Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My first meteor-scatter contact

I have been interested in meteors ever since, as a teenager back in the '60s, I and a couple of friends formed a small school astronomy club, joined the British Astronomy Association Meteor section and submitted meteor observations. So ever since I found out about WSJT, JT6M and its potential to enable even low-powered stations to make meteor-scatter (MS) contacts I had been looking forward to the Perseid shower. Unfortunately other matters took priority and I didn't think I was going to have a chance to try anything at all. But I did manage to leave the system on just receiving for a couple of times, and this morning when I saw CQ 236 PA4VHF being sent on 50.230 I could not resist tuning the K3 up to 50.236 and replying to him.

My PA4VHF G4ILO almost immediately produced a response of G4ILO PA4VHF 27 as you can see from the screenshot. It took a couple of minutes before the response to my PA4VHF G4ILO R27 of RRRR PA4VHF was seen on the screen. I replied with 73 G4ILO and immediately saw 73 TNX RRRR PA4VHF come back. That's the last message in the sequence, but I sent a couple of periods of 73 TNX G4ILO for good measure. Then I switched back to 50.230 and saw PA4VHF calling CQ again. It was all over in about six minutes. Not bad for 50W to a dipole using the (allegedly deaf on 6m) Elecraft K3.

I think that's probably my lot for this shower, but at least I can now say I've worked MS! Our contact is already in PA4VHF's 2009 6m JT6M Challenge list; I was a new grid (IO84) for him. Nice!

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