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2015 News Releases




NASA Moon Bounce Signal Heard

Date : 07 / 03 / 2015
Author : Jim Linton - VK3PC

When the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) decided to bounce a signal off the moon, it had listeners around the world including at Mildura and Geelong. On Tuesday March 3 between 0600 to 0900 UTC, the JPL tested its Lunar Ranging Experiment. With JPL using 20 kilowatts into a 34-metre antenna, it was suggested that reception of the reflected signal would be possible on a basic receiving antenna.

This inspired Noel Ferguson VK3FI in Mildura, who decided to have a listen. As his three metre dish was out of service, he decided to try an old "grid pack" pay TV antenna to pick up the reflection on 2115 MHz. The initial noise floor was about strength five. The reflected signal first appeared as the moon rose over the tree line at about 0820 UTC, with the moon's distance at that time about four hundred and three thousand kilometres from earth. Signals in Mildura peaked at strength seven using the FT847 as an IF on 164 MHz. Noel VK3FI reports that reception continued through to 0900 UTC, when the JPL test was terminated.

Chas Gnaccarini VK3PY at Lara near Geelong also checked the signal using a spectrum analyser, 1.2 metre dish antenna and pre-amplifier. He saw a huge signal, 20dB above the noise.


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