DSES was represented at the January NCARC Winterfest and February RMHAM The Swapfest by Paul NO0T and Bill WT0DX.
The Swapfest, held at the Adams County Fairgrounds, was a great event, with good attendance, a lot of equipment for sale and many interesting conversations about DSES with the attendees. We had a great location by the front door, so there was a lot of traffic coming by the booth. Myron KL7YY and Ray AAOL from DSES were also able to attend the hamfest. Paul picked up a pristine Icom 7300 for the DSES HF station at a bargain price!
See the following photos of the booth and general views of The Swapfest.
Bill Miller has provided the following report on Plishner site visits from Dec 2023 to Feb 2024. In this report he covers recent work on the new building as well as work performed on other site visits.
Every year the DSES holds an open house public event, where we provide tours of the facility and demonstrate what radio astronomy and Amateur radio are all about. This year, on September 16 we demonstrated EME (Earth Moon Earth) or moon bounce communication allowing folks to bounce their voice or radio signal off the moon using our 60 Ft radio dish antenna. This is a rare opportunity and thrill for children and adults alike, to hear their voice echo off the moon, traveling about 240,000 miles to the moon and back at the speed of light,186,000 miles per second. The echo returns in about two and a half seconds. Only a few private stations in the world can accomplish this because it takes a very large antenna and powerful transmitter for voice transmission to echo off the moon. In addition to hearing our own echoes, the EME station was able to contact other stations in Canada, Italy, England, and Germany as well as many other ham operators in the USA. We also gave tours of the new building and underground facilities and did solar and nighttime observations with optical telescopes. An astronomy presentation on Pulsars was held during the event. Throughout the day, we got a lot of great questions from the public about the site, and what we do there. There were about 75 people who attended the event.
The 60 Ft Diameter Radio Astronomy Dish Antenna stands 55 feet tall, weighs over 65 tons and is made of aluminum and steel. It can point in any direction at any elevation so is full hemispherical. The dish is so well balanced that it only takes 3HP motors to drive it from horizon to horizon in just a few minutes. The Facility and dish were built around 1959 and used to study high speed microwave communication at great distances in support of our northern defenses or DEW Line. In about 1973, when Satellite and fiberoptic communications took over, the facility was put up for government auction and sat unused for about 40 years. After some time, Paul Plishner, a prominent radio and microwave contractor, purchased the facility donated it to the DSES who have been working diligently to restore it since about 2009. The DSES has repurposed the dish and facility for Amateur Radio Astronomy and Ham Radio. So far, we have detected 24 Pulsars, mapped the Hydrogen radio Emissions of Milky Way Galaxy and done countless radio experiments. The facility is completing a new building as an operations and educational facility and has many new projects on the horizon.
When operating EME most people were awestruck, pondering the distance and speed. The children thought that it was really cool. As we explained the other things that we do, we dispelled some misunderstandings and enlightened visitors about our Kiowa County operation.
According to the FCC there are about 43 Ham Radio Operators in Kiowa County and many more in the surrounding counties. Several hams from those counties showed up for the event but we had members from the Front Range and as far away as Oregon and Arizona come in to help with the event. Almost everyone who wanted to was able to be a guest operator for the EME and many were given a tour and demonstration of the general-purpose ham radio station at the facility. During the open house day, many ham radio stations across the USA were contacted from our ham radio station K0PRT.
DSES holds this open house only once per year. However, the public can stop by whenever there is an official work party on site. The Deep Space Exploration Society site is open to scheduled visits from educational groups or other social groups wishing a tour and presentation on Radio Astronomy. Also, the general public can join the Deep Space Exploration Society by signing up for membership on our website at https://dses.science/ for a small membership fee, entitling them to all of our meetings and events onsite.
The Pork BBQ catered by the Michelle Nelson, the mayor of Haswell and her family, was definitely a hit with everyone. We asked for a donation to support the BBQ and raise money for the Haswell Community Center and 4H club.
Duncan WE7L hears his voice bounced off the moon:
Photo Credits: Marc Slover, Roger Oaky, Bill Miller and Bill Thomas
Bill WT0DX represented DSES at three recent ham radio events: The CSVHF Conference, the Rocky Mountain Division Convention and the Denver Radio Club Hamfest. In each case, a posterboard display was set up, site videos were displayed, and club brochures were handed out. The upcoming Open House was also promoted.
The annual CSVHF conference was held July 27-30 in Little Rock, AR. There were about 150 participants. The posterboard display was set up in the main meeting room and the Friday night swap room. In addition to talking about the club, several folks said they were interested in attending the Open House.
Rocky Mountain Division Convention
The Rocky Mountain Division Convention was held August 11-13 in Albuquerque, NM. They provided a free table for clubs in the swap meet area. There were about 400 attendees, and many interesting conversations. Unfortunately, many of the folks thought that the DSES site was too far away for an Open House visit.
Bill also had an opportunity to discuss DSES with David Minster NA2AA the CEO of ARRL. He was unaware of the club but found it very interesting.
Denver Radio Club Hamfest
The Denver Radio Club Hamfest was held on Sunday August 27th at the Adams County Fairgrounds. This is a well-attended hamfest and we had many good conversations about the club, with quite a bit of interest in the Open House. Also, Paul NO0T managed to secure a great donation to the club of several HF Yagi antennas.
An update on the progress of our DSES building project. Our DSES Vice President and Project Manager, Bill Miller, has spent many hours and has made many trips down to the Plishner Site near Haswell Colorado to make this project happen. After many delays, some due to COVID, in finding contractors for concrete, plumbing, and electrical as well as building manufacturers to provide a 60-foot by 30-foot structure, DSES has finally made some progress. We still have many hours of interior/exterior work and antenna towers to place before we can move our current operations from the existing communications trailer and the underground bunker. This future work will still require many trips and hours on site to complete these tasks. We hope our local Colorado DSES members will be able to provide some help in completing these projects. DSES will provide dates and times of these trips so members can plan their time at the Plishner Site. A big thank you to Bill Miller for taking on this project and to those other members who were able to assist him over the past few months.
Glenn Davis and Dan Layne made observations for pulsars at our Haswell antenna site this week, on Tuesday November 1, 2022. They successfully observed for the first time pulsar B1556 -44, making this the 23rd pulsar DSES has observed to date.
The PDF files in this post are their observation and data report, and an updated list of pulsars detected by DSES to date.
Photos courtesy of Glenn Davis. Text by Bill Miller.
On Friday afternoon October 14, 2022, we prepared the 60-foot dish antenna for the weekend’s Moonbounce communications operations in the ARRL EME contest.
Glen Davis updated the tracking software, checked the callibration of the mount and helped as ground crew and photographer. Meanwhile Ray Uberecken and Bill Miller climbed the scaffold and changed the feed from the 437 Mhz antenna to the 1296Mhz antenna. They also installed Ray’s 180 watt amplifier at the antenna feed point and checked the system reception from Ray’s Calhan residence beacon.
On Sunday October 2, 2022 Ray Uberecken, Dan Layne and Gary Agranat climbed on to the 60-foot dish antenna to measure the dish diameter, the distance from the dish center to the feed, and the bore alignment. This verified the original geometry specifications continue to be valid to at least within a quarter of an inch.
The original plan for the day was to also install the 1296 MHz feed at the focus, for the upcoming ARRL EME contest. However, the wind gusts increased, as was anticipated from the forecast. The feed changeout was therefore postponed.
Measuring the first leg of the distance from the dish center to height of the edge, using the tape measure suspended from the dish edges.Ray securing the tape measure to measure the dish diameter.Dan measuring the dish diameter at the opposite edge.Antenna focusSecuring the ladderScattered rain shafts started to pass during the afternoon.