The W2NAF-KC3EEY VLF Observatory: Building Exciting New Developments from a Solid Foundation

TitleThe W2NAF-KC3EEY VLF Observatory: Building Exciting New Developments from a Solid Foundation
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2024
AuthorsRizzo, JD, Frissell, NA
Conference NameHamSCI Workshop 2024
Date Published03/2024
Conference LocationCleveland, OH

After more than two years, the VLF reception system installed at the W2NAF-KC3EEY VLF Observatory in Spring Brook Township, PA has proven an essential tool in ionospheric and magnetospheric research. Using low cost and simplistic hardware like a VLF Active Antenna, Raspberry Pi, soundcard, and GNSS receiver along with powerful, open-source software such as vlfrx-tools and GPS Daemon, it is possible to capture VLF spectrum data with science-grade accuracy, precision, and reliability that an amateur can easily achieve. Building on this foundation, new developments were made possible which include a 3-channel VLF reception system of the same hardware and software architecture; an H-field VLF receiver that will be used alongside the Active VLF Antenna as well as the newly developed 3-channel VLF reception system to enable triple axis reception, an amateur VLF transmission rig utilizing a GPS-locked carrier and the EbNaut digital mode, a possible atmospheric gravity wave detection from the Tonga eruption, an exciting 2023 annular eclipse observation indicating both influence from the Moon's shadow and a solar flare using Naval VLF transmitters and lightning sferics, and an analysis of the observed dusk and dawn phenomena on Naval VLF signals, along with other developments. These developments coincide with a call to establish the HamSCI VLF Network, a network of worldwide VLF reception systems installed and operated by volunteers, amateurs, and professionals alike in radio-quiet locations. The HamSCI VLF Network will augment the existing HamSCI Grape experiment with D/E-layer ionospheric phenomena, lightning location data with accurate stroke solutions, and more.  

Refereed DesignationNon-Refereed