Radio Operation

University of Alberta observatory domes


"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"

Steps for the start of observations

To make sure your radio and software are operating correctly there are a series of steps you should take. (For more information on the radio, click the radio picture.)
  1. Make sure the wall adapter (the large thing with a wall plug on it) is plugged into the wall to power the radio. 
  2. Turn the data collection computer on and start Radio Sky Pipe.
  3. When Sky Pipe is running, start a new file by pushing the "Start File" button on the top left of the Sky Pipe window.
  4. Turn the radio on. You should see a line rise from the bottom of the chart and begin creeping across the screen. 
  5. Test to see if the system is collecting data by tuning the radio to a local station. Tune the radio on and off the station. The trace line on the computer screen should rise and fall as you do this. If it does this the system is working.
  6. Set the audio level so it doesn't overload the computer's sound card. To do this, tune the radio off the local station to the frequency of the distant station your school is using to detect meteor reflections. Adjust the radio volume so that the line on the computer screen runs at an average of approximately 10,000 on the Y Axis (the scale on the left of the screen). 
  7. Then turn the radio off and back on using the radio's on/off switch, (don't use the wall adapter to do this). This is called a POWER CYCLE. This will reset the radio so it works for long distance stations. Some of the radios we use may have an automatic distant/local switch that goes into 'local' mode on strong signals.
  8. Your system is ready to observe meteors.
  9. Any time you restart your computer or radio, you should go through these steps to make sure everything is working properly.

Copyright 1999-2015 by Sky Scan, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. 

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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