Live meteor echoes at

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If you see and hear sometimes a strong continuous signal that runs for more than a minute or so, that is unlikely to be a meteor echo. VHF radio waves are sometimes affected by an unusual form of ionosphere propagation called "Sporadic E". During this event which can last hours or even days, the radio signal originating from the distant station is reflected by the ionosphere and meteor echoes are impossible to be detected. Sporadic E is specific to summer season in Northern Hemisphere.

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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.

Meteor Radio

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 is located in DC Metropolitan area and is currently pointing the Yagi antenna at a TV tower in Canada broadcasting on channel 3 analog TV, around 61.260 MHz, likely located in Timmins, ON. Receiver is RTL/SDR and software is SDR#.

Detecting meteor radio echoes using the RTL/SDR USB dongle (presented at SARA Conference 2015)