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HamSCI Presents Initial Eclipse Results at ARRL-TAPR Digital Communications Conference


At the 36th annual ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference (DCC), held September 15–17 this year in St. Louis, HamSCI members presented preliminary evidence that the August 21 solar eclipse had a significant effect on HF propagation. The DCC is geared toward technically minded Amateur Radio operators who specialize in building and designing hardware and software to support digital communication and radio.

In their presentation, “HamSCI and the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse,” HamSCI members Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF; Bill Engelke, AB4EJ; Josh Katz, KD2JAO; Spencer Gunning, K2AEM, and Josh Vega, WB2JSV showed initial results of the Solar Eclipse QSO Party and other HamSCI eclipse experiments. Their presentation demonstrated that the number of 14-MHz Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) spots decreased, while the number of 1.8- MHz and 3.5-MHz spots increased during the eclipse totality. The HamSCI researchers say this suggests a decrease in both maximum usable frequency and D-layer absorption during the eclipse.

John Ackermann, N8UR, described his work in making wideband recordings during the eclipse in his presentation, “How to Fill a Terabyte Disk: Using Software Defined Radios in the HamSCI Solar Eclipse Experiment.”

In addition to the conference presentation, three New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) HamSCI papers were included in the conference Proceedings. “HamSCI and the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse by Frissell et al. details the procedures for the HamSCI eclipse experiments. “The H.A.R.C. Database and Visualization Utilitiesby Katz et al. describes a database for unifying RBN, PSKReporter, WSPRNet, and other Amateur Radio propagation data in one place for research purposes. Vega’s “Developing a Solar Eclipse Simulation for Greater Good describes how to simulate the SEQP using the PHaRLAP raytracing toolkit and SAMI3 model of the eclipsed ionosphere.

HamSCI team members announced that the HamSCI Workshop will be held at NJIT in Newark February 23–24. The workshop will be open to public and will focus on ham radio eclipse data analysis and the development of a personal space-weather station.

The NJIT HamSCI team expressed its appreciation to TAPR and TAPR member David Bern, W2LNX, for supporting student attendance at the workshop.