Personal Space Weather Station

 

The Personal Space Weather Station project ultimately aims to create a small, multi-instrument system that can make ground-based measurements of the space environment.  The observations from this project will not only be useful to the owner of the system, but also aggregated into a central database for space science and space weather research purporses. Initial work focuses on the development of a scientific-grade high frequency (HF) radio receiver, as well as the necessary software and network infrastructure. This project is led by the The University of Scranton, in collaboration with the Tucson Amateur Packet Radio, Inc. (TAPR)Case Western Reserve University / Case Amateur Radio Club W8EDU, the University of Alabama, the New Jersey Institute of Technology Center for Solar Terrestrial Research (NJIT-CSTR), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Haystack Observatory.

PSWS Components

The Personal Space Weather Station is a modular system, with each module being developed by a different team. Visit the links below to learn about the different parts of the PSWS.

Research Questions

The PSWS project is motivated by questions both from the amateur radio and science communities.

Science Questions

  • How does the ionosphere respond to inputs from space and from the neutral atmosphere?
  • How does the ionosphere couple with the neutral atmosphere and with space?
  • What are the sources of medium and large scale traveling ionospheric disturbances?
  • What are the causes of Sporadic E?

Amateur Radio Questions

  • How do disturbances such as solar flares, geomagnetic storms, and traveling ionospheric disturbances affect radio wave propagation?
  • How does ionospheric science help amateur radio operators improve communications?
  • How can I make measurements in my own backyard that will help improve my amateur radio operations?

Get Involved

We are always looking for new people to get involved! Projects include system design and testing, data acquistion, and data analysis. Visit our Get Involved page to learn how to join the HamSCI Community.

PSWS Resource Links

Please visit the Space Weather Station Working Page for a variety of links and resources related to the HamSCI PSWS Project.

Acknowledgments

We gratefully thank the many volunteers who make this project run, as well as the support of National Science Foundation Grants AGS-2002278, AGS-1932997, and AGS-1932972.

 

Members of the HamSCI team are in Charlotte, North Carolina this Friday through Sunday to present at the ARRL-TAPR Digital Communications Conference (DCC). The ARRL-TAPR DCC is an annual conference that presents leading ideas related to amateur radio electrical engineering and related fields. This year, members of HamSCI will be presenting on topics related to the upcoming 2023 and 2024 solar eclipses, the development of the Personal Space Weather Station, including the Grape HF Doppler Receiver, VLF receiver, and TangerineSDR wideband receiver. Additional presentations include advances in analysis of Traveling Ionospheric Disturbances observed both with large-scale amateur radio reporting systems (RBN/WSPRNet/PSKReporter) and the Grape Personal Space Weather Station, as well as the initial public release of pyLap, the new open-source Python-based interface to the PHaRLAP HF ray tracing toolkit. The entire DCC is being live streamed via the TAPR Digital YouTube Channel. You can download the conference agenda here.

HamSCI submitted two white papers to the National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics) 2024-2033. The first white paper, entitled Amateur Radio: An Integral Tool for Atmospheric, Ionospheric, and Space Physics Research and Operations, discusses the technical capabilities of the amateur radio community and the open scientific questions and space weather operational needs that can be addressed with these capabilities. The second paper, Fostering Collaborations with the Amateur Radio Community, talks about how the professional science space science community and the amateur radio community can work together for mutual benefit and provides recommendations for fostering this relationship. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is the body in the United States charged with setting the highest level science priorities for the United States. Every 10 years, the NAS conducts a decadal survey of the community to help set these priorities. This current Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics) will be the guiding document for space science research and operations for NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and congress from 2024-2033.

A new study by Sam Lo et al. from the Centre for Space at the University of Bath entitled "A Systematic Study of 7 MHz Greyline Propagation Using Amateur Radio Beacon Signals" was just published in the peer-reviewed journal Atmosphere. Abstract: This paper investigates 7 MHz ionospheric radio wave propagation between pairs of distant countries that simultaneously lie on the terminator. This is known as greyline propagation. Observations of amateur radio beacon transmitters recorded in the Weak Signal Propagation Reporter (WSPR) database are used to investigate the times of day that beacon signals were observed during the year 2017. The WSPR beacon network consists of thousands of automated beacon transmitters and observers distributed over the globe. The WSPR database is a very useful resource for radio science as it offers the date and time at which a propagation path was available between two radio stations, as well as their precise locations. This paper provides the first systematic study of grey-line propagation between New Zealand/Eastern Australia and UK/Europe. The study shows that communications were predominantly made from the United Kingdom (UK) to New Zealand at around both sunset and sunrise times, whereas from New Zealand to the UK, communication links occurred mainly during UK sunrise hours. The lack of observations at the UK sunset time was particularly evident during the UK summer. The same pattern was found in the observations of propagation from Eastern Australia to UK, and from New Zealand and Eastern Australia to Italy and the surrounding regions in Europe. The observed asymmetry in reception pattern could possibly be due to the increase in electromagnetic noise across Europe in the summer afternoon/evening from thunderstorms. URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4433/13/8/1340

Congratulations to Sam Lo and the entire team!