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"Interplanetary dust particles are plunging into Earth's atmosphere continuously. With this revolutionary software you can communicate over distances up to 1400 miles by bouncing signals off the ionized trails of these tiny meteors."
From the article "WSJT: New Software for VHF Meteor-Scatter Communication" by Joe Taylor, K1JT
QST Magazine, December, 2001
Hear an actual Meteor Scatter Ping (K0XXX and KM0T 862km)
Meteor Scatter contacts have been made for years using phone, cw and, high speed cw during meteor showers. What Joe Taylor has done with WSJT, is to make meteor scatter contacts possible most any time of the day or year. It allows use of micro meteor trails lasting only a fraction of a second. Gone are the days of needing arrays of long boom yagis. I've even been able to work a mobile station (N5SIX) that was using a halo antenna. Contacts have also been reported with stations using wire antennas.
The software also incorporates several other modes. One of which is JT65, and it has made it possible for stations with only a single, long boom yagi and modest power to work EME with the larger stations.
To say the least, I am enthused about Meteor-Scatter and WSJT! With my rig running at 50w and using a seven element, two meter beam at 30 ft., I have been able to work stations out to 1200 km on 2 meters, on a "dead" band. I was also able to do the same on 6 meters, using a 4 element beam at 25 ft. Feeling a bit more confident (and after corresponding with Icom), I now run the 746 at 100w.
Meteor Scatter does not require high power or large yagis. They are definitely a plus if you have them, but they are certainly not needed. If you have an all mode VHF rig with at least 30w out, you can probably be successful. For radios having lower output, FM only brick amplifiers in the 80 - 140w range can be found for much less than their all-mode counterparts. Check eBay for brands like TPL, KLM, etc. These FM amps can be used with WSJT even though you are transmitting in SSB (WSJT only transmits a single tone at any given time). Because of the duty cycle, it's always a good idea to add extra cooling for any amp you run. I use a muffin type fan laying on top of the cooling fins when I use my brick type amps.
If you are interested in getting started in Meteor Scatter, I'd be happy to provide any assistance that I can. If you'd like to set up a meteor scatter "sked" with either Mary, Terri or myself, contact us at my e-mail, listed at the bottom of this page, or look us up on QRZ.com.
***Latest News... after a long hiatus from meteor scatter, we are back on the Rocks! I finally worked out the port conflict on my new computer and we are qrv on the meteors again. Woohoo!
FSK-441 and JT6M Meteor Scatter Modes
FSK441 - designed to support communication using very brief pings from meteor trails in the ionosphere
I am currently using WSJT version 7.03, which includes several other modes and versions of modes. It includes JT65 which is an outstanding weak signal mode. JT65 will actually decode signals that are to weak for you to hear by ear. It is used for EME and terrestrial weak signal contacts. I've used it to work ground wave out to 450 miles. It's great for filling in those blank grids on the map that are too near for E's and too far for normal ground wave (the 350 - 450 mile doughnut of propagation death). For the latest info on WSJT, see the links at the bottom of this page or click here to go the the Official WSJT page.
To see our VHF Grid Maps click here.
Current Meteor Scatter Equipment
My meteor station is very modest yet I have been able to make contacts out to 1200 miles (which is a great testament to the power of the software). To interface the rig to the computer, I use a West Mountain Radio, Rig Blaster Plus.
Icom IC-746 at 100w
Comet 4 Element @ 25 ft.
Ameritron AL-80 converted to 6m (which I run at 300w due to cooling limitations)
Icom IC-746 at 100w
Gulf Alpha 7 element @ 30'
Mirage B1016 amplifier (160w)
1.25 Meters (in the works)
AM-6155 waiting for a power supply to be built
(I recently purchased a M2 222-7WLA that is awaiting the new tower)
22 element homebrew
I do not personally know anyone that has made meteor scatter contacts made on 70cm.However, I have heard that some have indeed been made. At this point, I am considering building three more 22 element yagis to give it a try once I add some more wattage.
My guess would be that you would need some very dense trails to be successful on 70cm.
Major Meteor Showers
Below are a few links to some great Meteor-Scatter and WSJT sites.
As a side note, I have some authentic Meteorite Specimens for sale. Click here to visit the Meteorite page.
"When you wish upon a falling star, your dreams can come true. Unless it's really a giant meteor hurtling to the earth which will destroy all life. Then you're pretty much screwed no matter what you wish for. Unless of course, it's death by meteorite."