How Does This Work?
When a meteor enters the Earth's upper atmosphere it excites the air molecules, producing a streak of light and leaving a trail of ionization (an elongated paraboloid) behind it tens of kilometers long. This ionized trail may persist for less than 1 second up to several minutes, occasionally. Occurring at heights of about 85 to 105 km (50-65 miles), this trail is capable of reflecting radio waves from transmitters located on the ground, similar to light reflecting from a mirrored surface. Meteor radio wave reflections are also called meteor echoes, or pings.
In order to listen to meteor echoes, you need a powerful transmitter in VHF band (ideally a tower broadcasting analog TV on a channels 2-5) located not too close but not too far either from you, a TV antenna, a VHF receiver... and patience.
The meteor detector at LIVEMETEORS.com is located in DC Metropolitan area and is currently pointing the Yagi antenna at a TV tower in Canada broadcasting
on channel 2 analog TV, around 55.24 MHz, or based on availability and propagation
on channel 3 analog TV, around 61.260 MHz, likely located in Timmins, ON.
Receiver is RTL/SDR and software is SDR#.
Software used as strip chart recorder is Radio-SkyPipe II. It takes the demodulated audio and plots the amplitude on a moving chart. SkyPipe takes a sample every 10 ms, so there are 100 samples each second, which is enough for data analysis. Users can install a free copy of Radio-SkyPipe II
, switch the application in "Client Mode", then connect to 188.8.131.52 on port 6300. Instructions how to configure SkyPipe in client mode can be found here: http://www.radiosky.com/skypipehelp/V2/clientmode.html
Detecting meteor radio echoes using the RTL/SDR USB dongle
(presented at the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers Conference - 2015)