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

Friday, April 15, 2011


The signal of P29ZL caught my attention soon after it's appearance on my grabber last month for two reasons.  First, it appears almost every night for about 5 hours, very strong and easy to copy.  But equally interesting is the extreme multipath/Doppler effect which is always present for at least part of the time.  Tim's mept, from the WA5DJJ Labs,  runs 250 mW to an inverted V hung in a 25 foot banana tree.  Figure 1 is a 5 hour grab from a few nights ago and is typical of what I see every night:  note in particular the considerable fuzziness of the signal between 1000 to 1100z.  Figure 2 is from the 10 minute grabber and shows the effect in more detail.  Other signals from out that way, most notably VK6JY show just a bit of broadening but nothing like that from P29ZL.

Figure 1 - P29ZL on the W4HBK 5 hr grabber, 12Apr11, 30m 

Here is my understanding of the multipath/Doppler effect.  As the signal passes through the ionosphere it may be partially refracted back towards Earth but a part may continue on to find another refracting region for a second signal, an so on.  At the same time multiple hops can occur with the results that a number of signals can arrive at the receiving antenna.  But for a Doppler shift to occur these various regions must be moving relative to one another.  Without this relative motion the signals arriving from the various paths would be at the same frequency but differing in phase to cause fading due to interference.  Other phenomena such as ionospheric irregularities and turbulence can also contribute a continuous broadening....visualize an eddy where some of the electrons are moving towards and some away from the path of propagation.  I've noticed that most writers of the scholarly articles end up stating how complex is the the kid next door says to me sometimes. "Well, Duhhh!"

Usually the M/D effect is relatively simple with just 2 noticeable frequencies and I see this almost every day on one signal or another as the band is changing around sunrise/sunset.  What makes the fuzz on P29ZL's signal unique is that it's a daily occurrence with a near-continuous broadening, usually towards a higher frequency which would indicate the path length is decreasing.  Sometimes one or two distinct frequencies appear out of the continuum.

Enough for now about this most interesting signal but I will be keeping an eye on things and doing a bit more reading.

de w4hbk

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