This is a look back at our Second Annual Astronomy Open House at our Plishner radio telescope site, written by club Secretary Bill Miller. Includes many photos, in pdf format.
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.
I set up our eQSL account and created an eQSL card for us. I then uploaded our log file from our weekend QSOs. I attached an example of our eQSL that goes out to our contacts. (In this case it is to Myron, who gave me a call from his radio.) We had 86 QSOs. 9 eQSLs from the weekend were already waiting for us in the eQSL inbox.
I will attempt to set up an ARRL Logbook of the World account for us this week. And when I have a chance I will provide an update to Steve for the QRZ page, now that our weekend activity completed.
Also when I get a chance, I’ll email my photos from the weekend to Bill.
DSES will conduct its first open house this weekend, Friday, August 12 and Saturday August 13, starting at 5 PM on Friday. The Perseids Meteor Shower event should be at its peak this weekend (after midnight) with an estimated 200 to 300 meteor’s per hour.
We should have several optical telescopes on site for viewing of the skies. We will have radio equipment on site for all our working science projects. A ham radio station using the new DSES club call sign K0PRT (Plishner Radio Telescope), will be on the air on several High Frequency radio bands. We also hope to have an amateur radio Oscar satellite station working as well. Our big project for this weekend will focus on installing the new tri-band dish feed. If all goes well with this installation we hope to bounce a 1.2 Ghz radio signal off the moon and be able to hear our echo 3 seconds later.
For those who may want to spend the night, please bring your own sleeping needs. We should have floor space in the bunker for your cot/bed. WE DO NOT recommend sleeping on the floor in the bunker at this time. We have lots of parking space for RV’s, trailers, or trucks/cars. We will start grilling hot dogs around 6PM Friday. Be prepared for hot temps during the day and thunderstorms, rain, wind and maybe hail during late afternoon or evening. Mud boots may be nice to have if it rains.
The Plishner site is located at 9301 County Road 20, Haswell, CO or 4.8 miles south of the town of Haswell, CO.
Call me if you need directions or further information on this weekend’s events. Hope to see you there!!
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