February 23rd, 2013
Frank, DL2ALF has written an amazing tool for aircraft scatter prediction, called AirScout. Positions of planes are shown in a map like at http://planefinder.net or http://www.flightradar24.com, but in addition the path and the part of it, where planes could be seen from both stations will be marked. Frank is using open street map for the maps and an elevation model of NOAA to respect the topography of the path. I made use of a beta version last Tuesday in the NAC on 23 cm and found it extremly helpful.
The latest version can be found here: http://www.dl0gth.de/software/airscout.zip
Thank you Frank!
As can be seen in the screenshot, the effective area is excentric to the center of the path. It is displaced southwards because IK3HHGs horizon is limited by the alps.
Last saturday at the GHz meeting in Dorsten Frank told me, that he integrated the groundtrack of the International Space Station to be drawn in the map too. So we have been discussing about the possibility of performing QSOs via reflections at the ISS.
Back home I was very optimistic and used overflights, where the ISS passed by nort of my location to look out for reflections of GB3MHL on 23 cm, but had no success. There was no trace at all in the waterfall diagram of my SDR. The duration of a pass is only up to 9 minutes and the expected doppler shift is +/- 84 kHz due to the high speed of 28000 km/h. So even if something could be heared or seen, tracking and decoding the signal will be another problem to be resolved.
But anyway: I am looking for somebody to perform tests with me, just to detect reflections at the ISS. Skeds are welcome via chat (ON4KST and HB9Q) or email dj5ar (at) darc.de