For some Hams there is a misconception that working DX on meteor scatter is difficult. Rest assured that it is actually quite easy and a load of fun!

Every day the earth is bombarded by meteor, and every year we have regular periods where there are lots of meteors entering our atmosphere.

The most visible meteor shower in most years are the Perseids, which peak on 12 August of each year at over one meteor per minute.
Meteor Scatter
The Leonids meteor shower peaks around 17 November of each year.

Approximately every 33 years, the Leonid shower produces a meteor storm, peaking at rates of thousands of meteors per hour.

There are also many other annual showers. You can find a list of them at the bottom of this page.

A useful tool to calculate how many meteors per hour are visible from your observing location is found here: http://leonid.arc.nasa.gov/estimator.html

Currently we are at the tail end of the Geminids meteor shower, so now is an excellent time for you to start working meteor scatter!

Amateurs use the ionised meteor trails to communicate long distances. These are usually quick contacts, lasting as long as the meteor trail can be found.

Most meteor scatter activity takes place on 6 meters and 2 meters. Some amateurs use SSB or CW to make quick contacts during longer “burns,” while others rely on digital modes, primarily FSK441 (Part of the free WSJT software suite which is also used with EME).

Meteor scatter is not as difficult as it may seem. On 6 meters in particular, it is possible to make contacts with just 100 W or less using modest antennas such as loops or dipoles.

Meteor scatter on 2 meters and higher bands is best with directional antennas such as Yagis. Just point it in a direction with lot sof hams and give it a go.

Activity during meteor showers takes place primarily in the late evening and early morning hours.

You can listen for brief bursts of signals, known as “pings,” on 50.125 and 144.200 MHz, SSB.

The calling frequencies for FSK441 are 50.260 144.140 MHz.

The Ping Jockey Central website is a popular real-time gathering place for hams who want to arrange meteor scatter contacts.

Remember that many contacts occur entirely at random. It is the thrill of the hunt!

The next meteor scatter peaks will be on 19 December and the 23 December. So why not dust off that 6m and 2m SSB equipment and see if you can find me!

-ZL2ET

Note: Dates are accurate for 2012 only.

Name Dates Peak RA Dec Speed
(km/s)
ZHR rating
Antihelion Source 10 Dec – 10 Sep multiple varies varies 30 4 faint
Quadrantids 28 Dec – 12 Jan 4 Jan 15 +49 41 120 bright
Daytime Capri.-Sagitt. 13 Jan – 29 Feb 2 Feb 21 -23 29 7
Alpha Centaurids 28 Jan – 21 Feb 8 Feb 14 -59 56 6 bright
Theta Centaurids 23 Jan – 12 Mar 10 Feb 15 -44 66 3
Gamma Normids 25 Feb – 22 Mar 14 Mar 16 -50 56 6 bright
Kappa Serpentids 1 Apr – 7 Apr 5 Apr 15 +18 46 4
Virginids 22 Mar – 26 Apr 17 Apr 12 +10 20 5
Lyrids 16 Apr – 25 Apr 22 Apr 18 +34 49 18 bright
Pi Puppids 15 Apr – 28 Apr 23 Apr 7 -45 18 variable bright
Eta Aquariids 19 Apr – 28 May 5 May 23 -1 66 65 bright
Omega Cetids 5 May – 9 Jun 7 May 1 -7 38 8
Eta Lyrids 3 May – 14 May 8 May 19 +44 43 3 faint
Daytime May Arietids 4 May – 6 Jun 15 May 3 +18 28 4
Daytime Eps. Arietids 4 May – 6 Jun 15 May 3 +21 23 4
Alpha Scorpiids 21 Apr – 26 May 15 May 16 -29 33 3
South Omega Scorpiids 23 May – 15 Jun 31 May 17 -22 26 5
North Omega Scorpiids 23 May – 15 Jun 31 May 17 -15 23 5
Arietids 22 May – 2 Jul 7 Jun 3 +24 37 54
Daytime Zeta Perseids 20 May – 5 Jul 9 Jun 4 +28 27 20
June Lyrids[1] 11 Jun – 21 Jun 16 Jun 19 +44 20 3
South June Aquilids 9 Jun – 2 Jul 16 Jun 19 -5 39 3
Pi Cetids 16 Jun – 4 Jul 26 Jun 2 -12 68 4
June Bootids 22 Jun – 2 Jul 27 Jun 15 +48 18 variable bright
Daytime Beta Taurids 5 Jun – 17 Jul 28 Jun 6 +24 31 10
Tau Aquariids 27 Jun – 6 Jul 28 Jun 23 -12 66 7
July Phoenicids 24 Jun – 18 Jul 12 Jul 2 -48 48 4
North Delta Aquariids 15 Jul – 25 Aug 26 Jul 23 0 42 4
Piscis Austrinids 15 Jul – 10 Aug 27 Jul 23 -30 35 5 faint
Southern Delta Aquariids 12 Jul – 23 Aug 29 Jul 23 -16 41 16 faint
Beta Cassiopeids 3 Jul – 19 Aug 29 Jul 24 59 52 10
Alpha Capricornids 3 Jul – 5 Aug 29 Jul 20 -10 23 5 bright
Eta Eridanids 3 Aug – 14 Aug 9 Aug 3 -13 65 6
Perseids 17 Jul – 24 Aug 12 Aug 3 +58 59 100 bright
Kappa Cygnids 3 Aug – 25 Aug 17 Aug 19 +59 25 3 faint
Gamma Doradids 27 Aug – 3 Sep 28 Aug 4 -50 42 5
Alpha Aurigids 28 Aug – 5 Sep 31 Aug 6 +39 66 6 bright
September Epsilon Perseids 5 Sep – 21 Sep 9 Sep 3 +40 64 5 faint
Daytime Sextantids 26 Sep – 3 Oct 1 Oct 10 -2 33 20
Draconids 6 Oct – 10 Oct 8 Oct 17 +54 20 variable medium
Southern Taurids 10 Sep – 20 Nov 10 Oct 2 +9 27 5 bright
Delta Aurigids 10 Oct – 18 Oct 11 Oct 6 +44 64 2 faint
Epsilon Geminids 14 Oct – 27 Oct 18 Oct 7 +27 70 3 faint
Orionids 2 Oct – 7 Nov 21 Oct 6 +16 66 25 bright
Leo Minorids 19 Oct – 27 Oct 24 Oct 11 +37 62 2 faint
Northern Taurids 20 Oct – 10 Dec 12 Nov 4 +22 29 5 bright
Nov. Iota Aurigids 1 Nov – 23 Nov 15 Nov 5 +33 36 8
Leonids 6 Nov – 30 Nov 17 Nov 10 +22 71 15 bright
Alpha Monocerotids 15 Nov – 25 Nov 21 Nov 8 +1 65 variable bright
Phoenicids 28 Nov – 9 Dec 6 Dec 1 -53 18 variable medium
Puppid-Velids 1 Dec – 15 Dec multiple 8 -45 40 10 medium
Monocerotids 27 Nov – 17 Dec 8 Dec 7 +8 42 2 faint
Sigma Hydrids 3 Dec – 15 Dec 11 Dec 8 +2 58 3 faint
Geminids 7 Dec – 17 Dec 13 Dec 7 +33 35 120 medium
Comae Berenicids 12 Dec – 23 Dec 15 Dec 12 +18 65 3 faint
Dec. Leonis Minorids 5 Dec – 4 Feb 19 Dec 11 +30 64 5 faint
Ursids 17 Dec – 26 Dec 23 Dec 14 +76 33 10 faint

Source: 2012 Meteor Shower Calendar

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