BRAMS

 Listen to the meteors

News

[2019-06-25]Conferences about BRAMS at OCA in Neufchateau during RACA and at Dourbes during a visit of the CAM members

On May 30, Hervé Lamy gave a conference about "Radio detections of meteors with the BRAMS network" at the Observatoire Centre Ardennes (OCA) in Grapfontaine during the RACA 2019.

The presentation can be found here.

The same presentation was given in Dourbes on 22 June during a visit of the site by members of the Cercle Astronomique Mosan (CAM).

[2019-04-06]Conference about BRAMS in Woluwé St-Lambert

On April 4, Hervé Lamy gave a conference about "Radio detections of meteors with the BRAMS network" at the radioamateur club ON5UB in Woluwé St-Lambert.

The presentation can be found here here.

[2019-03-21]Presentation of CAMS / BRAMS comparisons at the CAMS annual meeting

H. Lamy gave a talk about comparisons of data obtained between the CAMS-Benelux optical network and the BRAMS radio network during the annual CAMS meeting organized at the MIRA Observatory in Grimbergen on 10 March 2019.

The presentation can be found here.

[2019-03-13]BRAMS annual meeting 2019

On 9 March 2019, the people at the Cosmodrome in Genk have kindly welcomed us for the first time for the BRAMS annual meeting 2019 (actually the one from 2018 which was postponed). The following presentations were given :

Status of the BRAMS network and recent progress- H. Lamy

A new software-defined radio receiver for the BRAMS network - H. Lamy

Radio Meteor Zoo: current status & future plans - S. Calders

Study of joint CAMS/BRAMS observations & comparison with simulations - H. Lamy

List of participants :

  • Lucas Pellens
  • Hans Wilschut
  • Frans Loeresoen
  • Antonio Martinez Picar
  • Marc Neyts
  • Luc Vlecken
  • Benoit Goffin
  • Paul Roggemans
  • Adriana Roggemans
  • Antoine Calegaro
  • Rik Blondeel
  • Joseph Lemaire
  • Pierre Ernotte
  • Saadia Imerzadiene
  • Jean-Pol Vandijck
  • Jochen Plessmann
  • Beatrix Wayth
  • Helena Relke
  • Stijn Calders
  • Hervé Lamy
  • Seppe Canonaco










[2018-07-01]Third bright fireball observed in June on 29 June 2018

Another bright fireball was captured by the FRIPON camera in Brussels and the newly installed one in Liège on 29 June around 21H30 UT (23H30 local time). You can find additional information on the IMO website. This time, most BRAMS stations were detecting a very nice overdense epsilon-like meteor echo. Only the stations located to the south-east of Belgium (Humain, Tintigny) did not detect it. Below you can see the FRIPON detections with the cameras in Uccle and Liège as well as BRAMS spectrograms from Kampenhout and Overpelt (note that the meteor echo occurs to the left of the spectrograms after approximately 30 seconds).

[2018-06-25]Tests with the BRAMS transmitter in Dourbes

On 25 June 2018, we made some tests resulting in the transmitter being switched on and off several times during the day. First, we made some tests with the power amplifiers that are going to be used for the future BRAMS radar. Second, we also measured how well adapted our crossed dipole is, i.e. we measure the amount of transmitted power reflected at the antenna due to the non-perfect adaptation of each dipole. The measurements are currently analyzed. Very soon we will probably replace the dipoles and small cables.
At the same time, our colleagues from the workshop were installing the 8m x 8m metallic grid that will act as the reflector for the future BRAMS radar transmitter. The five antennas for the future interferometric receiving system have also been installed. Below you can see the reflector and two of the antennas (including the central one which is a crossed 3-elements Yagi) of the future interferometer.

[2018-06-17]And a new bright fireball observed on 16 June 2018

Another bright fireball was captured by the FRIPON camera in Brussels on 16 June around 21H11 UT (23H11 local time). Based on testimonies collected at the IMO website, the object seemed to move from East to West and could have flown above Belgium. The FRIPON image shows that the object moved to the South-East of Brussels. Again, only a few BRAMS stations were able to observe a faint overdense meteor echo. Below you can see the FRIPON detection with the camera in Uccle and spectrograms from Humain and Tintigny.

[2018-06-15]Fireball observed on 13 June 2018

A bright fireball was observed by many people in Belgium on 13 June 2018 at 22:50:21 UT, so around 00H50 on 14 June in local time. The object was captured by the FRIPON camera in Brussels. Based on testimonies collected at the IMO website, the object seemed to move from South to North and flew above West Germany. This is consistent with the FRIPON image obtained in Brussels where the object appears low on the horizon to the East (right of the all-sky image). Only a few BRAMS stations were able to observe a faint overdense meteor echo, mostly due to the distance between the object and the transmitter, but also possibly due to the geometry. Below you can see the FRIPON detection with the camera in Uccle and spectrograms from Humain and Overpelt (2 stations located quite to the East of Belgium).

[2018-04-16]Presentation given at EGU 2018

On Monday April 9, H. Lamy gave a talk on "Study of the Quadrantids 2016 using BRAMS data" during the session "PS2.1/ST1.8 – Small Objects and Dust: Dwarf Planets, Asteroids, Comets, Meteoroids".

[2018-03-30]METRO annual meeting 2017

The presentations and the minutes of the METRO meeting are finally available here.

[2017-11-22]Today we start hunting the Alpha Monocerotids in BRAMS data with the help of Radio Meteor Zoo users

Our next Radio Meteor Zoo objective is to observe activity from a "minor" meteor shower called the Alpha Monocerotids. The parent body at the origin of the shower is not known but is assumed to be a long-period comet. The shower was visually observed in 1925, 1935, 1985 and 1995, each time around November 21. Every time, the period of activity was very short (a few tens of minutes to a few hours). In 1995, it produced a spectacular outburst with around 200 meteors observed in half an hour.

Some models suggest that Earth will cross a dust trail on November 21, around 21h UT and we will investigate this with our radio observations from the BRAMS network. In 1995, forward scatter radio observations clearly detected the Alpha Monocerotids above the sporadic background. So we are confident that, if there is an outburst, we will be able to detect it.

Since the entry speed of these meteors is estimated at 65 km/s, we expect to have a lot of complex meteor echoes, which justifies the use of the Radio Meteor Zoo to detect them. You are cordially invited to help us processing the observations from November 22 9h UT onwards.

We look forward to seeing as many Radio Meteor Zoo users as possible to help us hunt the Alpha Monocerotids!

For more information, please check this link on the Radio Meteor Zoo forum or this link on the IMO website.

[2017-11-21]Last week-end two bright fireballs were observed above/nearby Belgium and BRAMS clearly detected them.

The first one was on 17 November at 00:27 UT. Below are spectrograms from BEHOVE and BELIEG. The meteor echo was so bright that it actually smears out most of the other signals in the images.

The second one was on 19 November at 02:29 UT. Below are spectrograms from BEHUMA and BEOPHA. The meteor echo is very long and split on two consecutive spectrograms.

It was observed with video cameras above Netherlands. See this link for some spectacular images.

[2017-10-21]A fireball above Belgium detected by BRAMS and by FRIPON optical camera /radio antenna

On 20 October 2017 around 00:37 UT, a fireball passed above Belgium and Netherlands. It was clearly detected by the FRIPON cameras in Brussels and Noordwijk.

It was clearly detected by all BRAMS stations as a bright overdense meteor echo. Here are a few examples obtained at BELIEG, BEOPHA, BEUCCL, BEHAAC, BEOTTI and BEHOVE. Note that it was so bright that the noise is barely visible on most spectrograms and that some saturation sometimes occurs.

It was also detected by the recently added FRIPON radio antenna listening to the military radar located in Graves, near Dijon, and emitting at approximately 143 MHz. A trail echo is clearly visible for at least 6 seconds. No head echo was detected for this case.

[2017-10-20]New FRIPON radio antenna in Uccle

On 19 October 2017, we have installed a radio antenna on the roof of the institute in Uccle, as part of the FRIPON-radio project.

[2017-10-16]Annual BRAMS meeting at MIRA public observatory on 14/10/2017

On 14 October 2017, the people at MIRA Observatory have welcomed us again for the BRAMS annual meeting 2017. The following presentations were given :

[2017-09-27]Presentations given at the EPSC 2017 and IMC 2017 international conferences

From 17 to 22 September, the European Planetary Science Congress was organized in Riga, Latvia. The following presentation was given:


From 21 to 24 September, the International Meteor Conference 2017 was organized in Petnica, Serbia. The following presentations were given :

[2017-08-30]Calibration of the radio interferometer in Humain

On 29 August we went to Humain to measure very accurately the electric length of the RF cables from the antennas to the receivers. Since the interferometer works by measuring phase differences between antennas, systematic errors may occur due to the fact that the radio waves still need to travel along the cables. In these cables, the speed of propagation is only 2/3 of the speed of light and the wavelength is then of 4 meters. An error in the length of one cable of 20 cm would then introduce a systematic error on the phase of (20/400)*360 = 18 degrees. Since the antennas are located at different distances to the location with all receivers the length of the cables are naturally different. To compensate we have added an extra-length of cable at the bottom of the antennas when necessary. However, the accuracy cannot be better than 10-20 cm and therefore we needed to make these tests.

The electric length of the cables is basically measured by generating a square signal, taking its approximate derivative which has a very fast rising flank. This signal is sent into the cable, reflected at the end, and we measure the delay needed to travel the cable (twice) by detecting the same (delayed) rising flank. This was done using a counter, a generator and two directional couplers. The principle is sketched below.

By repeating the measure on a very large number of flanks and integrating the results, the accuracy on the average delay is of the order of 4 picoseconds. The time delays measured between the rising flanks of the direct and reflected signals are typically of 250-252 nanoseconds. 250 nanoseconds corresponds to a length of around 50 meters. What matters are the small differences between the time delays measured between 2 antennas. These are systematic errors on phase delays that we need to take into account.

[2017-08-21]New fireball detected by the FRIPON camera in Uccle

On 19 August, another fireball was detected by the FRIPON network including the camera in Uccle.

[2017-08-16]First fireball detected by the FRIPON camera in Uccle

As part of the METRO project and an on-going international collaboration with IMCCE, we have installed a FRIPON camera on the roof of the institute in Uccle.

Last night, the very first detection of a fireball occured, also detected by the camera located at ESTEC in Noordwijk.

[2017-08-11]The Radio Meteor Zoo (and the Perseids) in the Flamish press

[2017-08-11]The Perseids are back and we need your help for the Radio Meteor Zoo

The Perseids are already coming back! The maximum of activity of the meteor shower is planned for 12-13 of August. The full Moon is on 7 August so conditions will not be optimal for visual observations. In this case radio observations are even more important.

This year we would like to be able to produce an activity curve for one station by August 15. This is very challenging and for that we will need the help of many of you!

One day of data consists of approximately 300 images. Each of them needs to be analyzed by 10 different users. We will provide images from 11 to 13 of August, one day at a time. So to obtain an activity curve on August 15, we will need about 9000 classifications in 3 days. If e.g. 1000 users are participating, that will be 9 classifications per user on average, or 3 images classified per day. Of course the more users the better!

Data will be released on 12, 13 and 14 of August as we need to collect and prepare them for upload to the RMZ website. Meanwhile you can also help us by analyzing data from the same station obtained on 22 and 23 of July, during days when the Perseids were not active at all. If these data are fully processed before the meteor shower, we will then be able to also subtract the background from the total activity. That is the ultimate goal for August 15.

We hope to "see" as many of you as possible on August 12-14 and that between two classifications, you might also be able to spot a few shooting stars at your location.

Get involved again at the Radio Meteor Zoo

Thank you in advance!

[2017-05-08]Internal seminar on the Radio Meteor Zoo

Last Friday, Hervé Lamy gave an internal seminar about the Radio Meteor Zoo. The presentation included the reasons why we started a Citizen Science project, how we collaborated with Zooniverse, how we deal with individual contributions from Zooniverse users and finally some preliminary results. The presentation is available here.

[2016-10-18]BRAMS annual meeting at Euro Space Center in Redu on 15/10/2016

On 15/10/2016, we had our BRAMS annual meeting at the Euro Space Center in Redu. Thank you to all the participants and to Dominique Gering and the people at the ESC who welcomed us for the first time. You can find links to the presentations below :

[2015-08-19]Manual counts during Perseids 2015

Using our online tool developed to draw rectangles around potential meteor echoes in spectrograms, manual counts between 18:00 UT on 12/08 and 14:00 on 13/08 were obtained.

The figure below shows an example of a spectrogram where red rectangles have been manually drawn around meteor echoes.

The 3 graphs below show successively :

The raw counts (obtained for each spectrogram every 5 minutes) including all meteor echoes (long and short). The peaks of the Perseids are nearly impossible to spot as the total number is a mix between Perseids and sporadics. The red curve is a moving average on 11 points (so more or less 1 hour) and shows some peaks but not very clearly.
Hourly raw counts including all meteor echoes (long and short), simply obtained from the first curve by adding individual counts for all spectrograms in one hour. The peaks of the Perseids become visible but again not very clear.
Hourly counts including only long meteor echoes. The definition of long is rather vague but includes basically all meteor echoes that have an horizontal extent in the spectrograms, indicating a long duration than typical short (underdense) meteor echoes that represent the bulk of the sporadic background. Then, in this plot, two peaks at ~ 5 UT and ~ 8 UT become visible. These are in agreement with meteor counts obtained by Felix Verbelen using the Ypres beacon at 49.99 MHz. It would be nice to compare these observations with visual observations (see e.g. this page at IMO).

[2015-08-17]Beacon switched off on 17/08/2015

Due to additional tests with the UAV equipped with a transmitter, the BRAMS beacon was temporarily switched off on 17/08 between 10:04 UT and 14:58 UT.

[2015-08-13]Perseids 2015 at ROB

On the night of 12 August 2015, the Planetarium and the Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB) were organizing night-sky observations on the plateau of Uccle during the Perseids 2015. About 500 people visited the site between 10 PM and 1 AM. We ran a BRAMS demo as well which was very successful.

[2015-08-10]Beacon off on 07/08/2015

Due to lightnings near Dourbes, the beacon was temporarily off betwen 17h53 and 18h37 UT on 07/08/2015.

[2015-07-20]Beacon off during last week-end

Due to violent lightnings near Dourbes, the fuses in the house hosting our instruments were down and had to be manually switched on the next morning. The beacon was off between 23:12 UT on 18th July and 10:08 UT on 19th July.

[2015-07-03]Calibration tests in Dourbes done

The beacon in Dourbes has been switched on again. Tests with the drone are finished. The beacon was off from 1st of July around 11:55 UT until 14:10 UT on 3rd of July.

The drone was flying in the far-field of our antenna. The far field is approximately located at ~ 2 D^2/lambda with D being the largest size of the antenna. In our case, with a 8m x 8m grid, D is equal to the diagonal of the reflecting grid and therefore the far field is located at approximately 43m. The drone was flying in circles at a distance of 50 m from the bottom of the antenna. Each circle was carried out at a different elevation (between 30° and 80° with steps of 10°). 30° was the minimal elevation to be sure that the drone was flying way above the tallest trees nearby. For each circle, 36 positions were considered to span the whole azimuth angles with steps of 10°. The drone was staying 15 seconds at each position.


Below is a picture of the drone flying above the nearby trees.

[2015-07-01]Calibration tests in Dourbes

Calibration tests are planned in Dourbes on July 2 & 3 to obtain the radiation pattern of our transmitter using our drone. Since the transmitter in this case is used as a receiver and the drone carries the transmitter (amplitude calibrator developed at BISA), we will have to switch off the beacon from time to time. Tests may continue on Friday if necessary.

[2015-06-29]BRAMS annual meeting at MIRA observatory on 27/06/2015

On 27/06/2015, we had our BRAMS annual meeting at the MIRA observatory in Grimbergen. Thank you to all the participants a nd to Philippe Mollet and the people at the observatory who welcomed us once again. You can find links to the presentations below :

[2015-04-08]New BRAMS station installed in Maasmechelen

On 28/04/2015, a new BRAMS station has been successfully installed in Maasmechelen. Thanks to Bjorn Di Paolo for helping us install and hosting the BRAMS station.

As can be seen, antennas will from now on be installed vertically. We have also installed the amplitude calibrator that will progressively be added to all BRAMS stations.

[2015-02-19]New antenna at BEUCCL

The antenna at the BEUCCL station has been replaced today at around 2 PM LT. The old antenna was there from the beginning and was built in-house. We have now replaced it with a commercial one. The quality of the signal is much better. Because commercial antennas use UHF connectors and not N connectors (like the older one), we temporarily use two adapters : a N-BNC connector followed by a BNC-UHF connector. A N-UHF connector has been ordered and will be added soon.

[2014-07-24]First flight of the drone in Humain

In the framework of the STCE, we have hired Antonio Martinez to calibrate the BRAMS antennas (and some antennas for solar applications in Humain). As presented during the annual BRAMS meeting, the method is to use a UAV/drone equipped with a transmitter sending a given power at a given frequency. The drone can fly in GPS-controlled mode, meaning that it goes to some specific locations pre-registered in its memory. These locations are chosen in order to be in the far-field of the antenna (typically 3 meters for the BRAMS antennas but we will fly a bit further). The transmitter has been designed at BISA and is ready. It will be added very soon as payload below the drone together with a small dipole-like antenna. In order to prevent the modification of the radiation pattern of this emitting antenna by the metallic arms of the drone, a small grid (attached to a cardboard) has been added to the drone to act as a reflecting plane.

Last week Antonio made the first tests with flying the drone in Humain. You can see some pictures below. From left to right, (a) the drone flying (OptoKopter with 8 rotors, the cardboard is clearly visible below the drone), (b) the drone flying near the solar antenna, (c) the drone flying above 2 antennas of our interferometer in Humain

The two pictures below show the remote control system of the drone as well as the box containing the transmitter that we will use as payload (as well as a battery).

[2014-04-08]BRAMS annual meeting at MIRA observatory on 05/04/2014

On April 5, we had our BRAMS annual meeting at the MIRA observatory in Grimbergen. Thank you to all the participants and to Philippe Mollet and the people at the observatory to have welcomed us once again. You can find links to the presentations below :

[2014-02-06]BRAMS beacon off between 10:00 and 10:37 AM this morning

Dear all, apologies for the beacon being off this morning. This time, it was on purpose as we had to make some measurements and tests there. UPS is indeed dead but we found the way to automatically restart the signal generator in the correct configuration. So in principle we should not have anymore long periods without signals.

We also found a place to install the FRIPON camera in the future.

[2014-02-05]Next annual BRAMS meeting

The BRAMS annual meeting will be organized at the MIRA observatory in Grimbergen on Saturday 5 April 2014 from 09:30 AM to 12:30 PM. We would like to thank the people at the MIRA observatory to welcome us once again. The detailed programme will be published soon. Everyone is welcome to participate.

[2014-02-03]Workshop FRIPON/BRAMS at BISA

On Thursday 30 January 2014, we had the pleasure to welcome our French colleagues from IMCCE (Paris, France) at BISA : François Colas presented the French optical network FRIPON (Fireball Recovery and InterPlanetary Observation Network) while Jérémie Vaubaillon presented CABERNET (The CAmera for BEtter Resolution NETwork). The presentation of FRIPON can be downloaded here. Some technical details about the FRIPON cameras can be found here.

The afternoon was devoted to radar observations. The status and recent developments of BRAMS were presented. The presentation can be downloaded here. Jean-Louis Rault finally presented a comparison of meteor observations with analog and digital (SDR) receivers. You can also download his presentation.

The goal of the workshop was to discuss about the complementarity of the BRAMS and FRIPON networks and to see how FRIPON can be extended to Belgium. It has been decided to add a few fish-eye cameras in Belgium under the responsability of BISA. The first camera will be located in Uccle. Other places will be University of Liège and Centre de Géophysique du Globe in Dourbes.

[2013-10-22]New BRAMS station in Seneffe

A new BRAMS station has been set up in Seneffe. Thanks to David Erzeel and Patrick Mertens for taking care of the local installation. Thanks to IBPT for hosting the station.

[2013-09-24]News about the interferometer in Humain

Finally, works in Humain have re-started again. The tranches have been done and cables will soon be added to connect the 5 antennas to the receivers which will now be located in a small container (instead of a much smaller box as was planned before). The container can be seen in one of the images below. Next step is to install electrical power and internet access through an optical fiber and we will be able to start the initial tests.

[2013-04-25]Solar flares in BRAMS data

While designed for the detection of meteor echoes, the BRAMS stations are also sensitive to solar flares, at least when their intensity is large enough and/or when the Sun is located within the main lobe of the antenna. Recently a student from ULB has made an internship at BISA and worked on the detection of solar flares with BRAMS data. Below is a very recent exemple of solar flare observed at BEUCCL on 22/04/2013 and the corresponding spectrogram observed at Humain by the Callisto spectrograph from the Royal Observatory (see data at www.sidc.be/humain). The structure of the solar flare is clearly visible in our BRAMS data.

[2013-04-25]Some Lyrids meteors observed at BEUCCL

Below are some spectacular echoes observed at BEUCCL during the Lyrids 2013. The first spectrogram on the left hand side shows a beautiful "epsilon echo" with multiple branches. On the brightest echo from the spectrogram on the right, a clear head echo can be seen before a long and intense overdense echo. The spectrogram on the 2nd row shows another very bright overdense echo with a complex turbulent structure.

[2013-04-25]New BRAMS station installed in Gent

On 22/04/2013, a new BRAMS station has been successfully installed in Gent on the Armand Pien Observatory located on the University campus. Thanks to Guy Wauters and collaborators for helping us install and to host the BRAMS station.

[2013-02-14]Spectacular signature of the re-entry of the upper stage of Soyousz with BRAMS

On 13 February around 21h15 UT, the upper stage of a recent Soyousz has re-entered Earth's atmosphere passing above Belgium and Germany giving rise to a spectacular optical phenomenom (see testimonies e.g. here). The object and the strong ionization left behind it are clearly visible in BRAMS data. Here are examples of spectrograms recorded in Uccle :

On the right image, the frequency range has been increased to show the "head echo" due to the reflection of radio waves on an ionized region in front of the moving object. The Soyousz upper stage was moving at around 7 km/s producing a strong Doppler effect visible on the image.

[2013-01-08]Tests at the Humain station

The Humain station will eventually host an interferometric system with 5 antennas. Before everything is ready, we have used the two antennas there for the following test: computer simulations have revealed lately that the radiation pattern of a 3-element Yagi antenna inclined by some angle and located at some height above the ground can be strongly modified by the ground properties (whether it is conductive or not, hence dry or wet for example). This ground effect is strongly reduced if the antenna is directed vertical. The test currently done in Humain is to compare the number of meteor echoes we receive between an antenna pointing like the other BRAMS antenna (toward a point more or less located at 100 km altitude above the beacon, picture on the left) and an antenna pointing toward the zenith (picture on the right). After a few days of test, we will be able to answer this question quantitatively.

[2013-01-07]Happy New Year and Quadrantids 2013

The BRAMS team would like to wish everyone a happy & healthy 2013 as well as lots of success in meteor observations. This year we will try to update this website more regularly with recent advances in the BRAMS project. The year started well with a strong activity from the Quadrantids, as captured on the spectrogram below obtained at Uccle at 05:50 UT.

[2012-10-09]Presentations given during the IMC2012 in La Palma

During the International Meteor Conference 2012 held in La Palma, several members from the BRAMS team gave a talk. If you are interested, you can download on the presentations:

[2012-08-20]New BRAMS station in Leuze-Eghezée

A new BRAMS station has been set up in Leuze-Eghezée. Thanks to Jean-Pol Vandijck for taking care of the local installation. Below are some pictures of the station.

[2012-06-26]Meeting LORMS in Lille

On 26 June, there was a LORMS meeting at the Lille Observatory where I was invited to present the BRAMS project. Besides the local participants, Jean-Louis Rault and Jérémie Vaubaillon (from IMCCE) were also present. After a short presentation of the current radio meteor activities at the Observatory of Lille (listening to the Ieper beacon on 49.99 MHz), I presented BRAMS and encouraged the local participants to set up a BRAMS station with the same material as the one we used for our receiving stations. The discussions in the afternoon led to the conclusion that the Lille Observatory is very much willing to join the BRAMS network officially.

Jean-Louis Rault also presented his REFORME project and Jérémie Vaubaillon discussed the FRIPON and PODET-MET projects.

Thank you to Florent Deleflie and Jean-Claude Pesant for inviting me, welcoming me at the Observatory of Lille and I look forward to our collaboration within the BRAMS network in the next few months.

[2012-06-21]New BRAMS station at the Cosmodrome in Genk

We have set up a new BRAMS station at the Cosmodrome in Genk. Thanks to Seppe Canonaco for the help for the local installation.

[2012-06-09]Annual BRAMS meeting in MIRA

Each year we will organize a BRAMS meeting on a saturday. The meeting is open to all BRAMS users and we will discuss the recent developements and the forthcoming activities. This year we organized it at the MIRA observatory in Grimbergen. Thank you very much to MIRA and in particular to Philippe Mollet for welcoming us and providing us with their facilities.

Below you can find the presentations that were given in the morning:

[2012-05-29]New BRAMS station at the "Centre Astronomique Mosan" in Dinant

We have set up a new BRAMS station at the Centre Astronomique Mosan in Dinant. Thanks to Jean-Pol Vandijck for the help for the local installation.

[2011-10-04]The metallic reflecting grid in Dourbes

The 8m x 8m metallic grid has been installed in Dourbes. Very nice job from our engineering staff. Now we try to analyze the influence of this change of the radiation pattern on the number of plane echoes, their intensity and on the intensity of the carrier.

[2011-10-04]A new BRAMS station in Mons

Thank you to Francesco Lo Bue and Peter Meurisse for hosting the station at the University of Mons and helping us to install the material.

[2011-08-25]A new BRAMS station in Humbeek

Thank you to Rik Blondeel for setting up and hosting the station in Humbeek.

[2011-08-09]The metallic reflector grid for the beacon in Dourbes is under construction

Our engineering team in the workshop has now started building a 8m x 8m metallic grid which will strongly improve the radiation pattern of the beacon antenna. Currently too much power is emitted at small elevation angle resulting in a very intense carrier signal and a lot of strong plane echoes. With this grid, the situation will improve a lot (see tests in the news from 07/06/2011). Below are two pics of one 2m x 2m block of the future metallic grid. The picture on the right is a picture from above.

[2011-08-09]Two new BRAMS stations in Hove (Urania) and Corbais

Thank you to Stijn Calders and Urania to host the station in Hove, and to Patrick Mertens to host the station in Corbais.

[2011-08-07]A picture from the BRAMS station in Kappelle-Op-Den-Bos

This station has been installed a few months ago but here is a picture. Thanks to Marteen Vanleenhove for providing this picture and hosting the station.

[2011-08-02]A new BRAMS station at the Euro Space Center in Redu (Transinne)

Another station has been installed at the Euro Space Center. Thank you very much to Dominique Gering for hosting the station and helping with the installation. Below you can find pictures of the antenna.

[2011-08-02]A new BRAMS station in Jalhay

Another station has been installed in Jalhay for the GAS ( Groupe d'Astronomie de Spa. Thank you very much to Christian Francise and Emmanuel Jehin for hosting the station and/or helping with the installation. Below you can find pictures of the antenna and first "lights".

[2011-07-29]A new BRAMS station in Ophain

Another station has been installed in Ophain on the site of CCRM. Thank you very much to Christophe Visée for this installation and for providing me the pictures below : a picture of the antenna and a first "light".

[2011-07-11]A new BRAMS station in Langemark

Another station has been installed by Franky Dubois in Langemark. Thank you so much. Below is a picture of the antenna and a first "light". There is also a link to Franky's website about BRAMS.

Website BRAMS of Franky Dubois

[2011-07-07]BRAMS in the newspaper(s)

Following a press conference held at the Euro Space Center, several newspapers were interested to ask me questions about BRAMS. The first paper was published 2 days ago by Le Soir :

"Ecouter" les étoiles filantes

Another one will be published soon (August?) in La Libre Belgique.

[2011-07-04]Station nearly ready in Neuchateau

The receiving station is nearly ready in Neuchateau. Only the PC must be installed and configured. The first tests will be done in about 2 weeks. Below is a picture of the antenna and of the nice installations of the OCA (Observatoire Centre Ardennes).

[2011-06-23]New stations active in Ramsel and Overpelt

A new station has been installed recently by Patrick Luyten in Ramsel. We have also installed a station in Overpelt. Pictures below. Thanks to Patrick and Lucas Pellens.

[2011-06-15]New stations active in Lembeek and Tessenderlo

Two new stations have been installed recently by the users themselves in Lembeek and Tessenderlo. Thanks respectively to Roland Oeyen and Willy Camps for setting up the stations. Below you can see pictures of their installations as well as some snapshots obtained with SpectrumLab (Lembeek on top, Tessenderlo in the bottom).

[2011-06-07]Solar flare visible in BRAMS data

This morning, an M2.5 solar flare peaked at 06:30 UT. It was visible on BRAMS data. Thanks to Felix Verbelen for sending us this picture.

[2011-06-07]Test of the beacon in Dourbes : more data from various stations

During the tests with the beacon on 12/05, several receiving stations were listening. You can see some examples below, respectively for Willy Camps (Tessenderlo) and Felix Verbelen (Kampenhout). They illustrate the nice improvements due to the add of the reflector.

[2011-05-17]Test of the beacon in Dourbes

Last thursday (12/05), we made some tests with the beacon in Dourbes to simulate a metallic reflector of size 6m x 6m and 8m x 8m (using aluminium sheet of papers).

  • The beacon was shut down at 12h15 local time (10h15 UT). First image below shows data before the shutdown.
  • The test with the 8m x 8m "grid" was made from 15h15 (13h15 UT) to 15h45 (13h45UT). See second image below.
  • The test with the 6m x 6m "grid" was made from 15h52 (13h52 UT) to 16h00 (14h00UT). See third image below.

The spectrograms clearly show that the direct signal is strongly attenuated (although still visible) and the number of reflections on planes has also strongly decreased. The intensity of the plane echoes is also strongly reduced.

[2011-04-13]Installation of the individual stations

We started this week the installation of the first receiving stations of BRAMS. The first one was successfully installed on 11/04/11 in Kampenhout at Felix Verbelen's house. Then the second one was installed on 12/04/11 on the roof of MIRA's observatory in Grimbergen. Below you can see 2 pictures from the antenna on the roof of MIRA and 1 picture of the station in Kampenhout. We will contact each of you individually when we are ready to install the material at your local place or when the material is ready to be picked up at BIRA.

[2010-10-12]VLF antenna in Humain

The VLF antenna has been installed in Humain. It is a magnetic field loop type of antenna with an area of about 50 square meters. The mast is 12 meters high. On the pictures below you can see two perpendicular loops oriented N-S and E-W which will allow us to measure both components of the magnetic field (or listen to the VLF emissions in stereo). The primary goal of this antenna is to detect whistlers but since it will be located next to our future VHF interferometer, we will look for conjunctions of VLF emissions and VHF meteor echoes (as was done during dedicated campaigns by Jean-Louis Rault).

[2010-09-27]Beacon in Dourbes - VLF antenna in Humain

The beacon in Dourbes is emitting since 21/09/10 around 14:00. Pictures of the beacon are available in the related section. Nice spectrograms have already been posted by Jean-Louis Rault (South of Paris), Peter Knol (Appingedam, north of Netherlands), Karl-Heinz Gansel (Dingden, Germany), Jacques Gruson (Guéthary,south of France) and of course by several members of the VVS. Unfortunately, the direct signal is quite strong for closer receiving stations and we will try to improve this in the coming weeks.

Also, the VLF antenna in Humain has been installed. Pictures and details available soon. Associated electronics and receivers should be installed before the end of the year.

[2010-08-12]Some nice recordings obtained during the peak of the Perseids

Three examples of the data recorded last night with the AR-5000 and the simple Yagi antenna.

[2010-08-12]Recent news about the BRAMS network

  • The station in BISA is now operational. We have been observing since tuesday 09/08/10. All antennas are currently listening to the Ieper's beacon on 49.99 MHz. The simple Yagi antenna is connected to the AR-5000 receiver while the two antennas from the crossed Yagi are connected to ICOM-R75 receivers. The ICOM-R75 receiver cannot add phases so at the moment we are simply recording both polarizations without adding them. Later on we will use the USRP2 receiver for that purpose. Below we give a nice example of an overdense echo observed around 06:00 AM on 12/08/10 to illustrate the differences in sensitivity and noise level of the AR-5000 (left) and the ICOM R-75 (right):

  • The tests with the new beacon in Dourbes will start within the next 2 weeks. We will let everyone know when the beacon is emitting.
  • The works to build the interferometer in Dourbes have started last wednesday. Tranches have been digged and concrete blocks have been made. At the end of August we will install the VLF antenna (more details soon) and in September we should install the 5 Yagi antennas for the VHF interferometer. Below are some pictures of the works:

  • [2010-07-28]Description of material supplied by BIRA for future stations of the BRAMS network

    The material BIRA-IASB will supply for each station is the following:

    • one commercial receiver ICOM IC-R75
    • one 3-element Yagi antenna (with a mechanical part allowing to easily adjust the tilt-angle)
    • one GPS clock (although we are still working on the code to efficiently use them)
    • some 50 Ohms coaxial cables with the adequate length.

    For those interested to host such a station, we kindly ask you to provide us an estimate of the length of the coaxial cables you would need.

    [2010-07-09]Status of the BRAMS network

    1. Beacon in Dourbes :

    • Nearly all the material has arrived : signal generator, power amplifier, antenna (built in the workshop). Only coaxial cables are missing.
    • We have visited the Dourbes site and have an agreement to use a specific place where we will install the beacon. Here are a few pictures of this place :


  • For the initial tests in Dourbes, we will use a two-element Yagi antenna like the one in Ieper. These tests will also allow us to check we do not perturb the other instruments located on the Dourbes site. Later on, We will use a metallic grid of 8 m x 8 m as the reflecting part instead of the simple reflecting tube of the Yagi antenna. With this configuration, the gain will be significantly larger. We will work on this grid during the summer.

  • 2. The station in BISA :

    It is located next to our institute, in the KMI/IRM park. We have 2 antennas : one three element Yagi listening to 49.99 MHz and one crossed three element Yagi listening to 49.97 MHz. Here are some pictures:


    3. The network :

    • We have 20 ICOM IC-R75 that eventually will be given to every station of the network to listen to the new frequency 49.97 MHz
    • We have GPS clocks available for every station (more details about them in another e-mail soon)
    • Twenty 3-element Yagi antennas are under construction at the BIRA workshop and will be distributed as well
    • We will ask everyone if they agree to host a station and who has enough space for it. We will organize a meeting in September/October in order to discuss this topic and maybe to start distributing the material.

    4. The interferometer in Humain :

    • Works have started on August 4. Tranches have been digged and concrete blocks have been made.
    • We will also install a mast of 12 meters high supported by guy-wires which will act as a VLF antenna. Cables will be installed in a way to make a rhomb with a surface of approximately 50 square meters. This will act as a magnetic antenna. Although it will mainly be used to detect whistlers, we also plan to look for coincident VHF meteor echoes and VLF emissions.

    5. Various :

    • Two students from Pierre Ernotte at EPHEC have worked on an automatic detection method of meteors in spectrograms in the framework of their master degree. They presented their results at BISA in June. We intend to continue the collaboration with these students during the summer (as summer jobs) and with other students from EPHEC next year.
    • An Action 1 proposal has been sent to Belspo (Belgian scientific policy) to get fundings for one scientist for a period of 4 years to work on and analyse the future BRAMS data.

    [2009-10-31]Presentation at Meteorendag

    Today we give a presentation about the BRAMS project at the Meteorendag in public observatory Halley in The Netherlands. During the presentation we will give a general overview of the project.

    [2009-10-08]FTP Server

    Today we have set-up a FTP server for people that have joined our project. Initially, you can use this server to upload your WAV files when there is an interesting event (such as a nice head echo). It will then be easy for anyone who wants to do some analysis with these data to download them. Later we'll find some other applications for this FTP server.

    [2009-10-05]Future Beacon

    We have ordered an OX32 crystal at HM International according to suggestions from Gaspard Dewilde and Michel Anciaux (one of our new collaborator at BISA). We will very soon order a power amplifier and additional components needed to have a beacon emitting a power of 150W at a frequency of 49.970 MHz. Once we have all the details concerning the commercial instruments we will use, we will send them to the IBPT and we will offically buy the frequency slots. We still have to carefully think where to locate this beacon. Discussions will be started soon with René Warnant who is responsible of the Dourbes site.

    [2009-10-01]Demo during the Open Doors

    During this week-end (October 3 and 4), the Open Doors of the Institute are organized (together also with the Royal Observatory and the Institute of Meteorology). As an activity, we will show our new receiving station. Since we have some problems to listen to the frequency of the Yper beacon, we will listen to some Eastern European TV emitters at 49.7385 MHz where we see a lot of meteors. We will also make some advertisement of our common project.

    [2009-09-25]First Tests

    The first tests to listen to the beacon frequency in Yper haven't been successful because of the presence of a local annoying repetitive and strong signal that prevented us to see any meteor reflexion. We will first check if this signal is very local or not. If it is not coming from the Uccle Plateau, then we will ask the IBPT to find out who is emitting at this frequency.

    [2009-09-24]Arrival of the Material

    This morning, we have received two boxes with our radio receiver and antenna. This very special moment marks the beginning of our radio meteor observation network. The receiving station is composed by a 3-element Yagi antenna connected to an AR5000 commercial receiver.