Success With The 2020 Leonids Meteor Shower on 6 Meters

6 meters during the Leonid Meteor Shower

A rather small, dedicated number of amateur radio operators tackle a unique method of point-to-point communication at VHF. This morning (November 17, 2020), I tried my hand refracting my 6 meter digital signal off the ionizing tails of incoming meteors hoping someone would hear me and respond to my CQ. This month features the Leonids meteor shower, reaching its peak early this morning. Although not the biggest or most spectacular of the many meteor showers that occur throughout the year, I was anticipating a number of ‘big rocks’ that, when entering the upper atmosphere produce bright, ephemeral tails that make the perfect ‘signal mirrors in the sky’. Big rocks equate to long, strong burns, which is just what is needed to have lots of other amateurs pick up on your signal. Unfortunately, this morning I observed on my signal waterfall, only a few short blips every couple of minutes. So, I knew that it might take many minutes to complete a QSO. 6 meter meteor scatter uses high-speed FSK as the operating mode and most operators use the software package developed by Joe Taylor, K1JT.

In the accompanying (above) screenshot of my K1JT software, my station managed to successfully decode a reply to my CQ from K1SIX in New Hampshire (~450 miles). We finally exchanged signal reports and 73s. I did record 5 or 6 other 6M stations on meteor scatter – most between 400 and 500 miles distant. I used my Expert Electronics SunSDR2 DX rig running 25 Watts and a simple 6M dipole (~7 feet off the ground) to make these contacts.

If you are interested in learning more about this unique mode of communication, feel free to drop me a line.

73,

Rich, K3VAT