Re: Observing USA 193 - tips for beginners

Date: Sun Feb 17 2008 - 17:48:56 UTC

  • Next message: Oscar A. Rodriguez / PMEE-SPACE: "USA 193 observed"

    Thanks for the tips on observing satellites.  May I suggest that instead of trying to look at a satellite and a clock at the same time, people buy a cheap short wave radio, tune it to a time station and listen for the time while observing the satellite.
    The time stations typically broadcast the minute in voice and a tick every second until the next minute.  Most do something at the 30 second mark as well, such as skip a tick or send a burst of digital data.  It's easy to count the clicks to keep track of time while watching a satellite pass near a reference star.
    In North America, the main time stations are WWV in Fort Collins, Colorado and WWVB in Hawaii, broadcasting on 2.5, 5, 10, 15 and 20 MHz.  (Male voice = listening to Colorado, female voice - listening to Hawaii.)  Many other countries have time stations on these same frequencies.
    Canada has station CHU broadcasting on 3.330, 7.335 and 14.670 MHz. 
    You can buy short wave radios for as little as $20.00 US, but you'll get a much more usable set starting at the $50.00 price point.  Most receive standard AM and FM broadcasts as well.
    Dave Mullenix
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