Sunday, December 13, 2009


I switched on the computer just after 10pm and saw Roger G3XBM's post about the Geminid meteor shower, so I set the K3 to 50.230MHz JT6m, put on a warm coat and went outside to take a look. The radio didn't receive anything but in the space of about 15 minutes I saw three bright, slow moving meteors.

I have had a moderate interest in astronomy all my life. In fact, there is a small Celestron telescope occupying a valuable corner of the already cramped G4ILO shack which I have been intending for months to put back in its box and put up in the loft because it hasn't been used for at least three years. The main reason, apart from the Cumbrian weather, is that we are surrounded on all sides by street lamps (not to mention the neighbours' security lamps) which makes any real enjoyment of the night sky impossible.

Directly at the back of the house are two orange sodium lamps, but I noticed for the first time this evening that another lamp down the road had been replaced by a brighter reddish-white kind of lamp that was even worse and killed any chance of seeing stars in the northerly direction.

I had an unhappy thought. Astronomy enthusiasts, whom I believe to be more numerous than radio amateurs, have failed to convince councils to install downward-focussed non-light polluting types of street lamps that would not interfere with viewing the night sky, so what hope have we of persuading the powers that be to outlaw devices that interfere with radio reception?
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