On the 14th of July, members of Surrey EARS (Electronics and Amateur Radio Society) hosted a moon bounce on the University of Surrey campus. A moon bounce is a radio communications method that involves transmitting a signal through an antenna pointed towards the moon, and then attempting to then receive that signal when it is reflected back off the moon’s surface.
Due to the very large distances, and therefore great signal losses involved, the equipment used needs to be very sensitive and have a low noise floor. EARS therefore used a large, eight element, UHF antenna array that was mounted on a rotating stand. The rotating stand was then adjusted so that the array pointed towards the moon. The antennas were connected to a software defined radio on a laptop computer that was used as a precision, high rate spectrum analyser.
The original plan was to transmit a signal and listen for its reflection using the same set of antennas; this is possible since the signal will take just over 2.5 seconds to travel to the moon and back. However due to technical difficulties and time restraints this didn’t work on the day. Instead a ground station in Andover transmitted the signal to the moon; EARS’ antennas then listened for the reflection, and to great success! The system was able to detect the reflected signal very clearly.
The event attracted much interest from members of EARS, students and staff of the university’s electronic engineering department, EARS would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who gave their time and resources to help make this event such a success. and members of the general public. Given this success EARS are hopeful both to repeat the event in the future and also host other space and amateur radio related events.