The goal of the procedures described is to enable contacts to be made by meteor scatter reflection (MS) as quickly and easily as possible. As the reflections are of very short duration the normal QSO procedure is not readily applicable, and special measures must be taken to ensure that a maximum of correct and unmistakeable information is received. The best meteor showers are mostly strong enough to make some of these measures unnecessary, but to encourage use of all generally listed showers there is no reason why the suggested procedures should not always be used.
Two types of MS contacts, arranged in different ways, may be distinguished:
It is recommended that stations use 2.5 minute periods on telegraphy and 1 minute periods on SSB. This practice gives quite satisfactory results. However, growing technical standards make it possible to use much shorter periods and amateurs may wish to arrange 1 minute schedules for telegraphy and shorter periods for SSB, especially during major showers.
Every uninterrupted scheduled period must be considered as a separate trial. This means that it is not possible to break off and then continue the contact at a later time. The duration of scheduled periods is usually one hour or, in some cases, two hours.
Scheduled contacts may be arranged on any frequency, taking into consideration the mode/bandplan, but should avoid using known popular frequencies and the random MS frequency segments 144.095 - 144.126 MHz and 144.395 - 144.426 MHz.
The frequency used for CQ calls for non-scheduled contacts should be 144.100 MHz for telegraphy and 144.400 MHz for SSB. QSO's resulting from the CQ calls should take place in the 144.101 - 144.126 MHz frequency segment (telegraphy) or 144.401 - 144.426 MHz frequency segment (SSB), so as to avoid interference on the calling frequencies.
The following procedure should be used by the caller to indicate during the CQ on which exact frequency he will listen for a reply and carry out any subsequent QSO:
In all cases the letter used indicates a frequency higher than the CQ frequency.
If an operator instead of calling CQ wishes to listen for a CQ call the following procedure should be used:
Example You receive SM3BIU who is calling CQH CQH CQH. This tells you that, regardless of the exact frequency SM3BIU is using for his CQ, he will be listening for a reply exactly 8 kHz higher, as H is the eighth letter of the alphabet. Having established that the CQ was "CQH" you will call him 8 kHz up.
N.B. The letter system should not be used for SSB contacts!
(De Haan, September 1993)
Speeds from 200 to 2000 letters/min. are now in use, but in non-scheduled MS work speeds between 400 - 700 letters/minute are recommended.
In scheduled work the speed should always be agreed before the QSO, especially if one station does not have a multi-speed tape recorder. Some operators cannot reach the higher speeds now in use.
Note that in some countries, including the UK, the licensing authorities require the callsigns to be sent at a lower speed at the start and finish of each transmission.
The contact starts with one station calling the other, e.g. "DL7QY SM3BIU DL7QY ....". In telegraphy the letters "de" are not used.
The report consists of two numbers:
|First number||Burst duration||Second number||Signal strength|
|2||up to 5 sec||6||up to S3|
|3||5 - 20 sec||7||S4, S5|
|4||20 - 120 sec||8||S6, S7|
|5||longer than 120 sec||9||S8 and stronger|
A report is sent when the operator has positive evidence of having received the correspondent's or his own callsign or parts of them.
The report is given as follows: "UA1WW I1BEP 26 26 UA1WW I1BEP 26 26 ....". The report should be sent between each set of callsigns, three times for telegraphy, twice for SSB, and must not be changed during a contact even though signal strength might well justify it.
Confirmation is given by inserting an R before the report: "SM7FJE G3SEK R26 R26 SM7FJE ...". A station with an R at the end of the callsign could send "GW3ZTH I4BER RR27 RR27 ...".
Both operators must have copied both callsigns, the report and a confirmation that the other operator has done the same. This confirmation can either be an "R" preceding the report or a string of "RRRR..."'s as explained in paragraph 7.d.ii.
If a confirmation report is received at an early stage in the contact, the other operator has all the information he needs. The following strings may then be used to ask for missing information:
|BBB||both callsigns missing|
|MMM||my callsign missing|
|YYY||your callsign missing|
|SSS||duration and signal strength missing|
|OOO||all information complete|
|UUU||faulty keying or unreadable|
The other operator shall respond by sending only the required information. This approach must be used with great caution to prevent confusion.
Note These procedures were adopted at the IARU Region 1 Conference in Miskloc-Tapolca (1978), and later slightly amended at the IARU Region 1 Conference in Noordwijkerhout (1987), Toremolinos (1990) and de Haan (1993).