“The Auroral Connection” to be Focus of 2020 HamSCI Workshop


Registration is open for the third annual HamSCI Workshop for amateur radio operators and professional scientists, Friday and Saturday, March 20 – 21, at The University of Scranton. The theme of this year’s workshop is “The Auroral Connection,” and will include addresses by guest speakers, poster presentations, and demonstrations of relevant instrumentation and software. All radio amateurs, scientists, and anyone interested in ionospheric and space physics are welcome to attend.

The workshop will serve as a team meeting for the HamSCI Personal Space Weather Station project, a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded project awarded to University of Scranton physics and electrical engineering professor Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF. The project seeks to harness the power of a network of radio amateurs to better understand and measure the effects of weather in the upper levels of Earth’s atmosphere. Through the grant, Frissell, a space physicist, will lead a collaborative team that will develop modular, multi-instrument, ground-based space science observation equipment and data collection and analysis software. He will also recruit multiple universities and ham radio users to operate the network of Personal Space Weather Stations developed.

In addition to Scranton, the Personal Space Weather Station project includes participation from TAPR; the Case Western Reserve University Amateur Radio Club, W8EDU; the University of Alabama; the New Jersey Institute of Technology Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research; MIT Haystack Observatory; Dartmouth College, and the ham radio community at large.

Noted contester and DXer Tim Duffy, K3LR, will deliver the keynote address. The chief operating officer and general manager at DX Engineering, Duffy chairs Contest University, the Dayton Contest Dinner, and the Top Band Dinner, as well as coordinates the Contest Super Suite. He is the founder and moderator of the popular RFI Reflector. Duffy serves on the ARRL Foundation Board of Directors, on the board of the World Wide Radio Operators Foundation (WWROF), and as chairman and president emeritus of the Radio Club of America. He was elected to the CQ Contest Hall of Fame in 2006 and was honored with the prestigious Barry Goldwater Amateur Radio Service Award by the Radio Club of America in 2010.

Other speakers at the workshop include Elizabeth MacDonald, the NASA researcher that founded and leads the Aurorasaurus project. She will discuss fundamentals of auroral physics, its optical signatures, and the Aurorasaurus citizen science project. James LaBelle, a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth University and auroral radio physicist, will discuss radio signatures of the aurora, remote sensing using active and passive techniques, and ways the amateur radio/HamSCI community could contribute. Also, David Hallidy, K2DH, a retired microwave engineer who is also a well-known amateur radio operator for his work in auroral mode propagation, will discuss his practical experiences of using the aurora for radio communication purposes.

Additional information on the conference is available on the conference website the HamSCI Workshop 2020 website. 



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