Several college amateur radio stations have been working this semester to create a network of colleges with WSPR stations.
WSPR, the Weak Signal Propagation Reporter, is protocol written by Princeton physicist Joe Taylor to measure radio propagation via low power transmissions. WSPR stations are inexpensive and easy to set up with existing amateur radio equipment or kits made for the purpose. WSPR users can upload their data to WSPRnet, which makes the data publicly available for scientific use. WSPR is built in to WSJT-X, the popular software used for FT8.
Over the last several weeks, W8EDU has been working with the University of Michigan Amateur Radio Club, W8UM to establish WSPR contact between the two schools. Just as they did in 1916, the two clubs set up and troubleshooted equipment and propagation conditions. The first WSPR contact between the two stations was made in mid November. W8UM’s efforts are being documented on their website.
December 1916 saw the Case Wireless Club (not yet W8EDU, or even W8URD) installing a new aerial antenna, and testing communications with the University of Michigan. We look forward to learning more about the historical predecessors of our two clubs, and including them alongside our findings from our WSPR experiments.
Future work for the Collegiate WPSR Network includes making contact with more schools and planning projects around the data collected. Consider giving WSPR a try yourself, and look for W8EDU, W8UM, and others on the air!