DSES Science Meeting Nov 23, 2020

Welcome to the DSES Science meeting 11/23/2020

2020-11-23 DSES Science Meeting Notes, by Bill Miller

We had 16 participants in the virtual science meeting today:  Thanks everyone for joining.

Participants: Dr. Rich Russel,  Ray Uberecken, Lewis Putman, Bob Haggart, Don Latham, Floyd Glick, Gary Agranat, Glenn Davis, Jay Wilson, Jon Ayers, Lauren Libby, Myron Babcock, Robert Sayers, Ted Cline. Jerry Espada, Bill Miller

Agenda and notes;

Also see the Zoom Video Recording for more detail:


Agenda and notes:

  1. Myron’s Treasure’s Report Checking $1774.28. Savings $5742.15. We have 49 paid members.
  2. Science Fair: 
    • Bill spoke with Carol Bach the coordinator,  she replied, “The Pikes Peak Regional Science and Engineering Fair will be held virtually on February 20, 2021.  We are hoping that the Deep Space Exploration Society will again sponsor a special award or awards at the fair.  In addition, we are hoping you or another member of your group will consider being a special awards judge.  We will send you a code to unlock a showcase with digital displays that you can view.  Virtual judging will take place between February 18-20, 2021.”
    • Bill to send board DSES Special awards criteria for approval.
    • “Please respond by December 2, 2020 to this email and confirm that your organization is planning to participate. Also, please let us know the name and contact email for future communications.”
  3. Planet Walk:
    • Bill will write an endorsement letter and have the DSES Board modify and approve for Planet Walk Colorado Springs. See https://www.planetwalkcs.org/
  4. Arecibo Failure:
    • See Bob Haggard’s repost on the Arecibo Radio Telescope status.
  5. Rich presented the DSES Science part of the Meeting:  See all notes in the DSES Science Meeting Power Point. http://dses.science/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/DSES-Science-Meeting-11-23-20.pdf
  6. Ray
    • Problem with the 1296 feed last trip.  Took down the Feed amplifier and found that the unit was stuck in the transmit configuration again due to a failed FET in the Relay driver.  Fixed this and added more gate protection circuitry to solve the problem. 
    • Also had a bad diode and a bad cable that had to be corrected.
    • The FT-736R Keyer connection failed on last trip but Ray fixed it.
    • Tried CW EME but couldn’t hear the echo.
    • Did receive Rays Home Based beacon bounced off Pikes Peak and verified pointing so the receiver chain is working.
  7. Gary Underground K0PRT  bunker station summary report.
    • FT8,  PSK Reporter website showed our station was received on 40 meters during afternoon in CA and TX.
    • 15M operation was hot
    • Our rare grid square (DM88) attracted many Japanese stations
    • Vertical working well on 15 and 40 meters. 10 meters was tried and at least had good SWR, but band was dead.
    • Yagi was also working well to Japan
    • PSK reporter showed good coverage on 15 meters all around the Pacific Rim.
    • See more in Rich’s slides above
  8. Glenn says that Phil is working on an elevation tracking update that will need some onsite testing when ready.
  9. Much discussion about the SDR receivers, GNU SW and the computer power needed to run them.  See the meeting recording for too much detail to capture here.

DSES Science Meeting, August 24, 2020

These are the slides from our online Science meeting, on August 24, 2020. The meeting was hosted by our DSES Science Lead, Rich Russel,


You can watch the video of our meeting:


2020 Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers Eastern Conference Videos

Videos of all of the presentations at the 2020 Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers Eastern Conference are now available online at the SARA website. The conference was held on August 1 & 2, 2020.

The SARA page is organized so that you can reach each presentation individually. The videos are carried on YouTube.


Nominally the Eastern Conference is held each year at the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia. This year the conference was carried completely online using Zoom. The coordinator for this conference was our own DSES Science Lead, Richard Russel. Over 93 SARA members participated, including several DSES members. DSES members Ray Uberecken, Skip Crilly, and Rich Russel gave talk presentations. Rich also was elected as Vice President of SARA.

2020-07-27 DSES Science Meeting Notes

Welcome to the July DSES Science meeting 7/27/2020

2020-07-27 DSES Science Meeting Notes:                                                            by Bill Miller

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

Participants: Dr. Rich Russel,  Ray Uberecken, Ted Cline, Jonathan Ayers, Ed Corn, Gary Agranat, Glenn Davis, Jim Madsen, Bob Haggart, Jon Richardson, Dave Schick, Don Latham, Tony Bigbee, Bill Miller

Agenda and notes; See the Zoom Recording for more detail: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/u50vfrXt12hJbKf341OCGbJmA8fIaaa80ylL-

  1. Discussion of needed policy on site installs and changes 
    1. We have had a number of site conflicts of late.  These have resulted in a lot of waisted installation and observation time and frustration as well as hard feelings between members and damage to the dish, and operations center.
    2. General Proposal:  I have often said that if you see something that needs improvement and you have the skill to do it, take it on and just do it.  We need to qualify that with a little more process. In order to improve the site, equipment and observation capability and move the organization forward we often need to make changes.  The Engineering meeting is where we coordinate and plan for these changes.  If not previously planned and you are on site and need to make a change to a significant system you must call the person who installed or last modified that system and discuss it with them prior to removing, modifying or replacing it. 
    3. Use the Engineering Meeting for what it was intended.
    4. Be considerate and helpful to each other.
    5. Communication and coordination of equipment changes should not be a problem and further conflicts will have to be dealt with.
    6. We will need to repair the damage.
    7. We all have a common goal to improve the facility and equipment.  Let’s not have these issues.  When in doubt, Ask.
  2. We will potentially have photographers on site Thursday or Saturday for comet picture opportunity.  Would like to have a member on site to give access and keep the photographers out of trouble. Any volunteers?
    1. Don Savage don.savage54 (at) gmail.com is coordinating 4 or 5 night sky photographers.
    2. We will have them sign a Liability Waver
  3. July-August Events:
    1. The SARA virtual Eastern Conference will be held on Saturday and Sunday the 1st and 2nd of August.   See the SARA web site for info and payment.
    2. Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) is currently in the constellation of Ursa Major. The current Right Ascension is 11h 45m 40s and the Declination is +36° 12’ 10”
    3. Additional pulsar observations. Please post planned dates and attendance
    4. Additional SETI Observations. Please post planned dates and attendance.
    5. Open house is cancelled for CoVid19, but we may do a small member camp out if some members would be interested in that.
    6. We will also assemble a virtual Open House presentation for various usage such as public outreach, education, fundraising and general interest.
    7. The Perseids will peak on Aug 11-12. On these nights, the moon will be 47% full.
    8. The next dark sky moon phase is Aug 13th through Aug 21.
  4. Glenn gave an overview of what was done recently on the System 1 Automatic Tracking HW and SW.  New features include:
    1. Automatic Tracking
    2. RA and Dec track automatically
    3. Az/El position command
    4. Track Moon Command
    5. Stow command

Tracking stayed within the bore site during the whole 5 hr. evening session.

Need to do more training, Glenn and his wife will go to the site tomorrow and draw up a training presentation and checklist.


  1.  Sun exclusion track but there is a pop up on the screen that you are in the sun exclusion area.
  2. It would be nice to have a Raster Scan capability to map Object Hi Emissions and to help pointing accuracy.
  3. Rich provided his presentation on Pulsar, Fast Radio Burst and other experiments and observation we can do.

5. Rich gave high praise and kudos to the System 1 team to get a very high quality tracking and control complete. Very clean system design and implementation from Glenn Davis, Lewis Putnam and Phil Gage.  Much praise.

Discussion/presentation on Pulsar and other science topics from Dr. Richard Russel

See the attached presentation: http://dses.science/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/DSES-Science-Meeting-7-27-20.pdf

See the Zoom recording for more detail.


2020-07-13 DSES Engineering and Ops Meeting Notes

Welcome to the July DSES Engineering and Ops meeting

2020-07-13 DSES Engineering and Ops Meeting Notes:                                                  by Bill Miller

We had x participants in the virtual engineering meeting today:  Thanks everyone for joining.

Participants: Dr. Rich Russel,  Wallace A. Ritchie (WU1Y, Deland, FL), Ray Uberecken, Ted Cline, Mike Otte, Tony Bigbee,  Bob Sayers, Jonathan Ayers, Fred Brandeberry, Ed Corn, Gary Agranat, Bob Haggart, Jon Richardson, Phil Gage, Don Latham, Bill Miller

Agenda and notes;

  1. Check In
  2. Latest Treasures Report from Myron Babcock.  The current checking is $1707.69;  Savings:  $5741.95.  
  3. Discussion of policy on site installs and changes.  Problems and conflicts.
    1. Communicate
    1. Engineering Meeting
    1. Discuss with Original Party
  4. Latest  observing trip summary
  • System 1 Status from Glenn Davis

Hi Bill,

I won’t be able to make it to this evening’s meeting; I have a late afternoon appointment. Anyway … I just wanted to give you some System 1 development status. Phil and I have completed software development for this version of the automatic tracking software. Phil has completed the software which allows the movement of the limit hardware. Lewis has completed integration of the automatic tracking hardware and has returned the hardware to me for some final testing (See Attached Photos). I’m currently testing the tracking software with the integrated hardware. I should have this finished by the end of the week. Lewis and my plans are to go down to Haswell sometime mid-week next week to check out the new hardware and software and to see if we can actually automatically track an object. We will be going down in separate cars and will be wearing masks when we’re working in the trailer. Our plans are to test the new system, then return the site to it’s original configuration. It should be exciting to see if the new System 1 hardware/software works …


Last site work trip summary.


Zoom Meeting Recording: Start Time : Jul 13, 2020 05:30 PM  My apologies for missing the first 10 minutes of the recording on Zoom.  The above notes cover that missing recording


Access Password: DSES_ENG_7/13/20

May 11, 2020 DSES Engineering and Operations Meeting Notes

by Bill Miller 5/11/2020

We had 17 participants in the virtual engineering meeting today:  Most ever! Thanks everyone for joining.

Participants: Dr. Rich Russel, Ray Uberecken, Myron Babcock, Ted Cline, Bob Sayers, Jonathan Ayers, Xander Duvall, Tony Bigbee, Ed Corn, Gary Agranat, Skip Crilly Don Latham, Glenn Davis, Floyd Glick, Matt Mathews, Bob Haggart, Bill Miller

Agenda and notes:

  1. Check in. How is everyone doing with the stay at home/safer at home situation.  Is anyone experienced or known someone experiencing the virus? Anything we can do for them?
    • We have had one core member contract and recover from the virus that we know of.
    • We cancelled in person meetings in March and went to virtual meetings to protect members.
  2. Myron’s Treasure’s update:
    • Checking $2440.40 
    • Savings $5741.85
    • Upcoming Insurance $290 to $310 
    • Board to approve reimburse to Steve for New Mexico mileage to set up the Ettus pulsar receiver with Joe Martin.
    • Membership
      1. 30 Voting members including 5 lifers  and 12 nonvoting. Myron checking with others as yet unpaid.
  3. Pulsar detection congratulations to Team and further work from Rich Russel
    • On the attempt on Feb 15th,  the gains were set too high and saturating the Ettus Research SDR receiver. Need to tune this front end gain into proper range for the input of the SDR.
    • Last Week on May 2, B0329 +54 pulsar got it on the fourth try for a ½ hour run with manual tracking.
    • This week on May 9 , got the B0329 +54 pulsar on 420Mhz+/-5 Mhz. which is the  second brightest pulsar and tried three others and didn’t see them.  All the others were low in the horizon. Joe Martin took 12 hours to get one of them at his site but the DSES team didn’t get any of the others yet.
    • Would like to be able to do the Crab Nebula Pulsar.
  4. Additional engineering needed for pulsar work.
    • Automatic tracking
    • Intermittent a/b switches on the encoders is causing a problem. Rich wants to take them out. Bill says they are not inherently intermittent but dirty.  Ray said that exercising them solved the immediate problem but if taking them out will improve the process, Bill’s OKAY with that.
    • Pulsar software used is Presto. Scott Ransom in Charlottesville is author and Skip can connect you if having issues or feedback.
    • Tony sites “Murmur SW is a predictive program to help set up for Pulsar observation.
    • Ray added 20dB amp in the comm trailer.  Steve has a preamp with better noise figure that can be added at the feed.
    • Each pulsar will take a minimum of about an hour of collection time.
    • Steve and Paul Berge need to reset the electric azimuth drive stops so that the system will track the circumpolar pulsars continuously without wrapping back around. Currently can only go 15 degrees past north and need to be set up for 90 degrees from north.
    • Tropospheric observations need a different stop.
    • Ray says the pulsars observed lately are circumpolar, near the north star so need to be able to go to the 90 degree mark on either side.  Paul Berge could do the adjustment on the limit switches.
    • Manual tracking  is boring and automatic tracking would be better. 
  5. Ray: Feed work and change out capability
    • Ray has another 1420 MHz feed that we would like to try
    • Steve located his electronics box in the same spot where Ray was planning for his box so need to reconcile this positioning with Steve.
    • Ray has a 1296 MHz feed available to do moon bounce and tropospheric scatter work.
    • Ray has installed rotating swivel joints in the coax.
    • The coaxes pull up through the center when moving the elevation to the horizon.  Currently the coax swivels are only a few feet below the tube and one broke when moving the elevation to 90 degrees so Ray will mitigate that with some extra flexible coax.
    • Skip asks about the bandwidth of the 1420 MHz feed.  Skip used 1390 – 1460 Mhz and this is the same specification  of the preamp that Ray used.
  6. SETI project with Skip. 
    • Skip will not be able to go to Greenbank with travel restrictions but will be able to do observation from his New Hampshire observatory. 
    • Skip’s dish is running 24/7 with 6 computers. Doing a lot of post processing of the data he is collecting.
    • Skip says there is no real urgency for simultaneous observations because of this and not to risk anything for his sake at this time.
  7. Tracking System 1 update;
    • System 1. Lewis Putman completed the HW design and will connect with Jones plug in the back of the rack. 
    • The control SW is updated, and Glenn will do some testing and give it to Lewis.
    • Glenn will set up a design review with Lewis, Dave, Bill and Ray to discuss the electrical interface plans.
  8. Summer site work?
    • Bunker bunk room.
    • AC up to feed point needs conduit
    • Water heater in the
    • Two 30 Amp 240 volt outlets in generator shed.
    • Top door for the doghouse. Need steel 32 inch door.
  9. Ham radio
    • Looks good
    • Need some cross bolts in the Yagi beam.
    • Addition antennas?
  10. Eastern SARA August Conference, August 2-5, 2020 Green Bank Observatory WV.
  11. Open House? 
    • Need to wait till late June for a decision on announcement due to uncertainty of the virus situation.
    • Gary and Bill will check for best calendar dates considering the Moon, other events and Ham activities.

Open Floor

  1. Bob Haggart, 
    • The back door of the trailer opened up a little crack and allowed the dirt to blow in.
    • Sealed up the AC units and other openings but must clean out the dirt.
    • The back air conditioner needs replacing. Bill has one he will donate.
    • The Heater was removed to make room for the back workbench
    • Bob working on the battery room as a storage room.  The tower inverter power is running off the railroad batteries in the comm. trailer so Bill doesn’t see any reason to replace the old wet cell batteries in the battery shack and we should recycle them.
  2. Gary Agranat
    • Gary has an upcoming MIT class reunion that has been moved to a virtual reunion. 
    • He has been asked by the class committee to make a class presentation on the Plishner Observatory and what we are doing in a Ted talk format.
    • This will be a great networking and familiarization opportunity with the 1985 MIT class.

Bill recorded the meeting on Zoom. It is in two parts, due to a gap in Internet coverage:

  1. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1ms0ngdjrrsehhk/AABn9w_NLjV8hEoB9VRas37_a/2020-05-11%20DSES%20Eng%20Meeting%20Zoom%20Part%201.mp4?dl=0
  2. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1ms0ngdjrrsehhk/AADRvLawoJnZl4RlvW90N6Ora/2020-05-11%20DSES%20Eng%20Meeting%20Zoom%20Part%202.mp4?dl=0