Tag Archives: Space Weather

Radio Waves: B&W to Color, Antenna Wins, Hearing Voices in the Walls, and Beached Whales

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Ron, Paul Walker, and Troy Riedel for the following tips:


Colorizing black and white photos (Antique Radio Forum)

Ron shares this link to a discussion about vintage black and white photos that have been auto-colorized.[]

State law protects ham radio operator, frustrates neighbors in Windsor Twp. (York Dispatch)

A Windsor Township resident whose neighbors are upset over her amateur radio tower is within her rights to have the antenna on her property, township officials confirmed Monday.

An engineer went out to the site in the 400 block of White Rose Lane to inspect the 40-foot tower and ensure it didn’t pose a safety threat to neighbors, township engineer Chris Kraft told the board of supervisors at a meeting Monday.

“Based on that review, we feel the tower is structurally safe,” he said.

Lindsey Fowler is the homeowner who built the tower on her property last September. Fowler is a licensed amateur radio operator, according to Federal Communications Commission records, and her license is valid through December 2021.

[…]Marc McClure, one of the neighbors who lives near Fowler, told the board in October that he and several other neighbors were opposed to the tower and said it should be removed, according to minutes from the Oct. 21 board meeting.

McClure said the tower was an eyesore in the neighborhood and that he and others were concerned about the structural safety of the tower were it to fall, as well as the potential unknown health hazards from exposure to radio frequencies.

The neighbors were also worried about a decrease in their property values, McClure said.

[…]In Pennsylvania, amateur radio operators’ rights are protected by state statute, and municipalities are not allowed to unreasonably restrict the installation of towers fewer than 65-feet high.

And now that the township has confirmed there’s no safety risk to Fowler’s neighbors, township officials said the dispute is outside of their purview.[]

Lockport family says mysterious voices, music come from house’s walls; local radio station may be source (ABC 7)

LOCKPORT, Ill. (WLS) — A family in Lockport said strange sounds, including music and talk radio, has been coming out of their walls and keeping them up at night off and on for about six years.

“There are voices in the wall and I don’t know what it is,” said 9-year-old Brianna Smith.

It may sound like an episode of the popular Netflix show “Stranger Things,” but the mysterious sounds Brianna is hearing are real.

“It has been waking me up at night,” she said.

The sounds are coming from the bedroom walls of her home in the middle of the night.

“It kind of keeps us up at night,” explained Brianna’s father Richard.

Richard said the family doesn’t have any speakers in their walls. He captured some of the late night noise on his phone and sent it to the ABC7 I-Team. The music was faint, but the I-Team could hear it.

“It’s one of our favorite songs, but not at 10 o’clock at night,” Richard said.

Richard Smith called Lockport police, who took two detailed reports about the bizarre problem. In one, the officer noted that he could hear “voices and music” and “talking about Christ.” Then the officer said he heard a commercial for the Christian radio station AM 1160.[]

The Surprising Way Solar Storms Can Beach Whales (Spaceweater.com)

Space weather isn’t just for humans. Whales are experiencing it, too. A new study published this week in the research journal Current Biology shows that solar storms can confuse whales and cause them to strand on beaches–and the mechanism is surprising. Get the full story on Spaceweather.com.[]


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Radio Waves: Sun Up-Close, Super NZ Public Broadcaster, One SDR, and ABC Emergency Broadcasting

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio 

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors, Paul Evans, Troy Riedel, Michael Bird, and Marty for the following tips:

Sun’s surface seen in remarkable new detail (BBC News)

Source: Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope

Behold the Sun’s convulsing surface at a level of detail never seen before.

The Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope on Hawaii has released pictures that show features as small as 30km across.

This is remarkable when set against the scale of our star, which has a diameter of about 1.4 million km (870,000 miles) and is 149 million km from Earth.

The cell-like structures are roughly the size of the US state of Texas. They are convecting masses of hot, excited gas, or plasma.

The bright centres are where this solar material is rising; the surrounding dark lanes are where plasma is cooling and sinking.[]

The New Zealand Cabinet plans to create a new, super-sized public broadcaster (Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union)

It is understood the NZ cabinet has signed off on a high-level decision to proceed and to commission a business case, after the Minister for Broadcasting, Kris Faafoi, presented a revised paper on Monday.

There was pushback from some senior Labour and New Zealand First ministers about the way the preferred option was landed on, the implications for public broadcasting if RNZ ceased to be a standalone company, and the speed at which it had been progressing.

The plan was to work towards having the new media company in place by about 2023 and that appears to still be the goal.

RNZ was told the amended proposal puts a specific emphasis on the fact the new company will be primarily a public service media outlet, and to ensure that is made crystal clear in any legislation, and through a charter.[]

One SDR: A new website focusing on the basics of software defined radio

Good morning. I have been following SWLing over the years and it’s an amazing resource.

I’m writing from https://onesdr.com which is an Education website with articles that simplify Software-defined Radio. I write about practical aspects of SDR including associated components such as Low Noise Amplifiers, Filters, Bias Tees, etc. My goal is to demystify RF technology and make it more accessible to the growing community of SDR enthusiasts.

As well I have been contributing to several RF-related Wikipedia pages* to popularize RF and Wireless in general.

Interim Report of Survey of ABC Emergency Broadcasting in Bushfire Affected Communities (ABC Friends)

95% of respondents to ABC Friends’ Survey of ABC emergency broadcasting in bushfire affected communities believe there is a need for a national plan of additional essential communications infrastructure.

This devastating bushfire season attests to the ABC’s position as Australia’s pre-eminent emergency broadcaster. The number of ABC emergency broadcasts has risen from 256 in 2017-2018 to 371 in 2018-2019 to 673 to date this year (4 Jan). The ABC’s emergency broadcasts continue in the face of ongoing funding cuts and with no additional funding to cover the resources which have been poured into the effort.

On 3 January, via Facebook, ABC Friends National asked for feedback about the ABC’s emergency broadcasts from those affected by the bushfires. Whilst highly praised, there were reports that access to ABC broadcasts was sometimes a problem.

ABC Friends subsequent media release made an urgent call for the Federal Government to restore funding that guarantees infrastructure and transmission that is vital for emergency services broadcasting. It also advised of the launch of a survey (see appendix 1) to obtain more formal feedback about access to emergency broadcasts. This survey was delivered on 13 January via Facebook and via email through our membership and supporter base.

750 people responded to the survey.

91.1% of those surveyed said that the ABC local emergency broadcasts were important to them during the crisis.

96.1% of those surveyed said that ABC staff with local knowledge was important to them.

98.5% of those surveyed said that it was important to them that their local ABC outlet remain open and well-staffed.[]


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Radio Waves: Podcast Preservation, Art Bell Plaque, BBC News Cuts, Space Storms, and DK7IH’s Homebrew Transceiver

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio 

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors, Mike Terry, Troy Riedel, and Jeff Murray for the following tips:


Radio Survivor Podcast #230 – The Library of Congress Launches Podcast Preservation Project (Radio Survivor)

On this week’s episode we learn about a brand new project at the Library of Congress that is focused entirely on archiving podcasts. Ted Westervelt, Manager of the Podcast Preservation Project at Library of Congress, joins us to share early details from this new initiative. He explains that the hope is that a wide variety of all types of podcasts will be part of the collection, including the Radio Survivor Podcast.[]


Memorial Plaque Honoring Art Bell Unveiled at Park in Pahrump, Nevada (Coast to Coast)

Coast to Coast AM founder Art Bell has been honored with a memorial plaque at a park in the Nevada city of Pahrump. The beloved radio personality, who passed away in April of 2018, was a longtime resident of the community and famously broadcast from his home there. The marker, which was unveiled by Nye County on their Facebook page this past Friday and is located at Calvada Eye park, was funded by a group known as the ‘Friends and Fans of Art Bell’ with additional financial support and installation provided by the county.[]


BBC News to close 450 posts as part of £80m savings drive (BBC News)

Around 450 jobs will be cut from BBC News under plans to complete its £80m savings target by 2022.

Outlets to be hit by job closures include BBC Two’s Newsnight, BBC Radio 5 Live and the World Update programme on the World Service.

BBC News boss Fran Unsworth said there had to be a move away from traditional broadcasting and towards digital.

But broadcasting union Bectu said the changes mean staff will be “under even more pressure to deliver”.


How likely are space super-storms? (EarthSky)

A new analysis shows that “severe” space super-storms happened 42 years out of the last 150, and “great” super-storms happened 6 years out of 150. These storms can disrupt modern electronics, aviation and satellite systems and communications.

A new joint study by the University of Warwick and the British Antarctic Survey used historical data to extend scientists’ previous estimates of the likelihood of space super-storms. These storms may originate with solar flares, seen to erupt explosively on the sun during years of high solar activity. Space super-storms aren’t harmful to humans, because our atmosphere protects us, but they can be hugely disruptive to our modern technologies. They can cause power blackouts, take out satellites, disrupt aviation and cause temporary loss of GPS signals and radio communications, scientists say. The new work shows that what the scientists called “severe” space super-storms occurred 42 years out of the last 150 years. What they called “great” super-storms occurred in 6 years out of 150. The new work also sheds light on what’s called the Carrington event of 1859, the largest super-storm in recorded history.[]

Also check out: Are Solar Storms Dangerous To Us?


DK7IH’s New HOMEBREW Transceiver Raises the Bar for All of Us (Soldersmoke Podcast)

And that, my friends, is a HOMEBREW transceiver. Wow, amazingly well done. After I showed this to Pete N6QW (no slouch in the homebrew packaging department), in frustration with his self-perceived shortcomings he threatened to give up on homebrewing and to throw away all his rigs. Don’t do it Pete!

Peter Rachow, DK7IH has carefully documented his project through as series of blog posts:
Here is Part 1. Part 9 deals with mechanical construction, packaging and what George Dobbs used to call “socketry.”[]


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Lack of Sunspots Breaks a Space Age Record

Another [sun] spotless day on the sun.

Spaceweather.com reports that today we surpassed the largest number of spotless days (270) of the previous 2008 Solar Minimum cycle. The current spotless streak stands at 33 days and is quite possibly on its way to surpass the previous longest streak of this minimum at 36 days.  And you have to go back to 1913 to find a year that had more spotless days (311)!

Above: The blank sun on Dec. 8, 2019. Credit: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory

The bad news: the Solar Minimum could deepen as many scientists have calculated minimum may not occur until April 2020.  You might be wondering: when is the next Solar Maximum?  That’s forecast to be July 2025.  Both the minimum & maximum forecasts have a +/- 6-month error.

How has the historic Solar Minimum impacted your radio listening?  I know it’s impacted my motivation to set-up my solar telescope for solar observation.

Guest Post by Troy Riedel

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“NASA’s solar probe reveals stunning results”

Artist’s Image of Parker Solar Probe via NASA

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Marty, who shares the following article from Popular Science:

NASA’s solar probe reveals stunning results after swooping in close to the sun

Rogue plasma waves and sideways, 100,000-mile-per-hour solar winds abound.

The sky is full of stars, but only one sits within our reach. Even as close as it is, the sun poses plenty of mysteries that can’t be solved from Earth. Odd patterns in sunlight during solar eclipses suggest that the corona, the sun’s outermost bit of atmosphere, inexplicably burns hundreds of times hotter than its surface. And while researchers can catch whiffs of the solar wind—streams of charged particles emanating from the sun—here on Earth, a lot of valuable data washes away by the time it blows by us. Getting measurements from right up next to the sun is a better way to understand our giant, burning ball of gas.

That’s why NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has spent the last year swooping closer and closer to the sun. In its first two passes it encountered new features that may help explain both the corona’s extreme heat and the origins of the solar wind, researchers announced on Wednesday in a series of four publications in Nature. As humanity’s first close encounter with a stellar environment continues, further observations will help researchers better understand how solar weather affects Earth, as well as how all stars age and die.

“We needed to go right to the source,” said Nicola Fox, director of NASA’s Heliophysics Division in a press conference on Wednesday.

In November 2018 and April of this year, two of Parker’s orbits brought it closer to the sun than any spacecraft had been before. Diving toward the sun and looping around the back, the probe reached about 15 million miles from the star’s surface—roughly six times closer than the distance between the sun and the Earth. At the shortest parts of its dive, the probe matched the speed of the sun’s rotation, in effect hovering above its surface. “We just sit over it, and let that part of the sun kind of wash over us,” says Kelly Korreck, head of Science Operations for one of Parker’s instrument suites that measures the solar wind.

Up close, the sun’s magnetic field and solar wind are both much more intense compared to what researchers can measure here on Earth, giving Parker an alien environment to explore. Korreck likens the craft’s experiences in the strong magnetic field to those of a diver entering the sea. “It’s kind of like going underwater,” she says. “Things sound different. You get different physics effects.”

Two features in particular came as surprises. The first were what the researchers are calling “rogue waves” in the magnetic field, which Parker registered as spikes in intensity and reversals in direction lasting for seconds to minutes as they rolled over the spacecraft. Dubbed Alfvén waves after Hannes Alfvén, a Swedish plasma physicist who won the 1970 Nobel prize in physics for their description, the phenomenon had been observed from Earth but never with such strength.[…]

Click here to continue reading the full article at Popular Science.

Also, check out this video from NASA:

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