2017 Total Solar Eclipse News

The Yasme Foundation announced this past week that Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF and Magda Moses, KM4EGE are winners of the 2017 Excellence Award for their role in starting HamSCI and organizing and promoting the Solar Eclipse QSO Party. From Yasme's Website, "The Yasme Excellence Awards are presented to individuals who through their own service, creativity, effort and dedication have made a significant contribution to amateur radio. The contribution may be in recognition of technical, operating or organizational achievement as all three are necessary for amateur radio to grow and prosper. These awards shall be given from time to time as the board feels appropriate."

We are inviting all hams and scientists interested in ham radio science to come to the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, NJ for a HamSCI workshop on Friday, February 23 and Saturday, February 24, 2018. This aim of this workshop is to foster collaborations between the ham radio and the space science and space weather research communities through presentations, discussions, and demonstatrations. This year's meeting will focus on solar eclipse analysis, ham radio data sources and databases, and the development of a "personal space weather station". This meeting is open to all interested persons. If you are interested in attending, please fill out the HamSCI Workshop Interest Survey. Final registration details will be posted by December 2017.

Members of HamSCI presented at the 36th Annual ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference September 15-17, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. The TAPR/ARRL DCC is an annual conference that attracts technically-minded amateur radio operators who specialize in building and designing hardware and software to support digital communications and radio. In a presentation entitled HamSCI and the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse HamSCI members Nathaniel Frissell W2NAF, Bill Engelke AB4EJ, Josh Katz KD2JAO, Spencer Gunning K2AEM, and Josh Vega WB2JSV showed initial results of the Solar Eclipse QSO Party and other HamSCI eclipse experiements.

We've been contacted by several individuals regarding submission of observations of effects during the eclipse to HamSCI recently. Any such material - logs, reception reports, and records of other observations - is welcomed by HamSCI. We encourage you to email these to hamsci@hamsci.org.

Larger data sets - raw I/Q data recordings or large audio files, for instance - can be submitted to the HamSCI community on Zenodo if they are too large to email. Create an account there to do this, or log in with your GitHub or ORCID account to do so. Zenodo has a 50GB limit per data set, so those of you who recorded multiple bands may need to submit each band as a separate data set. Thank you to everyone who took part in this and submitted observations of any kind!

After eight short hours, the Solar Eclipse QSO Party has come to a close. Particpation was quite good. Although the final numbers are not yet in, preliminary reports show that over 670,000 spots were detected by the RBN, and over 542,000 spots were reported to PSKReporter during the SEQP. These numbers will increase as data is processed. SEQP participants are requested to submit their logs and RBN data (spots.txt) to hamsci.org/seqp. A PDF Certificate of Participation will be provided on log submission.

In just a few short hours both the Great American Eclipse and the SEQP will begin. Over 1300 stations have pre-registered, so activity levels are expected to be high. After a geomagnetically unsettled weekend, the solar activity appears to have calmed down. NOAA SWPC predicts this situation to continue today, with less than 1% chance of a major radio blackout, less than 1% chance of an S1 or greater Solar Radiation Storm, and no geomagnetic storm impacts. As such, propagation conditions should be good for HF radio operations.

With only 5 days remaining before the Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP), over 600 stations have already indicated that they are planning on participating. We have posted both a list and map showing the locations of all pre-registered stations. Stations are still encouraged to pre-register. Many stations have e-mailed asking for guidance as to what is the best band, mode, or antenna to use is. We recommend simply following the SEQP rules and enjoying this as you would any other operating event. We will be getting data from many, many different sources and need signals on all bands and modes. A link for log submission will be posted to hamsci.org/seqp by the end of the SEQP. See you on the air and good luck in the SEQP!

RBN activity screenshot

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!

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.