ABMO Video Page

The observatory currently employs only one camera with a fish eye lens. The camera is mounted through the roof; it replaced a cap over a former aluminum chimney from a living room gas fireplace. The outside finger joints are sealed with silicon caulking preventing any water from entering the attic.  In the photo below a friend, Brent, shoots in true north with compass as I rotated the camera’s base from within the attic.

The lower end of the camera housing is inside the attic. I installed an AC outlet right next to it to power the camera and anti-dew heater. The black wire is the coax that carries the 1 Vp-p raw video signal down to the amplified video distribution box.

Attic side of it


The installment is complete and ready to observe.

Roof mount at W Kelowna

The raw video signal is sent from the rooftop down a coax to an amplified video distribution box (See below).

Video SPlitter

From the video splitter the video is then piped to a computer running the Python language program that came with the Sandi National Laboratories Sentinel camera. Since the original program was written in Python it can run on any operating system. The Sentinel software has been running flawlessly for three years on a very old, very slow, and very limited memory refurbished laptop running Linux. This software uses an external frame grabber as shown below.

Frame grabber Sentinel III

The video break out box also sends raw video to a second computer running the latest version of the Sentinel system. Unfortunately the next generation of the Sentinel system software is a Windows only – compiled software. It requires an internal PCI slot for an internal frame grabber. The board is a ImpactVCB model 188 board that comes with Hauppauge WinTV version 5.9G installation software.

model 188 Video card

The software is in early beta testing stage and bugs are being suppressed with each beta version.  Eventually the software will automatically ftp all overnight captures to New Mexico where the files will processed and analyzed for each observer. This feature is not yet implemented.

A third output of the video break out box is sent to a external Canopus ADVC-110 video to digital converter. The digital output from the ADVC is then sent by firewire to the computer where the UFOCapture program detects the meteors. To see an informative video about the ADVC-110 go here – It will take you to the  YouTube site and play the video.


More to come…

ABMO Radio Page

ABMO Radio Page

Latest radio meteor echoes from W Kelowna, B.C.

Highest none shower counts are at local sunrise and the lowest are at sunset.


The observatory is located in West Kelowna and it uses the forward scatter technique of meteor echo detection. The receiver is tuned to TV channel 4’s video carrier frequency (negative offset) at 64.240 MHz. The echoes are from the video carriers of the two station listed below:


Station QTH Bearing km kW
CITL-TV Lloydminster, AB 56 770 130
CBKT-1 Moose Jaw, SK 81 975 100


When a meteor has the proper geometry between the transmitting TV station and the receiving station an echo is produced as the receiver as the signal is reflected off the ionized plasma produce while the meteor ablates in the earth’s upper atmosphere. The ionization usually occurs between 110 down to 60 km up, thus giving a radio coverage out to about 1400 km radius of the receiver.

The station consist of an Icom PCR-1000 to a seven element log periodic antenna. The antenna is installed in the attic and pointing 70 degrees or towards the northeast. A fifty foot piece of RG-58 coax connects the antenna to the receiver. No pre-amps are used. The PCR-1000 is a software controlled receiver; a small black box with only an on and off switch on the front.



In the back of the PCR-1000 are:

BNC Antenna connector, a ground post, DC Input, Audio Out, a RS-238 connector for communication with the computer, and a special 9600 bps audio filtering bypass for high speed digital packet radio used on amateur built satellites (AMSAT).

Pin outs of the ICOM PCR-1000



























During the major showers the observatory employs several different programs on several different computers on the LAN. Audio is split off the PCR-1000 as seen above (Y-adapter audio out) and shared among the computers during the showers. Alternatively, I use a second receiver, the ICOM R-8500 that runs in parallel with the PCR-1000 but on a different frequency, and run the audio from it to separate computer for real time analysis.

If a shower is predicted to show once in a lifetime activity I will also run an ICOM IC-746 transceiver. I usually devote the IC-746 to listening to 40.530 MHz, the US SNOTEL meteor system. SNOTEL has two master stations (transmitters) located in Utah and in Idaho which put in strong meteor burst signals into BC.

R8500 bottom and IC-746 middle HF homemade transceiver on top


The software does the actual detection, counting, data filing and display work.  Software in use includes Spectrum Lab, mAnalyzer, HROfft, all capable Windows programs. Watch for a software discussion in the Radio   Detection Basics in the Radio Methods section of the site. In addition to the above programs the observatory runs Janalyzer and a self written code. Which program is used is dependent on the subject understudy or nature of the shower.

Note: I do run the above programs on both Windows XP and on Linux machines. To see how I run it on a Linux machine please go to the RMOB site and read the article. Janalyzer is written in Java so is cross platform ready.

I set my software to output data at ten minute periods and on the hour. Depending on what software is running, duration for each 10 minute and hourly interval is recorded along with signal strengths in several bins of approximately 10 dB, 20 dB, 30 dB, and greater than 30 dB. Total time in seconds per period for each power level is also recorded.

A FFT spectrogram for each five minute period is ftp to an external site as well as saved on a local hard drive for study later or for the correlation with video fireballs

To be continued…




ABMO General Information

The Archambeau-Brower Memorial Observatory in West Kelowna

Lat 49.84695 N Long 119.55908 W

Welcome to the Archambeau-Brower Memorial Observatory located in West Kelowna. The observatory employs both a radio and video systems for the detection of meteors.

In addition to the meteor gear the observatory also has a Meade LX200, 0.254 meter Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope that operates in a robot mode.

To view the my radio page please click here.

To view the my video page please click here.

My live home weather station data can be found here.

Astronomy weather forecast for this observatory:

Current status at ABMO
Radio Detection is ON
Video Detection is armed for Sunset + 25 minutes to sunrise - 25 minutes
LX200 Robot is OFF