2017 Total Solar Eclipse News

By Nathaniel A. Frissell (W2NAF), Philip J. Erickson (W1PJE), Ethan S. Miller (K8GU), William Liles (NQ6Z), Kristina Collins (KD8OXT), David Kazdan (AD8Y), and Nathaniel Vishner (KB1QHX)

Photo by Laura Gooch (N8NFE)

The Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI) is an international collective of professional researchers and amateur radio operators working together to simultaneously advance the fields of space science and amateur (ham) radio activities. The 2nd US HamSCI meeting was held March 22-23, 2019, organized by Nathaniel Frissell of the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and hosted by the Case Amateur Radio Club (Case ARC) at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland, OH. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Ionospheric Effects and Sensing,” which includes the use of amateur radio techniques for the characterization and observational study of ionospheric phenomena such as traveling ionospheric disturbances, sporadic E, response to solar flares, geomagnetic storms, and other space weather events.

HamSCI contributor Nick Hall-Patch, VE7DXR, presents observations of changes in AM Broadcast propagation during the 21 August 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. Full text of the article is available here.

This article starts with a brief description of historical observations that have been made concerning the effects of solar eclipses on the strengths of distant medium wave signals.  It continues with a description of how medium-wave DXers used software defined radios (SDRs) for the first time during the solar eclipse of August 2017 to record  the entire AM broadcast band (535-1705kHz) for later analysis.  Although no plan had been made to create a formal experiment, it appears to be possible to use the data collected to analyze the effect of the eclipse on radio propagation.  An example is presented, derived from recordings made at four different receiver locations in western North America, describing large variations in the signal strength from Salt Lake City's KSL-1160kHz during the course of the eclipse.  The times that peak signal strengths occurred at the four locations are then compared relative to the times of eclipse totality along the signal paths.

HamSCI will again be at the Dayton Hamvention as part of the new Ham Radio 2.0: Innovation and Discovery area sponsored by the Yasme Foundation. Come visit the HamSCI Booth and Forum to learn about projects on the cutting edge of ham radio science and engineering research, including new directions in Sporadic E research, causes of F region ionospheric variability, how propagation works on the new 630 and 2200 m bands, the Personal Space Weather Station, and more. Hamvention will be held May 17-19, 2019 at the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia, Ohio.

The United States National Science Foundation (NSF) has recognized the need to join the amateur radio and professional science communities through a recent grant award to support the upcoming HamSCI Workshop from March 22-23, 2019 in Cleveland, OH. The conference is hosted by the Case Western Reserve University Amateur Radio Club and organized and administered by the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). The NSF conference grant from the Geosciences Directorate will provide important facilitation for conference activities and associated logistics.

Registration is now open for the 2019 HamSCI Workshop to be held at Case Western Reserve University, W8EDU, in Cleveland, OH from March 22- 23, 2019. This year’s theme will be “Ionospheric Effects and Sensing,” which includes the use of amateur radio techniques for the characterization and study of ionospheric phenomena such as traveling ionospheric disturbances, sporadic E, response to solar flares, geomagnetic storms, the 2024 total solar eclipse other space weather events. In order to facilitate this science, continued development of the HamSCI Personal Space Weather Station and discussion of integration of amateur radio into the collegiate curriculum will also take place. Featured speakers include well-known amateur radio author Ward Silver, N0AX, propagation specialist Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, and MIT Haystack Observatory Research Scientist Dr. Larisa Goncharenko. Participants are invited to submit abstracts and present. Please visit http://hamsci.org/hamsci2019 for registration and abstract submission. This workshop is hosted by Case Western Reserve University in collaboration with New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Cover of January/February 2019 National Contest Journal

The Solar Eclipse QSO Party Wrap-Up is published as the feature article in ARRL's National Contest Journal this month. The article recaps the August 21, 2017 SEQP event, science results, and recognizes the top-scoring participants and RBN nodes. A free copy of the article is available through the NCJ web site.

Solar Eclipse QSO Party Logo

SEQP logs and data submitted to hamsci.org are now available for download from the Zenodo Data Repository HamSCI Community. This archive contains the locations, logs, and station descriptions submitted by operators to hamsci.org following the SEQP, as well as an aggregated, geolocated archive in CSV format of all Reverse Beacon Network (RBN), WSPRNet, PSKReporter, DXCluster, and SEQP log QSOs. The final rules of the SEQP have also been archived here. More information about the SEQP can be found at http://hamsci.org/seqp, and a published analysis of RBN observations over the United States by Frissell et al. (2018) may be found at https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL077324.

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This week, many HamSCI members are presenting their research at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in Washington, D.C. The AGU Fall meeting is one of the largest geoscience meetings in the world, and consists of about 24,000 attendees. The scientific program includes sessions pertaining to all areas of geophysics, including space weather, the solar wind, auroral activity, the ionosphere, and the neutral atmosphere. Below is a list of selected presentations and sessions being given by HamSCI members, or of general interest to ham radio operators. The complete scientific program is available here.

In his recent QEX article, “Ionospheric Disturbances at Dawn, Dusk, and During the 2017 Eclipse,” Steve Cerwin, WA5FRF published his analysis of observations of WWV (5 MHz) and WWVB (60 kHz) transmitters in Ft. Collins, CO as received at his home in San Antonio, TX.  Cerwin reports that during the August 21, 2017 eclipse, a definite and measurable enhancement of low frequency (LF) and high frequency (HF) signals from his station. In addition to eclipse observations, Cerwin also examined the dawn and dusk transitions on both frequencies. Notable findings include a propagation null on WWVB that is correlated in time with dusk and dawn, and is consistent with destructive interference from a combination of ionospheric skip and ground-wave multipath propagation. Cerwin also reports on increased frequency jitter at 5 MHz during these times, as well a radical positive frequency swing at dawn and a negative swing at dusk.

Full text of Steve Cerwin’s article is available here. This is from the September/October 2018 QEX, copyright ARRL. HamSCI thanks the ARRL for permission to reprint this article.

 

CQ Amateur Radio Magazine published an article by Rich Moseson, W2VU, about the 2018 HamSCI meeting in the May 2018 issue entitled, "A Virtuous Cycle: Hams and Scientists Helping Each Other". The 2018 HamSCI Workshop was held at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) February 23-24, 2018 and brought together hams and space scientists from across the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. Over 60 people in attended, and presentations included results from the 2017 Great American Eclipse, ideas for a personal space weather station, and other amateur radio-space science experiments and projects. PDFs of most presentations from the workshop are available here. Full text of the CQ Article is available here (Copyright CQ Communications, Inc., Posted by permission).