Tuesday, January 10, 2012


The recent Quadrantid Meteor Shower provided an opportunity for some interesting radio listening.  Space Weather Radio ran a nice feature on the reception of radio waves reflected from the ionized paths of meteors.  With a few mouse clicks, you can listen to the realtime reception of the Air Force Space Surveillance Radar transmitting on 216.98 MHz.  I don't have a received operating in this band, and probably live too far north anyway.   Thanks to the Space Radio Patron who kindly publishes his receiver's output to their website.   I  then downloaded iSpectrum to my Mac, a freeware software spectrum analyzer from Dog Park Software.   I was able to generate a real-time waterfall display of the 216 MHz signal.   Some time passed listening to static, until a PING came over the laptop's speaker!  I wasn't certain if this was my laptop, or the dog.  BUT, a quick check of iSpectrum indicated a clear change in the radio signal. I do believe (hope) either a satellite or Quadrantid Meteor caused the reflection and change in the signal.   There's some additional great information on this technique at science@NASA.

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