The Frequency Measuring Test for Fall 2019: Results Are In!

Despite minimal preparation, our new Icom and Jim Berilla’s rubidium standard didn’t do half bad: https://fmt.arrl.org/fmtcurresults.php

 

The Frequency Measuring Test is competition of an acquired taste.  The task is to measure, within two minutes, the frequency of an amateur radio signal being sent from K5CM, Connie Marshall’s home version of the NIST in Muskogee, OK.  This is why we like amateur radio so much, everybody has his, her, or their own version of it.  Some chat on walkie-talkies.  Some lovingly maintain caesium clocks. Connie does the clocks.

Measuring radio frequency is not by itself that difficult a problem.  Cleveland’s WCCR is 1260 kilohertz on your AM dial, right where WIXY-1260 once lived. My sister was a WIXY Pixy circa 1965, she could find it.  W8EDU’s measurement of K5CM differ in being over a long distance, and therefore affected by solar weather and the ever-changing state of the ionosphere–and that they are to 10 significant digits.  Competitors have reason to grin broadly and drink Chianti from paper cups if their measurements are within one Hertz (at 7 MHz).  Entries are considered very good if within 0.1 Hz.  W8EDU achieved one entered measurement off by 0.05 Hz, and another at 0.02 (the referee’s official measurements this trip were 3,599,172.15 and 7,064,240.62 Hz; W8EDU’s were 3,599,172.20 and 7,064,240.64. That put us in top quintile of 115 entries.

The contest requires well-calibrated receiving equipment and knowledge to operate it–along with quite a bit of advance preparation.  We used a transceiver compatible with our existing time standard; a computer analysis of the frequency and further computerized analysis of the results from the two minute run completed our entry.

What we didn’t do was spend a few hours before the competition characterizing the ionospheric Doppler shift, which might have given us a winning entry.  Next time!  For now, the Club members increased their skill in handling radio equipment and performing a statistical analysis of collected data.  This all feathers nicely with Nerdstock, the WWV centennial celebrations in Colorado.

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We note that CARC Technical Advisor John Gibbons, N8OBJ, entered from his home station and was nearly as high up the ranks as we were.

Special Event Station W8M

We look forward to seeing our alumni this weekend and operating with us as W8M for homecoming/alumni weekend.  Listen for us on air or come visit us at our station from 2 pm to 6 pm. Check our Contact page for directions to the radio shack.

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Postcards From Nerdstock: WWV100

 

The Case Amateur Radio Club is in the midst of the WWV centennial–read all about it on wwv100.com!

The station has so far made about 4300 contacts all over the world.  These include radiotelephone, radiotelegraph (Morse code), and “the digital modes”: computer to computer connections via radio.  Contacts have been made near and far, by ionospheric skip and direct, by amateur radio satellites and by reflections of signals off meteors’ ion trails.

 

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Yes, it’s Nerdstock.  The rainbow is shining brightly on us.  We will post the URL for the Tuesday ceremonies and speeches.  Meanwhile, if you’re an amateur radio operator, contact us on the air; if not, send a signal report to WWV on 2.5, 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25 MHz and receive an acknowledgement card.  A special card will be sent for signal reports on the centennial day, 1 October 2019.

We Made the Cover of “Rolling Stone!” Read all about it on the Shortwave Radiogram this weekend

Rolling Stone, well, maybe not really.  But HamSCI/CWRU’s Festival of Frequency Measurement, 1 October 2019 UTC (beginning the evening of 30 September in the Americas) is the feature article of the American Radio Relay League’s web siteCQ magazine’s podcast, Ham Talk Live’s podcast #181, and, incredibly enough, The Shortwave Radiogram.  That last deserves some comment.

Dr. Kim Elliot’s Shortwave Radiogram began as a program on Voice of America.  It provides print journalism for people who have a basic shortwave radio and a computer with a sound card, but no internet access.  As the program was defunded by VOA, Dr. Elliot took it to commercial shortwave broadcasters such as WRMI Radio Miami International .  To read the material and see the pictures transmitted, set your shortwave radio for AM, tune the station at the appointed time, and run the audio to as computer running the free-download software fldigi.

Set fldigi for opmode MFSK-32 and the center frequency cursor to 1500 Hertz.  Click the upper right box marked RSID so that any mode changes will happen automatically.

You should get a slow screenful of articles with associated pictures.

With that same shortwave radio, listen to WWV on 1 October and send in a reception report.  The engineering staff there will send back the special acknowledgement card printed for the centennial.  The address there is

wwv@nist.gov, or sent via postal mail to:

National Institute of Standards and Technology
Radio Station WWV
2000 E. County Rd. 58
Fort Collins, CO 80524

In the custom of shortwave radio, they will post your signal report QSL card, so mail one in.

If you are a licensed amateur radio operator, contact WW0WWV 28 September through 2 October from the Fort Collins site of WWV.

Or check it out here.

ARRL on Festival of Frequency Measurement

The Festival of Frequency Measurement made ARRL news. Meet us on the air this weekend!

http://www.arrl.org/news/festival-of-frequency-measurement-set-to-honor-wwv-centennial

Festival of Frequency Measurement Set to Honor WWV Centennial

09/18/2019HamSCI and the Case Amateur Radio Club of Case Western Reserve University (W8EDU) will sponsor a “Festival of Frequency Measurement” on WWV’s centennial, October 1, from 0000 to 2359 UTC (starting on Monday evening, September 30, in the Americas). The event invites radio amateurs, short-wave listeners, and others capable of making high-quality frequency measurements on HF to participate and publish their data to the HamSCI community on the Zenodo open-data sharing site.

“Changes in ionospheric electron density caused by space weather and diurnal solar changes are known to cause Doppler shifts on HF ray paths,” the event announcement says. “HamSCI’s first attempt at a measurement of these Doppler shifts was during the August 2017 total solar eclipse. We plan a careful measurement during the 2024 eclipse.”

Some of the questions the research event is hoping to answer include how WWV’s 5 MHz propagation path varies over a given calendar day, and how various measurement techniques for understanding the path variations compare. The objectives are to measure Doppler shifts caused by the effect of space weather on the ionosphere, and to use a specified measurement protocol available to Amateur Radio operators and other citizen-scientists. The experiment will use August 1, 2019 (UTC) as a control date.

“The recordings in this experiment are expected to show formations of the D-layer at stations’ local sunrise and other daily events of the ionosphere,” the announcement said. “Space weather varies day to day and some features may be prominent. We’ll see what we get!”

Full information is on the Festival of Frequency Measurement website.

At the tone, the time will be…WWV100, The WWV Centennial!

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The shortwave radio station WWV, run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is the longest continuously running radio station in the world.  The beloved “heartbeat of the electromagnetic spectrum” is located north of Fort Collins, Colorado and will mark its hundredth anniversary 1 October 2019.  The Case Amateur Radio Club and HamSCI have been involved in the party planning.  CARC members David Kazdan AD8Y and Laura Gooch N8NFE travelled to Fort Collins for a dry-run of WW0WWV, the special-event amateur radio station that will be operating on site over the centennial.

The amateur station will run “DXpedition style” for five full days.  From the WWV100.com website:

“From September 28 through October 2, 2019, the Northern Colorado ARC and WWV ARC, along with help from RMHam, FCCW, and operators from across the country, are planning 24-hour operations of special event station WW0WWV on CW, SSB and digital modes.  Operations will shift between HF bands following normal propagation changes and will include 160m and 6m meteor scatter.  We will be operating right at the WWV site and face a challenging RF environment.”

Four Elecraft stations will run high-speed contacts in SSB, CW, and digital modes (mostly PSK31 and FT-8).  A fifth Flexradio station will run longer contacts including ones scheduled with school and collegiate club stations, museum amateur radio clubs, and others who want to discuss the operation of WWV.  NIST physicists and engineers will be on hand to hold Q&A sessions on time and frequency metrology and the history of the station.  Approximately 100 volunteers will be running the stations.

A parallel “Festival of Frequency Measurement” will combine on-site amateur radio and widely distributed amateur science.  On-site, the Flexradio transceiver will have its timebase NIST traceable, and the plan is to operate some of the time in full-carrier, double-sideband AM.  This will honor WWV’s own operating mode and additionally provide a carrier for receiving stations to verify in-ham-band calibration of their equipment.  WW0WWV in turn will on request measure the carrier frequency of the stations in communication with it by AM and include the measurement as part of the operating certificate.

The distributed experiment is hosted by HamSCI; amateurs and shortwave listeners wherever they may be are invited to use the frequency analysis package of open-source fldigi to record WWV’s 2.5 or 5 MHz carrier (which one is to be determined) for the entire UTC day 1 October 2019.  In this way, HamSCI researchers hope to prepare a map of ionospheric disturbance waves during the day and have a first experiment relating to its Distributed Array of Small Instruments personal space weather project.

The Case Amateur Radio Club contingent will have the chance to meet NIST Director Walter G. Copan, CWRU BS/MS/PhD ’75-’82 at the anniversary ceremonies.  HamSCI will have a speaking part in those and will be represented by Phil Erickson W1PJE , assistant director of MIT Haystack Observatory.

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Our coaxial cable should look this good…

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WWVB’s 1/32 wavelength antenna on 60 kHz (5000 meters).  Most of the structure is the capacitance hat

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The employees’ amateur radio station antenna farm plus one of the WWV verticals in the background

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and their operating position

 

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A detail of the adjacent bookshelf

 

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We like WWV!