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Friday, August 7, 2020

Mars: Book Review, Martian Propagation, Martian Moons as VHF Repeater Sites

In SolderSmoke #224 I mentioned the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson.   I found a book review in The New Yorker (see below).   In Red Mars they mention that there is no ionospheric propagation on Mars.  W1PJE and K1RID point out that this is incorrect -- there is ionospheric propagation on Mars.  K1RID provides a link to a really detailed NASA study of this question (it includes discussion of the effect on propagation of Martian dust storms -- good to know!). Finally, 2E0CHK suggests placing VHF repeaters on the two moons of Mars.  I found a good article about the overhead passes of these moons.   See below for all.  


Here's a review from The New Yorker


Hello Pete and Bill,

Listened to your latest SolderSmoke podcast. Enjoyable as always. But you should correct the record: Mars does have an ionosphere!

The peak daytime electron density ("M2 layer") is low in altitude - perhaps 130+ km, about our E region - and density is like our E region too (5-10x lower than our F region). So for the Mark Watneys carrying their Homebrew rig and inverted V, probably only a few hundred km to the first skip zone. More NVIS flavor than anything else.

Fun to think about. You should go and test it out!

Phil W1PJE

BTW, this made the rounds in our club last year:

dit dit

73 de Ed, K1RID
Newburyport Electronics & Radio Society


Hey Bill,
No skip on Mars ?
No ionosphere ?
Every cloud has a silver lining, even if Mars doesn't have any clouds ;)
Mars has two moons.
Could be paradise for Moon Bounce aficionados. No ionosphere or F layer to get in the way. VHF can get around corners after all.
Here is an article describing the overhead passes of the two Martian moons: 

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