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.
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 the spirit of making data from the Radio Receiver Instrument (RRI) onboard Swarm-E (formally known as e-POP) more accessible to the ham radio community, we have converted RRI's data into a ".raw" format so that it can be ingested into open source software such as Gqrx or GNU Radio. We have done this for all RRI data related to the 2015, 2017, and 2018 ARRL Field Days. We encourage everyone to help us identify hams in RRI's signal. You can use the Gqrx tool discussed here, or you can use your own technique. If you decode a ham's call sign, if you would like to share your technique, or if you have any comments or suggestion contact us and let us know! To help organize your findings, you can download a spreadhseet containing that you can fill out and send to us. Feel free to create your own spreadsheet or modify this one.
The results of the 2015 CASSIOPE ePOP - Field Day experiments have been published in the peer-reviewed American Geophysical Union journal Radio Science as "Citizen radio science: an analysis of Amateur Radio transmissions with e‐POP RRI" by Dr. Gareth Perry et al. From the plain language summary:
We report the results of an experiment in which we used a satellite‐based radio receiver to eavesdrop on Ham radio communications as the satellite passed over the United States. We identified 14 Ham radio users by their call signs, and used this information to determine their location during the experiment. We were able to identify unique signatures in the Hams' signals that are directly related to the nature of the how the Hams' radio waves traveled through the Earth's ionosphere up to the satellite. Furthermore, we used our knowledge of the position of the spacecraft, and the location of the Hams and their broadcast frequencies to deduce the structure of the Earth's ionosphere over the United States during the experiment. This experiment and its results show that Ham radio transmissions and Hams (amateur radio operators) can be valuable assets in determining the structure of the ionosphere over large geographic regions.
The Canadian CAScade, Smallsat and Ionospheric Polar Explorer (CASSIOPE) spacecraft once again eavesdropped in on the 2018 ARRL Field Day. Onboard CASSIOPE is the Enhanced Polar Outflow Probe (e-POP), a suite of eight science instruments studying spaceweather. The Radio Receiver Instrument (RRI), one of e-POP’s eight instruments, was tuned to 7.005 MHz (40 m), during 6 passes over the North American continent during the Field Day activities. “We’re really happy with our results this year” remarked Dr.
HamSCI will again be at the Dayton Hamvention, this year 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 of ham radio science and engineering research, including initial science results of the Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP), the status of the Arecibo Observatory, the latest in understanding the causes of 6 meter sporadic E propagation, and how an inexpensive software defined radar for ionospheric studies works. Hamvention will be held May 18-20, 2018 at the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia, Ohio.