February 2018 Club Meeting - HAMSCI and the 2017 Solar Eclipse

Friday, February 16, 2018

7:00pm MST

Ascension Lutheran Church 1220 West Magee Road, Tucson, AZ


Handyman Corner

By Tom, W8TK

Kit of the month: Kit building class details to be announced at the March Meeting

Project: Repeater and D-Star update by Howard, KC7AC and Jim W5ZIT


HAMSCI and the 2017 Solar Eclipse

Presented by Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF

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On August 21, 2017 a total solar eclipse caused the moon's shadow to traverse the United States from Oregon to South Carolina in just over 90 minutes. This caused large-scale changes in ionospheric densities, which were detected as changes in high frequency (HF) radio propagation during the Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP), a ham radio contest-like citizen science experiment organized by the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (hamsci.org). During the SEQP, amateur radio operators generated over 2.5 million observations by sampling random HF communication paths. Observations were recorded both by participant logs and fully-automated systems such as the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN), PSKReporter, and WSPRNet. In this presentation, I will show early science results based on analysis of RBN data. This includes evidence that the eclipse shadow enables an increased number of successful HF links 7 MHz and below, a lengthening of 7 MHz communication paths, and a reduction in 14 MHz signal strengths. This suggests a reduction of D-region absorption and a weakening of the E and F layers of the ionosphere.

Our Featured Presenter:

Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, is a research professor with the New Jersey Institute of Technology Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research. Nathaniel’s interest in ionospheric science began in middle school when he was introduced to amateur radio through scouting. He earned his B.S. in Physics and Music Education from Montclair State University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the Virginia Tech SuperDARN Laboratory. His Ph.D. dissertation is entitled "Ionospheric Disturbances: Midlatitude Pi2 Magnetospheric ULF Pulsations and Medium Scale Traveling Ionospheric Disturbances.” Nathaniel is an Eagle Scout and remains and active scouter. He holds an Extra class amateur radio license and founded the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI) project. Nathaniel is a co-advisor to the NJIT Amateur Radio Club, K2MFF.