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SteveNickolls

New to Meteor Detecting

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OK so I tuned the FCD+ Pro to a knows local FM station & tried the S@N script and the screenshot still showed Freq=143028Mhz.

FCDscript1.JPG

This seems to be in every screenshot when that particular script is running, regardless of the freq set.

I checked the content of the actual script file (as downloaded from the S@N website) and for some reason it is in the script under the [CAPTURE] section it says:-

     InfoDef0=$"Date="+str("YYYY-MM-DD",now)
     InfoDef1=$"Freq= 143028 kHz"
     InfoDef2=$"Config = MetScat_starter_v1"

No idea why that's in there but at least I have some confidence that my dongle is on the correct freq. I guess I could just change this figure.

Al

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Hi Al,

Really sorry to hear of your woes. I'll look at my set up and see if there are any similarities/differences and let you know.

Best Regards,

Steve

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Hi Al,

When you look in the Spectrum Labs window 'Screen capture, Periodic and Scheduled Actions' you will find under the Periodic Actions tag that 143028 kHz is shown as the value in the standard script and you should be able just to amend it to the right frequency. Maybe a typo? Hasn't affected me detecting meteors.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Steve

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Hi Al,

When you look in the Spectrum Labs window 'Screen capture, Periodic and Scheduled Actions' you will find under the Periodic Actions tag that 143028 kHz is shown as the value in the standard script and you should be able just to amend it to the right frequency. Maybe a typo? Hasn't affected me detecting meteors.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Steve

Hi,

Thanks for taking the time to check.  I agree that it shouldn't impact on actual detection.  

The 143028khz in the [CAPTURE] section looks like you can change it to anything.  The same value is also in the other scrip they supply that gives a more details look.

Last night I got my first 2 pings ..... only small ones, but at least it gives me some confidence that I'm actually on the correct freq and things are working.

Al

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Great to hear all's well now Al. I'm sure you will get many more 'pings' in the coming days and a lot of interest out of your system. As you can see above I've done two relatively short periods of observation in July and August which have thrown up some fascinating results. I wish I was better able to use Spectrum Labs and one thing I'd ideally like is automatic reporting into Excel as presently I have to import the csv data manually into Excel because of lack of 'know how' using Spectrum Labs. There are standard reports etc. on the Internet for Spectrum Labs and I guess I need to look carefully at them to see if I can understand, change if need be and action them. As I mention in a post above I'd also like to leave the pc operating 24/7 but fear the running costs :-)

Very best wishes,

Steve

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System is up and running 24/7 at the moment and pings coming in regularly.  I've managed (with some help!) to get SpectrumLab & Colorgamme working together to automatically count meteor hits and upload the data to the Radio Meteor Observing Bulletin (RMOB) website.

This automatically generates the following display and is very useful for tracking the level of detections over a period of time:

Grant_092014.jpg

The number of detections I'm seeing is fairly consistent with other detectors in the UK & North Europe  http://www.rmob.org/livedata/main.php - The map marker in the middle of the UK is my location.

I get a screenshot for each detection, but am only keeping some of the better ones.  Most are only quite small 'dots' but there are a few more impressive ones.

Although it's up and running, I've got a number of things that I need to look at in the SpectrumLab script & Conditional Actions I'm using.   This is something I don't find particularly easy, but am talking to somebody on the RMOB website who has offered to help with the scripts and also help identify some of the screen grabs on the more unusual (non meteor) detections that crop up.

But so far it's working ..... even if my PC is having some wifi connection issues!

Al

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Great news Al and thanks for the information of the RMOB website. Good luck with your future monitoring.

Cheers,

Steve

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Hi Al,

My system is now set up to feed in my Spectrum Lab detections monthly to RMOB. This however remains a manual process requiring me to take data from the Spectrum Labs log files and adding them one by one into the RMOB data file (currently for September) I have created in Colorgramme. I have come across a number of conditional action scripts on the Internet to automate the transfer of data between the programmes but subsequent testing in Spectrum Labs has shown them not to work. I have been careful to cut and paste the code such that I don’t introduce errors in the scripts. I wonder if you would be able to make available the script that you have that obviously works for this?

Cheers,

Steve

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Hi Al,

My system is now set up to feed in my Spectrum Lab detections monthly to RMOB. This however remains a manual process requiring me to take data from the Spectrum Labs log files and adding them one by one into the RMOB data file (currently for September) I have created in Colorgramme. I have come across a number of conditional action scripts on the Internet to automate the transfer of data between the programmes but subsequent testing in Spectrum Labs has shown them not to work. I have been careful to cut and paste the code such that I don’t introduce errors in the scripts. I wonder if you would be able to make available the script that you have that obviously works for this?

Cheers,

Steve

Hi Steve,

The script I used to get Cologramme working can be found here  : http://cmhas.wikispaces.com/slmeteor

I used the latest version (2101-06-09).  I've included a dropbox link below, but the site does contain some useful info on how the script works.

Don't make the same mistake I did .... I simply loaded the script and wondered why it wasn't working straight away.

If you read the top section of the script it tells you (line 6) that you need to create a sub directory called meteorlog within your spec lab folder. (Something I didn't do!)

Depending on where you installed you may also need to change the path (line 7).

I am using a modified version of that script passed to me by somebody else.  I've put both on dropbox below.

 

The original version will take a screen capture of every meteor detection and store them in the \meteorlog dir.  - Both scripts have some code to help distinguish between meteors and non-meteors, but you can still end up with a log of images (I'm regularly getting over 50 hits per hr in the early hours!) and most are only quite small.

 

The modified script contains some code that reduces the number of screen captures by only grabbing the larger ones. However it still counts ALL meteor hits for the RMOB data.

 

You can adjust the value required for a capture on line 40 (M_BIG>3) >3 refers to the number of Spec Log cycles.  Increase this value to only capture the bigger ones.

 

 

** Full credit for both of these scripts lies with the original authors.... I'd still be  :BangHead: without them!

 

Original Script (Simon Dawes)   https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14166007/0_MeteorLogger_SD_2012-06-09.TXT

 

Modified Script (Phil - Hykeham Observatory )  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14166007/0_MeteorLogger_SD_2014-09-01.txt

 

 

 

Once you have the script loaded and running I'd leave it for a few mins and then check inside the meteorlog directory, it should automatically have created some .dat files.

In colorgramme > Live select the RMBO-201409.dat (for Sept) file and things should start working.  Both scripts should do this.

Not sure if/how you could get your old data included ... perhaps try renaming your current file.

Initially I had problems with colorgramme auto uploading, but this was not related to either script.  

It was reporting that it had completed the transfer (Internet tab) but nothing was showing on the RMOB site.

After some pointers from another RMOB user who said colorgramme works but can be a bit buggy!  I went back to my colorgramme 'observer' tab and filled in ALL the boxes. Even the ones I thought I didn't need like 'Pre-Amplieier' or 'Computer Type'.  Also make sure you fill in BOTH location boxes (lat/long & decimal).

Since doing that colorgramme has worked without issue. I just leave it open/minimised and forget it's there.  I do check it's still pointing at the .dat file if I do a spec lab restart but there's never been an issue.

*** Thinking about it ... it may be worth double checking these details in colorgramme to see if your current config/script works and it's a colorgramme issue!

I'm still having problems with my audio capture but that's my config and not the scripts.  I can get the files but they are so quiet that at first I thought I wasn't getting anything ... still working on that!

Hope this helps

    Al

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Hi Al,

Thanks very much indeed for all of this, I really do appreciate it. I  share the 'head-banging-against-wall' feeling, I don't mind having a try at most things but have to take my hat off to Simon Dawes and Phil for what they have done. Your advice when piecing things together will also be immensely helpful Al. I will have to decide about how many screen captures of events I will want to retain, I can see the advantages of only keeping the larger ones.

I will have chance to look at the scripts tomorrow and will post here how things go. I will check first if, as you say, the issue may be with Colorgramme after all.

I hope you get to resolve the audio capture issue that's blighting you right now.

Best wishes,

Steve

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Hi Al,

I am still checking the different conditional action scripts you made available against each other and hope to start inputting the script that works tomorrow. However tonight, starting at 19h.54m.45s UTC I commenced getting a repeating detection approximately every 5 seconds and wondered if you too had detected this? The detections can continue for a period of several minutes then 'dissapear' only later to reappear. It's more likely an issue with my set up here but I thought I would check with you as you are recording 24/7. I attach a screen shot showing the effect, sometimes Spec Labs doesn't count some of the repeating events.

Cheers,

Steve

post-23098-0-08102800-1410383608_thumb.j

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Hi Steve,

             I have the same equipment set up here at my research observatory.  I mainly use it for school projects here.  Another great thing about the set up is it can also be used to trace the orbit of the International space Station on ALL passes whether they be lit, unlit or during the day.     Enjoy...

Grant.....

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HI Steve,

Sorry, I can't be much help here.  I do occasionally get lines of interference but they tend to be a solid line rather than what you are getting.  SL usually doesn't count  mine as a meteor detection.  

Sometimes I see quite a strong solid line of noise that slowly tracks up / down in freq for a period of time and then vanishes.

As I'm typing this I logged into my home PC using TeaViewer and saw this (I have the time in SL set to GMT).... 

Capture1030.JPG

which I'm pretty sure isn't a meteor, although not sure what it is (but this one did get counted).

     Al

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Hi Al,

Thanks for your reply. If you haven't picked up such a type of detection with your system then I might need to do some detective work at my end. Having said that I did check the screen shots from last night and the period I was getting the 'effect' lasted intermittently between 19h 12m to 22h 29m UTC. Since then no repeat of the effect has been seen tonight. I did come across an online pdf "How to detect flying or orbiting objects with SDR technology and the GRAVES radar" which was interesting. The authors have several screenshots from a Spec Labs set up with what they describe as a 'tropospheric signal' showing some similarity to the effect I detected last night but the one last night seemed very regular in timimg, almost coming in bursts every 5 seconds. During the period of the 'effect' last night I did check on ISSTracker where the ISS was and I'm sure it showed it to be between Japan and Russia at that time but Grant's post made me wish I'd taken a screen shot to do a second look-doh! Funnily the ISS did come over France earlier today but no similar signal was recorded.

I can confirm also picking up your long detection too, it registered 174 'durations' which is for me just over 23 seconds, and yes it was recorded as a meteor by the system. I attach a screen shot (currently using the starter script) for comparison.

After all this 'diversion' I finally hope to sit down with the conditional actions script tomorrow-fingers crossed.

Best wishes,

Steve

post-23098-0-08230100-1410470353_thumb.j

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Hi folks, this morning I checked yesterday's Spectrum Labs event log data and screen shots and noticed the same 'effect' being picked up as on the previous night this time starting later at 00h 50m 15s UTC+1 and ending at 04h 38m 30s UTC+1. During this time, as on the previous night the 'effect' would at times almost disappear from the screenshot only to reappear later. Spectrum Labs was only counting a few of the brighter detections during the almost 4 hour period. These 'false detections' occurred at 2165Hz to 2167Hz on the Spectrum Labs waterfall. From sifting through the data 60 of the detections in the period had been from this effect.

Since no-one else is seeing this 'effect' I'm going to move the FUNcube dongle as far from the desktop PC as possible(it's currently 1.4m from the nearest source of interference)and look to keeping the USB lead away from other cables. I hoped meteor detecting would be absorbing but not in this way :-)

Cheers,

Steve

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Hi Steve,

Another thread on SGL has suggested using ferrite cores to cut down on PC interference.

It's something I'm going to add to my set up.  At less than £3 from Maplin (cheaper on ebay) and easy to clip on to the cable it's got to be worth a try.

Impressed by the similarity of our screen captures.  The time (I have SL set to display GMT), duration and display are very similar. Clearly the same event.

Would be interested in knowing what it was.

Al

Al

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Hi,

I have come across a fascinating pdf read entitled, "Reception of echoes out of space with simple means of Amateur Radio Equipment" by Kark Smidt http://dk5ec.de/Graves-Echo-english.pdf  In it the ability to detect reflected signals from the Moon from the GRAVES installation under good conditions are described. In the publication (page 5) there is a Spectrum Labs screen shot and the signal at 900Hz looks rather close to those picked up over the night and early morning of the 10th and 11th September.  Seems the polarisation of bounced signals off the Moon is always varying which would go some way to explain why over several minutes the signal fades then strengthens again almost randomly. I have checked on Stellarium and the Moon certainly was up in the sky at Dijon while the signals were being received. It's  possible that the recent good weather conditions may have helped as (sad to say) I would rather not want to have to account for the moon giving false detections through Spectrun Labs when I really want to detect meteors. Ho hum.

Cheers,

Steve

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Hi Al,

We must have been on the same thread typing so I missed your last post while writing. Yes it sure looks the same event, but as to what it was...I suppose this is where we get to learn more about meteors :-) If I come across any similar type of detections in documents I read on the Internet I will let you know.

Thanks too for the tip of using ferrite cores, I'll be visiting Maplin this weekend and give them a try.

Cheers,

Steve

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Hi guys

I came across this page from the Crayford Manor House astro soc web site which might be of help with scripting Spec lab for meteor detection

http://cmhas.wikispaces.com/SLMeteor

I`m away on hols at the mo so unable to write/check scripts etc!!.

BTW do you have your antenna mounted vertically or horizontally?. Also since moving my antenna into the loft (for convenience only!)  I seem to have lost all the meteors :embarassed:  will have to mount it outside again....

Best

Steve

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Hi Steve (Gasman), thanks for the link, I will check it out as soon as I leave SGL. I take it you have your script running now? With the 'detections' I've been having on the 11th-12th my time has been spent trying to find what was causing them. I haven't then had the opportunity to use the conditional actions that Al kindly provided. I now expect it will be Saturday before I can copy them into Spectrum Labs. As regards my set up I have the antenna mounted so the elements are horizontal with the ground and the aerial is lifted upwards around 10 degrees pointing towards the GRAVES site. I chose a horizontal mounting as it was less conspicuous to the neighbours across the avenue. The aerial is about 12 feet off the ground and bolted to the shed, my first post shows how it is set up outside. Hope you get your signals back Steve and happy hunting.

Cheers,

Steve

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Hi Steve (Nic)

Not tried any scripts yet, I really need to sit down and spend some time sussing out Spec Lab and all its variables, not had much free time lately :embarrassed: Interesting what you and Al observed at the same time so that rules out any discrepancies from either setup, wonder if any others recorded it?

Steve

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Hi Steve,

Thanks for your message. Yes I find it fascinating that we can confirm detections and all that means (ok Loughborough and Gedling are only about 24km apart) but I'm sure as time goes on and we all cooperate on getting our sites up and running how we want them that we will all be able to check on other detections etc. and get a lot of fun and learning out of it. I find this subject fascinating and it certainly fills in the gap created when visual astronomy is not possible (that's about 300 nights each year isn't it he, he). Thanks to Al on this forum and those writing the Spectrum Lab conditional actions scripts as I have this afternoon added the script into my Spectrum Labs set up and touch wood seems to be working fine. I might want to do a few tweaks as the script printed across the waterfall on each detection is rather wordy for my liking. I know what you mean about Spectrum Labs, it's so versatile. I'm not someone who can write programmes but I found the script to enable communication with Colorgramme and future automatic reporting to the RMOB easy to add and the notes from the CMHAS script was really helpful in understanding what Spectrum Labs can do.

Good luck,

Steve

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Been away for a couple of days my PC has been running the meteor detector but I took my laptop and loaded Spectrum Lab on it.

I managed to get audio playback working with the signal generator and saved the config.

Loaded this up on my PC and it all looks to be working, so I think I've got my audio playback issue sorted (fingers crossed)

Still only checked with signal generator, but before even this wasn't working .....  now I just need a decent ping to confirm.  

Not sure what the difference is/was but when I get a chance I'll compare both files ....  who know I might even learn something about Spec Lab   :icon_scratch:

Al

(p.s. Notepad++ with the 'compare' plugin is great for checking/editing these scripts ...  and it's free)

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Hi Al,

Good to note your success with the audio issue and progress overall. :laugh:  After what I thought was a promising start using the Simon Dawes 2012-06-09 conditional actions script I have hit problems and despite three days working on it have all but given up and currently have returned to the reduced functionality script that originally came with spectrum Labs as it at least gives me an event log and screenshot records I can manually use to update Colorgramme and I'll just have to send my data off monthly.

It's hard to explain where I am at. I did create a meteorlog folder in SL and I did fill in the Colorgramme observers data fully. The SL script seems to be working as far as producing screen prints with individual meteor data and stores screen shots. However when I try to check if any data stored in SL for use in colorgramme the RMOB file that opens up is always blank and rather irritatingly sometimes asks me to complete the observer details all over again. However as automating the collection of data to go to colorgramme for it to send the data to the RMOB is the point of the script it's ultimately not working right. :lipsrsealed: As I said above I have now reverted to a manual collection method that I know works. Ho-hum such things happen. 

Cheers,

Steve

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Hi Steve,

Sorry you're having problems.

I'm sure you've tried pretty much everything, but just worth checking.  

If you are looking in the RMOB DATA tab and seeing it blank? .... so do I 

Here's what I do 

Look in the /meteorlog directory you created you should see an RMOB-201409.dat file. It's not a huge file (mine is currently only 8k)

If you open that file in a text editor (I'd make a copy first just to be safe) you should see 3 columns of data,

2014091611 , 11 , 10

This will confirm if the script is collecting the data. The last 2 digits are your meteor count for the hour. The other 2 blocks are the date/hour.  No idea why it repeats the hour (11 in this case).  As long as there is data then colorgramme should be able to read it.

In colorgramme you need to go to the 'Live' menu > Spectrum Lab option. Navigate to your /meteorlog directory and select the RMOB data file.

That should show the info. You can then go to the Internet FTP Transfer tab and choose how often you upload your data.

Hope you manage to get it sorted

Al

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