RDL Observatory

Good Day All

This Observatory is somewhat active in visual astronomy however realistically I live in BC. This location has less than 68 days a year that are suitable for visually seeing and looking at stars.

Because of the reduced number of viewing days I first “Migrated to Simple Radio Astronomy Techniques” Namely a automotive FM radio tuned to a non used channel. in my case 98.7mhz.  A simple homemade antenna, and a software program called Radio Sky Pipe which using your PC and Windows generated and recorded a strip chart. Used for a few years perhaps 4 or so reactivated last week.

The next step up was to look at a form of passive radar.  Equipment used here differs from simple to more extensive and sophisticated radios ones, that are stable and will tune to television visual carrier frequencies.  Again using purpose written software “SpecLab”, the sound card of a PC, a simple antenna completes this project.

The above system uses a target TV station that is ~ 1500 km from the receiving site.  In my case the target is on the Saskatchewan/ Manitoba border. As the meteor enters the earths atmosphere at  105 to 95 km a plasma trail is generated which the target signal reflects off of giving me a characteristic ping the software decodes and presents it on a chart that is archived, it also generates a comma delimited file ready for importing in to spread sheets and other software programs. Because of a vary flaky internet connection to European areas I do not upload data to the RMOB site but submit data monthly to it for archival purposes.

Also on the active research list is the operation of two All Sky Cameras.  The first on line in the year 2005. A home built system comprised firstly of a PC164 camera, a Rainbow wide angle lens. and a  capture card. Tried many different software programs none being useful. Until attending a SSSP Star Party where Garry Dymond presented a discussion group with UFO Capture Software.  This was the Key to a successful capture program.  System has been revamped several time with up grades and changes. Latest configuration is Watec 902h u camera, a ADVC 55 digital video Converter. Dell GA280 computer plus the original purchased UFO capture software.

Next on line is a Sandia Sentinel system installed and operational about 4 months ago. It is the Sandia Mark IV configuration using a Sony 1/2″ camera, Rainbow lens, internal capture card, purpose written software and a Dell GA270 computer.  This system is coming along well.

Currently there is a 3.5 meter dish with a 9 element yagi antenna as a pick up point feeding a Icom PCR1000 radio on channel 67 with Radio Sky Pipe software ( in power ) detection mode attempting to detect Cassiopeia.  Also using Radio Eyes  Authored by Jim Sky  who is the author of Radio Sky Pipe software mentioned earlier. Results have been terrible so far.

73 wayne ve7duc