Regular reports of my grabber activity and that of others, plus information on QRSS software, hardware and technique that comes my way

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ionospheric Hiccup

When I was browsing my overnight grabs this morning I saw a glitch that at first appeared to be a problem with my temperature controller...everybody changed frequency at the same time.  But on closer inspection it looks like the glitch lies not with my controller but with the Ionosphere itself.  The first image is a 5 hour grab and the second a 10 minute grab of the glitch in question.  Upon careful examination you can see that the original Mark and Space frequencies are still there, somewhat obscured by the shifted signal.  The third image shows this in more detail.  Sometimes WSPR signals can superimpose strange patterns on our QRSS signals as can AGC pumping but their pattern is not at all like this.

It affected stations over a wide area of the Eastern US.  The initial glitch lasted just over one minute and resulted in a diminution of signal strengths for about 5 minutes after which they returned to about the levels preceeding the disturbance.  The upward shift in frequency indicates the disturbed region was moving towards me.

So, what the heck could influence the ionosphere over such a large area at the same time?  Only possibility that comes to mind is a large meteor event of the fireball category but the American Meteor Society website has no report of such an occurence today.  One does read about ionospheric blobs which appear spontaneously and move at high speeds, often in association with Sporatic E.  Maybe with the SE season upon us more such glitches will occur.

At least I've documented my observation here and will be on the lookout for future events of this nature.  It's easy to overlook the little things but they often are the most interesting.

de w4hbk

No comments:

Post a Comment