The next trip to the Plishner site will be this Saturday, July 30, 2016. Folks wishing to join in this trip should be at the Ellicott Fire Station by 8AM. Ed Corn, Steve Plock, Rich Russel, Gary Agranat, Bill Miller and Myron Babcock are planning on making this trip. If you are going and want to add your name to the list, please email me.
The annual Kiowa County, Eads, Colorado Main Street Bash is this Saturday, July 30, 2016 from 5PM to Midnight. DSES is listed once again as one of the vendors that will be present. Michael Lowe will have a display table with lots of DSES information. Michael Lowe would like to have other DSES members join him. Call Michael, at 719-337-2112 if you can make the trip.
During the weekend of the August Perseid meteor showers, August 12 & 13, 2016, DSES will be having an open house for the purpose of educating DSES members and non-members in our current ongoing science projects. We also hope to bounce a 1296 Mhz signal off the moon and hear our echo. If all goes well with that we hope to make a few contacts with other amateur radio stations around the country or world. A few members will be going to the site on Thursday, August 11 and staying through Sunday, August 14. We also hope to have several optical telescopes available for all to use during the dark evening skies. More details to follow.
David Molter and Steve Plock went to the Plishner site on July 4th to work on the Radio Jove antenna and to measure the length of the Azimuth data cable. They report:
When we first entered the bunker, the lights did not come on. We found the batteries sitting at 11.6 volts and the inverter cut off because of low battery voltage. There was standing water in the bunker up to 2 inches deep. The charge controller showed zero amps of current. We went out to the Solar array and saw that the solar panel wiring was disconnected from the feedline. The wire nut showed evidence of arcing and the insulation was burnt back on the feedline. We stripped the wires back and put on a new wire nut. Note: this connection needs to be in a weatherproof box.
We saw that the reconnected charge controller was reading 11 amps. We reset the inverter and it kicked off in 10 seconds. We looked into the inside sump and saw it was full. We unplugged the sump pump and the inverter stayed up when reset.
We checked the outside sump pump and heard it running. There was no water coming out of the discharge, so we unplugged the outside sump pump. After a couple of minutes of scooping water off the floor, we plugged-in the inside sump pump, which pumped the sump down and stopped.
We opened the cover to the outside sump and found it full of water. The pump would run but no water showed at the discharge outlet. We jury rigged the spare sump pump and got 2 feet of water out of the outside sump before the inverter kicked off because of too low battery voltage. We did not have enough battery power to: (1) vacuum up the standing water in the bunker, or (2) get enough water out of the outside sump to figure out why the pump will not empty the sump. We suspect that the hose came off the pump outlet.
We measured the Azimuth data cable. We also drove in the last pipe for the radio Jove antenna, but we did not pour cement around the post. The outside sump cover is not completely covering the sump. The spare sump pump is still in the outside sump, jury rigged to a hose.
The outside sump needs to be pumped out and the regular pump recovered and fixed. The bunker needs to be emptied of water.
Submitted by Dave and Steve, edited by Dan Martin.
DSES will have its first major observing expedition at the Plishner site on 12 – 13 August in conjunction with the Perseid Meteor Shower.
The following radio telescopes will be set up for observing:
1) Hydrogen – on 60 ft dish using Ray’s new feed
2) Radio Jove
3) Meteor Scatter
5) Itty Bitty Telescope
Also a number of optical telescopes will be set up to watch the meteor shower + planet and star observations.
We are also trying to get a solar telescope to do some daytime observations.
Ham radio operators will use the new DSES Club call sign, K0PRT, to make radio contacts. We will have HF antennas plus SHF, UHF, and VHF using the 60 ft dish available.
The setup team will arrive about 1200 on the 12th and start observations around 1700 and throughout the night. Observers should bring thumb drives and observer journals.
Anyone participating should bring sleeping gear and food for the overnight event. The clearing next to the communications van will be available for camping or campers. Recommend anyone sleeping in the bunker bring a cot and sleeping bag.
The event will end at 1600 on 13 August.
Please RSVP to Rich Russel.
Dr. Rich Russel
Here is a Science Update on setting up Radio-Skypipe for your radio telescope data logging.
DSES Science Update 6-6-16
Feel free to contact me for help in setting up your radio telescopes.
Dr. Rich Russel
The Radio Jove system picked up lightning strikes very clearly on 20.1 MHz during the storm that passed through Colorado Springs on 29 May 2016, as evidenced by Figure 1. The second jpeg, Figure 2, is zoomed-in showing what lighting looks like on the strip chart.
As you can see, it is important to recognize if your radio telescope is detecting Jupiter or lightning.
Figure 1. Radio Jove data record of 5-29-16
Figure 2. Detail of Lighting data 5-29-16
Dr. Rich Russel
A group of 12 visitors from the Hammn’ Sams RV club visited the site Saturday afternoon. This group, all amateur radio operators, traveled 35 miles north from their weekend campout at the John Martin Reservoir camp ground on the Arkansas River to make this visit. Myron and Bob Sayers, members of this RV group, made this invitation. Dr. Richard Russel provided an impromptu briefing to the visitors and, without going up into the dish, Steve Plock helped 3 members view the dish pedestal.
PDF containing images at link immediately below:
Hammn’ Sams RV Club May-21-2016 Visit to Plishner
The following Plishner weekend update was provided by Steve Plock.
Strong winds and high humidity conditions created a pretty chilly and challenging work day for Ed Corn and Steve Plock at the Plishner site this past Saturday, May 14. Thanks to Skip MacCaulay from Lacombe, Alberta for his donation of a DC-to-AC inverter that Ed installed as the primary, along with another inverter donated by Ray that Ed installed as a backup.
An Anderson Power Pole distribution unit was also installed in the communications trailer. Light fixture attachment points were installed in the upper pedestal so that future lighting can be installed. The voltage regulator circuit board for the propane generator was remoted to the North wall of the generator shed and the connecting wires were placed in conduit. Hopefully, this placement will eliminate or reduce the heat build-up and vibration at the regulator board compared to when it was mounted on the generator.
A hole was cut in the plywood of the eastern (bunker) end of the generator shed and a louver panel installed. There is now a substantial air flow created inside the shed with the louvers open and the generator door closed. Generator oil was changed on a prior visit and the 1000 gallon propane tank is now at 30%. The tank main shut off/on valve will be repaired before adding more propane to the tank.
Thanks to Ed Corn and Steve Plock for their time spent at the Plishner site this past weekend.
Results of the Radio Jove telescope at using the Plishner receiver from February to April 2016.
1) The damaged (eaten) antenna appears to have limited the Jupiter observations, however there is significant solar data.
2) The Data ends on 6 April due to the DC-AC inverter failure at the site.
3) We rebuilt the antenna on the 23 April trip. We will reinstall the receiver and the laptop on the next trip when we get the new inverter.
4) The data for all telescopes is being stored if anyone would like to use it.
I am currently analyzing the Meteor Scatter data from the Lyrid Meteor shower. Thanks to Ed Corn for setting up his system for meteor scatter.
Meteor Scatter Observations
Meteor showers happen when Earth’s orbit crosses the orbit of a comet or asteroid. The bits of dust and material remain after the comet or asteroid passes and the resultant meteor shower is a result of these particles entering Earth’s atmosphere.
The meteor leaves an ionized trail of material in the atmosphere that is highly reflective to a radio signal. An available ground based radio signal is the analog video television channel signal at 55.25 MHZ. The U.S. no longer broadcasts this frequency since the country went to digital television. However, it appears that there are a few signals being broadcast from Canada and Mexico.
- Receiver at 55.25 MHZ
- Antenna ( dipole or yagi at this frequency)
- Computer (Windows operating system with microphone or other audi input)
- Software – Radio Skypipe http://www.radiosky.com/skypipeishere.html
- Audio jumper from radio audio out to computer microphone in
- The atmosphere normally does not reflect the 55.25MHz signal. When the meteor enters the atmosphere, the signal does reflect off the ionization trail and is reflected back toward the ground. The signal sounds like a bell tone when received.
- Using the Radio Skypipe software, the signal spikes in amplitude and then reduces in a “shark Fin” geometry. This is caused by the meteor ionization trail degrading and therefore the reflected signal reduces gradually.
Skypipe will also allow the operator to count the number of meteors during a period of time. The below chart shows the results from last years Leonid meteor shower.
||Asteroid 2003 EH1
Contact Dr. Rich Russel for more information on setting up your meteor scatter radio telescope.
Plishner Radio Jupiter Astronomy Observations
The first long term observations at Plishner are based on the radio Jupiter system. The system utilizes a 20 Mhz dual dipole interferometer phased at 90 degrees toward the south. This enables the antenna system to improve gain toward the ecliptic in which Jupiter transits.
The radio telescope system is installed on a laptop at Plishner and remotely accessed via the internet. Below is the output of the system. It includes real-time monitoring of the 20 Mhz signal and the battery voltage of the battery system.
Plishner Radio Astronomy Jupiter System
All data is archived and is available to DSES members for use in research.
Contact Dr. Rich Russel for more information on accessing the collected data.