Tag Archives: Troy Riedel

G-1 Geomagnetic Storm, Chance of a G-2 Storm 11-12 Sep

From Spaceweather.com:

“NOAA forecasters say there is an 80% chance of minor G1-class geomagnetic storms on Sept. 11th when a stream of solar wind is expected to hit Earth’s magnetic field … There’s a chance that the storm could intensify to category G2 (moderately strong).”

Image: Solar Wind flowing from this canyon shaped coronal hole could reach Earth on September 11 thru 12th. Credit: SDO/AIA from Spaceweather.com

Will this impact your radio plans over the next two days?  Go to Spaceweather.com for updates.


I just received this update from the Forecast Center:

Product: 3-Day Forecast
Issued: 2018 Sep 11 0030 UTC
Prepared by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction

A. NOAA Geomagnetic Activity Observation and Forecast

The greatest observed 3 hr Kp over the past 24 hours was 5 (NOAA Scale
The greatest expected 3 hr Kp for Sep 11-Sep 13 2018 is 6 (NOAA Scale

NOAA Kp index breakdown Sep 11-Sep 13 2018

            Sep 11     Sep 12     Sep 13
00-03UT        5 (G1)     4          3     
03-06UT        6 (G2)     5 (G1)     4     
06-09UT        5 (G1)     4          3     
09-12UT        4          3          2     
12-15UT        4          2          2     
15-18UT        3          2          2     
18-21UT        3          2          2     
21-00UT        4          2          2     

Rationale: The geomagnetic field will likely reach G2 (Moderate) levels
on day one( 11 Sep) as a result of a positive polarity CH HSS. Activity
is expected to taper some by day two (12 Sep), but G1 (Minor) storm
conditions are still likely. Day three (13 Sep) is expected to be a day
of transition, with G1 conditions becoming less likely.

Guest Post by Troy Riedel – career retired Veteran, educated Synoptic Meteorologist & an amateur astronomer hobbyist who likes to also “play shortwave”.

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Astronomers organizing to save WWV

As an amateur astronomer, I knew it was only a matter of time before the astronomical community became involved to save WWV.  Specifically, it’s a group of mostly amateur astronomers who observe and record occultations.

What’s an occultation?  It’s the term when a solar system object passes in front of, and blocks out a star.  Why is this important to observe?  Lunar occultations are the easiest to observe (if the star is bright enough, one can do a crude observation with binoculars or even the unaided eye).  But there is very valuable science to be had with smaller objects.  When a dwarf planet [like Pluto] or an asteroid – passes in front of, and “blinks” out or blocks the light of a star – measurements can be taken that reveal the dwarf planet or asteroid’s size/diameter.  We can even determine if an object is round/oval – or maybe cigar-shaped when multiple ground observers record and accurately time how long the star “blinks” (or if the star doesn’t get covered by the asteroid in some locations but does in others). Okay, that is Occultations 101 (if you are interested in learning more, see the link).

Credit: Upcoming occultation – showing the path where the occultation is visible – from IOTA: International Occultation Timing Association

Note 1: In 2017, amateur astronomers using a 3” telescope determined that an asteroid had a moon!I had a 3” telescope, back in the 1970s, when I was a kid!

Credit: Sky and Telescope Magazine & IOTA: the International Occultation Timing Association

Note 2: Multiple occultation observations involving the dwarf planet Pluto (and its next target – a “KBO”) are helping scientists navigate the New Horizons space probe (and to identify hazards) as it speeds through space to its next target – nicknamed Ultima Thule – beyond Pluto (on January 1st, 2019).

Equipment used to record and document these fleeting events (some graze occultations only last fractions of a second) requires – you guessed it – time stamped video devices.  Back in the old days before video and other advanced equipment, astronomers would sit a shortwave radio next to the telescope with a tape recorder to audibly capture & record the time signal with the observer noting the start/stop of the event (we’ve come a long way since then – time stamped equipment has advanced this from “approximately” to “exact science”!).

The main point of this blog entry: astronomers have been asked to sign the White House petition to maintain NIST stations funding. Sky & Telescope Magazine, if they haven’t already, will be posting an article with an interview that they conducted with one of the leading occultation observers that includes a link to the petition on their web site.

Let’s hope this momentum continues to build – and that it makes a difference!

Guest Post by Troy Riedel.

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Surprise sunspot group & G-3 Geomagnetic Storm (Now!)

As an avid amateur astronomer, solar observation has been quite boring during 2018.  As a shortwave radio enthusiast, the lack of solar activity has impacted that hobby as well.

Well, the catchword of the day is “surprise”!

I was alerted yesterday evening by Spaceweather.com that a large sunspot had emerged and developed into a group – with the two main sunspots’ diameter about as large as the earth.

 Credit: Spaceweather.com – Sunspot group AR2720, photographed by Thierry Legault on Aug. 25th from the Saint-Véran/Astroqueyras observatory in the French Alps. An image of Earth has been inserted for scale (Link).

Another overnight email notification from Spaceweather.com stated a “surprise” G-3 Class Geomagnetic storm is underway (now!) caused by a coronal mass ejection.

Credit: Spaceweather.com – According to a NOAA computer model, almost 80 billion watts of power surged through Earth’s auroral oval during today’s geomagnetic storm (This image/forecast is updated every 30-minutes at this link).

Has this “surprise” impacted your radio weekend?  I know it has impacted my astronomy weekend … I’ll be out there, soon, setting up my solar telescope to view today’s show in hydrogen-alpha!

Go to spaceweather.com to follow the developments.

Edit: Yes indeed, even excluding the sunspots the solar disc yielded more surface detail today via my H-alpha solar telescope than I’ve seen all year – as well as several nice solar prominences along the limb.  I encourage anyone who has the proper telescope AND proper filters to take a look at ‘Ole Sol today (and hopefully for the next several days).  I’ll have to check the shortwaves later.

Guest Post by Troy Riedel

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Space Weather: A [big] Hole in the Sun’s Atmosphere

The SWLing Post Blog has recently featured a few posts on “Space Weather” & Geomagnetic Storms. As an amateur astronomer, I receive many daily space-related emails in my INBOX right along with the SWLing Post Daily Digest. I thought this might be of interest:

From Spaceweather.com

An unusually wide hole in the sun’s atmosphere is facing Earth and spewing a stream of solar wind toward our planet. Estimated time of arrival: April 9th. Polar geomagnetic unrest and minor G1-class storms are possible when the gaseous material reaches Earth. Visit Spaceweather.com for more information and updates.

Image credit: NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

The hole bisects half the solar disk, stretching more than 700,000 km from end to end. This means Earth will be under the influence of the emerging solar wind stream for more than 4 days after it arrives.

A G1-class storm is “Minor”, so I doubt there will be very much “radio” impact – but you gotta admit, a hole that large is interesting nonetheless!

Posted by SWLing Post Contributor Troy Riedel

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External Ferrite Antenna by playloudfm

Posted by SWLing Post contributor Troy Riedel:

I just noticed something on eBay.  Seller “playloudfm” based in Greece (100% feedback rating), the first to offer the high gain external ferrite antenna for the Tecsun PL-360/PL-365/County Comm GP5, has a new offering:

From the seller’s listing:

– Frequency: 530Khz – 1710Khz
– Tunable
– Passive, No external power or battery needed
– Wireless connection to AM Radios
– Plus a low impedance output 3.5mm mono plug for 50 ohm scanners
– Improves Sensitivity and Performance of your AM Radio Receiver for AM Band Dxing!
– Very small and lightweight, perfect for traveling antenna

This AM antenna can be used in two different ways
1) you can simply attach it near your AM radio internal ferrite antenna – wireless connection
2) use a 3.5mm cable to get a low impedance output for use with 50 ohm scanners

Use tuning knob to get the maximum signal



Have any Post readers bought and used this?

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