EME (Earth Moon Earth) Moon Bounce Communicating on the weekend of November 20 & 21, 2021

By Gary Agranat (WA2JQZ)

This past weekend our radio telescope group DSES successfully operated EME (Earth Moon Earth) Moon bounce communications again. EME Moon bounce is transmitting and directing signals to reflect off of the Moon, about 240,000 miles away in space, and communicate with anyone else on Earth who has the Moon visible above their horizon and who has similarly capable equipment. As we did last year, we participated in the ARRL annual EME contest. We used our restored 60-foot dish antenna, operating at 1296 MHz, with our call sign K0PRT. This turned out to be our smoothest and most successful EME operation to date.

We can only communicate sending signals off of the Moon when the Moon is above our horizon. For this past weekend the Moon was just past full, which means the Moon rose just after sunset, and set shortly after sunrise. That means we could only operate during the night time — all-nighter operations.

Ray Uberecken (AA0L) and Gary Agranat (WA2JQZ) were the primary team on the site operating for the full weekend. Marc Stover was on site all of Friday night, taking time-lapse night photography of the dish antenna as it tracked the Moon, with the starry sky moving as the Earth rotated. Our science lead Dan Layne (AD0CY) was on site on Saturday afternoon and evening. He particularly helped us properly configure our digital mode, and he succeeded in making Q65 digital contacts to South American and Europe. Both Marc and Dan also got some experience calling CQ on SSB voice, and they heard their voice signals traveling at the speed of light reflected back about 2 seconds later.

Our set up overnight Friday. We used an ICOM transceiver transmitting 150 Watts. A Morse Code keyer was attached, set to 15 words per minute (WPM). The keyer device was also able to send code by typing characters on the keyboard, but we kept to sending the standard way. This is my preference (Gary), yet this also enables flexibility to adjust one’s sending as one hears the conditions. We also used the microphone for SSB voice. On Saturday night, in addition, we tried the Q65 digital mode, using the Signalink box to the right of the transceiver, connected to a laptop. Another laptop to the left of the keyboard kept our contact log digitally. It was also set up with a WSJT 10 program, to display to us the needed Doppler shift between our transmit and receive frequencies, to correct for the difference in speed between our site and the Moon. When we transmitted, we monitored the green oscilloscope and power supply on the rack at left, to verify we in fact were sending out a signal to the antenna.

This was our most successful weekend EME Moon bounce operation to date. We made 19 contacts the first night, and 26 contacts the second. (In comparison, last year for the first weekend of the contest we made about 25 contacts, and we operated then for just one night.) Just about all of our equipment worked perfectly and smoothly. 42 of our contacts were by using Morse Code. Dan made our two Q65 digital mode contacts: to IK7EZN in Italy and CX2SC in Uruguay (our only South American contact). Our other contact was using SSB voice (with DL6SH in Germany). EME voice communications requires better equipment capability and often also more power, so making EME voice contacts is generally rarer.

Almost all of our contacts were done between Moonrise and about 1 AM local time, on each of the two nights. We had a moon path to Europe until about that time. By then Ray and I (Gary) were feeling tired enough, and the European signals were becoming sparse. We were aware that in another hour or so Japan should have moonrise and give us a communications path to us. But we decided getting some sleep was more important, and we chose to sleep. We woke again around sunrise and went back on the air, with the Moon then to the west over the Pacific Ocean. On Saturday that enabled us to work DU3T in the Philippines, and VA7MM in British Columbia, Canada. We heard DU3T work an Australian station, but we didn’t hear the Australian station ourselves. We tried calling CQ ourselves, but didn’t hear anyone else. On Sunday morning we didn’t succeed in contacting anyone — we suspected we might not find anyone by then, but we believed the try was still worth it. (By comparison, last year once the Moon gave us a path across the Pacific, we were able to work 2 stations in Japan and one in Australia.)

On our second night we made contact with our DSES member VE6BGT Skip Macaulay in Alberta, Canada.

With our 60-foot antenna we are probably one of the stronger and more capable stations on the air. We consistently got strong signal reports from other stations. I typically got RST reports of 579. Most of the stations I gave signal reports to had much lower values, from 219 to 569. We were outputting about 150 Watts.

As an indication of our good signal, on Saturday night I had a run of 18 Morse Code (CW) contacts in a row, in a period of about an hour and a half. That is, after I completed one contact, I heard someone else trying to contact me, and I then continued with them. This kept happening for 18 contacts straight. In ham radio terminology this is called a “pile up”. This is fun and uplifting when it happens. But it also takes endurance and energy and patience.

Often the signals we heard were extremely weak. And so there is definitely some skill to bring to bear.  Depending on conditions, I may need to repeat key parts of the message many times. For Morse Code CW I may need to adjust the speed of my sending to a rate and pattern that I think the other person can copy. By choosing how I send, I indicate to the other person how I am hearing him or her, and that person can then adjust to my conditions too. It helps to be mindful too, so that one doesn’t make the other person feel intimidated. We are trying to make successful contacts, we also are part of a community.

Of our total 45 contacts, 28 (the majority) were with Europe. Those were with Germany (DG5CST, DL6SH, DL7UDA, DF3RU, and DL0SHF), Poland (SP6JLW, SP7DCS, SP9VFD, SP6ITF, and SP3XBO), Sweden (SK0CT, SM5DGX, SM6FHZ, SM7FWZ, and SM4IVE), Czech Republic (OK1KKD, OK1CA, OK1CS, and OK2DL), Italy (IK2DDR, IK3COJ, and IK7EZN), France (F5KUG and F6KRK), England (G4CCH and G3LTF), Finland (OH2DG), and European Russia (RA3EC). 12 contacts were with the continental US: WA9FWD (WI), N8CQ (NC), NQ7B twice (AZ), WK9P (IN), N5BF (CA), WA6PY (CA), WB8HRW (OH), W2BYP(NY), K2UYH (NJ), K3WM (PA), and W6YX (Stanford University, CA), plus one with Alaska (KL6M). 2 were with Canada: VE6BGT (AB), and VA7MM (BC). Plus we had the digital contact with Uruguay CX2SC. And DU3T in the Philippines.

***

I’ll mention, during the daylight hours on Saturday, while we had some quiet time in between Moon passes, Ray and I each spent some time with other activities. Ray did some autumn cleaning of the operations trailer. That included reorganizing the rack equipment, to make it easier for our current needs, and removing cables not in use. Ray also switched our cable for receiving GPS to an antenna on the roof, from the portable antenna we had been using inside.

Meanwhile I went to operate our HF (High Frequency) ham radio station at the bunker. I had not been on site for over a year. I wanted to check that our HF equipment and antennas were still functioning Okay. Starting around 1 PM local time I made some casual SSB contacts with our multiband vertical antenna and our directional 3-element Yagi antenna on the 50-foot tower, on the 20 and 15 meter bands. Most of those contacts were Parks on the Air stations around the country. I contacted NB6GC as well, the USS Hornet Museum ship in Alameda, CA (Bay Area) for a special event commemorating the splashdown of Apollo 12. The operator there noticed our callsign for DSES, and he told me he would be operating EME that evening too, though I think on a lower frequency. I also tried going on the 40 meter band with the vertical, but I mostly heard regular weekend nets, and I didn’t want to interfere with those. Starting at 2 PM local I then operated on the ARRL November Sweepstakes SSB contest. I chose to stay mostly on the 15 meter band with the Yagi, as 15 meters seemed more relaxed than 20 meters, and we had good propagation to the US northeast. I also swung the antenna around to contact stations I heard in California and Washington State. I sometimes searched around the band, I sometimes held a frequency and called CQ. Later I did try 20 meters too. In all I made 57 contacts, to 32 of the 84 ARRL sections in the US and Canada. Besides getting on the air and testing our equipment, I was interested to have our club station with our callsign participate with the rest of the ham community, so that other hams get to know us and to feel us as part of their community. I operated on HF for about 2 hours, though not all at once.

The one maintenance issue I had for the HF station is that the Yagi antenna direction was offset from the indication on the rotator control by about 80 degrees. I compensated for this while I operated. I remember that when we last had the tower lowered for maintenance over a year ago, the rotator didn’t seem able to lock.

***

As I mentioned, this was our most successful EME event to date, with 45 contacts and with no major equipment problems to troubleshoot. The automatic tracking system worked flawlessly, allowing us to concentrate on the signals we heard and making contacts.

This past weekend’s operation was the first of two parts of the ARRL EME contest in which one can use 1296 MHz. We plan to operate for the second part too, which will be on the weekend of December 18 & 19, 2021. Several more of our members, and at least one local ham, plan to come for that.

***

EME has been a major strategic goal of DSES since we started restoration of our 60-foot antenna in 2009. An immense amount of work was done in our group to achieve the capability we have now. The most visible aspect now is in making the operation work, and in developing our experiences to make the operation work well. Yet behind the scenes there have been many people, and much work in many more aspects — for example, the infrastructure repair and modernizing, restoring full electric power, developing from scratch the automatic tracking, to name just a few. To my mind this is a lot like having our own Moon mission.

And at the same time we’ve been developing our science capability and doing science too.

To me as well, hearing one’s signal come back 2 seconds later at the speed of light from the Moon and communicating with others around the world this way still takes my breath away. I really am doing something physical with the Moon, a celestial object out there in space, and the Moon physically responds back. To me the Moon is no longer something in the sky I just see, it is a physical object in space I have touched in some way and it has responded. And the speed of light and the wave-nature of light are no longer something just theoretical — I have to deal with those practically. I think something has changed and grown, for each one of us in DSES who have had the opportunity to work with EME.

Our 60-foot dish antenna in stowed position and the operations trailer, during the daytime break Saturday, before the Moon rose again after sunset. The antenna focus has installed a 1296 MHz dual polarized feed.
The power lines on Delores Lane that provide our site with electricity.
Our high frequency (HF) ham radio antennas on the site. On Saturday afternoon while we waited for the Moon to rise again, I operated for a couple of hours for an ARRL HF contest: the November SSB Sweepstakes. I used the directional Yagi antenna on the tower and a multi-band vertical antenna at left. For the Sweepstakes contest I made 57 contacts around the continental US and Canada, plus with Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Before that I also made some casual contacts, mostly with hams who set up at parks in various parts of the country.
After about 1 AM each night we took a break and got some sleep. When we woke a few hours later, the Moon was still above the horizon and we operated Moon bounce for a little while longer. On Saturday morning that gave us contacts with DU3T in the Philippines and VA7MM in British Columbia, Canada. This photo is on Sunday morning as we repointed the antenna to the Moon, near the horizon above my car. On Sunday morning we made no further contacts, but if anyone else was there on the air we would have heard them.
The two wire antennas in the foreground are phased dipoles, which we use for receiving natural signals from Jupiter and its moon Io, caused by Io moving through Jupiter’s strong magnetic field. The 12-foot dish antenna is a new project that will be part of a radio astronomy interferometer we are developing.
Closer view of one of our dishes we will use for radio astronomy interferometry.
Our operating station early Sunday morning. We had coffee and muffins ready.
You can see the antenna tracking software displays. The Moon is shown on an astronomical sky map. The circle around the Moon represents the beam width of our signal. Other windows on the display indicate the coordinates the antenna is pointing to, its motion, and settings for how we are controlling it. On my laptop on the far right, I have a logging program (not shown) and a program that shows me the position of the Moon (in Az & El and RA & Declination), and the Doppler shift corrections we need to continually make as our relative motion between our location and the Moon changes.
The ICOM transceiver we were using, tuned to 1296 MHz, and the Morse Code keyer for sending code. We had the keyer set for 15 words per minute. I wrote down (copied) the code that I heard on the paper pad. I save the hard-copy record, in case I need to double check a call sign or a contact detail for the contest or QSL request.
The farm and ranch fields across the road from our site.

DSES Science Meeting Notes – October 25, 2021

These are the slides from our October 2021 Science Meeting. The meeting was hosted by our Science Lead Dan Layne.

http://dses.science/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/DSES_ScienceMtg_Oct25_2021.pdf

Meeting topic highlights:

  • MeerKAT, South Africa, Precursor to SKA
  • DSES Science observation and related activities
  • 60-foot antenna feed schedule
  • HI (21 cm neutral hydrogen) Drift Scan with 1420 MHz Feed
  • Observing equipment notes
  • Interferometry Discussion

DSES Science Meeting, September 27, 2021

The September 2021 Science Meeting was hosted by our new DSES Science Lead, Dan Layne. Rich Russel, our outgoing Science Lead continues to be involved.

Meeting topics included “Pulsar Detection with Autopoly”, “Haswell 2-dish interferometer project”, and updates on servicing and improving the 60-foot
dish pointing and tracking.

The meeting slides are available here: http://dses.science/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/DSES_ScienceMtg_Sep27_2021_AutoPoly.pdf

The video recording of the meeting is available here: www.bd-oculars.com/downloads/DSES_Eng_mtg.mp4

Thanks to Floyd Glick, Bill Miller, and Rich Russel for support for the meeting and recording.

DSES Science Meeting, May 24, 2021

We had our May DSES Science Meeting over Zoom. The meeting was led by Rich Russel, our DSES Science Lead. These are his presentation slides of the meeting. (The meeting was hosted and coordinated by Floyd Glick and Bill Miller.)

http://dses.science/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/DSES-Science-Meeting-5-24-2021-r2.pdf

We had 10 participants for this meeting. Some DSES business, work updates, and observing operations was discussed prior to the Science presenation part of the meeting.

Rich’s topic question for the evening was, why did the Event Horizon radio telescope group, who succeeded in 2019 to image a black hole for the first time, chose to observe the supermassive black hole in the active galaxy M87? To figure this out, we learned about what determines the physical size of a black hole, and its observable characteristics. And we learned about what determines the apparent angular resolution of an object in radio astronomy.

The meeting was recorded as a video mp4 file. We’re trying to transition to a new setup with Zoom. You can access the video of the meeting with this link. You can watch the first hour online. However, you can watch the whole meeting by going to the link and then downloading the video. You can then watch it as a video mp4 file.

2021-05-24 DSES Science Meeting.mp4 (dropbox.com)

DSES Annual All Members Meeting April 19, 2021

Welcome to the DSES Annual All Members Meeting 2021-04-19
Meeting Notes: by Bill Miller


We had 15 participants in the virtual All Members meeting today: We had some problems with a number of the internet connections and am sorry if you tried to join and couldn’t get in or got dropped. Thanks everyone for joining.


Participants: Myron Babcock, Dr. Richard Russel, Gary Agranat, Dan Layne, Bob Haggart, Ted Cline, Bob Sayers, Ray Uberecken, Don Latham, Dan Layne, Edward Currie, Dayton Jones, Jerry , Jim White WDOE, Bill Miller.
See the Zoom Meeting Video at:

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/J7cMjwB6K6kZxTGYgt-hgCsdyMZqfI7JhcnDIUl2lzH-5LIUClRx6k4ROLy3OcCU.KBMMsM1_5IxRvn0W?startTime=1618876857000

Start Time : April 19th 6:00 PM
Agenda and notes.

  1. Check In
  2. Myron’s Treasures report: Ck 2469.79 Sav 5742.33 Dues for 3 renewing members outstanding. Website DSES.Science, will auto renew. UPS mailbox is $135/year. Power is nominal $60-$85. Phone and Internet cost $106.50.
  3. Membership Dues are now due for 2021. Please submit check or pay pal payment to Myron or on the link in the website.
  4. BOD Election.
    a. We elected new board members to the three open seats for this year. Those are Floyd Glick, Don Latham, and Ray Uberecken. Bill Miller and Dave Molter are retired from the board.
    b. Other Board Members not turned over this time are Bob Sayers, Bob Haggart, Gary Agranat, and Myron Babcock.
    c. Officers will be selected by the new current board.
  5. DSES Aug. Open House: Plan for on-site open house in August but will watch the CDC for guidance on the Corona Virus guidelines and try to decide in June.
  6. Accomplishments
    a. Pulsars
    b. Moon Bounce 50 contacts in Oct. and Nov.
    c. Full control and Celestial and Moon tracking. Look up, Point and Track Sky Map, Raster Scan.
    d. H1 mapping, Ray and Rich are doing H1 full time on 9 ft dishes. Ted Cline has the data analysis underway to do imaging. Will do some tutorials for SARA website. Full Sky survey data is available.
    e. H1 small Scope in and box is available. SARA cost $290 on web.
    f. 1296MHz Tropospheric Scatter couple a hundred miles.
    g. Skip Crilly’s 1420 SETI observations
  7. The 2020 Virtual DSES Open House Presentation
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zxpzj879iz7mt77/2020%20DSES%20Virtual%20Open%20House.mp4?dl=0a. Bill gave the presentation to the Front Range 6 Meter Group https://groups.io/g/FrontRange6Meter last month, recorded and posted it to our site.
    b. Everett Curry, W6ABM Assistant Section Manager/Oregon ARRL, asked to present the recorded presentation to the General Interest Amateur Radio Club in North East Oregon Thursday, Feb 18th
    c. The Artic Armature Radio Group of which Myron is a member asked for a live presentation of the Open House on Friday, March 12th.
    d. The Utah DX Amateur group would like the presentation on Wednesday March 17th.
  8. Rich’s projects and presentations:
    a. Has been invited to HAMsci on March 19-20th to develop an interactive poster on the eclipse detection. https://hamsci.org/hamsci2021
    b. https://www.eucara.nl/
    https://www.camras.nl/blog/2021/eucara-2021-webconferentie-oproep/
    The EUCARA presentation is about deciphering the pulsar map on the Pioneer Spacecraft
    c. Sara Western conference April 3.
    d. Call from Jason Outreach who is a documentary film maker that would like to do a film on radio astronomy.
    e. Editor for the SARA journal.
    f. 9 Ft dish in Rich’s yard generated a H1 full sky survey over the last year for H1 mapping.
  9. Science fair prizes and Judging. (Bill Miller, Gary Agranat, Tony Bigbee)
  10. Ham Radio K0PRT contests and contacts. Triband Beam.
  11. Photographers on site.
  12. The 1296MHz feed is now changed out to the 408MHz feed for continuing pulsar work.
    a. Need to learn how to use the B210 receiver. Rich has it set up as best as possible. Would like to have a faster computer to handle the throughput.
    b. Need more dwell time.
    c. Need a 10MHz reference source for B210.
  13. See the Feed Change Schedule on the main website page. This may need updating.
    a. 4GHz feed for aiming.
    b. 1420Mhz is on the table
    c. 1296 for Moon Bounce distance observations and moon orbit calculation.
  14. Need internet for SuperSID and Radio Jove, Magnetometer, Security System, Power monitors, etc.
    a. Phil Gage developed a Geo Pointing SW that points to GeoSync satellites for mount calibration. The scan pattern will hunt the field and log the output of the receiver and make a
    correction offset.
  15. Jon Ayers – Can you send a dual frequency beacon that can be used for range finding on the
    moon. Like a frequency phase comparison range finder.
  16. Bob Haggart has the Radio Jove Dipoles ready to put up back. Ray wants to us his Flex 1500 in the 54MHz band and have it on. See the NASA and Stanford Radio Jove webpage.
  17. Don Latham has purchased a data crunching computer for the data for the H1 and Pulsar data. This should increase the pulsar capability substantially. The machine has latest Ubuntu OS.
  18. Ray has developed a Pulsar Simulator that helps us to debug the pulsar data acquisition and post processing.
  19. Dan Layne using Gaussian fit to analyze the pulsar data. SARA has data on Skynet on Greenbank 20 meter dish and the data. Should look at that data from Greenbank. We should learn and make use of the data sets from our national radio observatories to go deeper. Note that EdX Radio Astronomy course starts March 14 https://www.edx.org/course/radio-sky-1 if you are interested.
  20. Plans for coming year:
    a. Plan on a lot of 1420 work. And do Pulsars and 15Deg from straight up drift scan.
    b. Raster Scan capability will give us RA, Dec 3D signal strength imaging.
    c. Additional 3.8 meter dish for continuous drift scan at any elevation angle and remoted for members to use.
    d. Scope in and Box for students
    e. Outreach opportunities with SARA, ECARA, HAMsci, Student Events. These items get us more donations, equipment, and members to do more interesting work.
  21. Maintenance and Infrastructure Items on Site
    a. Check clean out and fix the Sump Pumps in the underground before spring rains flood the bunker. (Bill talked to Dave Molter and he said they had never been completely mucked out as far as he knew.) (Bill also discussed how the sumps work with Ed Corn.) need to muck them out before spring rains. Don suggested that we get a septic tank cleaner company to come out and pump out the sumps. He would even pay for it.
    b. Last fall Steve Plock and Ed Corn noticed that the bunker was flooded. Bill checked it in December, and it was dry, but the floor was covered in silt and bugs. Need to sweep or vacuum up the dirt and bugs to make it operational. Clean the silt out of the Underground from the flooding damage. Need a pass through vacuum with a long exit hose.
    c. Gary and Bill worked on the Beam Antenna on Saturday, April 10th . The tip down hinge mechanism at the base broke. Bill and Gary let Ed Corn and Steve Plock know about this and they will rework it when they make a site trip in May for Skip Crilly’s SETI project. In the meantime, don’t tip the tower down. Bill called Ed and he said that this had happened before, and he has a plan to weld on additional angle iron supports.
    d. Take down the Beam on the tip over tower and align the 3 elements on the Yagi and reinforce the element attachment on the beam with cross bolts to keep the elements from rotating on the beam.
    e. While working the tower issue we discovered that the HyGain Antenna rotor is not breaking properly and probably needs the gear replaced or the whole rotor replaced and aligned. Myron said he might have access to another rotor.
    f. Cut off the 5 band vertical mounting pole and move the vertical base to ground level and reattach and add more radials and bury them for protection. g. Repair the dish bottom edge damage.
    h. Clean out the tower and the pedestal base. Too much junk and clutter are accumulating there.
    i. Clean out the junk under and around the Comm. Trailer and scrap it.
    j. Align Ray’s HughesNet Satellite internet dish. Call HughesNet for reprogramming and support. Find internet provider alternative. Couldn’t get DISH out to reset the microbeam position. Bill asked the group if someone would donate a hot spot modem for a period of time and DSES will reimburse the plan cost. Now Ed MaCauley may sponsor the internet. See notes above.
    k. Need to remove Tumble weeds have piled up in the ramp. Does anyone have a small yard waste chipper/shredder we could try? Bob Sayers has one at his cabin site that he will lend. We can try it out as a way of quickly dispensing the tumble weeds.
    l. Continue to look for more, higher (8 Ft) chain link fence to mitigate the tumble weeds in the ramp. Bill checking on Craig’s List and FB marketplace.
    m. Nails on Road. Several of Ray’s friends came out on the 10/3 trip and used metal detectors and magnets to clear the site of nail and metal on the road. We’ve all had flat tires and need to continue to clear the road and site of debris as many of us have had tire damage. Bill bought a new magnet roller and left it in the Comm. Trailer. Please walk it up and down the road once whenever you’re on site. Bill did this last Saturday and got two 16 oz cups of metal and nails from the road.
    n. The Ham Radio Equipment in the bunker needs some dust covers or enclosures to keep the dust out of the equipment. Need dimensions of the equipment to sew tarps or by plastic covers online.
    o. Myron secured a Dantron MLA2500 2KW Amp and Yaesu FT736 donations for the site or sale.
    p. Need a program to combine logs for position and time and signal strength from the dish instrumentation.
    q. Need to modify the Trailer heater with sheet metal or plastic covers to provide safety and the bracket needs to be reinstalled. Need 4 2 ½ inch drywall screws to hold the heater bracket to the wall. Bob has this done and only needs to reinstall it. Complete: Bob finished it.
    r. Replace the rear window of the Comm. Trailer. Complete: Bill bought custom window from Kent Glass for $81 and installed it.
    s. Ray has 8 brackets to fix a railing around the scaffold for additional safety. Needs some help to install.
    t. Ettus Research B210 receiver from Don Latham. Rich has it working except for the GPS input. Will work at the site with the GPS. Don says there is a 10MHz source in the electronics he brought down. Ray gave Rich a 10MHz ref source to implement. Rich will need to make an internal modification to convert the 10MHz clock to external.
    u. Retrieve Key for Battery Box from Ed Corn. Bill called Ed and he doesn’t have it. We can replace the lock. Myron will purchase to more Combination locks.
    v. Clean up the DC Bus on the Comm./Operations trailer wall. w. Find the perfect focal point and phase center of the dish. See: Ruze formula. Could we characterize the dish surface for problems and accuracy to determine the loss from damage and weathering? Or, could devise measurement and reference system so we always place the feed in the exact phase center? Ray has a measurement method to find the exact focal point of the dish to phase center the feeds.
    x. Ground the feed to the pedestal ground for lightning and static build up mitigation.
    y. Grounding bulkhead of the trailer. Discussion about lightning mitigation of the site.
    z. Fix old website to link to new one. Call Wayne Green and see who owns it or if he can fix
    it.
    aa. Facebook page link to new website.
    bb. KRCC has a 3.8 Comtech industrial dish that we can get. Dish is good to 12GHz. Need to get a work party to remove and reinstall. Ray and Rich had discussed setting this up as a second dish that could be a training and remoting dish at the site.
    cc. Feeds: Steve’s 1420Feeds for SETI work. Ray will remove the mount for Steve and then when he’s done will put up his 1420 feed for a period and then the 1296 feed again.
  22. Miscellaneous discussion on various topics, see the Zoom recording.
    a. Gary suggested analogy from his museum docent work experience, “When we had visitors at the museum, I would pay attention to what caught their interests and imaginations, and I would try to engage and build from those interests. That enabled them to genuinely feel ownership, and to continue to pursue what interested them, together with all the new things they were learning. And there was natural mutual respect. We can engage our members, especially our new members in a similar way too.” Gary invited our new members to share what was interesting them:
    i. Dan is interested in collecting multiple measurements of the same pulsars
    and do some additional data analysis to capture their differences over time.
    ii. Jim White is interesting in SETI and EME. He comes from the original
    Boulder/Longmont group. Also interested in the new radio mode Q65 for
    tropospheric scatter work on 6 meters for very long distance low power and
    low data rate comm. We could effectively do frequencies above 432MHz.
    Also, Ionospheric sounding work reflecting from Ionosphere to determine
    the strength of the reflection and the timing of the layer change. May need
    to post RF Power limit signs at the site.
    iii. Don mentioned WSPR in which you transmit an autonomous coded
    message and gives signal report to the website from multiple locations.
    Only uses 100MWatt XMTR.
    iv. Rich, Solar radiometer receiver, from Rodney Howe, measures solar flux
    units to measure the number of sunspots. We could be the US site for this.
    Runs on a Python program.
    v. Goal from this year is to do calibrated measurements. Need to do real
    absolute value measurements. We need to calibrate our equipment for
    pointing and signal strength. Don gave us a lock in amplifier that takes data
    from the Dicke switch to get an absolute measurement.
    vi. Ray wants to build a broad band downconverter at the feed to reduce the
    coax loss of the 200 Ft. feedline. At higher frequencies we will need this. IF
    frequency could be in the 200-300MHz range.
    vii. Dual polarization at the feed would improve sensitivity and capture.
    viii. University outreach programs for Educational opportunities and funding.ix. Ray’s feed has dual polarizations on the feeds s we could run dual lines to the receiver and improve the sensitivity.
    x. FRB capture and research.
    xi. How could we respond to Astronomical events like a supernova? If we had
    a plan, we might be able to capture some data.
    xii. Papers for the science meetings. Need some astronomy presentations.
    b. This weekend Saturday the 24th Ray is planning a work trip. We still need to coordinate the trips as work trips and observation trips.
    c. Rich will coordinate the Feed schedule and Observation schedule.
    d. Bill will continue to help coordinate the work trip schedule.
    End of Meeting. See you next week at the science meeting

DSES Science Meeting March 22, 2021

Welcome to the DSES Science meeting 3/22/2021.

by Bill Miller

We had 14 participants in the virtual science meeting today:  Thanks everyone for joining.

Participants: Dr. Rich Russel,  Ray Uberecken, Bob Haggart, Floyd Glick, Gary Agranat, Myron Babcock,Dan Layne, Edward  Currie, Jon Ayres, Tim Cline, Don Latham. Lewis Putman, Bob Sayers, Bill Miller

Also see the Zoom Video Recording for more detail:  

Topic: DSES Science Meeting,  Date: Mar 22, 2021 05:26 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/WmQScWFaV2DH22cSW9CAnYJgjhMsYpHDCmyt39GC-BFhJoCtqjNfg2n1bxpNC-U.FJAeQcMiaKhBY2Bw

Chat File from Meeting: http://dses.science/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/meeting_saved_chat.pdf

Agenda and Notes.    

  1. Myron’s Treasure’s Report: Checking: $2627.70 Savings: $5742.33. 34 current paid up members that include 5-life members and 1-student membership. Please pay your yearly $50 for full voting membership or $20 for interest only membership on Pay-Pal on the web site or by check to Myron at our Austin Bluffs address. Web site and PO box
    $130 box rent are coming due. Utility bill was about $58 last month
    Mail: Deep Space Exploration Society
    4164 Austin Bluffs Parkway #562
    Colorado Springs, CO 80918
  2. Have Larsen Hess is a new member from Fairbanks on Myron’s list.
  3. Myron is in contact with Larry Ludlow of the Fairbanks Gilmore NOAA tracking center employee and the deputy director of Mars Rover missions at JPL and another JPL employee and will try to get them connected with the DSES.
  4. BOD nominations were made, the election was held, but only 11 ballots were returned and received.
  5. Election results and officer assignments will be made by the new board at the all members virtual meeting which we agreed to schedule on April 12th in lieu of the normal engineering and ops meeting . Bill will organize and send an invitation to all members.
  6. Virtual Open House Presentation
    a. Front Range 6 Meter Group. President, Paul Sobon sobonpaul(at)gmail.com asked for a DSES presentation on Wed., Feb 10th at 7PM. Please view Bill’s presentation of the “Virtual DSES Open House” recorded from the Front Range 6 Meter Group at http://dses.science/dses-presentation-to-the-front-range-6-meter-group. This prompted invitations to give the presentation to several other amateur groups.
    b. Bill and Myron gave the virtual live Open House presentation to the Artic Amateur Radio Group based in Fairbanks on March 12th c. Bill was invited and gave the Open house presentation to the Utah DX Amateur group on March 17th to about 28 members.
    d. Bill was also invited and gave the presentation to the Oregon Tualatin Valley Amateur Radio Club on March 18th to about 38 Members.
  7. The ARRL has published the results from the 2020 EME moon bounce contest last autumn, which we participated in. Gary wrote a short post on the website about this, with links to further information.
    a. Gary mentioned last month, we were contacted last month by Rick Rosen K1DS, who was writing an article for QST about the contest. He included a segment in the article just about us. Gary attached the article that is now being published and attached the certificate we were awarded.
    b. In the post Gary explained a little how the scoring worked. We were credited with contacting 36 unique stations, which gave us a score of 90,000. And that put us in 4th place in the Multi-operator, all-mode, 1.2 GHz category.
    c. The Stanford University station W6YX, which we contacted, placed highest in our category, with 113 contacts. The highest number of contacts in the contest results was by a single-operator Eastern Russian station with 388 contacts, over several bands and modes. Gary suspects there is a higher density of EME stations in Europe, which can enable this kind of performance.
    d. Our operators for the contest were AA0L, KL7YY, and WA2JQZ. Glen Davis also was crucial for adjusting our antenna pointing system and ensuring we were operational. (WD0CUJ and Michael Namieka and Bill Miller KC0FHN also came out, and made a moon bounce test transmission, but didn’t make contest contacts.)
    e. The post on our website includes the Certificate and the QST article. ARRL 2020 EME Contest Results – Deep Space Exploration Society (dses.science)
  8. Here is the pdf for in DSES pubs tab for 9 ft dish
    20-Preliminary-Drift-Scan-Survey-using-the-New-9-foot-Dish-Neutral-Hydrogen-Measurement-System.pdf (dses.science)
  9. Our Site is photogenic!
    a. Don Savage and Jason Fazio did an all-nighter at the site on March 17th. They would like to do an onsite class in night photography at the site need to work this through the board.
    b. Andrew Miller, another photographer based out of Denver would like to do a project on the site
    c. Marc Slover and Michael Rice compiled the time-lapse videos.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=HLrpsVmBchE&feature=youtu.be
  10. BOD Initiative
    In 2019 and 2020 we accomplished a lot of the big goals that we had been working on for a number of years including (H1) Hydrogen Line mapping, Tropospheric scatter communications, Pulsar detection, and EME. Now that we have those accomplishments and can replicate them at will, we should look ahead and decide what we do next. Everyone should think of a radio astronomy or organization project that they think would be doable and important and get those into a list that we can review and go after with some more detailed plans. The main categories of interest would be:
    a. New observation initiatives
    b. Ham Radio capabilities, contesting and special events
    c. On site open house for Aug 2021
    d. Continued Infrastructure upgrade and maintenance.
    e. Instrument and electronics upgrade and additions.
    f. Scientific discovery, theory testing, and publication.
    g. Educational programs and events for members and students.
    h. Public outreach and member recruitment
  11. There is an upcoming Schriever STEM Day on April 23rd from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. This may be an opportunity to gain some new members and is an excellent outreach opportunity if we can get an invitation. Gary will check into it to see if we can get an invitation.
  12. Dr. Rich Russel’s Science presentation with Ted Cline’s graphical conversion and analysis of SpectraCyber data from Rich’s 9 ft backyard dish. Click on to view. Watch the meeting video for discussion.
    DSES Science Meeting 3-22-2021.pdf:
    http://dses.science/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/DSES-Science-Meeting-3-22-2021.pdf
    End of meeting

ARRL 2020 EME Contest Results

Reported by Gary Agranat WA2JQZ.

DSES participated in the ARRL Earth-Moon-Earth (EME) moon bounce contest last autumn. The contest was spread over 3 weekends. We participated in the weekend segments of October 10-11 and November 28-29. The ARRL has now posted the contest results.

We operated solely the 23 cm (1296 MHz band) with our 60-foot dish antenna. We used CW Morse Code and SSB Phone on the first weekend, and CW and Digital JT65 on the second weekend. We made 50 contacts over the two weekends. However, for contest scoring, stations we contact again over both weekends only count once. Therefore for scoring, we were credited with 36 contacts. Our team consisted of several operators: AA0L, KL7YY, WA2JQZ, and KC0HPN. Glen Davis also was crucial for adjusting our antenna pointing system and ensuring we were operational. (WD0CUJ and Michael Namieka also came out, and made a moon bounce test transmission, but didn’t make contest contacts.) And so we submitted our contest log in the All Mode, Multioperator, 1.2 GHz category, with our call sign K0PRT. Worldwide we came in 4th place in this category.

ARRL posted the results on this PDF file. EME-2020-FinalQSTResults.pdf (arrl.org). They also have an interactive page, Contest Scores (arrl.org).

In addition, we were contacted last month by Rick Rosen, K1DS. He wrote an article for QST about the 2020 ARRL EME contest, and he included dedicated segment of the article just for DSES. The article is here: 2020 EME Contest – Final Results – Version 1.1 (arrl.org)

Our posts about our participation in the contest:

Our 1st DSES Earth-Moon-Earth (EME) Moon Bounce Communications – Deep Space Exploration Society

DSES Succeeds in our 2nd EME Moonbounce Communications Competition – Deep Space Exploration Society