A meteor burst communications MBC link is limited to approximately 1000 nautical miles nmi. This is due to the physical height at which meteor trails ionize, which is typically 100km or - 20km, and to the curvature of the earth. Longer range communications can be achieved by using meteor burst relays. Over the oceans, ships at sea can provide the relay function, but are generally not practical for long periods of time if the ship is required for other missions. Another alternative is the use of buoys, which are allowed to drift or are moored to seamounts or to the deep ocean bottom. This paper describes a relatively large MBC relay buoy with remote and master station capability and presents the results of a buoy and ship relay test between San Diego, San Francisco, and Hawaii. The tests demonstrate the feasibility of mounting a battery-powered meteor burst master and remote station system in a buoy and operating it for 6 months. Smaller buoys are possible if needed for only a few short emergency messages or to act as a remote station only, operating within range of master stations so that a large battery is not necessary. During these tests messages were successfully relayed between CONUS and Hawaii, and the relative performance of vertically and horizontally polarized antennas in the seawater environment was observed.
Professional paper for period ending Nov 1987
Presented at the Meteor Burst Communications (MBC) symposium, 4-5 Nov 1987, The Hague (Netherlands).