HamSCI: The Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation

TitleHamSCI: The Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsFrissell, NA, Moses, ML, Earle, G, McGwier, RW, Miller, ES, Kaeppler, SR, H. Silver, W, Ceglia, F, Pascoe, D, Sinanis, N, Smith, P, Williams, R, Shovkoplyas, A, Gerrard, AJ
Conference NameFall 2016 American Geophysical Union
Date Published12/2016
PublisherAmerican Geophysical Union
Conference LocationSan Francisco
Other NumbersED21C-0787

Amateur (or “ham”) radio operators are individuals with a non-pecuniary interest in radio technology, engineering, communications, science, and public service. They are licensed by their national governments to transmit on amateur radio frequencies. In many jurisdictions, there is no age requirement for a ham radio license, and operators from diverse backgrounds participate. There are more than 740,000 hams in the US, and over 3 million (estimated) worldwide. Many amateur communications are conducted using transionospheric links and thus affected by space weather and ionospheric processes. Recent technological advances have enabled the development of automated ham radio observation networks (e.g. the Reverse Beacon Network, www.reversebeacon.net) and specialized operating modes for the study of weak-signal propagation. The data from these networks have been shown to be useful for the study of ionospheric processes. In order to connect professional researchers with the volunteer-based ham radio community, HamSCI (Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation, www.hamsci.org) has been established. HamSCI is a platform for publicizing and promoting projects that are consistent with the following objectives: (1) Advance scientific research and understanding through amateur radio activities. (2) Encourage the development of new technologies to support this research. (3) Provide educational opportunities for the amateur community and the general public. HamSCI researchers are working with the American Radio Relay League (ARRL, www.arrl.org) to publicize these objectives and recruit interested hams. The ARRL is the US national organization for amateur radio with a membership of over 170,000 and a monthly magazine, QST. HamSCI is currently preparing to support ionospheric research connected to the 21 Aug 2017 Total Solar Eclipse by expanding coverage of the Reverse Beacon Network and organizing a large-scale ham radio operating event (“QSO Party”) to generate data during the eclipse.