing sunrise would catch more meteor scatter signal than a horizontal dipole facing sunrise …was erroneous.  The horizontal dipole catches more, some with brighter traces (stronger signal) plus not all image-trace-tails face the same direction.  Why?  I’m not sure. Maybe one of several. Best guess…

The horizontal dipole;

1) lQQkes at more sky (an arc from east through zenith to west) with earth as a reflector

2) more than likely the transmitter signal is horizontal polarized therefore I could realize

    apx 3dB (almost double) reflected signal strength

3) the reflected signal could be crossed polarized, not sure, need more input on this one

4) maybe I picked up a second transmitter source since there are three over the horizon

    stations in this region on the same channel

If   #1  is true then a dipole will outperform a Yagi from a quantity (vs quality) standpoint

73 John

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Thank you Al. The reference to the britastro.org work is good one and serves  an excellent introduction. Their references refer to :

http://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/2440/37976/3/01front.pdf

I will try to get my hands on the whole document in the next few days, here they refer to the use of the weather radar in their meteor experiments.

Jeremy.

I have found the above document (in three parts) for download at http://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/handle/2440/37976

Cheers,

Steve

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Abs. Brilliant Steve.

I have downloaded the 3 parts and am going through them in slow time. I am quite familiar with the radar in question. The Buckland Park Radar. 

I'll get back to you when I understand the content of this thesis.

Many thanks indeed.

Jeremy.

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Another pdf document worth a look.  Giving an overview of meteor detection using GRAVES  http://dk5ec.de/Graves-Echo-english.pdf

Some background info on graves transmit profile and the Spectrum Lab screenshots showing the difference between meteor, aircraft, ISS and Moon traces may be useful when trying to determine what exactly is showing up on screen.

Al

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Greetings,

Finally echoes come back after heavy cloud cover and apx 5 inches of rain past two days here on Delmarva Peninsula…

My absence of meteor signals past 72 hours or so triggered ‘why?’ and what do/did other stations hear?

By chance anyone catch a burst today 14Aug14 apx 1304Z?

John

post-35676-0-19049200-1408027700_thumb.j

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Hi Guys

Enjoying using the FCD pro+, what an amazing piece of kit :smiley: . I`ve looked at the antenna suggested by Mike for general use + meteor scatter but thought I`d try and get one for outside installation unlike Mike`s which is an indoor one. I`ve been looking around on the web and found a HF discone and wondering if others have tried one of these?. I realize any `general` antenna is a compromise but it seems to get good reviews even on its HF reception. Can such a `general` antenna be used for meteor detection like the S@N diy one which I assume is more directional?.

Another question that occured to me whlie trying to get some Persid `pings` - would I be right in assuming that if the aerial is pointing due SE and Perseus is also SE then any pings shown are more likely to be Persids than sporadics or would/can the antenna detect pings originating either side of SE?

cheers

Steve

Edited by Gasman

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Steve, a discone is a compromise antenna on any frequency it covers. A 3 element Yagi as described in the S&N article, or a similar design from the web will work much better than the discone. There is a thread on another forum where a user has failed to detect anything with a discone. Unless you have a pressing need for a general coverage antenna, save your money and build a Yagi.

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Hi m0dal

Thanks for that, I had the somewhat naive view that I could just stick up this HF Discone sit and listen to some HF or maybe decode some satellites once I`d got fed up with meteors :grin: . Maybe a bit more to it than that :laugh:

Steve

Edited by Gasman

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Hi Guys

Enjoying using the FCD pro+, what an amazing piece of kit :smiley: . I`ve looked at the antenna suggested by Mike for general use + meteor scatter but thought I`d try and get one for outside installation unlike Mike`s which is an indoor one. I`ve been looking around on the web and found a HF discone and wondering if others have tried one of these?. I realize any `general` antenna is a compromise but it seems to get good reviews even on its HF reception. Can such a `general` antenna be used for meteor detection like the S@N diy one which I assume is more directional?.

Another question that occured to me whlie trying to get some Persid `pings` - would I be right in assuming that if the aerial is pointing due SE and Perseus is also SE then any pings shown are more likely to be Persids than sporadics or would/can the antenna detect pings originating either side of SE?

cheers

Steve

Hi,

I'm still waiting to get my hands on the Yagi I'll be using.

There is another thread on another forum talking about this same topic and one person on there (who has some experience as a radio ham) is unable to detect the graves radar using his discone antenna in Macclesfield.  So I suspect you may struggle.

I don't know much about discones, but from what I know they usually cover a large freq range and are omni directional, so I'm guessing the performance on weak VHF signals (like graves) will be lower than a directional yagi with a narrower freq range.

Your discone should allow you to pick up the ISS vhf downlink (145.8mhz) during a visible pass:  http://www.issfanclub.com/frequencies

You mention HF reception.  HF meteor detection (and perhaps jupiter) is something that I want to look into at some point in the future.  

I understand there are some HF beacons in Belgium operating around the 50mhz area, but some comments I've seen say this is only really useful in the Southern part of the UK.  

That said I've measured the distance from the beacons to one site nr Bristol that uses them and they are further from the beacons than I am (in the midlands), so it may be an option worth looking at.

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Hi

I've been following this topic with great interest and also this one http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/178616-cliffs-meteor-station-diagram-and-works/ and decided it would be great to have a go at meteor detecting, so I've ordered this USB DSR from ebay http://www.ebay.co.u...984.m1439.l2649 rather than try the FCD Pro Plus, purely because of the cost.

I was thinking about making the 3 element Yagi in Paul Hyde's S@N article, but I have space restrictions where I live and it can also be quite windy, so I'm concerned about the antenna surviving. Searching online I've come across this 2 element 144MHz quad style Yagi http://www.innovantennas.com/antennas-a-accesories.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=369&category_id=52 which I could mount on the SE facing wall of my house . Although it's a bit more costly, it is at least compact and sturdy.

Now I know nothing about antennas, so before I go ahead with this one I would appreciate views and comments on whether this antenna would be suitable, or alternative ideas.

Many thanks, Bob

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Hi guys

I`ve been trying out SDR-radio v2 with success but struggling to get anywhere with Spectrum lab!!. I set the FCD controller to my local FM frequency of 104.7 Mhz (104700 in the controller) and then launch Spec lab, make sure the FCD is selected, load the FMradio_v1.user config file and ....nothing. I`m not sure if the frequency is correct on screen, is the frequency selected in the FCD controller the one that Spec lab uses?. I`ve tried inputting 104700000 in the frequency window at top left but still nothing. I can use SDR# and SDR-radio no problems so the FCD is ok. I`m sure Spec lab is the dogs whatsits if I can suss out how to use it! :smiley:

cheers

Steve

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Hi all,

I too have be following Cliff's thread  -  http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/178616-cliffs-meteor-station-diagram-and-works/   - and have now a working combination of the 3 element yagi from S@N magazine and the SDR# / dongle suggestion from Cliff.

For anyone interested, I have three screen grabs.  One showing the settings I use on SDR# and two with a meteor "ping" on each from yesterday evening (24th).

Regards, Les.

PS - Thanks again to Cliff for the original inspiration!!!

post-31396-0-65404300-1408988754_thumb.j

post-31396-0-58303600-1408988776_thumb.j

post-31396-0-87962300-1408988799_thumb.j

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Hi guys

I`ve been trying out SDR-radio v2 with success but struggling to get anywhere with Spectrum lab!!. I set the FCD controller to my local FM frequency of 104.7 Mhz (104700 in the controller) and then launch Spec lab, make sure the FCD is selected, load the FMradio_v1.user config file and ....nothing. I`m not sure if the frequency is correct on screen, is the frequency selected in the FCD controller the one that Spec lab uses?. I`ve tried inputting 104700000 in the frequency window at top left but still nothing. I can use SDR# and SDR-radio no problems so the FCD is ok. I`m sure Spec lab is the dogs whatsits if I can suss out how to use it! :smiley:

cheers

Steve

Sorry to hear of your problem with Spec Labs Steve.  I take it you have tried the downloadable manuals that walk you through installation of the FUNcube drivers using SDRSharp as the example but with no success?

I had to allow my PC to scan for hardware changes after ostensibly installing the software for my PC to be happy that the drivers for the FUNcube Dongle Pro+ were properly installed. I take it you have checked Device Manager on your computer to see if the device is recognised under ‘sound, video and game controllers?

Have you also tried receiving another local station frequency and got similar results? It’s been a little while since I first turned my system on but I think it worked ok out of the box for recognising the signal from Radio Nottingham and I went on to check receiving  a second local station too.  I did however later check and adjust some of the Spec Labs audio settings (see below) specifically to match those of my computer before trying to detect meteors.

If you can’t receive any station signal it might be worth first physically checking good cable connections at both the aerial end and Dongle/cable end or if anything is short circuiting the connections at either end? Rain ingress?

In the Spectrum Labs Screen you can select Options/Audio Settings,I/O Device selection to show the Configuration and Display Control window. I had to check that the Input Device/Pipe/Driver drop down menu was ‘0 line (FUNcube Dongle V2.0)’ and the Output Device/Pipe/Driver drop down menu was ‘0 Speakers (VIA High Definition)’ for my particular set up.

I further checked on my PC what sound card sampling rates were possible and luckily the highest sampling rate of 24 bit 192000Hz was possible.   If you look into-

Start/Control Panel/Sound/Playback/Speakers/Properties/Advanced it will show what sampling rates are possible for your computer (I’m using Win 7 64 bit). If you can’t get 192000 from your sound card/chip then lower values are ok provided you set the right soundcard sampling rate in the Spec Labs ‘Configuration and Display Control window’.

If you click on ‘Components’ option in the Spec Lab main window you can bring up the ‘Show Components (Circuit window)’ window which will show you if your system is set up ok.  Any red item means an issue.

Sorry if this is teaching you to suck eggs Steve.

I do hope you can get to resolve this.

Best regards,

Steve

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Hi Steve

Managed Spec lab fine now. I`ve been trying it out with `Wine` under Linux on an oldish Windows 7 laptop with no joy and also on the Windows 7 partition again nothing so I did a complete wipe and reinstall of Win 7 and it works fine now, I think there was that much c*** on it!. I`m amazed at what free software there is for SDR, another one I`ve been trying is SDR-radio v2 as well as the excellent SDR# mentioned above. I`d also like to have a go at decoding some satellite stuff too. All interesting stuff and still doable when its cloudy and I can`t do any spectroscopy :grin:

Steve

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Great to hear you've sorted it out Steve. Yes there's lots of free software to try :-) I agree this is a good area to work in when you can't get outside to do visual stuff (he he that's about 80% of the time).

Cheers,

Steve

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Meteor Detections Graph July and August 2014.docxHi All,

Just had chance today to look at some detection data from earlier in August (6th to 13th) collected before I went on holiday. I've produced a graph superimposing the number of meteor detections obtained in a period in July and it makes interesting viewing. It's only my worry over paying the electricity bill for the computer that stops me running the FUNcube set up 24/7.

Cheers,

Steve

Meteor Detections Graph July and August 2014.docx

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I finally have my Meteor Detector in place and all connected up.

I'm now using an FCD+ Pro and a (borrowed) 3 element OWL Yagi and can see active signals, so it all looks to be working,however I think I'm having some problems with Spectrum Lab.

I'm using the S@N scripts.

The G.R.A.V.E.S freq is 143.050mhz, but I set the FCD freq to 143.048Mhz as per the S@N instructions and load the script.  

All seems to be working but when I switch on/off the signal generator to produce a 2khz and get an automatic screen capture  the info box in the lower left of the screen shows the freq as 143.028mhz.

If I then set the FCD+ freq to 143.050 and create another screen capture it still shows 143.028mhz, so I'm not sure where this freq/info is coming from.

I only got this up and running yesterday evening and left it going overnight.  No meteors detected, but I'm not sure if that's just because there weren't any or if my freq is off and I'm missing them.

I only noticed this last night so not had a chance to check further.  I am seeing active signals and can pick up FM radio stations.  I've not yet had a chance to do a screen grab on those and check the freq.

I also have a cheap SDR dongle and want to run a check with that to see if I'm getting the same results.

Any thoughts appreciated !

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