Eclipse — 80M Waterfall

Here’s a waterfall showing the 80M CW band from a bit after 1600 UTC (noon) and 2000 UTC (4:00PM EDT) on eclipse day. There was clearly enhanced propagation for about an hour, starting ~15 minutes before the local maximum (73% obscuration) at 1819 UTC. There aren’t many signals shown at any time, but that’s to be expected at mid-day in this frequency range. In order to show this long time period, the waterfall only updated every 60 seconds and I […]

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More Solar Eclipse Analysis (HF Propagation)

I’ve continued processing the data generated from software-defined-radio recordings I made during the 2017 solar eclipse at my fairly isolated and low-RF-noise location on Beaver Island, Michigan (45 38 38 N, 85 29 24 W, grid square EN75gp). The nearest AM station is about 28 miles away, so it’s a pretty good site for monitoring the high frequency bands. The data was recorded over the eight hours from 1400 – 2200 UTC (10AM to 6PM EDT) on Monday, August 21, […]

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First data from Solar Eclipse 2017

I set up a smaller version of my mad-scientist stuff at our cottage on Beaver Island, Michigan (45 38 38 N, 85 29 24 W, grid square EN75gp), to record the RF spectrum before, during, and after the eclipse on August 21, 2017. The recordings were successful, and I captured just under 1 TB (!) of data. Fortunately, disk drives are cheap these days. I’ve done the very first step of analysis on one of the data sets — a […]

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FTS-4100 Cesium Standard tests

It wasn’t too hard for the HamSci guys to convince me to bring a Cesium frequency standard to my portable location in Michigan to drive the HPSDR receiver that will do band recordings for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse HF Wideband Recording Experiment. I had been planning to use a GPSDO, but that would be too simple. My “sort-of-portable” Cesium is an old FTS-4100 that came out of military service. It was designed for shipboard use (I think as part […]

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Hermes SDR as spectrum analyzer

I was fussing about signal generator output accuracy because I wanted to calibrate my HPSDR Hermes software defined radio (“SDR”) so that I could calculate the absolute power input in dBm, assuming a 50 ohm load impedance) based on the dBFS (db full scale of the ADC chip) output from the radio. This is in preparation for the upcoming solar eclipse, where as part of the HamSci 2017 Total Solar Eclipse HF Wideband Recording Experiment I’m planning to use the […]

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Update on Boring Signal Generator Stuff

Just when you thought it couldn’t get more boring (reference my last post about signal generator calibration… I did all these careful calibrations of my signal generator to check its accuracy and linearity. Everything looked good, except that the signal reading was about 1 dB low. HP power meters have a calibrator providing a 50 MHz signal at 0 dBm that is (supposedly) very precise. I have a total of four meters with those calibrators, and I decided to cross […]

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Boring Signal Generator Accuracy/Linearity Data

UPDATE: it turns out that my “best” power meter was actually about 0.5 dB off. See my later post for further details. I want to calibrate my software defined radio receiver prior to doing a bunch of recordings of the ham bands for the upcoming solar eclipse (check out the HamSci web page for details). I have an HP 8642A signal generator which has high-precision attenuators and should be a very good reference to measure recorded amplitude vs. actual. Unfortunately, […]

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$20 P25 Trunking Scanner (Part 4)

SDR

With op25 successfully decoding the control channel, now you just need to set up the trunking configuration. To do this, you’ll probably need to set up three files: 1. trunk.tsv defines the sites to be monitored. 2. site_name.tsv provides a table of talkgroup numbers and names for that site. 3. Because you probably only want to listen to a subset of the talkgroups, you can optionally create a file called site_name_wl.tsv with a list, one talkgroup per line, of the […]

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$20 P25 Trunking Scanner (Part 3)

SDR

The info in this and in part 4 was aided tremendously by several folks on the “op25-dev” mailing list. Without their help, I would not have even known where to start in getting my system running. I hope that what I’m documenting here will be helpful for others going down this path. If you’ve successfully installed Linux, Gnuradio, and op25 on your computer, you are ready to test the system, and then configure it for trunking. The scanner application is […]

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$20 P25 Trunking Scanner (Part 2)

SDR

Here’s how to install the OP25 scanning software. If you don’t already have Gnuradio installed on a Linux system, do those two things first. Any current Linux distribution works. I use Linux Mint which is very similar to Ubuntu. The easiest way to install Gnuradio is to use a script from the SBRAC radio astronomy group called build-gnuradio. Click on the link, then save the contents of the browser screen (easiest way is to select everything on the web page, […]

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