Moonbeams

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I have frequently mentioned my interest in Moon bounce (EME) communication. The concept isn’t new, dating back to at least the end of the Second World War. But for reasons real or imagined, I’ve always considered it the ultimate radio adventure. 

Transmitting a signal a quarter million miles into space and having some portion of that energy reflected off the lunar surface, returning that quarter million mile path, and being detected by hobbyists on earth seems like the stuff of science-fiction to me — even in this new century.

It’s something I intend to do but it’s been ‘something’ in my future, perhaps to pursue after I retire.

Then I read about two hams who recently ‘Shot the Moon’ from a National Park using battery power to generate 50 watts to a single 22 element Yagi — apparently pointed by hand, and on 432MHz no less.

That got my attention and accelerated my planning.

I still need everything to make it work. An all-mode VHF/UHF transceiver, directional antenna, pre-amplifier, low-loss cable, and an RF amplifier. Long-term my goal is not to settle for just a portable EME station in the backyard, but now I’m convinced that I can forego the azimuth and elevation rotor and stacked antennas for the moment while proofing the concept and, hopefully, making a few EME contacts from the backyard.

Oh, and did I mention there’s a little hamfest taking place in about three weeks where I can pick up everything needed?

Author: Jeff Davis