Video of the August 21, 2017 Great American Total Solar Eclipse, from Lusk, Wyoming

The following video and text were posted by Bill Miller, DSES Secretary. Click the link to watch the 7 minute video. Bill traveled to Lusk, Wyoming to watch the the recent total solar eclipse. – Gary WA2JQZ

In this video of the August 21, 2017 Great American Total Solar Eclipse, shot on Main Street in Lusk, Wyoming, I used a Canon EOS Rebel T3 DSLR in manual focus and automatic exposure with a 250mm f/6.3 lens mounted on a non tracking tripod and a low cost 3 inch Celestron solar film filter suspended on a makeshift mount in front of the lens.  Most of the stills came in around 1/320 sec at ISO-1600 with the filter.  This worked reasonably well for the gusting wind that buffeted the filter and camera.

The first part of the video is a sequence of the partial eclipse leading up to the totality with a frame shot manually every 1.5 minutes and the camera repositioned every 6 to 8 frames to show the progression and movement of the sun and moon across the sky. The same was done for the partial phase after the totality.  The two small dots to the left of the partially eclipsed sun are not stars but dead pixels in the camera which I didn’t realize were there until now.

The camera was changed to movie mode leading into the totality phase and the background audio captures the comments and excitement, we and some of the people around us experienced.  Shortly after the “diamond ring” appeared at the onset of totality the solar filter was swung out of the way and the camera automatically adjusted movie exposure settings for direct unfiltered viewing of the totality.  During the totality, planets and stars were visible and the movie captured Mercury, (what I originally called out as Venus) just to the lower left of the eclipsed sun.

When the “diamond ring” reappeared the solar filter was swung back into place to protect the camera imager.  After a few minutes of post totality commentary from the bystanders the camera was returned to still mode and the outgoing partial eclipse sequence was again recorded in stills.  The pre and post partial eclipse still images were added to the totality movie to edit the complete video.

Lessons learned:  This technique was simple and worked reasonably well while allowing us to concentrate on experiencing the eclipse without having to worry too much about the camera, but If I could do it again with much more practice and gear I would:

  1. Use multiple cameras to capture the surrounding scene and darkness during the eclipse and a dedicated wide angle time-lapse camera for a wall framing shot.
  2. Use a time-lapse Intervalometer to precisely time the partial eclipse still shot sequence and also help stabilize the camera without touching it.
  3. Mount the camera on a tracking telescope mount set up for solar tracking so the sun stays centered in the frame for the entire 3 hour event.
  4. Use a much sturdier tripod such as that of my telescope and seek a sheltered location out of the wind on the side of a building to improve camera stability and comfort for the 3 hour event.
  5. Use a better solar filter or find a way to shield out ambient light leakage to the camera to reduce the aura or glare captured around the partial eclipsed sun, though some of this aura may have been due to smoke in the atmosphere from western wildfires.

I hope you enjoy this little 7 minute movie. Best Regards,

Bill Miller,  DSES Secretary

Video download: http://dses.science/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/2017-08-21-Total-Eclipse-Movie-Final-LR.wmv

Deep Space Exploration Society (DSES) SuperSID station measures the August 20, 2017 Solar Eclipse!

Deep Space Exploration Society (DSES) SuperSID station measures the August 20, 2017 Solar Eclipse!

[ http://dses.science/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Eclipse-SuperSID-Results.pdf ]

DSES President Dr. Richard Russel has been measuring signal strengths 0f stations in the Very Low Frequency (VLF) band for the past year, looking for changes in ionospheric propagation due to solar flares. He uses a Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance (SID) monitor small radio telescope.  His SID detector is located in Colorado Springs, CO. The measurements are sensitive to the changes in radio propagation at sunrise and sunset.

With his baseline of historical data at sunrise and sunset, he then predicted what could be expected during the August 20, 2017 solar eclipse. He presented his prediction work at the 2017 Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers Annual Conference at NRAO Greenbank, WV on July 25, 2017. His paper was titled, “Ionospheric Reflection Variation During Sunrise and Sunset and Predictions for the 2017 Total Eclipse”.

During the eclipse he made measurements, and found the results matched closely with his predictions. The link presents a summary of his work. Plus it has YouTube links to this and another of his talks at the SARA conference. The second talk is titled, The Use of Monte-Carlo Analysis to Evaluate Radio Astronomy Source Detection”.

Also see this Daily Mail article, NASA Scientists to Study the Ionosphere During the Eclipse (August 10, 2017).

Photos from our site work trip July 23, 2017

These are photos taken during our work trip the Plishner radio telescope site on Sunday July 23, 2017. – Gary WA2JQZ

 

 

 

 

 

Ray Uberecken AA0L and Steve Plock KL7IZW reinstalled Ray’s 3-band antenna feed at the focus of the 60-foot dish. Bill Miller KC0FHN and Gary Agranat WA2JQZ  helped from the ground.

 

 

 

An all-day project today was the rebuilding of the “Radio Jove” phased dipole antenna. The first version had been constructed with PVC pipe masts, but that was collapsing. Dave Molter AD0QD redesigned a new antenna support system, using surplus stainless steel pipes, and adding springs and pulleys. Last autumn the bases for the poles had been already set with concrete. Today most of the team helped rebuild the antenna at one time or another. The placement of the structural support ropes was carefully rethought. Floyd Glick WD0CUJ fastened all the knots.  Here is the result.  This antenna system is used to monitor radio pulses emitted from Jupiter and its moon Io at 20 MHz.  These pulses are among the strongest astronomical signals observable.

 

Ed Corn KC0TBE contributed with much facilities work. Here he is installing a small solar panel to charge the 12 volt batteries at the generator.  With him is Floyd Glick WD0CUJ.

 

Ed Johnson AD5MQ walked around the 60 foot antenna with a UHF signal source.
Inside the communications trailer, Ray Uberecken AA0L monitored how the signal was received.
Ed Johnson AD5MQ
Ed Johnson AD5MQ
Bill Miller KC0FHN constructed a ventilation fan to the side of the communications trailer. The fan is self-powered by a solar electric panel. Its purpose is to help exhaust the hot air that builds up in the trailer during the summer season. It turns on automatically whenever the sun is out. Bill first cut a wood mounting frame to place on a window opening, to mount the fan.
Bill KC0FHN installing the fan at the side of the trailer.
Bill KC0FHN installing the fan at the side of the trailer.
Ed KC0TBE meanwhile installed a new air filter for the trailer, to help the air flow for Bill’s vent fan.
Inside view of the new trailer ventilator fan.
The new small solar panel on the roof is to power the ventilator fan.
The ventilator fan, installed by the end of the day.

 

The propane fuel tank for our generator.
Our generator shack.

 

 

 

July 10, 2017 Technical Planning Meeting Minutes

Link to minutes: 2017-07-10 DSES Technical Planning Meeting Minutes

 *  *  *

Dear DSES members and interested parties,

Attached are the July 10th DSES technical meeting minutes. Please review.
In the future we will post these and past and future minutes on the http://dses.science/ website.

July and August are very busy months for the DSES. Here is a summary of the activities. This is a great time to get involved. Here is a summary of the upcoming activities in the next two months from the website. These and other work is elaborated in the attached meeting minutes.

*** DSES Annual Astronomy Open House at Plishner ***
Friday August 11, 5-12 PM, and Saturday August 12, 2017.

Work trip to Plishner radio telescope site in Haswell scheduled Sunday July 23, 2017: Install antenna feed, install antenna readout/control, finish propane tank work, re-connect internet hotspot, test harmonic generator source, battery swap, repair Jupiter science antenna.

QSO Party: Saturday September 3, 2017 – We plan to operate our ham radio station at the radio telescope site for the Colorado QSO Party

Dr. Richard Russell AC0UB will present a paper on “Ionospheric Reflection” at the 2017 Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers Annual Conference at NRAO Greenbank, WV. Dates: July 23 – 26, 2017.

Ray Uberbecken AA0L will present at the 2017 Central States VHF Society Conference in Albuquerque, NM. Conference dates: July 27 – 30, 2017. Ray’s topic is about an original engineering design and technique he developed, “Using High Power FM stations to Monitor Meteor Activity Utilizing the 19-kHz Pilot Carrier”. This approach to Meteor Scatter can take the place of using broadcast analog TV signals, which now are mostly gone.

Regards,
Bill Miller KC0FHN
DSES Secretary

 

DSES Plishner Work Trip Report July-02-2017

The following report was provided by Ed Corn and Steve Plock.  Special thanks to Gary Agranat for providing the pictures.

Myron Babcock
DSES Treasurer

 

 

Greetings all:

This is a summary of our trip to Plishner Sunday 7-2-2017. Steve, Dave, Bill,  Gary and my self made a very successful trip with a few exceptions.

Dave, Bill and Gary worked on the tumble weeds, cleaning all out of the ramp. I am positive they combined lost a bunch of weight (sweat down their backs) It was a bit warm. We all were involved in installing the chain link and construction safety fence around the perimeter of the ramp. We had enough fencing to do about ¾ of the perimeter. The rest will be completed the next trip down. This should take care of about 95% of the tumble weed problem.

Steve and I went to the comm. Trailer and re established the bunker battery monitor line. We discovered that Myron’s Hot Spot adapter has quit functioning. (DOA) I will get the unit back to Myron for exchange with his carrier. We need an agenda Item at the next engineering meeting to discuss the failure and preventative measures to prevent future failures.

Steve and I went to the generator tank and changed the wet leg valve. The excess flow check valve did check lock as designed so we did not have to depressurize the tank.

I corrected the wiring on the start/stop remote stations for the generator and Steve went to the bunker to help with the fencing.

After lunch we removed the feed and controller for the dish and Dave will deliver to Ray for modification.

I know I have forgotten some things the rest will have to fill in.

On the trip back Dave had a slow leak in a tire. Bill got him aired up and headed west. Steve and I headed home in my pick up. Just before Punkin Center I ran out of propane and switched fuels too late. This disabled my vehicle. So we put Steve in Bills van for the trip back to Ellicott and I called a favor from a friend who came down and recovered me. As of this writing the pick up is back on the road. Just too long of a day to make repairs on the road.

Submitted

Ed KC0TBE

* *

Steve Added:

Myself and Dave Molter removed the multiband feed from the dish and Dave Molter delivered it to Ray’s house along with the feed control panel which I removed from the comm trailer.

The original station clock has been put back near operating position in comm trailer. Bill Miller inflated tires on bunker transport wagon. I removed the hotspot from the comm. trailer and when Myron is given a replacement from his wireless provider I recommend that we re-install it in the bunker because there is a much better environmental conditions for it to operate. The main valve on the 1000 gal tank was successfully replaced by myself and Ed Corn and tank can be filled after leak test is performed. Ed will contact Haswell Propane this week to arrange pressure test and fill. Please distribute.

Thanks, Steve KL7IZW

* *

Bill added:

Additionally Steve and Ed loaded some of the old excess test gear and servers from the bunker onto Ed’s truck and sold them at the PPRAA ham fest the following Saturday. Bill brought back another one of the bad 6 volt deep cycle battery cores and will get the other from Ed to turn in for credit for two new batteries for the battery room on the comm. trailer.

Bill KC0FHN

 

The spiral staircase we constructed for the bunker, as a secondary/emergency exit, now being painted.

 

DSES Plishner Work trip report May-28-2017

Originally posted by Myron Babcock, DSES Treasurer, June 2, 2017.

Special Thanks to Ray Uberecken, AA0L, for providing this detailed report. Thanks to Gary Agranat, WA2JQZ, for providing the photographs.

Sunday’s work trip to Plishner was to say the least ‘very productive’.

Ed Corn replaced the spark plugs in the generator and it fired up and ran great all day.

Michael worked in the bunker cleaning it up some and provided a great lunch.  Thanks Gail, the salad and cobbler were perfect.

Ray and Ed Johnson tested a new position readout and controller and after fixing a few errors on Ray’s part it worked great.  The controller part is not complete yet but that is being worked on now.

Ray and Floyd installed the 1/4 wave shorted stub at the feed and replaced the 1420 preamp.  We didn’t have to remove the feed to fix it.

 

Floyd took the six metre antenna down and tightened the reflector element and then put it back up.

 

Rich and Ed J. worked on the computer installing the readout software that Ed J. wrote and worked on improvements for the future needs along with Bill.

Ray and Rich got the Spectracyber set up and running.

Bill and Ed C. worked on replacing batteries in the shed and fixing a few issues.

Ed C. finished the welding on the steps of the spiral staircase.  I think the stairs are ready for scraping and painting.

Bill took video with his drone for inclusion in the package to send to the Plishners.

Gary organized the ham shack and managed to work a few contacts.

I probably forgot a few other projects but needless to say it was a good day.

ARRL DX CW contest – 2017 February 18

 Posted February 26, 2017, updated March 2.

Last weekend, while we were working on the radio telescope (reinstalling the antenna feed at the focus), we also spent a few hours participating in the ARRL DX CW contest.  This is an annual ham radio contest sponsored by the ARRL, done in two parts. In February (this month) is the contest for using Morse Code (CW). In March is the contest for using voice.  The goal is for hams in the continental U.S. and Canada to contact hams everywhere else, and vice versa.  We used our ham radio station at the site, which includes a 100 watt transceiver, an antenna tuner, and a folded dipole suspended above the communications trailer.  For sending code we used just a straight traditional key.

We succeeded in making 27 contacts with 18 overseas DX locations. These are the places we contacted:

Antigua & Barbuda
Argentina
Aruba
Bonaire
Brazil
Cape Verde
Cayman Island
Chile
Columbia
Costa Rica
Hawaii
Jamaica
Montserrat
Tonga
Turks & Caicos Islands
Uruguay
U.S. Virgin Islands
Venezuela

A31MM in Tonga was a nice surprise, and was our longest-distance contact, at 6600 miles.  Tonga is in the western Pacific, north of New Zealand. That and D4C in Cape Verde (about 4500 miles distance) took some patience and skill, but they were worth the effort as those are not common DX to work.

We mostly used the 15-meter band, which had good propagation openings to the Caribbean and across the equator. If you look on a globe or world map, Tonga and Cape Verde are across the equator from Colorado. That suggests we benefitted from Trans Equatorial Propagation (TEP).  We managed to hear one station in Europe, in Poland, but couldn’t make the contact.  20 meters was heavily crowded with domestic stations (which we couldn’t contact in this contest), and so we didn’t use that band much.  The 10-meter band was open enough that we made our Chile contact there.  On Log Book of the World, which we need for the DXCC award, we received so far 12 confirmations:

Argentina LU4EG
Aruba P40R
Bonaire PJ4X
Brazil PP5NY
Cape Verde D4C
Costa Rica TI5W
Hawaii KH6LC, WH7W
Tonga A31MM
Turks & Caicos Islands VP5K
Uruguay CW5W
U.S. Virgin Islands KP2M
Venezuela YV5OIE

I expect most 0f the rest of our contacts will confirm on Log Book of the World in the near future, as this sort of contest is commonly used to achieve credits toward DXCC.

We also started to receive confirmations on eQSL as well. See the accompanying card images bel0w.

These contests are generally fun and good learning experiences. We can participate in more in the future.  I will be happy to help anyone in the group take part while we are at the site.  Contests can help develop good ham skills – including developing good operator practices and learning first-hand how propagation can change during the day across the bands. You can be at any experience level, including beginner.  With some experience, you may find yourself developing some strategies.  Contests also can be fun geography lessons.  You can contact hams in so many different places, including places you didn’t know about.

73, Gary WA2JQZ

YV5OIE Venezuela

Preliminary Baseline 420 MHZ Celestial Drift Scan Survey, December 2016

Here is my fist shot at a survey! A lot of things I can fix for next survey, planned for after Christmas.

1) Will have a 15dB preamp installed on mast
2) Will raise frequency to midrange of antenna sweet spot (435 MHz)
3) Will do a better alignment of antenna

This was fun!!!!!!

Rich

Dr. Rich Russel
drrichrussel@netscape.net

Link to Preliminary Baseline 420 MHZ Celestial Drift Scan Survey, December 2016: 420-mhz-drift-scan-survey-rev-4