Tag Archives: Eclipse

WNAH’s solar eclipse propagation test

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ivan Cholakov (NO2CW), who writes:

If you ever loved AM radio you will love this.

Thank you WNAH for recognizing there’s more to radio than plugging into a programming network and walking away!

Click here to view on YouTube.

Very cool! Many thanks, Ivan!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recorded the entire mediumwave (AM broadcast) band from my North Carolina home with a WinRadio Excalibur on August 21 (day of the eclipse). After receiving Ivan’s message last night, I played back my recording and moved the time forward to around the moment of totality.

The mediumwave band was hopping! Several stations were competing for 1360 kHz with eclipse-enhanced propagation. There were two large signals flanking 1360 as well.

I thought I would never hear WNAH, but as I listened, their ID in CW (Morse Code) popped out of the signal mix. Here’s a short recording of the first station ID I received around 2:26 PM EDT (1826 UTC):

Click here to download the audio.

True: this is rough audio, but it always amazes me how CW can so effectively punch through noise. Nice touch, WNAH!

WNAH’s signal strength increased with time, but so did the competing signals on 1360 kHz. Within 10 minutes, about the time of totality in western North Carolina, WNAH was 40% stronger.

I did submit my recording and notes to WNAH last night.

Due to my schedule, I haven’t had any meaningful time to go over my eclipse spectrum recordings. Indeed, I think I’ll need several dedicated days to review them. While searching for WNAH’s signal, I could see a significant difference in propagation on the waterfall display within a 26 minute span of time:

 14:15 EDT

14:41 EDT

Note that local time of totality was 14:36 EDT.

I made spectrum recordings spanning 0-2 MHz, 6-8 MHz and 13.5-15 MHz.

Post readers: Did anyone else log WNAH? Log any other shortwave or mediumwave DX? Please comment!

Spread the radio love

EclipseMob’s August 21 experiment

(Image: EclipseMob)

(Source: The Washington Post)

On Aug. 21, as the moon passes in front of the sun and casts a shadow across the United States, millions are expected to gaze at the totality. Meanwhile, a smaller crowd will be glued to 150 custom-made radio receivers set up across the country.

The project, called EclipseMob, is the largest experiment of its kind in history. By recording changes in the radio signal, these citizen scientists will collect data on the ionosphere — the region of the atmosphere where, miles above Earth’s surface, cosmic and solar radiation bumps electrons free from atoms and molecules. It plays a crucial role in some forms of long-distance communication: Like rocks skipped across a pond, radio waves can bounce along the top of the ionosphere to travel farther around the globe. But signals passing through the ionosphere sometimes behave in unpredictable ways, and scientists still have a lot of questions about its properties and behavior.

“Any solar eclipse is a good opportunity to study the ionosphere,” said Jill K. Nelson, an expert in signal processing at George Mason University in Virginia. The level of ions in the ionosphere fluctuates from day to night, decreasing in the absence of sunlight. But this change happens gradually during normal sunrises and sunsets. The sudden light-to-dark switch as it occurs during the eclipse, then, is an opportune moment to observe this layer of the atmosphere.

Continue reading at The Washington Post…

Many thanks for the tip, Ed!

Spread the radio love

Solar Eclipse 2017: In the path of totality

A portion of the PARI campus

Tomorrow, we will be experiencing a total solar eclipse here in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Instead of enjoying the eclipse at home, I will be volunteering as a docent at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute in Rosman, North Carolina. Post readers might recall PARI as it was the location of our 2015 PARI DXpedition.

One of PARI’s 26 meter radio telescopes.

PARI is expecting at least 1,000 visitors tomorrow, from a number of countries. Many are scientists, astronomers, and guests who want to be in the path of totality.

On the PARI campus, we will be in totality for about 1 minutes, 47 seconds.

What makes the event truly special for PARI is that this is the first time in history a world-class radio astronomy observatory has been in the path of totality. To say the PARI astronomers are excited is simply an understatement. All four of PARI’s telescopes will be trained on our local star and gathering copious amounts of data.

If you don’t live in the path of the Eclipse, I invite you to check out PARI’s YouTube channel where they will host a live stream:

Click here to watch on YouTube.

Gathering spectrum

I will also be gathering data of my own during the event.

I will remotely record the entire mediumwave (AM broadcast) band several hours before, during and after the eclipse. I will also set up a separate SDR to record either the 31/30 meter bands and my buddy, Vlado (N3CZ) is kindly using his SDRplay RSP1 to record from 6 MHz – 8 MHz.

What do I expect to see/hear in the spectrum recordings? Certainly a drop in noise. If I’m lucky, I also hope to hear some DX anomalies–hopefully a signal or two that I wouldn’t normally here in the middle of a summer day.

I don’t expect any dramatic results (though I would love to be proven otherwise!) since the ionosphere takes time to change states. My buddy Mike (K8RAT) likens it to an oven: it takes time for it to heat up to the desired temperature, and it takes time for it to cool down as well. I’m not so sure the shadow of the moon, which moves at a good clip, will be persistent enough to change the state of the ionosphere in any meaningful way.

If it does, I’ll be there to record it!

There are many other radio related experiments happening during the solar eclipse. A notable one that you can even help with is the 2017 Ham Radio Eclipse Experiment.

SWLing Post contributor, Dan Srebnick also suggests a few stations you might try catching on the AM broadcast band. Dan notes:

Something to do during the solar eclipse on Monday. There are 13 clear channel AM stations along the path of totality. Give a listen for them:
[LIST OF AM CLEAR CHANNEL STATIONS]
kHz CALL Location Eclipse UTC
—— ——- —————- ————–
650 WSM Nashville, TN 18:28
670 KBOI Boise, ID 17:27
750 WSB Atlanta, GA 18:36
840 WHAS Louisville, KY 18:27
880 KRVN Lexington, NE 17:57
1030 KTWO Casper, WY 17:43
1040 WHO DesMoines, IA 18:08
1110 KFAB Omaha, NE 18:04
1110 WBT Charlotte, NC 18:41
1120 KPNW Eugene, OR 17:17
1120 KMOX St. Louis, MO 18:18
1190 KEX Portland, OR 17:19
1510 WLAC Nashville, TN 18:28

Kudos to Bob WB4APR (of APRS fame) for producing this list.

Post readers: Will you be in the path of totality or do you plan to enjoy a partial eclipse? Have you ever experienced a total solar eclipse?  What are your plans if any? Please comment!

Spread the radio love

Reminder: 2017 Eclipse Experiment

A map of the United States showing the path of totality for the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse. (Source: NASA)

The 2017 eclipse is quickly approaching (August 21)–!!

If you would like to participate in a fascinating radio experiment coinciding with the event, check out this undertaking outlined on the website HamSCI. Note that you do not need to be in the path of totality in order to participate.

Here’s the summary:

On 21 August 2017, a total solar eclipse will traverse the continental United States from Oregon to South Carolina in a period of just over 90 minutes.

Previous research shows that the shadow of the eclipse will impact the ionospheric state, but has not adequately characterized or explained the temporal and spatial extent of the resulting ionospheric effects.

HamSCI is inviting the amateur radio community to contribute to a large scale experiment by participating in an Eclipse QSO party and further developing automatic observation networks such as the Reverse Beacon Network.

Data resulting from these activities will be combined with observations from existing ionospheric monitoring networks in an effort to characterize and understand the ionospheric temporal and spatial effects caused by a total solar eclipse.

Click here to read the full detailed experiment at HamSCI online.

Spread the radio love

Ham Radio: 2017 Eclipse Experiment

A map of the United States showing the path of totality for the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse. (Source: NASA)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Colin Newell, who shares a fascinating 2017 eclipse experiment outlined on the website HamSCI.

Here’s the summary of the experiment:

On 21 August 2017, a total solar eclipse will traverse the continental United States from Oregon to South Carolina in a period of just over 90 minutes.

Previous research shows that the shadow of the eclipse will impact the ionospheric state, but has not adequately characterized or explained the temporal and spatial extent of the resulting ionospheric effects.

HamSCI is inviting the amateur radio community to contribute to a large scale experiment by participating in an Eclipse QSO party and further developing automatic observation networks such as the Reverse Beacon Network.

Data resulting from these activities will be combined with observations from existing ionospheric monitoring networks in an effort to characterize and understand the ionospheric temporal and spatial effects caused by a total solar eclipse.

Click here to read the full detailed experiment at HamSCI online.

Spread the radio love