Personal Space Weather Station News

Save the dates! The next HamSCI workshop will be held virtually March 19-20, 2021. The HamSCI workshop is an annual meeting to share scientific and engineering ideas and results related to amateur radio, radio propagation, and radio science, as well as foster collaborations between the amateur radio and professional space science and space weather communities. The 2021 workshop will serve as both a team meeting for the Personal Space Weather Station project, as well as a forum for presentations on topics relevant to the HamSCI mission. The format will be similar to virtual March 2020 HamSCI workshop. Thanks to support from the National Science Foundation and The University of Scranton, the cost of this workshop is free. Abstract will be due February 15th. Information regarding abstract submission and other workshop details will be forthcoming. Please join the HamSCI Google Group to stay up-to-date on the latest information.

The IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation have recently accepted new research by Chris Deacon G4IFX, Ben Witvliet PE5B, Simon Steendam, and Cathryn Mitchell M0IBG entitled Rapid and Accurate Measurement of Polarization and Fading of Weak VHF Signals Obliquely Reflected from Sporadic-E LayersThis research uses signals produced by a network of 6 meter amateur radio beacons across Europe.

HamSCI Member Joe Dzekevich K1YOW recently published his article "Winter Sporadic-E-Like Propagation on 6 Meters" in the November 2020 issue of CQ Magazine. Joe writes:

"The question was asked: why do we see sporadic-E like propagation in November and December, when many of the variables like UV radiation and solar exposure are at a minimum, unlike the very active sporadic-E summer months?  Much like it was shown that North Atlantic transatlantic 6m propagation during the summer was made more possible by strategically placed weather storm systems, it looks like a similar effect with very strong jet stream boundaries also affect sporadic-e like communications during the winter months.  This citizen science study is another example how amateur radio can contribute to science, and illustrates the great potentials for studies using ham radio data.  We have many amateur radio stations on the air, using modes like FT8 which make contacts on propagation paths that we thought were previously impossible."

A PDF of the Joe's article is made available here with permission from CQ Amateur Radio magazine.

The procedure page is up for December 2020 Eclipse Festival of Frequency Measurement is up! There will be 24-hour practice run on December 5. The main data recording will run from December 9-16.

The ARRL Frequency Measurement Test (FMT) is a bi-annual event that has its roots back to 1931! Back then, it was needed to ensure that Official Observers (OOs) could correctly callibrate their radios for monitoring and policing purposes. The FMT is still quite relevant today, but for different reasons. Today, the most significant source of error on a stable recieved signal will be due to ionospheric variability. Therefore, making frequency measurements is of great interest to the HamSCI community. These types of measurements are some of the inspiration for the HamSCI Festival of Frequency campaigns and the Low-Cost Personal Space Weather Station.  The FMT is a great way to get started in learning how to take precision ionsopheric measurements. A new Frequency Measurement Test mode added to the free FLDigi program makes it even easier to participate. You can now download an article entitled "Using Fldigi for the ARRL Frequency Measuring Test (FMT)" by Bob Howard, VE3YX, to help get you started. The next FMT will be November 13, 2020 from 0200Z-0524Z. . Practice FMT sessions are being conducted by the fmt-nuts group as posted on their home page at https://groups.io/g/fmt-nuts. . Practice FMT sessions are being conducted by the fmt-nuts group as posted on their home page at https://groups.io/g/fmt-nuts. More details are available at https://fmt.arrl.org/ and in the November 2020 QST article by Ward Silver, N0AX. Thank you to FLDigi author Dave Freese W1HJK for his hard work in developing FLDigi and this new mode!

Ash Chaabane, 3V/KF5EYY, reports that a new Reverse Beacon Network (reversebeacon.net) node has been successfully installed in Tunisia.  There will soon be an Algerian and Libyan node when logistics permit.  The Tunisian node consists of a DX Engineering ARAV4-1P active vertical antenna (see the photo, contributed by Ash), a Red Pitaya 122-16 SDR, and CW Skimmer software by VE3NEA.  You can see the stations reported on several bands by the new node at https://dxcluster.ha8tks.hu/azimuthal_map/index.php?c=3V/KF5EYY&t=de. This node was part of a Yasme Foundation (yasme.org) project to install more RBN nodes in out-of-the-way places not currently home to a receiver.  The project aims to support both the amateur radio community and spaceweather/geophysics research community with propagation information from around the world and raise awareness of amateur radio's long-standing history of supporting science.  Additional nodes are planned for the Caribbean, South Pacific, and Russia, while other groups are installing nodes in Australia.

Video recordings of the third annual HamSCI Workshop are now available through the Ham Radio 2.0 YouTube Channel. The 2020 HamSCI Workshop for amateur radio operators and professional scientists was held Friday and Saturday, March 20-21, 2020, virtually on Zoom at The University of Scranton. The theme of the workshop was “The Auroral Connection,” and included addresses by guest speakers, poster presentations, and demonstrations of relevant instrumentation and software.

By Carl Luetzelschwab K9LA

If you’ve come to https://k9la.us because of your interest in propagation, the following is a mini-guided tour to help you navigate to the material you’re interested in. The home page gives a basic introduction, and new items and relevant old items are listed here (usually at the beginning of each month). On the left side of the home page are links that contain material specific to certain aspects of propagation in our Amateur Radio hobby. The Monthly Feature link offers articles about a myriad of topics. These topics are often tied to observations of ionospheric propagation and measurements of solar and ionospheric data. Some important topics that have been covered are the new sunspot numbers (the April 2016 document), the ongoing study of gravity waves and travelling ionospheric disturbances (the March 2020 document) and a look at propagation on our 630-meter and 2200-meter bands (the December 2018 document). As a side note, many HamSCI participants are involved in the gravity wave/TIDs studies.

HamSCI is seeking volunteers, especially in the Eastern Hemisphere, to help us collect data during the annular solar eclipse on June 21. There will be two data collection periods: A practice/control period on June 14 for participants to get their stations in order, and the main data collection period from June 20-22 UTC. 

Details of the experiment are found here: https://hamsci.org/june-2020-eclipse-festival-frequency-measurement

The 2020 HamSCI Workhop will go on! We are moving to an all-digital workshop using Zoom Webinar Services. Registration and participation is free and open to all. Exact details on how to register and participate will be posted to hamsci.org/hamsci2020 no later than Wednesday, March 18th. To prepare and make sure you are ready to participate in the 2020 HamSCI Workshop, please visit the Zoom Website and create free account.