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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.

By G. W. Perry, N. A. Frissell, E. S. Miller, and J. D. Katz

The Enhanced Polar Outflow Probe (e-POP) onboard the Canadian CAScade Smallsat and Ionospheric Polar Explorer (CASSIOPE) satellite will once again be supporting ham radio citizen science by participating in the 2017 American Radio Relay League Field Day, on June 24 and 25, 2017. On an annual basis, the ham radio community participates in the ARRL Field Day to exercise and hone their skills in the field.  In essence, it is an emergency preparedness exercise – one of the largest anywhere – with several thousand hams taking part across the world.  From a radio science perspective, Field Day is an ideal time for e-POP to study the structure of the Earth’s ionosphere using Field Day participants’ transmissions.


The HamSCI team completed a successful weekend presenting at the 2017 Dayton Hamvention in Xenia, Ohio. From May 19-21, the HamSCI team ran a booth in the ARRL Expo area where they discussed the HamSCI mission, upcoming experiments, and ways ham radio operators could participate in HamSCI activities. The HamSCI team included members from the New Jersey Institute of TechnologyVirginia Tech, the MIT Haystack Observatory, and Citizen Scientists from the general amateur radio community. This includes the upcoming Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP), participation in the EclipseMob Project, and a live demonstration of both Red Pitaya and Rabbit S-9C based Reverse Beacon Network receive nodes. On Saturday morning, HamSCI presented an ARRL-sponsored forum where members gave oral presentations about HamSCI research and activities. Photos, videos of the presentations, and PDFs of presentation slides are included in this post.

HamSCI member Bill Liles, NQ6Z, won the Best Paper Award at the 15th International Ionospheric Effects Symposium (IES2017) for his paper On the use of solar eclipses to study the ionosphereIES2017 was held in Alexandria, Virginia from May 9 - 11, 2017 and had the theme "Bridging the gap between applications and research involving ionospheric and space weather disciplines". Bill's paper includes a review of previous eclipse ionospheric findings and an overview of the efforts to study the August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. Bill's paper is co-authored with Cathryn Mitchell (M0IBG), Mark Cohen, Greg Earle (W4GDE), Nathaniel Frissell (W2NAF), K. Kirby-Patel, Laura Lukes (KK4FYT), Ethan Miller (K8GU), Magda Moses (KM4EGE), J. Nelson, and J. Rockway.

Read the full paper here.


Thanks to sponsorship by the American Radio Relay League, HamSCI will be a part of the 2017 Dayton Hamvention from May 19-21, 2017 at the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia, Ohio. Throughout the entire Hamvention, HamSCI members from the New Jersey Institute of TechnologyVirginia Tech, the MIT Haystack Observatory, and Citizen Scientists from the general amateur radio community will be at the HamSCI booth in the ARRL EXPO area in Building 2 to discuss HamSCI programs, activities, and mission. The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse and Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP) of August 21, 2017 will be among the most discussed topics at this year’s HamSCI Hamvention Booth. Other topics include using RBNWSPRNet, and PSKReporter for space weather research and a demonstration of how to operate a Reverse Beacon Network receiver

HamSCI member Joshua D. Katz, KD2JAO, was recently announced as a winner of the 2017 NJIT Provost Undergraduate Summer Research award for his research proposal entitled Estimating Ionospheric Parameters Using Real-Time Data Sources. This $3000 grant will allow Mr. Katz to conduct this research at the New Jersey Institute of Technology Center for Solar Terrestrial Research during the upcoming summer, where he develops software solutions to computationally intensive physics problems in the domains of simulation and big data analysis. Mr. Katz's summer research will be supervised by Dr. Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, a researcher in the NJIT-CSTR. The proposal abstract is listed below.

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Organized by the Harvard Wireless Club, W1AF

On April 29th, 2017 the Harvard Amateur Radio Symposium (1st edition) will be held in historic Harvard Yard at the center of Harvard University. The symposium will be an opportunity for radio enthusiasts and experts at Harvard, other universities, and beyond to gather to hear speakers present on topics related to amateur radio, both historical and technical in nature. The symposium is being put on by the Harvard Wireless Club, W1AF (HWC), a Harvard owned, run, and sponsored amateur radio society dedicated to the pursuit of amateur radio activity, education, and volunteerism. The HWC has decided to hold this symposium as a means of celebrating our interest in amateur radio as well as to encourage and promote the continuation of the use of amateur radio in the future.

By Fleet Belknap, KJ4ZWA

Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC

Observable solar eclipses are rare events, and a lot is still unknown about how they interact with earth’s atmosphere.  The August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse will provide a treasure trove of information, as it will take place across the United States.  In order to study the atmosphere during the solar eclipse, NASA is partnering with over 57 teams across the continent to launch balloons that will provide live video of the eclipse. While this looks like an interesting opportunity, it is way too expensive for the average Amateur Radio enthusiast; each team has a budget anywhere from $6,000 to $25,000.

By Dr. Chuck Higgins, Middle Tennessee State University

Radio Jove is a NASA-affiliated education and outreach project that began in 1999 and gives students, teachers, and other interested individuals a hands-on experience in learning radio astronomy ( Radio Jove is a not-for-profit organization, led by a team of about eight volunteer scientists and engineers, which provides a mechanism to distribute radio telescope education kits and educational resources. Participants may build a simple radio telescope kit, make scientific observations, and interact with professional radio observatories in real-time over the Internet. Dedicated observers can help answer science questions about the nature and characteristics of low frequency radio emissions coming from Jupiter and the Sun, as well as, to understand the variability of Earth’s ionosphere. Radio Jove maintains a data archive to facilitate in the exchange of information and the validation of other ground-based and space-based radio data.

By Bill Liles, NQ6Z

Editor’s Note: The HamSCI-related eclipse efforts comprise of a number of sub-projects. This article describes the EclipseMob project, which is an experiment led by a team at George Mason University and the University of Massachusetts at Boston. EclipseMob will study eclipse-driven ionospheric effects using the Very Low Frequency (VLF) and Low Frequency (LF) bands. Results of this experiment could aid in understanding propagation at the proposed 2,200 meter ham band.

Since 1912 there have been many efforts to collect and analyze data during a solar eclipse to help understand the ionosphere. These efforts have been conducted in frequencies ranging from VLF to VHF.  In most cases, individuals or small teams have collected data from disparate transmitters.