HamSCI Workshop 2020: The Auroral Connection

HamSCI 2020 Workshop Logo

March 20-21, 2020
A Virtual Workshop Hosted by The University of Scranton

Come join HamSCI at its third annual workshop! Due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 Coronavirus, this year's workshop will he held as a virtual, eletronic workshop.  The meeting will take place March 20-21, 2020 using Zoom Webinar Services hosted by The University of Scranton in Scranton, PA . The primary objective of the HamSCI workshop is to bring together the amateur radio community and professional scientists. The theme of the 2020 HamSCI Workshop is "The Auroral Connection: How does the aurora affect amateur radio, and what can we learn about the aurora from radio techniques?" Invited speakers include Dr. Elizabeth MacDonald, NASA Scientist and founder of AurorasaurusDr. James LaBelle, Dartmouth Space Scientist and expert on radio aurora, and Dave Hallidy K2DH, an expert in ham radio auroral communication.

This workshop will also serve as a team meeting for the HamSCI Personal Space Weather Station project, an NSF-funded project to develop a citizen science instrument for studying space weather from your backyard. The PSWS is led by the University of Scranton, and includes participation from TAPRCase Western Reserve University/W8EDU, the University of Alabama, the New Jersey Institute of Technology CSTRMIT Haystack ObservatoryDartmouth College, and the ham radio community at large.

Participation and Registration

Participation in the 2020 HamSCI Workshop will be via Zoom Webinar. Registration and participation is free and open to all. To prepare and make sure you are ready to participate in the 2020 HamSCI Workshop, please visit the Zoom Website and create free account. You can then download the client software and test it by creating your own free test meeting. The Zoom client will work on Windows, Apple OS X, Linux, Android, iPad, and iPhone.

This meeting is being recorded and will be available later.

Community Participation Guidelines

All participants in the HamSCI workshop must adhere to the HamSCI Community Participation Guidelines. Those that do not follow these guidelines will be asked to leave.

Presenter Information

Oral presentations will be given in the same format as if they were at the in-person workshop. Please familiarize yourself with the Zoom teleconferencing software by creating a free Zoom account, downloading the client software, and testing it by creating your own free test meeting.

Posters and demonstrations will also be presented via Zoom, but there are special instructions to adapt the poster session to electronic format. If you are a Poster or Demonstration presenter, please click here for updated information.

Invited Speakers

Invited Talk: Tim Duffy, K3LR, “Let’s Push the Exploration of the Ionosphere to The Next Level”

Photo of Tim Duffy K3LR
Tim has been an active amateur radio operator for 47 years. He has hosted 132 different operators from around the world as part of the K3LR Multi-Multi DX radio sport contest efforts since 1992. He was the ARRL Atlantic Division Technical Achievement award winner in 1998. Tim has been the moderator of the Hamvention Antenna forum for 34 years. K3LR serves as chairman of Contest University (13 years), the Dayton Contest Dinner (27 years), chairman of the Top Band Dinner – as well as coordinator of the Contest Super Suite (34 years) in Dayton during the yearly Hamvention. He is founder and moderator of the popular RFI Reflector (RFI@contesting.com) since 1999. Tim serves on the board of directors of the World Wide Radio Operators Foundation (WWROF) as Chairman and is President Emeritus of the Radio Club of America (RCA). Tim is President of the Mercer County Amateur Radio Club (W3LIF). Tim was elected to the CQ Contest Hall of Fame in 2006. He was honored with the prestigious Barry Goldwater Amateur Radio service award by the RCA in 2010. K3LR was honored as Hamvention Amateur of the Year in 2015 by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association. Tim is the Chief Executive Officer and General Manager at DX Engineering. He is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University.

Invited Talk: David Hallidy, K2DH, “Amateur Auroral Communications”

Photo of Dan Hallidy K2DH
Dave is a retired microwave engineer, having been employed in the RF and Microwave field for most of his adult life. He has been a licensed amateur radio operator for 53 years, since the age of 16. For many years, Dave “chased DX”- that is, attempted to contact amateurs in as many foreign countries as possible and now has confirmed contacts with 330 “entities”. In 1983, he became interested in the frequencies above 30MHz, and has experimented with signal propagation on the HF, VHF, UHF and SHF amateur bands ever since. His interests today include Aurora, Meteor Scatter, MoonBounce, Tropospheric Ducting and other unusual modes of signal propagation unique to the VHF, UHF, and SHF bands. He first experienced Auroral signal propagation in 1985, while living in Texas. An intense Aurora occurred, affecting signals as far as South Texas. Not understanding the phenomenon, he was surprised to hear some of his fellow amateurs attempting to talk and use Morse code, but with highly distorted signals- the usual pure tones of radiotelegraphy were merely a broken hissing sound and voice signals sounded like people whispering. After a while he realized that this was due to distortion caused by reflection of the signals via the Auroral Curtain. During that event, he made contacts as far away as 1000 miles on the 144 and 432MHz amateur bands. After that, he was “hooked”- whenever there were reports of Aurora, he was there, attempting to make contacts with friends around the country. After moving back to New York State, where radio Aurora is more frequent due to the closer proximity to the Auroral Curtain, he has continued to experiment with making contacts on the higher frequencies. In 1989 during a particularly intense Auroral event, he successfully made an Auroral contact with a station in Northern Canada on the 902MHz band, where it had never been achieved before. Dave lives with his wife in Rochester, NY and can be reached by email at: k2dh1@frontier.com.

Invited Talk: Dr. Elizabeth MacDonald, “Aurorasaurus: Citizen Science Observations of the Aurora”

Photo of Liz MacDonald

Liz MacDonald's research has focused on experimental particle measurement techniques and data analysis in the magnetosphere and ionosphere for the last 15 years. Liz is currently a Co-Investigator (Co-I) on the Helium, Oxygen, Proton, and Electron Spectrometer on the NASA Van Allen Probes mission. At Los Alamos National Laboratory, Liz was the Principal Investigator (PI) for the Z-Plasma Spectrometer on the DOE Space and Atmospheric Burst Reporting System (SABRS) geosynchronous payload. Liz also led the Innovative Research and Integrated Sensing (IRIS) team. In the recent past Liz led the DoE-funded Technology Infusion Project entitled Modular Advanced Space Environment Instrumentation (from 2009-2011) and served as the PI for the Advanced Miniaturized Plasma Spectrometer on the DOE SABRS Validation Experiment payload (2007-2008). Liz has a blend of expertise in both instrument development and data analysis and interpretation that comes from sounding rocket and satellite instrumentation experience. This experience ranges over the complete cycle of instrument production, including design and modeling, integration and testing, calibration, satellite operations, and in situ scientific data analysis. General interests include instrument technology development, basic magnetospheric science, and space situational awareness national priorities. Specific research interests include wave-particle interactions and the effect of plasma on radiation belt dynamics, mapping, coupling, and transport between the ionosphere and the inner magnetosphere, and the impact of heavy ions on geomagnetic storm processes. Liz holds Masters and PhD degrees from the University of New Hampshire and a Bachelor's in Physics from the University of Washington (largely funded by a NASA Space Grant scholarship). Liz is the founder and leader of Aurorasaurus, a citizen science project for the study of the aurora.

Invited Talk: Dr. James LaBelle, “Observing Radio Signals of Auroral Origin”

Photo of Jim LaBelle
Jim LaBelle is an experimental space plasma physicist. He has been at Dartmouth since 1989. He earned his undergraduate degree in physics from Stanford University (1980), followed by masters and doctorate degrees in applied physics from Cornell University (1982 and 1985). He did post-doctoral work at the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany (1985-7) and at Utah State University in Logan, Utah (1987-9). He is a member of the American Geophysical Union and the International Union of Radio Scientists. He has had visiting fellowships at the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (1997, 2000-2001) and at the University of Sydney (2008). In 2010, he was appointed to the inaugural Lois L. Rodgers Professorship at Dartmouth.

Science/Program Committee

  • Dr. Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, University of Scranton, Chair
  • Dr. Phil Erickson, W1PJE, MIT Haystack Observatory
  • Dr. Cathryn Mitchell, M0IBG, University of Bath
  • Dr. Elizabeth MacDonald, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Mr. Bill Liles, NQ6Z, HamSCI Community

Local Organizing Committee (University of Scranton)

  • Dr. Mohammad A. Maktoomi, Chair
  • Dr. Declan Mulhall
  • Ms. Laurie McCoy, Administrative Assistant
  • Ms. Frani Mancuso, Executive Director of Conference & Event Services


Please e-mail hamsci@hamsci.org.

University of Scranton and NSF Logos

The 2020HamSCI Workshop is hosted by The University of Scranton. Financial support is provided by the United States National Science Foundation.