Observable solar eclipses are rare events, and a lot is still unknown about how they interact with earth’s atmosphere. The August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse will provide a treasure trove of information, as it will take place across the United States. In order to study the atmosphere during the solar eclipse, NASA is partnering with over 57 teams across the continent to launch balloons that will provide live video of the eclipse. While this looks like an interesting opportunity, it is way too expensive for the average Amateur Radio enthusiast; each team has a budget anywhere from $6,000 to $25,000.
By Dr. Chuck Higgins, Middle Tennessee State University
Radio Jove is a NASA-affiliated education and outreach project that began in 1999 and gives students, teachers, and other interested individuals a hands-on experience in learning radio astronomy (http://radiojove.gsfc.nasa.gov). Radio Jove is a not-for-profit organization, led by a team of about eight volunteer scientists and engineers, which provides a mechanism to distribute radio telescope education kits and educational resources. Participants may build a simple radio telescope kit, make scientific observations, and interact with professional radio observatories in real-time over the Internet. Dedicated observers can help answer science questions about the nature and characteristics of low frequency radio emissions coming from Jupiter and the Sun, as well as, to understand the variability of Earth’s ionosphere. Radio Jove maintains a data archive to facilitate in the exchange of information and the validation of other ground-based and space-based radio data.
Since 1912 there have been many efforts to collect and analyze data during a solar eclipse to help understand the ionosphere. These efforts have been conducted in frequencies ranging from VLF to VHF. In most cases, individuals or small teams have collected data from disparate transmitters.
HamSCI scientists met at the Fall American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco during the week of December 11–17, 2016. The Fall AGU meeting is one of the largest gatherings of geoscientists in the world, with approximately 24,000 people attending. During the meeting, HamSCI scientists presented ham radio-based research, discussed possibilities for upcoming experiments, and networked with members of both the Citizen Science and Space Science Communities.
The November Frequency Measuring Test will begin at 0000 UTC, November 3 (8:00 PM EDT November 2). Transmissions will take place on three bands: 20, 40, and 80 meters. The 20 meter transmission will have two parts - the first beaming east from California and the second beaming toward Japan. Participants are to submit only one 20 meter measurement, but are encouraged to measure both transmissions and compare the measured frequency and signal characteristics in their comments.
The IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society (AP-S) has announced the 8th IEEE AP-S Antenna Design Contest for undergraduate and graduate students. The goal for teams: "Design and build a cubesat antenna for enabling high-performance communications with a ground station." Preliminary design proposals are due by November 28, 2016 and the finalist teams will present their work at the IEEE AP-S Symposium in July.
In “The Reverse Beacon Network” (Oct. 2016 QST, pp. 30-32), Pete Smith, N4ZR, and Ward Silver, N0AX explain how the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) is used to observe and report both CW and RTTY communications to the DX spotting network and to a data archive. This article explains how to be spotted by the RBN, how to download RBN data, and also how to become an RBN receiving node.
In “The New Sunspot Numbers” (Oct. 2016 QST, pp. 38-41), Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, reviews the history of sunspot numbers and how they are calculated, as well as explains a new formulation of sunspot numbers in use by the Royal Observatory of Belgium. Sunspot numbers are important because they are correlated with the atmospheric ionization on Earth.