Personal Space Weather Station News

HamSCI 2020 Workshop Logo

By Stan Zygmunt, University of Scranton

Registration is now open for the third annual HamSCI Workshop. The 2020 HamSCI Workshop for amateur radio operators and professional scientists will be held Friday and Saturday, March 20-21, at The University of Scranton. The theme of the workshop is “The Auroral Connection,” and will include addresses by guest speakers, poster presentations and demonstrations of relevant instrumentation and software. All ham radio operators, scientists, and people interested in ionospheric and space physics are welcome to attend.

The TangerineSDR is the TAPR-HamSCI joint project to create a software defined radio that meets the joint needs of the amateur and scientific communities. The TangerineSDR is slated to be at the heart of the high-performance version of the HamSCI Personal Space Weather Station. In his January/February 2020 QEX article, TangerineSDR Chief Architect Scotty Cowling WA2DFI explains the requirements and use cases of the TangerineSDR. Full text of the article is availble here. Reprinted with permission; copyright ARRL.

HamSCI has an opening for a Post-Doctoral Research Associate! Please see the advertisement below.

The University of Scranton Department of Physics and Engineering seeks a post-doctoral research associate starting in Spring/Summer 2020 in support of a recently awarded NSF-supported Distributed Array of Small Instruments (DASI) grant to develop a prototype Personal Space Weather Station. The successful post-doctoral researcher will conduct software development, and subsequent scientific studies, for a multi-site geographically distributed high frequency (HF; 3 – 30 MHz) software defined radio (SDR) network using signals of opportunity.  Primary responsibilities will involve the development and implementation of an ionospheric sounding algorithm using the HF observation network for the purpose of studying geospace phenomena: traveling ionospheric disturbances, ionospheric responses to solar flares, geomagnetic storms and substorms, and other space weather effects. The ideal candidate will have expertise in ionospheric remote sensing, geospace physics including the ionosphere and thermosphere, and digital signal processing algorithm development and implementation.

A $1.3 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant awarded to University of Scranton physics and electrical engineering professor Nathaniel Frissell, Ph.D., seeks to harness the power of a network of licensed amateur radio operators to better understand and measure the effects of weather in the upper levels of Earth’s atmosphere. The highly-competitive grant awarded by NSF’s Aeronomy Program for the project titled Distributed Arrays of Small Instruments (DASI) will be implemented over a three-year period. As lead principal investigator, Dr. Frissell, a space physicist, will lead a collaborative team that will develop modular, multi-instrument, ground-based space science observation equipment and data collection and analysis software. He will also recruit multiple universities and ham radio users to operate the network of “Personal Space Weather Stations” developed.

As part of the HamSCI Personal Space Weather Station project, TAPR is charged with developing a Scientific Software Defined Radio that operates from a few kHz up to 30 MHz with a focus on flexibility, high precision stability, and accurate time stamping. TAPR has taken this charge to develop the TangerineSDR, a modular software defined radio that will not only meet HamSCI's PSWS needs, but also many other applications. In the videos below, the chief architect of the TangerineSDR, Scotty Cowling, WA2DFI, shows off a mock-up of the new radio at the 39th Annual ARRL-TAPR Digital Communications Conference that took place in Detroit, MI from September 11-13, 2020. People who would like to participate in PSWS and TangerineSDR development are encouraged to visit tangerinesdr.com, join the TAPR TangerineSDR listserv, and join in the Monday night TeamSpeak telecons.

HamSCI and the Case Amateur Radio Club W8EDU is sponsoring a distributed experiment during the WWV 100th anniversary celebrations.  The Festival of Frequency Measurement invites all interested to record WWV's 5 MHz carrier for the UTC day 1 October 2019--and then to upload the resulting data file.  Amateur radio operators, shortwave listeners, physics laboratories, and anyone else with a radio receiver and computer may part

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 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.

A new study, High‐Frequency Communications Response to Solar Activity in September 2017 as Observed by Amateur Radio Networks, by HamSCI researchers has been published in the American Geophysical Union journal Space Weather. The article is available for free from the journal website.

Plain Language Summary: Radio communications using the high‐frequency (HF) bands (3–30 MHz) is important for emergency communications because it is the only form of electronic communications that can travel over the horizon without relying on man‐made infrastructure such as the Internet, satellite systems, or phone networks. This is possible because HF rays can be bent back to Earth by the ionosphere, an electrically charged layer of the upper atmosphere. Space weather events such as X‐ray flares from the Sun and geomagnetic storms can alter the ionosphere to disrupt these communications. During September 2017, a significant number of solar flares and geomagnetic activity occurred. Simultaneously, major hurricanes, including Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Jose, caused situations in the Caribbean region requiring the use of emergency HF communications, often provided by ham (amateur) radio operators. This paper shows the impacts of these space weather disturbances on HF communications as observed by multiple ham radio monitoring systems.