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
Cape Verde
Cayman Island
Costa Rica
Turks & Caicos Islands
U.S. Virgin Islands

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!!!!!!


Dr. Rich Russel

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

New Milky Way H Map – Incredible Detail

Sky & Telescope has a short, illustrated news item today about high resolution 1H (atomic hydrogen) observations of our galaxy from Australia and Germany. It includes a video showing how the view changes with wavelength due to Doppler shift. I thought this would be good to share; this is what we’ll be looking for with the HI drift scans.

Astronomers Map Millky Way in Incredible Detail – Sky & Telescope

Read the Sky & Telescope article.

Science Update 9-3-16

Radio Jove and SuperSID Data and Analysis Reports

Attached are the August reports for the Radio Jove, located at Plishner, and the SuperSID, which is located at my house.

1) The Radio Jove observing season is closing down with only an hour of observing time a day after sunset. We did get a couple of probable hits.

2) SuperSID did detect an M1.3 flare on 8 August. I also conducted a comparison of the Radio Jove results and the SuperSID results. I found no significant correlation between the two telescopes. The lightning storms this month also affected both telescopes by adding a lot of spurious signals.

I have been in contact with the Radio Jove NASA coordinator. He likes what we are doing and has provided information to improve our Radio Jove system.

DSES SuperSID Results August 2016
DSES Plishner Radio Jove Results August 2016

Dr. Rich Russel
DSES VP and Science Coordinator

DSES Perseid Meteor Shower Open House

Deep Space Exploration Society

Perseid Meteor Shower Expedition 2016

DSES conducted its first open house on Friday, August 12, in conjunction with the Perseid Meteor Shower. We had 11 DSES members and over 20 guests spend the evening looking at Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and the Moon through telescopes while watching for meteors at the Plishner Radio Astronomy and Space Science Center in Haswell, CO.

We had five optical telescopes on site for viewing of the skies as well as lectures from 2 Pikes Peak Community College astronomy instructors who provided instruction on the use of the various telescopes present.

We had a few glitches such as the mice eating the wiring in the generator controller which shut down the main source of power for the site. However, thanks to some quick calls, Dave and Bill were able to get a generator shipped down to the site. This generator powered the site for the next two days while Ed worked out how to fix the primary generator regulator.

Special recognition for Don and Adam who traveled 4 hours to attend the event. They also spent many hours clearing the bunker ramp of tumbleweeds.

We had four or five optical telescopes set up for everyone’s viewing pleasure and some of the local community came out for an impromptu start party. Everyone had an educational and great social time together.

Kevin Ahrens and several other photographers came down and shot some amazing photos and time-laps videos of the storms rolling in.


Gary Agranat organized and manned a special events Ham station and collected 86 contacts on several different bands during the event.  This was the first major use of the DSES new Club Station call sign, k0prt (prt stands for Plishner Radio Telescope). New QSL card were made by Kammie Russel, the daughter of a DSES member.


Much progress was made in outfitting the dish and getting control set up.


Many members stayed overnight at Diane’s Park which is under the 60 foot dish.



Ray and Floyd prepared a 6 meter antenna for the meteor detection radio telescope. The communications van was outfitted with extra antennas for 6 meter ham radio plus UHF and VHF amateur satellite communications. The van also has a 6 meter to 180 meter dipole for HF communications.


Bob counted sunspots and solar prominences using the solar telescope lent to DSES for this event by Pikes Peak Community College. A star party with multiple optical telescopes was a big hit while watching for meteors.


Myron set up an AMSAT communications system in the communications van.


The neutral hydrogen experiment was installed using the SpectraCyber system. The dish was moved to accommodate the new advanced feed built by Ray. The feed will be permanently mounted on the dish in the next couple of week. This will allow for UHF, VHF, 1296 MHz Earth-Moon-Earth  (moon-bounce) and 1420 MHz neutral Hydrogen radio astronomy.




The next expedition will involve using the new antenna feed system for the ARRL Moon Bounce contest in the October time frame as well as the first use of the primary dish for the neutral hydrogen radio astronomy experiments.