Radio Waves And Astronomy
by Steven J.Wamback, KK2W
Just as Optical Astronomy uses light waves and their physical properties to study astronomical objects and phenomena, Radio Astronomy is a means of studying astronomical objects and phenomena via the use of some form of Radio Frequency (RF) Energy or by using electromagnetic waves from the RF portion of the Electromagnetic Spectrum.
In the broadest sense, Radio Astronomy might include the passive use of radio signal receiving equipment to detect and to listen to the RF signals emitted by naturally occurring objects either in outer space or from outer space such as the rhythmic beat of pulsars in distant portions of our galaxy, the "hissing" of our Sun, or the "ping" of meteors passing through our Earth's atmosphere.
A more "active" application of Radio Astronomy principles might include the directed transmission of radio signals followed by the reception of the reflected, refracted, enhanced, or attenuated signals returned from those space objects. One such application is the use of the Moon to bounce radio signals back to distant portions of the Earth.
In the case of Meteor Scatter radio wave propagation, radio signals are reflected by the ionized trails of meteors entering our atmosphere followed by the subsequent reception of those signals at receivers at various locations on or near the earth. In addition to studying the radio phenomena associated with meteors, 2-way communication is often possible as a direct effect of the reflection of radio waves by the ionized trail left my meteors as they enter and are consumed by our atmosphere.
Like mini Ionospheres, these meteor trails can propagate radio signals between distant points on the Earth for durations of milliseconds to several minutes. We contend further that other sky wave and ionospheric propagation modes are enhanced during certain peak meteor events.
It is the contention and major hypothesis of the authors of this page that Meteor Scatter Radio Wave Propagation occurs at frequencies that are much lower than previously thought and that radio signal propagation is even MORE enhanced in the HF (High Frequency) and possibly even LOWER frequency portions of the Electromagnetic Spectrum.
This brings us momentarily back down to Earth where VLF (Very Low Frequency) radio frequencies have been used to study the Earth itself and have detected such phenomena as "whistlers" and the sounds of lightning strikes passing through large portions of the earth.
Some of our future research will focus on meteor scatter radio wave propagation in these lower frequency (very long wavelength) portions of the Electromagnetic Spectrum and comparison to meteor scatter propagation in the higher frequency ranges.
Finally, the use of Very Large Arrays of radio telescopes, which have traditionally been used to listen to Pulsars and other natural deep space radio phenomena, may also prove useful in our ongoing attempts to determine whether any beings apart from those of us here on Earth are capable of using Radio Waves in ways that we might be able to detect here on Earth. Even though much of it escapes us at the present time... The Truth IS Out There!
Radio Electronics Amateur Radio Ham Radio
Electromagnetism and Lightning on eHow.com
eHow.com: How to Bounce Amateur Radio Signals Off Meteors
eHow.com: How to Obtain Short Wave Radio Station QSL Cards
eHow.com: How to Detect Lightning on a Car Radio
“Radio broadcast signals will interfere with your listening for static on the radio.” (SJW, 2010)
eHow.com: How to Make a Magnet With a Battery, Bolt & a Light Switch
eHow.com: How to Build a Lightning Detector
eHow.com: How to Build an All-Band Wide-Band G5RV
Amateur Radio Ham Radio Antenna:
Work the World of DX Radio with Low Cost - Low Profile G5RV
eHow.com: How to Think Safely About Lightning Protection, RF, and
Balanced Transmission Line Amateur Radio Ham Radio Antennas
Radio Contacts As Scientific Data
by Steven J.Wamback, KK2W
To the uninformed observer, radio communications contacts between distant stations may appear to be nothing more than phone calls... Party-A communicating with Party-B via electronic equipment, waves, wires, and sattelites. But when one begins to understand and appreciate the diverse nature of radio wave propagation through the Earth and through Space, it becomes apparent that a radio contact is much more than just a mere product of human technology.
Radio is a harnessing of NATURAL phenomena by a human-made TOOL, much the same way that a microscope or a telescope harnesses light energy to make observations about the natural world such as an array of living organisms thriving in a drop of pond water or stars twinkling in some distant galaxy.
Because radios operate at variable, but measurable and controllable, frequencies and wavelength bands, they are ideal tools for observing and measuring the ways that their output signals are propagated through space; and they can tell us new things about that space and the objects that occur in it. Hence, Radio becomes not only a mere means of two-way communication; but Radio also becomes a useful and practical tool for observing and measuring our Universe.
Thus, a well-kept Radio Station Logbook becomes much more than just a list of transmissions and contacts satisfying some legal documentation requirement. The Radio Log becomes one of the most intrinsically valuable and economically expensive resources in all of Science... DATA. It is the analysis and comparison of these collected and recorded data that lead us to new discoveries, new questions, new answers, and new technologies. Good reliable data are the "meat and potatoes" of Science which feed it, nourish it, and keep it alive for the next generation to pursue.
Press Release:(NO Copyright; Please Copy and Distribute Freely. KK2W@arrl.net)
Sporadic E Radio Waves Explained by Meteors
by Steven J. Wamback, Radio Station KK2W
Cranberry, PA. November 13, 2008--
Amateur Radio Astronomer and Radio Station operator Robert Culbertson, WA3YGQ has been conducting research in the skies, on the air, and in the scientific literature in support of his proposed theories regarding the propagation of radio waves at low medium and high radio frequencies by the ionized trails of meteors from space passing through and burning up in our atmosphere.
For more than 20 years, Culbertson has investigated Meteor Scatter propagation on the air through his use of very low radio antennas with high angles of radiation.
According to Culbertson, an antenna radiating "Straight Up" is what we need to study
meteors. He says that the Sun Spot Low is the best time to study meteor scatter because sun-induced propagation modes are less influential on over all radio wave propagation during those times.
Culbertson uses maps of the ionosphere called ionograms, meteor shower data, asteroid and space vehicle re-entry data, radio contact logbooks, contest data, volunteer reports, and nightly on-the-air experiments to test his theories and to predict propagation and signal fading patterns as they may be influenced by meteor ionization.
With the help of other researchers who gather ionospheric, meteor, and radio data Culbertson proposes that at least one major type, or perhaps even ALL types, of Sporadic E radio wave propagation may very well be Meteor Scatter Propagation.
Culbertson points out further that all of this research this is taking place at Medium (MF) & High (HF) frequencies and that Meteor Scatter communication is probable even in the Low Frequency (LF) and Very Low Frequency (VLF) portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Other forms of propagation are most likely enhanced by the presence of ionized meteor trails.
Meteor influence in the ionosphere and atmosphere are probably responsible for a larger portion of all radio signal propagation than we have believed before now.
Culbertson says that any and all reports from other radio operators or astronomers on meteors or unusual propagation are most helpful and welcome.
[You can write to Robert Culbertson at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions, comments, and observations on Radioastronomy, Meteors, High Frequency Meteor Scatter Propagation, and Meteor Scatter Radio Communications.] (NO Copyright; Please Copy and Distribute Freely. KK2W@arrl.net)
"My Favorite DX Stations"
(These are only a few of many more to come !)
Over the years, many DX operators and hams from around the world have left good impressions on me and I would like to offer tributes to several of those who have touched my heart and also to those who have been damn good entertainment on the air. Even though they may not know or even remember me, I feel like they are family. Tuning-in to their frequencies over the years has brought them into my home... as welcome guests if even only via electromagnetic waves... welcome guests, fond memories, and dear friends just the same.
GI0AIJ – Ivor – Listen for Ivor Afternoons EST (his evenings) on 20 Meters. Ivor is a professional race car driver and motorcycle driver and a designer/builder of high tech hi power motor equipment. His wit and sarcasm -- especially toward QRMers and anything else that is intolerable -- are a riot! Ivor lets ‘em have it all... including the frequency! I try to say hello to Ivor when I can... but just tuning in and listening is educational, entertaining, and fun! Ivor’s web page is at www.gi0aij.com. 73 Ivor!
SV9CVY – Mike – From the beautiful Isle of Crete in the Mediterranean, Mike has the deepest voice in radio… I always recognize him at once. Mikos is real gentleman and a kind soul always a pleasure to meet again. Have made contact with Mike on several bands over the years. His QSL card is one of the most beautiful I have seen… reflecting both the ancient beauty and the modern technology of Greece and Grecian Culture. Mike asks that we support HandiHams with our time, spare equipment, and financial support. http://www.rethymno.com/sv9cvy. 73 Mike!
PA0GMW – Paul – Listen for Paul at EST Sundown (his Midnight) on 80 Meters in or near the DX window. Paul runs the old Drake C-Line equipment (with tubes!) and has a phased array (4-Square) of verticals for his antenna system on 80 Meters. Even if you do not have the best antenna or highest of power, Paul CAN hear you with his amazing setup so please give him a call. He keeps accurate logs and is always warm and friendly and welcoming to new and old friends alike. See Paul, his amazing antennas, and station PA0GMW at QRZ.com. Dank u wel dear Paul… Bedankt!
CT3FT – Cedric – On sunny Madeira, a Portuguese island off of northwest Africa in the Atlantic Ocean, you can often find Cedric around 14.260 afternoons EST (his evenings). But you should not be surprised to hear Cedric on other bands and modes at any time when the conditions are good. I have found him on 80 and 15 meter CW too! Cedric is an expatriate of Northern Ireland where he was first licensed in 1953 and still uses the CW “bug” he inherited from his father. A retired Physics teacher, Cedric lives just a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean and he is very popular when he is on the air. A real gentleman and a fine DX operator. Thank you dear Cedric!
HB9RDE – Rolf – From his amazing mountain top radio station in Switzerland, one often hears Rolf coming through Loud and Clear (59+) when the rest of the “European Wall” is way down in the mud. Rolf is always warm and friendly and polite… a jolly Swiss Gentleman! (BUT please do not interfere on Rolf’s frequency or you will piss off a really nice guy who is generally accommodating and respectful to everyone.) Rolf’s impeccable signal, outstanding audio, professional operating skills, and kindly good nature are a delight whether you are stopping by to say “hello” or even if you are just listening in on the frequency. 73 TU dear Rolf!
OH2BH / CU2KG / FJ / & Many Others – Martti Laine – Martti Laine is to Amateur Radio what Jack Nicholas IS (& what Tiger Woods WAS) to Golf. An accomplished world traveler, a world famous DX-expedition operator, and an avid DX radio contester… Martti is likely to be found at anytime somewhere in the world and somewhere on the bands or even on the pages of CQ and QST Magazines. I have enjoyed QSOs with Martti in French Saint Martin, at his winter home in the Azores Islands, at his home in Helsinki Finland, and in OH0 in Arctic Finland. Despite his fame and success, Martti is always warm and friendly and personally welcoming when you stop by his frequency. 73s Martti! And Safe Travel for You! Thanks!
OE6MBG – Mike – When radio propagation from Austria reaches North America, you can always count on big pileups whenever Mike’s signals are heard. Always warm and welcoming, Mike comes through with signals greater than S9 with 20 or 30 db over S9 his norm. Mike’s perfect English causes one to wonder if he is a native Austrian or an American transplant, HIHI! I remember one cold evening when Mike was out walking with his 2-Meter handheld remotely controlling his HF rig at home. It was a wonderful 20-Meter QSO and I could clearly hear Mike’s footsteps and heavy breathing in the cold Austrian air as he got his evening workout while we chatted some 7000 kilometers apart! It is always a pleasure to make contact with Mike at home in Austria or as he travels about the world. Thanks Mike & 73s TU!
DF2BO – Tom -- When propagation is open to Germany, it is always a pleasure to hear Tom’s fantastic signal and great audio. Tom, DF2- “Blue Ocean” as he announces his station, is the inventor and manufacturer of the world famous OptiBeam Antennas. These amazingly engineered beams have both broad-band and multi-band functionality with very low SWR ratios throughout. OptiBeam makes antennas for both commercial and Amateur Radio applications. Tom is always warm and friendly whenever you call… But there is so much to be learned when Tom is on the air, that I often park my receiver on his frequency and just listen and learn from his wealth of knowledge and impeccably good English. 73s Tom and Thank you!
ES1WW- ES2WW - ES1WN - ES2WN-ES3AX - (?? & others!)--August Parn has been a good friend since 1993 when I first met him on the air. He has been active in Ham Radio, Citizens Band Radio, CB Radio, and perhaps even Outlaw XXX Radio too Hi Hi! (I believe Radio DXing was his Job!) From Tallinn Estonia, he once sent me a beautiful radio map of the former Soviet Union Nations(was only $10) and over the years August has sent many many beautiful stamped envelopes from around the world. I once sent him an old "boat anchor" radio and he sent me 400 of your QSL Card IRCs! HI HI ! (I do hope August sent you his QSL card! Iam still waiting forhis QSL card for 10 Meters! HI!) If you happen to run into August please give him my best regards and let me know his current call sign please!) Always a pleasure dear August... be well my old friend from Estonia!
IK1FLF – Fernanda -- In the late 1990s, Fernanda, a delightful Young Lady YL from Montegrosso Osti Italy wonderfully electrified the radio airwaves with her delightful “CQ DX QRZ Stateside… Italy Kilo One Fox Lima Fox” calls. Always warm and friendly and charming she would claim to run barefoot… as “My voice is my amplifier” cut through QRM, QRN, QSB, or QR-anything! I understand she was/is a QSL manager for a number of stations. Sadly, I have not heard of, or from, Fernanda in many years. Please, if anyone has information about Ms Fernanda, I would love to hear that she is happy and well. Best 73s dear Fernanda… missed wherever you are!
G5RV – CX5RV – Louis Varney – No longer with us and now a Silent Key, Louis Varney is the inventor of the world famous G5RV balanced line wire antenna. I had the pleasure of making two CW QSOs with Louis as CX5RV in 1993 and 1994 at his winter home in Uruguay. His kindly good nature came through wonderfully in our late night “rag chew” CW QSOs. I have since constructed my own G5RV antenna and have found it to be just as wonderful in performance as its dearly departed inventor had intended. I offer a very special posthumous Thank You to Louis Varney for his personal kindness to me and for his timeless contributions to both the art and the science of Amateur Radio. You are gone dear Louis, but you are not forgotten. Thank you and 73s to you as your memory and antennas live on and your radio signals at the speed of light become one with the outer reaches of our Universe!
MORE TO COME: (These are only a few of many more to come!)
Amateur Radio Links
eHow.com: How to Obtain Short Wave Radio Station QSL Cards
eHow.com: How to Bounce Amateur Radio Signals Off Meteors
QRZ.com: Radio KK2W:My Amateur Radio (Ham Radio)
TX5C: THANK YOU FOR CLIPPERTON ON 40 CW!