Spatial diversity in meteor scatter radio links


  • Steven C. Merrill,

  • Robert I. Desourdis Jr.


Meteor burst communication links rely on radiowave scattering from ionized trails left in the wake of meteors. Because of the significant path loss, on the order of 50 dB, associated with the trail-scattering process, many means have been sought to improve link performance. Adaptive beam control algorithms and variable burst rate modems have been developed to achieve better use of the meteor burst (MB) channel. In addition to these techniques it is the contention of this paper that link performance may be further improved by making use of the spatial diversity inherent in meteor trails. Given the limited geographic extent of trail-scattered signal footprints, adequately spaced receive sites can use different propagation paths associated with independent meteor trails from a single transmit site. The assumption here is that these receive sites are linked by a local communications network. The effective performance from the transmit site to any of the receive sites is significantly improved. Of course, this improvement is a function of receive site spacing and the performance of the short-range network. This paper describes the meteor scatter phenomena that impact spatial diversity, details an approach for predicting the associated link performance improvement, and presents a sensitivity study based on computer model predictions.