2017 Total Solar Eclipse News

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.

By Bob Bruninga, WB4APR

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.