During the Solar Eclipse QSO Party, we'll be collecting data from the Reverse Beacon Network, a system which uses wideband SDR-based receivers called "skimmers" to decode CW and RTTY signals in large parts of the amateur HF spectrum and send decoded callsigns to a central server.
The Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP) is just a few short weeks away! The SEQP is a special operating event organized by the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI) to study ionospheric effects caused by the August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. During the SEQP, hams are asked to operate on the HF bands in a manner similar to contests or QSO parties. Systems such as the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN, www.reversebeacon.net), PSKReporter (pskreporter.info), WSPRNet (wsprnet.org), and participant logs will provide the QSO and spot data that will be used by researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Virginia Tech to study eclipse-induced ionospheric effects. Full event rules and operating procedures are available at hamsci.org/seqp. Let us know where you plan to be and what modes you plan to operate. To do this, visit the SEQP Pre-Registration page at hamsci.org/seqp-prereg. We look forward to hearing you on the air!
By Dr. Chris Fallen, KL3WX
Geophysical Institute - University of Alaska, Fairbanks
The next HAARP open house will occur on 19 August 2017 and include round-trip bus transportation from Fairbanks for $45 which will help bring costs down for individuals, particularly for those from out of town. Throughout the day there will be talks by Geophysical Institute researchers on-site about the HAARP facility and research, and other research topics pursued at the UAF Geophysical Institute. As in the previous year, tours of the main transmitter array, control center, and power generation plant will be offered throughout the day. Hams and radio enthusiasts are encouraged to bring their equipment for photo opportunities or even to make contacts from the site.
By Dr. Chris Fallen, KL3WX
Geophysical Institute - Uniervsity of Alaska, Fairbanks
The Arecibo ionospheric HF heating facility will be operational for a research campaign from 24 to 31 July 2017. Because the facility transmits on the HF frequencies 5.125 and 8.175 MHz, it is possible that its signals can be heard world-wide. QSL cards are available for interested SWLThe new Arecibo ionosphere HF heater nominally transmits 600 kilowatts net power (100 to 200 megawatts effective radiated power) and has a unique Cassegrain dual-array antenna design that increases the gain of three crossed dipoles for each band using the signature 1000 ft spherical dish reflector.
I’ve received community feedback that people want more guidance on running JT-modes during the SEQP. As a result, we have revised rules. There are some also changes to provide guidance in other areas as well, including using SNRs or RSQs for digital mode signal reports. None of these changes affect the scoring procedure, but hopefully they will make the operating procedures more clear. Also, I’ve been made aware that there is currently a bug in N1MM+ that prevents SEQP signal reports from being saved to ECLIPSE Cabrillo files.
The real time packet communications system APRS will be used during the day of the eclipse as a national communications network for those involved in ham radio and eclipse observations to be able to track each other and see where other nearby ham observers are located. Imagine the APRS map that day showing a clustering of mobile and portable positions all along the totality line. Please use the station symbol SUNNY for this event so these stations will stand out among all others on the national tracking page http://aprs.fi.
The 2017 Great American Eclipse and the HamSCI Solar Eclipse QSO Party on August 21, 2017 are now just weeks away! This is a great oportunity to both enjoy ham radio and help scientists better understand how the ionosphere works. Are you ready? HamSCI member Ward Silver, N0AX is! He is shown here modeling his new SEQP tank-top and mug. We now have a variety of HamSCI and SEQP T-Shirts and mugs availble through the HamSCI RedBubble store.
If you are not a ham radio licensee - how can you participate in monitoring the eclipse? Perhaps you are looking for a demonstration of the impact the eclipse will have on radio signals. Maybe you are looking for an experiment that a group can perform without specialized equipment. Regardless of your background, this article from the July issue of Nuts and Volts magazine explains the eclipse's effect on radio propagation without too much technical detail. You can use an AM radio or World Band radio in several ways that are sure to demonstrate what happens when the Sun's ray are blocked from the Earth's atmosphere. You can log the observed effect on signals or you can just listen while you're watching the eclipse unfold. The article shows you easy ways to experience the eclipse in a whole new way and it may pique your interest in getting involved with radio science as a career or a hobby.
Contributing author Joe Rao of Sky & Telescope Magazine is asking readers to submit reception reports of AM broadcast stations heard during the upcoming August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. The shadow of the moon is expected to cause a depletion in the D region of the ionosphere, thereby reducing ionospheric absorption in the AM broadcast band (540 - 1700 kHz) and allowing for long-distance skywave propagation. This same mechanism allows for long-distance propagation of AM broadcast stations at night. This is an excellent eclipse radio experiment for people who do not have ham radio licenses or access to specialized equipment. For more information, please see Joe's Sky & Telescope article.
Figure: Map of clear channel AM broadcast stations in or near the August 21, 2017 eclipse totality. Eclipse map by Xavier Jubier.
Editor's note: This toolkit can be used to record SDR data to a standard format for scientific use.
MIT Haystack Observatory is pleased to announce the formal open source release of Digital RF version 2.5 under a BSD license. The software implements a data recording format for scientific radio frequency (RF) instrumentation using the HDF5 scientific data format. The implementation is designed for the management of highly time-dependent data from a large number of radio sensors. Applications include radio science (e.g., radio astronomy, geospace radar) and any project requiring the capture and use of RF data as raw digital samples.