FM Receivers

University of Alberta observatory domes

Car Radios

"Thank you so much for visiting our class on Friday! The kids loved it...they thought it was pretty cool to meet a "real" Astronomer! Thanks again, Janine"

Updated March 14, 2011

Selecting an FM Receiver

You may have a choice of receivers to use if you have a tendency to collect electronic equipment. You may want to purchase an FM receiver specifically for this purpose. Or you can go to garage sales to locate a suitable piece of equipment. We recommend that you use a digitally tuned car radio. If you are an Alberta school and sign up to participate in the Sky Scan project, we will provide you with a suitable radio.

We are currently testing a number of types of receivers to see what is the most economical and effective. One feature on an FM system that is highly recommended is digital tuning. This allows the precise selection of channels.

The receivers that have worked for us have been low end digitally tuned table top stereo receivers such as the one depicted above. These typically come with inputs for tape and CD players and have connections for an FM antenna on the rear of the unit. The price for this type of receiver is around $200 Canadian. If you already have a unit like this connected to your cassette tape or CD player or home theatre, you may be able to borrow this for a period of time to conduct your observations and then return it to normal service. You'll also need to purchase an earphone jack from Radio Shack or a similar electronics supplier. This is used to connect the earphone output from your receiver to the sound card of your computer.

Attach the Yagi antenna to the antenna input on the back of the receiver being careful to match the impedance (in ohms, usually 75 or 300) of the cable from the antenna to the corresponding input connections on the receiver.

Connect the earphone jack to the Line In jack on the sound card of your computer.

This will give you the basic configuration you require to conduct radio meteor observing sessions.


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We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the 

Edmonton Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Department of Physics (University of Alberta)

and the

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

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