Update on the Golden Ears Project

TitleUpdate on the Golden Ears Project
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsPerry, G, Erickson, PJ, Blain, BD, Reif, R, Frissell, NA
Conference NameHamSCI Workshop 2020
Date Published03/2020
Conference LocationScranton, PA

The Radio Receiver Instrument (RRI), part of the Enhanced Polar Outflow Probe (e‐POP) science payload on the Cascade, Smallsat and Ionospheric Polar Explorer (CASSIOPE) spacecraft, has recorded continuous wave (CW; Morse code) transmissions during the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Field Day exercises since 2015. Perry et al. (2018) demonstrated the value of such transmissions to radio science. By identifying a handful of hams in the RRI data collected during the 2015 Field Day and inputting their transmitting locations into a high frequency (HF) ray tracing model, Perry et al. were able to accurately estimate foF2 over a portion of the midwestern United States. They were also able to diagnose the periodic fading in the amplitude of one ham’s transmission as a multipath propagation effect unique to transionospheric propagation.

One lesson from the Perry et al. analysis was that decoding the transmissions using CW “skimmers”, software capable of decoding large bands of CW signal, was not feasible with the RRI data. This is likely due to the fact that the signals disperse and degrade as they transit from the ground, through the ionosphere, and up to the spacecraft. As a result, the Perry et al. transmissions had to be decoded aurally by the article’s co‐authors. Since 2015, RRI has collected several hours of ARRL Field Day transmissions, necessitating a more organized decoding effort, rather that the ad hoc methodology employed thus far.

Accordingly, the “Golden Ears Project” was initiated following the RRI operations for the 2019 ARRL Field Day. The goal of the project is straightforward: use members of the ham community with a distinct aptitude for aurally decoding CW signals (i.e., individuals with “Golden Ears”) to decode data collected by RRI in thorough and organized way. In this presentation we will disseminate the first project’s first results from 2019 Field Day operations. We will describe the experimental setup, methodology used to prepare the data from the decoders, discuss their results, and outline the future directions of the project.

Perry, G. W., Frissell, N. A., Miller, E. S., Moses, M., Shovkoplyas, A., Howarth, A. D., & Yau, A. W. (2018). Citizen Radio Science: An Analysis of Amateur Radio Transmissions With e‐POP RRI. Radio Science, 933–947. https://doi.org/10.1029/2017RS006496

Refereed DesignationNon-Refereed