Log: FM meteor scatter, May 11th, first station logged!

I’m writing this on the 17th, so I’m actually quite a bit behind in processing various FM radio recordings I’ve done with my RTL-SDR dongle and Antennacraft (R.I.P.) FM6 yagi antenna.  But, on just my third overnight recording, I logged my first station!I’ve been mapping out which frequencies are the best for monitoring meteor scatter (and E-skip) and ended up recording from about midnight to 7am on the 11th on 94.1 MHz.  There were quite a few short bursts of audio, implying meteor scatter, and at 6:42am MST (1342UT), I got the following audio:

So, I did a Google search for “Scott and Katie in the morning”, and there were hits to only one relevant thing, the Scott and Katy morning show on KKXK out of Montrose, Colorado!  Needless to say, this one radio station does match the 94.1 frequency.  My antenna was also pointed in that direction, and hearing this station at 376 miles requires help from ionospheric scattering/reflection.  Given the brief signal, it was almost certainly meteor scatter.  It’s hard to 100% rule out aircraft scatter, but that often has various characteristics not heard in meteor scatter events.  (While aircraft have much smaller reflecting areas than a meteor-induced cloud of charged particles, aircraft are much more efficient at bouncing a signal.  Because aircraft are moving at about 1/100th of the speed of meteoroids, the signal scattering also usually lasts much longer.)  I live nearly 100 miles from the nearest major airport, so that works against hearing much aircraft scatter.  It’s also true that this detection was at a time of day when there are fewer flights, and also the Eta Aquarid meteor shower is still winding down.

I have two motives; 1) try to get a feel for whether any scientific quality meteor measurements are possible with simple equipment, and 2) detecting distant radio stations as a hobby.  This logging is more about the latter, which is fine.

 

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