2001 Leonids Report

The following is a report of my experiments with antenna types and meteor scatter during the 2001 Leonids meteor shower.

Hello all... This year I decided to spend most of the shower experimenting more than chasing contacts and came up with some interesting results.

First, my station....the beam is a single 34', 17el @ 60'. The omni's are 4xHO Loops spaced 40" with the top @ 55'.(Photo on QRZ...lookup my call). I am in CM98.

The idea was to find out which way to point. Everyone seems to have their own theories and ideas. I got tired of hearing people working scatter when I heard nothing or only half of the "pings" the other guys were hearing. I later realized that not all the "other guys" were hearing the same things at the same times, probably because they were not pointing the same direction. Below are the experiments and their results.

First....Beacon monitoring. The beacon was the WA7X beacon in Utah. I would listen for a good burn on the omni's, then switch to the beam and note the difference, wait for several burns then rotate the beam 45 degrees and wait for a few more, record it....etc....etc. Starting with SW, moving CCW to due North, what I found was that about half of the time, the beacon was NOT there on the beam at all. No matter which way I was pointed, I was ALWAYS able to hear it on the omni's and only about 50% of the time on the beam....even when pointed due North at around 3am. No direction seemed to be favorable or unfavorable! Another note is that out of about 50 good burns, the beacon was noticeably stronger on the beam on only 6 burns when compared to the signal on the omni's. On 4 very long burns, I was able to rotate the beam over 30 degrees without a noticeable signal level change.

Second......144.200 monitoring. The first thing was to pick a few calls that were heard several times from different areas and do the same experiment as above. I heard KB5XE, NU8I,W7USB and VE5UF many times and the results were almost identical to the beacon monitoring. The strongest signal award goes to KB5XE at S9+20 on both the omni's and the beam pointed at 110 degrees. Next I asked several of the local random chasers which way they were pointed and I pointed the same direction and listened. When I heard a good burn on both the omni's and the beam pointed the same direction as the person I questioned, they usually responded to the other station. When a burn was heard on the omni's but NOT the beam, they didn't respond. Obviously I was hearing stations on the omni's that they were NOT hearing on their beams pointed in the "suggested optimum direction".

Third.........Those very short burns! We have all heard those very short burns the consist of only half of a callsign. Here is something I found interesting. I have an all-mode 2m remote about 20 miles West of my home. It has a single loop for an antenna. During the shower on several occasions, I would hear one of those short burns, but, the interesting thing was that I would hear only the first half of the callsign at my house and hear only the second half of the callsign come thru the remote 20 miles away! Between the two, it was a complete call. I noticed this on NU8I at least 3 times. It's amazing how much difference 20 miles can make!

My Conclusion....... During a shower like this, it really doesn't matter which way you point for random contacts. If you have a sched, point in the direction of the station you have a sched with. You will hear many, many good burns on a good set of omni's! I heard many more on the HO Loops than I would ever had heard on the beam. Visually, the meteors were seen from horizon to horizon in all directions. It was an amazing show in all respects. I put it up there with the aurora of Mar 30. I finally sat down and made a few contacts Sunday morning, about 20, all random and all on the 4 HO Loops with 1KW and it was nice to not have to worry about which way I was pointing! I also got reports that early Sunday morning, my beacon in CM88 was heard almost continuously in CN86 and CN87 and at times Q5 in CN94 on a ground plane! All in all, an awesome show and a great opportunity to experiment with radio!

73 to all de KJ6KO