Construction and Operation of a HamSCI Grape Version 1 Personal Space Weather Station: A Citizen Scientist’s Perspective

TitleConstruction and Operation of a HamSCI Grape Version 1 Personal Space Weather Station: A Citizen Scientist’s Perspective
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsHobart, JR, Farmer, JO, Mikitin, G, Waugh, D, Benedict, R, Cerwin, SA, Collins, KV, Kazdan, D, Gibbons, J, Romanek, VI, Frissell, NA
Conference NameAmerican Geophysical Union Fall Meeting
Date Published12
PublisherAmerican Geophysical Union
Conference LocationNew Orleans, LA

Measurement of Doppler shifts of high frequency (HF) radio signals emitted by precision frequency transmitters is a well-established technique for the detection of traveling ionospheric disturbances and other perturbations in the bottomside ionosphere. Because Doppler measurements require minimal instrumentation, this technique naturally lends itself to crowdsourced data collection, and purpose-built instrumentation platforms are desirable in order to maximize consistency and repeatability. However, even the best system only has value if it is used, and a robust and engaged community of citizen scientists is vital to sustaining instrumentation platforms. The Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI) has developed a prototype, low-cost system for making HF Doppler shift measurements of signals from standards stations such as WWV (Fort Collins, Colorado, USA) and CHU (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada). This system, known as the Personal Space Weather Station Grape Version 1, consists of a low intermediate frequency (IF) mixer board, GPS disciplined oscillator, and Raspberry Pi. In collaboration with funded project scientists and engineers, volunteer HamSCI community members developed instructions for building and operating a Grape Version 1 on the HamSCI website. In this presentation, we explain the process for constructing a Grape Version 1 and discuss the experiences of volunteers who have built and are now operating this system. We also discuss preliminary data from these stations, which show dramatic Doppler shifts during sunrise and sunset and during solar events. Concurrent data from multiple proximal stations show shared features and can be used for validation. These stations constitute the first iteration of the Personal Space Weather Station network.

Refereed DesignationNon-Refereed