The web is OK but it can be an awful pain, recently when visiting my sites I and others have been greeted with this.


I can only apologise and assure you I am working long hours to sort it out. It is happening because Photobucket have decided to charge for hosting which has been free for over a decade, following in the shoes of Dropbox and Sugarsync they are holding old customers to ransom asking for a $ US a day for the service which was free. They also run a Photo print service also printing on Calendars, Canvas, Mugs and Cushions, please don’t use them I won’t now. There is free storage elsewhere so its goodbye to Photobucket once I have moved and re linked hundreds of files.

One day perhaps there will be too much involved and I will be forced to abandon my sites but I am not beaten yet.


ISS trace on BRAMS Meteor Radar

I have tried to identify the ISS on a few occasions, via BRAMS Meteor radar, choosing close West to East passes. The results were not conclusive on my set up or even BRAMS RX stations. Examination of data from the Hove receiver shows a vertical line in the correct time window and is likely the path of ISS.


Conclusion the reflected signal of ISS from BRAMS Radar is quite weak several receiving sites checked show no signal at all, a close pass is needed for identification.


In Pursuit of C shape Meteor reflections

Recently G0MQW has been looking at some meteor reflections from the Dourbes Belgium BRAMS transmitter 49.97MHz and found some superb correlation between not only meteor pings on UK 10m QRSS beacons, but also, mini openings on 10m lasting a few minutes, maybe he will write this up. The messages and Captures on the subject will be found in the qrssknights group archive on groups io.

These tests raised a little interest in meteor reflections on qrss knights group. I have been busy outside the shack since my return to the UK in October, I had an urge to take a look at the Leonids showers but resisted the temptation until the weather got too cold for outside stuff. The tests were then enough to get the radios running at G3ZJO.

A question was asked re one capture which showed C shaped traces which resemble the Purlicue shape. Purlicue ? those with a good memory may have noted the name which was the subject of a question on Egg Heads BBC2 TV just yesterday. Non Egg Head fans use Google. I didn’t know it had a name until yesterday. They have previously been named ‘epsilon’ shapes which is often descriptive of them. While we are at it, who says they are C and epsilon shape ? The observed shapes are the result of the convention we use to observe them, with a horizontal Time scale and vertical Frequency scale. View them with horizontal Frequency scale and vertical Time and they become U and W shapes.

The question was :-

Who knows how this happens ?

I replied :- Yes who could ever explain exactly what is going on … I like to listen to the audio and watch the display being built up in 3D.

Today I captured a nice ‘epsilon’ like display on 49.97MHz, not too strong a signal but fine for examining and thinking about what are the possibilities for the cause of the effect. So first let us take a look at my 3 Captures of the same event.

First a fairly fast scroll capture.


Next a slow scroll.


The signal was not strong enough to produce much colour on the peaks but some yellow spots can be seen, this indicates that this trace is over dense and we are looking at the plasma tube of the trail.

The capture also shows several other meteor trails, there were many this morning all receding rather than approaching BRAMS, I calculated the speeds of a couple and they were at terminal velocity.

Next Capture is in 3D.


This capture scrolls in time, into the past, from bottom left to top right. The high end of the frequency scale is in the bottom right which corresponds to the top right of the 2D displays. Scrolling right like this allows us to peer into the Purlicules at 1486Hz and 1483Hz on the frequency scale. There is no doubt about their smooth curved shape like architectural alcoves or an amphitheatre or even an audio radar reflector wall used to detect the sound of approaching aircraft in WWII.

I drew some sketches of a meteorite passing in the atmosphere over Dourbes with a long  plasma tube expanding and dispersing as time goes by. I also plotted spot locations on the time axis of the two C shapes which make an ‘epsilon’, the top stroke of the highest frequency C appears to be drifting slowly HF the bottom stroke slowly LF,  likewise the top of the lower C shows +ve Doppler and the bottom stroke -ve Doppler, (LF) all at same time. I calculated that the complete two C’s ‘epsilon’ shape was moving LF at 161 km h. This measurement is liable to some variations due to the use of bi static radar but it is useful to place object reflections in the right ball park. There are five different Doppler shifts taking place at the same time.

It is often conjectured that these curves are produced by wind shear, I could never understand how the graphic representations shown, or the idea of thinking of shining a torch at a broken mirror could produce elegant curves, hence my 3D captures, sketches and plots today.

Surely the walls of the plasma tube I had sketched would be a prime suspect for the phenomena, bent by wind shear would they reflect and display as C and ‘epsilon’ shapes.

Edit 21 December 2017

The full explanation of just how C and ‘epsilon’ shapes are formed still eluded me and I decided to contact Peter Matinez G3PLX. I was aware that he produced a meteor Doppler simulator, actually in the 1980’s, he modified it for my use to reproduce Doppler from helicopter blades more recently. Unfortunately his Meteor simulator was lost on an old DOS computer he explained, however he outlined that he uses a single line point reflector method to model trails and he had an idea for a new simulator, soon this was in my hands.

Can we produce a C or U shape (they are the same, it depends how you view them) reflection using a mathematical simulation.

Below. A U or C shape generated by the G3PLX meteor ping simulator displayed by Spectrumlab using typical meteor capture settings.


Below. The simulator is set to start with a slightly off vertical trace. The output is a 1500Hz tone and the trace representing the meteor trail. The Meteor Radar transmitter and the Receiver are to the right of the simulator, no signal is reflected due to the tilt.


Below. When the trace is vertical the signal is reflected.


Below. The bending of the trail by a wind shear layer is sinusoidal pushing the top of the trail to the right +ve Doppler, the bottom to the left -ve Doppler, the centre remains stationary. As the trail rotates, the centre passes through vertical then two reflecting regions one above and one below develop and reflect the signal.


Below. Can we now simulate a W or ‘epsilon’ shape. All we need is to add 3rd harmonic sine shape to the curve.


Below. The simulator set to introduce a 3rd-order curve, W / ‘epsilon’ output displayed by SpectrumLab.


Below. ‘epsilon’ and C curves displayed one after the other by SBSpectrum.


Many thanks to Peter Martinez G3PLX for sharing his knowledge and skills on this subject.


G3ZJO Grabbers are Updated

The web is so useful but can also be a nightmare. Service providers give us a useful (App) I don’t like that term but I will use it, then they notify us of ‘improvements’ in their service and terms and conditions. “Oh and by the way it’s no longer free” / “We are withdrawing the exact thing you use the system for on the 15th of March”.

The last message was the gist of what Dropbox are doing, I have used Dropbox exclusively for my Grabbers. When the Public Folder I have used for years goes Private my Grabs would no longer be displayed, all a visitor would see is a link with an invitation to download the Grab and you have to be a Dropbox user to do it.

I have the html for my QRSS Grabber running on Dropbox, after 15th March this will not be allowed either.

Thankfully I don’t link any photo’s in my blogs to Dropbox, that would be a pain to sort out, SugarSync did that one to me, it took ages to sort out. All I needed to do with my Grabbers was to use FTP upload for the Grabs, hang on my ISP does not allow FTP uploads.

Then I thought of QSL.net I have a dormant web site and e-mail address with them. I couldn’t remember my password and the e-mail address I used with the account years ago was @clara.net so I couldn’t organise a ‘change password’. The ‘Help’ page was very helpful, unusual I find, of course I couldn’t use the self-help so I send a help request explaining the situation. Wow, I had a reply, same day, with all the required information for me to get going again.

Some users have said goodbye to Dropbox completely. I decided to exploit it by using folders for my Grabs and uploading from those to QSL.net, I am going to have the full set of Grabbers available there. The original Grabbers can link to the stored Folders there. Using Dropbox I can see the folders on the shack computer from anywhere and very simply take Captures for mailing lists etc. Like this one taken at this moment from my VLF 8.2kHz monitor. The two lines at 8270.05Hz are two transmissions from DK7FC  nearly 750kM away.


My old Website is on QSL.net. I have been a little embarrassed about it, I used nested Frames at the time, these days it is advised not to use frames on your websites because it may not display properly, it doesn’t, you see lines at all the boundaries to the frames. I was going to renovate it or scrap it one day, but when I looked at it  found it interesting. Back then you didn’t have video on a website, I have several home-made animations, one in ‘high’, well higher, definition, I talk about 5 mins download time for that. So this old site is going to stay as a historical relic.

My Antique Web Site :- G3ZJO qsl.net

My Gabbers – Site 1 :-  VLF GrabberLF Grabber  – HF GrabberVHF/UHF Grabber

Site 2 :- VLF GrabberQRSS Grabber

In time I will duplicate all Grabbers in case of outages or “improvements” in terms and conditions.

ZEVS 82Hz is Off Air

Someone the other side of the world asked on a group if the ZEVS 82Hz transmission was still active, thinking there would be a flood of replies I left it to the others. After a couple of days it seemed everyone else was doing the same, so I fired up my VLF set up and took a look, a carrier of the usual strength was there. Its operational I replied.

There were some queries, ZEVS shows on G3ZJO’s Grabber from June 2016 but not elsewhere. I looked again live there was the line, on frequency. I then thought back to June 2016 when the Capture was left on screen. I went over to Windows7 at that time because K1JT’s latest WSJTX was not just crashing and failing to upload but locking up XP totally every time it was shut down. Naturally I did a test of the VLF set up on Win7 all looked normal. The Grabber screen had recorded the results.

This is what the capture looks like now (no carrier at 82Hz)


I investigated the line at 82Hz it was so convincing as the ZEVS carrier it showed changes as if from propagation, but there was no usual DATA ever, there were tones of several seconds length at times which I suspected coud be a new keying scheme. I went back to Windows XP the phantom ZEVS was not present.

So it seems my sound card when used on Win7 produces a weak carrier, where, bang on 82Hz. Cunningly produced to mislead the world.

From some research it seems that although there are Win7 drivers for the Delta44 sound card it will never perform correctly on Win7 and up. Increasingly software won’t work on XP anymore, so another expensive piece of kit bites the dust.


Tests of WSPR2 and Opera on 23cm indicate that excessive Aircraft Scatter and Rain cause decode fails, despite this, long periods of decodes are there to be had under normal Tropo conditions with QRP.

Beams being sharp and QRP has, as expected, meant usable Aircraft Reflections are super rare. Aircraft trails are strong though and it was decided that ISCAT may give some results.

Once again WSJTX-dev brought disappointments and non operative features. First tests brought almost one way results, just one decode of G6AVK at G3ZJO.

Then I found MSHV.
We both knew each other would be about today but my CQ was rather to look for MS signals, not seriously expecting reflections from my 2W, but then we can live in hope.

A 2way QSO resulted from my CQ.

The QSO was more despite Aircraft Scatter than via AS because there is a Tropo path.

Previously we had tested turning the G6AVK beam off the direct path and so display just Scattered signals, WSPR and OPERA can do nothing under these conditions. We had many successful contacts using Aircraft Scatter and ISCAT today including passing beam heading/elevation and comments.

There is no need for Air Scout or other software for this. I have been asking for some 20 years for skeds with those who know that they do not hear me on the VHF / UHF bands. Beam direct Tropo path or toward an Air Corridor between the two stations and wait for an Aircraft.

Once again I must say thank goodness for G6AVK the one station who can and will with enthusiasm try what may not work.

I expressed my attitude to experimentation this afternoon with “I will try reflecting 23cm off next doors plastic dustbin if you like”.


Not Quite the Answer for WSPR on 23cm WSJTx dev

WSJTx dev has WSPR (only 2 not 15) on it, I suppose no one on the development team has a use for 15 so it is being forgotten. During my tests on MF I had my doubts about the advantage of WSPR15 over WSPR2 but by no means is the case proven.

“WSJTx 1.6 dev handles 1296MHz fine”. Now that will be nice, I installed it. But I run XP, do the developers test on XP ? During set up Test PTT locks in TX mode the only way out is to kill the program..

Despite a few foibles the thing works nicely on on 1296MHz displaying the reports correctly and producing an ALL WSPR log that works. Next day is when the problems start WSJTX.bin does not work. Other WSPR and WSJT software works OK still. Ah well shut down the computer, it wont, part way through close down the computer  locks up and you have to crash it. Wanting to use WSJTX dev for tests I uninstalled the program WSJTX.bin does not get removed, after much struggling you can remove it and re install. Running the Program produces an error message ‘A File is Locked would you like to remove it’, say yes and nothing happens.

At computer close down after the first or re-install there is an odd period of blank screen, suspicious behavior.

So we have no version from the JT stable that runs 1296MHz WSPR on XP and sends usable reports to the Database.

Want to run WSPRx dev. on XP ? Here is how to do it.

Install at the beginning of the session, after use before you close the computer, uninstall WSJT dev.

Tomorrow re install.

As I say my activity on air is plagued by flaky software. I lost faith in JT stuff working properly years ago waiting for a few moths before gong to the next release. I found it a thankless task reporting the problems, things have not changed.