The Upcoming Showers

Subject: [HSMS] Misc
   Date:  Wed, 01 Oct 1997 17:39:37 +0000
   From:  Shelby Ennis, W8WN 

Here are some misc. items:

                         UPCOMING SHOWERS

      Orionids    - Peak 10/21/97, Ca. 0800 Z, ZHR 20,
                    Several minor peaks.
      Leonids     - Peak 11/17/97, Ca 1040-1240 Z (latter time probably closer)
                    Very sharp peak.  High velocity.  Large display probable any time 
                    ("storm" as in 1966 not expected but possible).
      Geminids    - Peak 12/14/97, Ca. 1610 Z, low velocity, ZHR 110, 
                    Slow rise fast drop from peak. 
      Quadrantids - Peak 1/3/98, Ca. 1610 Z, ZHR 120, sharp peak.

Concerning the LEONIDS - Western US should be favored this year.  Rate has
been increasing for past few years, should peak between now and 2000.
Could be much larger than best of Perseids a few years ago, but  "storm"
not expected (geometry not as good as in 1966).  Last year's ZHR variously
estimated between 50 & well over 100!   Vy sharp peak, <1 hr, expected.  IF
you catch the peak, SSB may be more effective right then than HSCW.  Or,
this may be the shower to have a few phone numbers on hand for an instant
HSCW sked at the 1400 mile distance.  Next two years, when the largest peak
is most likely, will probably favor Asia, tho this is far from certain.
Then it's gone for the next 33 years.  (Comet 55P-Tempel-Tuttle reaches
perihelion on 28 Feb in its 33.2-year orbit).  If you catch the peak,
either via radio or visually, please send your report to the International
Meteor Organization (I can relay it if you don't have their address).

A couple of weeks ago, several indicated they wanted to know how the North
American HSCW procedures were shaping up.  Most seemed pretty much in
agreement on most items.  The one hang-up was still the "frequency
determiniation" question.  But even this seemed to be resolving itself
until a couple of technical questions were asked.  These have thrown this
whole question wide open again!

We need some actual results from skeds and tests.  We know how things
SHOULD be; but there are too many variables, some of which are not easily
measured without a lab full of equipment.  And the final result must be how
well the ear is able to decode the code, and how well the mind knows to set
everything up correctly!
We need your Observations and Results (not just guesses).

   -- Are you xmtg at 1000 or 2000 lpm?  Or something else?  Why?
   -- How well is the other station copying you at speeds above 1000 lpm?  Why?
   -- What tone injection are you using?  Why?  Why not something different?
   -- At what approximate tone do you prefer to receive?  Why?
   -- Do you then usually heterodyne the slowed-down CW higher in tone
   -- How do you set up your freq for Xmtg, using your usual setup?

   -- How do you set up the freq for Rcvg?  How does this change if a different
      station sets up differently for Xmtg?

   -- With your setup, would you expect a problem Xmtg at 3000 lpm and a 1000 Hz
      tone?  4000 lpm?  Why?

   -- Have you tried 3000 lpm or faster yet?  Results?  What method(s) are you
      using for Xmtg & Rcvg?

   -- Have you tried using an audio (maybe band-pass) filter between your
      receiver and sound board?  Results?
   -- What is your usual (or preferred) setup for Xmtg & Rcvg?

   -- Do you use a separate Receiver?  Transceiver and separate VFO?  Transceiver
      and RIT?  Problems and results?
   -- Special experiments with (good) test equipment?

Some or most of those questions may seem a wee bit esoteric.  I personally
am not able to provide adequate answers for most, so this is why we need
yet more input from everyone else.  As noted above, a couple of technical
questions have come up, and how we handle these things may influence how we
determine/publish our sked freqs and visa versa.  Perhaps a couple of
larger stations (to give a lot of pings) could make a few test skeds,
trying out different parameters each time.  

  I have not had time yet to properly test most of these questions.  And I
own very little test equipment (having been able previously while living in
MI to borrow almost anything).  But I find that 2000 lpm more effective
than 1000 for skeds, tho the S/N ratio seems lower.  Was once reported that
my keying, with 1000 Hz tone & 2000 lpm not as good as it should have been.
  First tests with BP audio filter seem quite good.  Best if I can get the
received sig at a high enough tone so that I don't have to heterodyne it up
when slowed down.  With a single transceiver & RIT, it does not have enough
range for proper tuning on some skeds; plan to go back to separate rcvr.

So what about the rest of the procedures?  Hold the whole batch, or go
ahead and put them on the reflector for study?  At least two fellows have
indicated they are looking forward to every one's being informed and ready
to use the "request for information" that many of the Europeans use, which
has never been done over here, because it can be done only on HSCW.   The
list compiled so far (except for the freq question) should have no

A recent note from 9A4GL indicates that he is still busy with exams, but
they should be about over now.  He has collected the bug lists, wish lists,
and other comments and expectes to start work on MS_DSP again soon.  His
next release should feature a number of the additions we have requested.
It should also hopefully have a lot of the bugs removed.  Some are probably
simply code errors that he has to locate.  But several, especially those
having to do with the SB audio card, are going to be much more difficult to
correct.  And there are still the seeming "hardware specific" bugs that he
has never seen.  If he has the time, I think we will see several updated
versions in the next few months.   Meanwhile, has anyone completed and
tried the CMOS Super Keyer for HSCW yet?  And after seeing Steve's report
on the XR-2206 audio osc, has anyone else tried this or some other circuit

One further note concerning HSCW - the Europeans have been doing this for
many years and have lots of experience.  We over here have just jumped on
the bandwagon.  But "the tractor pulling the bandwagon" has a lot more
horsepower than it did even last year!  Thus, while we're few in number (a
European MS DXpedition will work as many HSCW stations in one non-shower
day as there are fellows seriously interested over here!), because of the
sudden changes in equipment possibilities, we have the possibility of
leapfrogging the MS ops over there.  That is, of course, if interest
continues to grow as it has since July.  But this is why we need to think
carefully about our procedures and what we are likely to need in another
two years or so.

If the other VHF reflectors remain down, we might find even more
gravitating to this reflector as the Leonids approach.  Does anyone have
any word on the status of QSL.NET?

I have been impressed with the possibilities found on the real-time Web
page at:
    MS Rocks 
       and a couple of other, similar VHF sked/reporting pages.  Have you tried them?

Finally, it's good to see N1BUG back on here!  Paul was one of those who
tried to start HSCWMS over here some years ago, prior to the advent of the
computer programs.  He found it difficult to talk to himself via MS.

Thanks for taking the time to read this & help all of us work out the most
effective methods of using the meteors.
73, Shelby, W8WN


Comments: Rein, W6/PA0ZN

Top Page