2017 Total Solar Eclipse News

The Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP) is just a few short weeks away! The SEQP is a special operating event organized by the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI) to study ionospheric effects caused by the August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. During the SEQP, hams are asked to operate on the HF bands in a manner similar to contests or QSO parties. Systems such as the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN, www.reversebeacon.net), PSKReporter (pskreporter.info), WSPRNet (wsprnet.org), and participant logs will provide the QSO and spot data that will be used by researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Virginia Tech to study eclipse-induced ionospheric effects. Full event rules and operating procedures are available at hamsci.org/seqp. Let us know where you plan to be and what modes you plan to operate. To do this, visit the SEQP Pre-Registration page at hamsci.org/seqp-prereg. We look forward to hearing you on the air!

I’ve received community feedback that people want more guidance on running JT-modes during the SEQP. As a result, we have revised rules. There are some also changes to provide guidance in other areas as well, including using SNRs or RSQs for digital mode signal reports. None of these changes affect the scoring procedure, but hopefully they will make the operating procedures more clear. Also, I’ve been made aware that there is currently a bug in N1MM+ that prevents SEQP signal reports from being saved to ECLIPSE Cabrillo files.

By Bob Bruninga, WB4APR

The real time packet communications system APRS will be used during the day of the eclipse as a national communications network for those involved in ham radio and eclipse observations to be able to track each other and see where other nearby ham observers are located.  Imagine the APRS map that day showing a clustering of mobile and portable positions all along the totality line.  Please use the station symbol SUNNY for this event so these stations will stand out among all others on the national tracking page http://aprs.fi.

The 2017 Great American Eclipse and the HamSCI Solar Eclipse QSO Party on August 21, 2017 are now just weeks away! This is a great oportunity to both enjoy ham radio and help scientists better understand how the ionosphere works. Are you ready? HamSCI member Ward Silver, N0AX is! He is shown here modeling his new SEQP tank-top and mug. We now have a variety of HamSCI and SEQP T-Shirts and mugs availble through the HamSCI RedBubble store.

By Ward Silver, N0AX

If you are not a ham radio licensee - how can you participate in monitoring the eclipse?  Perhaps you are looking for a demonstration of the impact the eclipse will have on radio signals.  Maybe you are looking for an experiment that a group can perform without specialized equipment.  Regardless of your background, this article from the July issue of Nuts and Volts magazine explains the eclipse's effect on radio propagation without too much technical detail.  You can use an AM radio or World Band radio in several ways that are sure to demonstrate what happens when the Sun's ray are blocked from the Earth's atmosphere.  You can log the observed effect on signals or you can just listen while you're watching the eclipse unfold.  The article shows you easy ways to experience the eclipse in a whole new way and it may pique your interest in getting involved with radio science as a career or a hobby.

Link to Nuts & Volts article: http://www.nutsvolts.com/magazine/article/the-solar-eclipse-and-ham-radio

Contributing author Joe Rao of Sky & Telescope Magazine is asking readers to submit reception reports of AM broadcast stations heard during the upcoming August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. The shadow of the moon is expected to cause a depletion in the D region of the ionosphere, thereby reducing ionospheric absorption in the AM broadcast band (540 - 1700 kHz) and allowing for long-distance skywave propagation. This same mechanism allows for long-distance propagation of AM broadcast stations at night. This is an excellent eclipse radio experiment for people who do not have ham radio licenses or access to specialized equipment. For more information, please see Joe's Sky & Telescope article.

Figure: Map of clear channel AM broadcast stations in or near the August 21, 2017 eclipse totality. Eclipse map by Xavier Jubier.

Editor's note: This toolkit can be used to record SDR data to a standard format for scientific use.

MIT Haystack Observatory is pleased to announce the formal open source release of Digital RF version 2.5 under a BSD license. The software implements a data recording format for scientific radio frequency (RF) instrumentation using the HDF5 scientific data format. The implementation is designed for the management of highly time-dependent data from a large number of radio sensors. Applications include radio science (e.g., radio astronomy, geospace radar) and any project requiring the capture and use of RF data as raw digital samples.

The HamSCI team completed a successful weekend presenting at the 2017 Dayton Hamvention in Xenia, Ohio. From May 19-21, the HamSCI team ran a booth in the ARRL Expo area where they discussed the HamSCI mission, upcoming experiments, and ways ham radio operators could participate in HamSCI activities. The HamSCI team included members from the New Jersey Institute of TechnologyVirginia Tech, the MIT Haystack Observatory, and Citizen Scientists from the general amateur radio community. This includes the upcoming Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP), participation in the EclipseMob Project, and a live demonstration of both Red Pitaya and Rabbit S-9C based Reverse Beacon Network receive nodes. On Saturday morning, HamSCI presented an ARRL-sponsored forum where members gave oral presentations about HamSCI research and activities. Photos, videos of the presentations, and PDFs of presentation slides are included in this post.

HamSCI member Bill Liles, NQ6Z, won the Best Paper Award at the 15th International Ionospheric Effects Symposium (IES2017) for his paper On the use of solar eclipses to study the ionosphereIES2017 was held in Alexandria, Virginia from May 9 - 11, 2017 and had the theme "Bridging the gap between applications and research involving ionospheric and space weather disciplines". Bill's paper includes a review of previous eclipse ionospheric findings and an overview of the efforts to study the August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. Bill's paper is co-authored with Cathryn Mitchell (M0IBG), Mark Cohen, Greg Earle (W4GDE), Nathaniel Frissell (W2NAF), K. Kirby-Patel, Laura Lukes (KK4FYT), Ethan Miller (K8GU), Magda Moses (KM4EGE), J. Nelson, and J. Rockway.

Read the full paper here.


Thanks to sponsorship by the American Radio Relay League, HamSCI will be a part of the 2017 Dayton Hamvention from May 19-21, 2017 at the Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia, Ohio. Throughout the entire Hamvention, HamSCI members from the New Jersey Institute of TechnologyVirginia Tech, the MIT Haystack Observatory, and Citizen Scientists from the general amateur radio community will be at the HamSCI booth in the ARRL EXPO area in Building 2 to discuss HamSCI programs, activities, and mission. The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse and Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP) of August 21, 2017 will be among the most discussed topics at this year’s HamSCI Hamvention Booth. Other topics include using RBNWSPRNet, and PSKReporter for space weather research and a demonstration of how to operate a Reverse Beacon Network receiver