WWV Spark Talk


Voice of America on the proposed NIST station closures

This was broadcast on The Shortwave Radiogram this evening, the digital news program (with images) sent by WRMI Florida on shortwave frequencies:


US Timekeeping Stations Might Go Silent

US Timekeeping Stations Might Go Silent


The entrance of NIST radio station WWVH in Hawaii. WWVH on the island of Kauai in the mid-Pacific state of Hawaii and WWV and WWVB in the state of Colorado send out signals that allow millions of clocks and watches to be set either manually or automatical

The CWRU chapter of IEEE will inaugurate this semester’s SPARK talks with a discussion of WWV/B/H on Friday 14 September 2018 at 12:30 PM.



Iridium Flares and other celestial delights

OK, this isn’t strictly amateur radio…actually, it’s not amateur radio at all, but it’s interesting.  “Iridium flares” are glints of sunlight off the Iridium communications satellites, and they’re interesting to watch.  If you like that sort of thing, watch some before the satellites are replaced with ones of different antenna design that won’t flare.

There will be a very good one visible from the Case Campus (Cleveland weather and cloud cover permitting) Wednesday night, and another dimmer one following a few minutes later.

The first will be as bright as they get (magnitude -8.4; for comparison, Venus, the brightest natural thing in the night sky other than the moon, is magnitude -4.3 now, and the scale is logarithmic (magnitudes)):

Wednesday 5 September 2018 20:43:43 EDT it will be the Iridium 60 satellite. Start looking around thirty seconds before that.  Peak brightness will be at 63 degree elevation, 126 degrees azimuth, and the satellite will be traveling north to south.
There will be another, not as bright, at 20:46:38 EDT, same coordinates roughly, also traveling north to south.  That’s the Iridium 58 satellite.

If the weather is good, anyone up for a roof viewing session and a quick lesson on getting celestial fixes? We should have several navigational stars and three or four planets up. We can use a pan of water for an artificial horizon. There may be a few navigational stars over the lake horizon that we can use “straight.”  We have two sextants in 709.


On Iridium flares and their phaseout:

Font of all knowledge, on Iridium flares

Let me know…73 DE AD8Y

Ohio QSO Party

…is in full swing! Dial 216.368.3579 to come join us in the radio shack.


Notes from apres contest:  We had a total of 31,706 points.  Top score in our category (multiop) was 64,3218; we’re about fifth out of fifteen in that category.  Not bad!

Ohio QSO Party – 12 to 12 Today

The Ohio QSO Party runs from noon to midnight today. We welcome Case students old and new to visit us in the ham shack and do some operating.
Students who want to check if there’s anyone there at the station may call 368-3579. Already licensed students may call on 146.550 MHz simplex; we will monitor that frequency at least while we’re in the radio room. See the Contact page at w8edu.wordpress.com for directions.

New EME antenna installation: Raise High the 2-Meter Beam, Engineer!


John Gibbons, N8OBJ is the Club Technical Advisor (and the full-time director of Sears Lab, the electrical engineering department’s undergraduate laboratory, providing an EE walk-in clinic and surface-mount compounding pharmacy well used by W8EDU members).  He built the new 2-meter beam from the parts purchased after the old beam’s destruction last summer.  He has made a project the past few weeks of removing the alt-az rotor for cleaning and recalibration, and installing rotor, antenna, feedline harness, and feedline before fall term.

The antenna was installed in 2012 for earth-moon-earth communication and was used successfully for that in 2016.  Electrical and mechanical engineering senior projects have included transmit and receive amplifiers and moon-tracking software.  It’s a nice antenna:

2-meter stacked beam

We note that Cleveland has a magnetic variance of 8 degrees west; we will verify azimuth calibration against Polaris next clear night Cleveland might grant us.

Map of magnetic variations (declinations)


Not a bad thing to be half a bubble off plumb about.  Thanks for your efforts, John, and we all look forward to using the antenna.


Idiom definition

(The Salinger is a good read, by the way)


W8EDU mourns the passing of Professor Bill Schultz AC8CO. A graduate of CIT in 1964 (BSEE) and 1967 (MSEE), and of CWRU in 1979 (Ph.D), Bill was a registered Professional Engineer, a Senior Member of IEEE, a professor at CWRU, and an active member of W8EDU for many years. He will be dearly missed.

Bill’s Field Day presentation on transceiver interfaces this past June.

Funeral plans: Saturday 3:00 PM Pioneer Memorial Presbyterian Church, Solon Road, Solon. Visitation is 1:00-3:00.

4th of July Visit to MIT

I was graciously invited to visit the MIT Radio Society on the Fourth of July.  I am working in Boston this summer and they have an excellent view of the city’s fireworks as well as the height to see fireworks from neighbors in all directions.  We were in and around the W1XM shack.  W1XM is located on the roof of MIT’s Green Building.  Located on the same roof is the building’s radome.  The MIT Radio Society is working on re-purposing the dish (and dome) for radio astronomy purposes.  I was able to go inside while some of the work was being done.  MIT Radio Society President Daniel KC1EPN and another member were working on identifying the internal electrical connections (and their sometimes unrelated interconnections).

We at W8EDU are starting to plan for the 2024 eclipse.  The path of the 2024 eclipse puts Cleveland nearly centered in the path of totality.  As such we are in the beginning stages of planing what we want to be observing from totality.  We went to the HamSci Conference 2018 where there were multiple presentations on interesting on ionospheric anomalies/disturbances that happened during the 2017 eclipse.  The entire scientific community was able to make some new discoveries and confirm some long held but unable to be tested theories with that eclipse.  The new information opens the door to new and interesting questions that we want to be a part of researching when the 2024 eclipse passes over us.  As part of this we are in the preliminary phases of discussion with MIT’s Haystack Observatory.  From what I saw of the radar dish operations at W1XM I’m hopeful that we can include them in our plans.  We know that our plans for the 2024 eclipse will likely involve multiple departments (Astronomy, as well as EECS, maybe Physics, Statistics, EEPS, and others), but we are also hoping to involve other schools and universities in our plans.  We also hopefully can provide data to other institutions from our location in totality to further their research.  MIT Haystack is one of the groups we hope work with and to provide data to.  I am hopeful that we can get the MIT Radio Society involved in our future plans especially ones that are involving MIT’s Haystack Observatory.

Nathaniel KB1QHX


MIT Radio Society President Daniel KC1EPN and another member working on restoring functionality to the radar dish inside MIT’s Green Building radome.

Balloonsat Experiments at NASA Glenn

I’m out at Plumbrook Station today with a SignalHound spectrum analyzer borrowed from the RF/comm lab. As part of my summer work at NASA Glenn Research Center, I’m helping some of the other interns test a communications system for a balloonsat we’re planning to launch in mid-July. The methods we developed for spectrum recording during last year’s eclipse are very useful here – as are the handheld transceivers we’re using to talk between the payload and ground station.

-Kristina KD8OXT