Sometimes one QSO is enough, if it is the right one.
Last year I had already watched Kev from Gibraltar, ZB2GI, during his meteor scatter tests and got short reflections from him. Unfortunately, there was not enough time for a test and a long year passed.
During the Perseid shower ZB2GI (IM76hd) resides on Top of the Gibraltar Rock with a free Takeoff into Europe. With his small station, a 5 element Yagi antenna and 50 watt output power, he has already had many successful meteor scatter contacts in the past. But would that be enough this year for a QSO over the distance of 2,130 km?
For a long, very long time I watched Kev’s frequency as he tested with southern European stations. And there were reflections, not many, not loud and not long. But it was enough for decoding.
When he was free I started a call. Hopefully the reflections will continue and we will hear each other. To make a long story short: Finally, after almost 90 minutes and my pulse near a heart attack, he got my final RRR and the QSO was finished with 26 reports on both sides.
Contacts above 2,000 km via meteor scatter are usually difficult with few reflections. So I’m all the more happy about this special contact and a new DXCC # 97 for me on 2m. Many thanks Kevin for your patience and perseverance!
The Perseids come around once a year in mid-August, when the Earth passes through a trail of comet dust on its way around the sun. The dust burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere and ionizes the E-layer. The Perseids are caused by debris from comet 109P / Swift-Tuttle, which loops around the sun on a 133-year orbit.
This year they should peak on Wednesday, Aug. 12 between 0800 and 2100 UTC. The Perseids typically deliver up to 110 meteors per hour at their peak. According to scientific predictions, the reflection numbers should start to rise again in 2027.
After a two-year absence, I decided to be active on 144 MHz this year for the Perseids Meteor shower. At the end a total of 44 QSOs could be logged, including 13 new QTH locators. In retrospect, I have to say that the shower had significantly worse reflections this year compared to previous years.
This picture shows my signal, recorded by Nick US8AR in KO60RR and Andy UT4UEP in KN49WV. It is the same burst with a duration of over 30 seconds, recorded by both on August 11, 2020 at 10:45:30 UT. Thanks to Nick and Andy for these interresting screenshots.
Doing Meteor Scatter was always very interresting and fascinating for me. With my comeback to 2m I tried this years Perseides Meteor Shower to practice with the FSK441 software. Really fascinating to use those very short reflections with length of milliseconds. A dream compared to my first tests in the good old days back in the 70’s, using high speed cw with some 200 lpm and “brain decoding”, later HSCW (high speed cw) up to 1.000 lpm and slowdown with multispeed taperecorder.
After some confusion with split operating procedure at the beginning, 18 QSO’s and 13 new squares were logged.