Juno Spacecraft Flyby Ham Radio Activity is Wednesday, October 9
Despite the partial US government shutdown, the NASA Juno spacecraft Amateur Radio fly-by activity Wednesday, October 9, 1800-2040 UTC, is still on, the website containing full details remains available, and the Juno team expects to be able to go forward with the experiment as planned.
“The laws of gravity have not been suspended, and the flyby will occur as planned,” Don Kirchner, KDØL, a University of Iowa researcher, told ARRL. “The only effect will be that any announcements of success will come probably come from Southwest Research Institute [which has its own Say HI to Juno website] and The University of Iowa.” He says some hams apparently checked the Jet Propulsion Lab/NASA Juno project website, found it unavailable, and concluded the flyby experiment had been canceled.
Juno will be flying past Earth to receive a gravity assist from our planet, putting it on course for Jupiter, and the mission has invited Amateur Radio operators around the world to say “HI” to Juno in a coordinated Morse Code transmission. If enough hams participate, Juno's “Waves” radio and plasma wave experiment should be able to detect the message.
Indicators on the Say “HI” to Juno web page will instruct participants when to transmit and when to stop transmitting. Stations should transmit a legal station identification as the FCC or non-US regulators require. Participants should consider their stations to be operating as attended beacon stations and should avoid transmitting on top of ongoing communications.
Kirchner said he spoke with the director of the NASA Planetary Division a few weeks ago, and, he quipped, the director was “very much looking forward to announcing the discovery of intelligent life on Earth.”
Kirchner stressed that maximum participation is critical to the success of the Juno ham radio experiment. Participants can receive a QSL card for contacting Juno. E-mail your call sign and mailing address.