Friday, July 31, 2009

Revealing the Inner Geek: E Layer Skip

During a tortuous 10 hour family drive the ionosphere sparkled. More specifically a layer of the ionosphere became more agitated and dense than usual—matching my mental state. With density this part of the atmosphere, approximately 65 miles above earth, reflected certain radio signals that normally pass through it.

The FM radio band became active with distant signals coming in strong from up to 1000 miles away. Normally FM radio signals dissipate quickly making it possible for reuse of the same frequency only a few dozen miles away. As I drove through central Pennsylvania I heard signals from Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota and Iowa. Utter magic for me.

When I explained this phenomenon to my kids, I received the “big woop” response.

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