Personal Webster. Not affiliated with any agency. Copyright © 2000-2017 R. C. Mazur, VA3ROM.
CALLING ALL RADIO ENTHUSIASTS! On 21 August 2017 a total solar eclipse tracks across America with the path of totality from the
U.S. northwest left coast southeast towards the right coast. Canadians will experience a partial eclipse of varying percentage
of the sun covered up by the moon and the ionosphere may or may not experience increased radio propagation from the
40 metre band on down as day becomes twilight or night for a few minutes depending on your location (the lower the frequency the more
pronounced the effect). Many commercial U.S. AM radio stations, located in the path of totality, are having special Solar
Eclipse broadcasts to see how far their normal daylight transmissions are extended by totality with the disappearance of
the ionosphere's D (absorption) layer during totality, which may increase AM radio propagation to near night time distances
albeit for only a few minutes.
Maximum solar ionization for any given area (solar ultraviolet irradiation of the ionosphere)
occurs at local solar noon when the sun is at its highest point in the sky (not by an artibrary time zone). My area is in the
"wrong" time zone so solar noon occurs about 1 hour after local or civil noon (by the clock). All regions in the Americas with
mid-eclipse occurring during this time, but outside of totality, may experience brief increases in low band propagation
if enough of the sun is covered and the ionosphere can cool down enough to allow free electrons to recombine with ions over your head
(very high above). The U.S. areas in the path of totality will definitely have markedly increased low band propagation with the
brighter stars becoming visible!
The CG3EXP WSPR tri-band data beacon (onboard the Canada C3 expedition ship POLAR PRINCE) will
be transmitting from the high Arctic at that time (west of Resolute, Nunavut) in the famous Northwest Passage and inside
the Aurora Borealis ring. It's beacon transmissions may or may not be affect as they travel south into areas of increasing solar
coverage.This is an Amateur Radio first to have a roving high Arctic WSPR beacon operating during the eclipse, along with
hundreds of Amateur Radio and other hobbyist receiving and transmitting stations on the air for this historic event. There are thousands
of web sites dedicated to this one very important and significant solar eclipse, which will probably be the most monitored,
recorded and analyzed in history, so I've only provided are a handful of those sites specifically related to radio. Many
of us are also amateur astronomers and we'll be outside watching the eclipse as our robot receiving (or transmitting stations) silently
do their work. It would be great to have as many Amateur Radio operators and other radio hobbyists on air a few hours before, during
and after the solar eclipse transmitting, receiving (or both) and streaming real-time propagation data to the WSPRnet (WSPR), or Reverse
Beacon Network (Morse and RTTY) or PSK Reporter (PSK and JT modes). This invaluable data will be used by hobbyists, scientists
and researchers (worldwide) studying radio propagation and the ionosphere.
For those interested in the non-radio
aspects of the eclipse, if you have a PWS (personal weather station) feeding related weather web servers (Weather Underground,
et al) or just a simple digital (or analog) data display with no internet connectivity will work. Even a partial
eclipse could have slight effects on air/dewpoint temperatures, relative humidty, wind speed and direction, which you can observe
and record. For those in the U.S. in the path of totality, day will become night with sudden and dramatic metorological changes.
A UV (ultraviolet) sensor will detect changes in these levels during various phases of the eclipse, and the newest digital PWS
usually have one or can add one. As the moon slowly crosses the sun, you can monitor ambient light levels using a LUX meter
plus measure sky temperatures with an IR (infrared) thermometer. Because the entire crossing takes more than a couple of hours
(for most of us) a lot of data can be collected for later analysis. Or you can build a microcomputer unit (MCU) based meter and
data logger "gadget" (Arduino, PICAXE, Raspberry Pi, et al). And Android and iTunes LUX meter applications are available
for smartphones. These instruments should point straight up at clear blue sky and in shadow protected from direct sunlight.
My photographer's digital LUX meter, smartphone LUX meter app, and IR thermometer used to measure blue sky
illumination and temperature. Insert (top left) is my Arduino Uno digital RGB-LUX plus analog temperature sensors data logger (see
my ATD017 TCA article). There are many other atmospheric variables you can meter: ozone, water vapour, aerosols, insolation, etc.
"Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it." Personal web site. Not affiliated with any agency. Copyright © 2000-2018 R. C. Mazur, VA3ROM.