We met in the VTC cafeteria. Rob, Jen, Andy, Jeff, and Peter attended. Jeff spent some time talking about a couple of possible radio astronomy projects that the club might consider doing. The first possible project was detecting meteors by trying to pick up distance FM stations off their ionization trails. Jeff said that the ham radio club has an available radio that would be suitable and free space on a mast for an FM antenna. The idea would be to point the antenna in an appropriate direction and monitor the radio for short burst of reception on otherwise empty frequencies. The radio has a computer interface opening up the possibility of writing some software that can monitor the radio for extended periods and record any and all signals that might be noticed.
Rob agreed to pick up a 6 element FM yagi from Radio Shack this weekend with the hope of getting it installed early next week. Peter agreed to do a little research into a suitable shower. Perhaps the upcoming Leonids would make for a good first attempt.
Jeff also noted that the ham club has an adjustable mounting that can move an antenna in both the horizontal and vertical planes. Using this mounting it would be possible to point an antenna at any particular spot in the sky. However nobody present at the meeting was sure exactly what we could accomplish with such a system. The sensitivity, directionality, and observing frequency that would be needed to actually observe some interesting radio sources... not to mention the method for "listening" to such sources... is currently unknown to us. More research will be necessary but in the meantime we decided to experiment with the meteor watching project.
The weather was mostly hazy so visual observing was not much of an option this evening.
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