Field Day is this weekend (from 1800 UTC Saturday to 2059 UTC Sunday)!
Many licensed amateurs may be without access to radio equipment currently, but if you do have equipment, we’d encourage you to make a couple contacts and submit a field day entry. We’d love to have as many people from W8EDU participate as possible.
If you like, you can put that you are a part of W8EDU in your entry, and all our scores will be tallied together and displayed in addition to everyone’s individual scores.
For those who are new to field day, I’ll be having an Introduction to Field Day session on Saturday from 12:15 to 1:15 pm EDT (Field Day itself starts 2 pm EDT). No experience is required! (You may need an amateur radio license unless you have access to an amateur who’s willing to assist you.) We’ll go over what the event is, as well as talk about how to record and submit your entry. We should also have time for general discussion. Friends and alumni of the club are also welcome to join or just say hello.
I sent the meeting invitation via email. If you’re not on our mailing list, you can contact us (my email is listed there) and we’ll send the invitation your way.
Remember to be safe, and I hope everyone has the best field day possible!
— Aidan KB3UMD
On June 21, an annular solar eclipse will travel across east Africa and Asia. We’re looking for stations around the path of totality to help us collect ionospheric data.
Today, May 20th, 2020, is World Metrology Day, a celebration of the science of measurement! NIST Director Walter Copan BS/MS/PhD ’75-’82 celebrated World Metrology Day on the NIST Blog:
Today is World Metrology Day. Have you put up the decorations and baked a cake yet to celebrate?! You should!
Director Copan went on to highlight the role of metrology in medicine, including the importance of measurement in fighting the current pandemic.
We here at W8EDU are big fans of metrology, and I’d love to see friends and members of W8EDU join in the celebration. Bonus points if you can show how any aspect of your decorations or cake is NIST-traceable.
If you’re looking for a short metrology-related activity, consider the downloading one of the free smartphone apps mentioned in this article in Physics magazine. These apps allow you to record, analyze, and export data from the sensors in your device. A typical smartphone or tablet may be able to measure everything from barometric pressure to magnetic fields, so there’s a lot of good measurement science to be had. Determining if a measurement is NIST-traceable may be fairly difficult (it may be hard to find information on manufacturers’ calibration methods), but it’s still interesting to see what you can come up with.
For something more involved, if you have some electronics equipment at home, there’s Conrad Hoffman’s Mini Metrology Lab from Electronics Now in 1996. The article may be older, but make no mistake, voltage standards are very important for many up-and-coming topics in electronics.
Best wishes, and I look forward to seeing your NIST-traceable cakes!
— Aidan KB3UMD
David AD8Y has an article about the Festival of frequency Measurement in the most recent issue of the West Mountain Radio Newsletter: http://www.westmountainradio.com/pdf/Quarter-1-2020.pdf
The spring Frequency Measuring Test was 0200Z-0225Z on Apr 24! (For those of us in the United States, that means the evening of the 23rd.) The radio club did well with at least five entries, two of which are in the winners’ circle as seen below.
From the ARRL web site:
The results of the spring 2020 ARRL Frequency Measuring Test (FMT), conducted on April 24, have been posted. Coming in at the top of the list for stations entering readings of both the 40-meter and 80-meter frequencies was Steve Cerwin, WA5FRF. His average error rate was 0.004902 parts per million (ppm).The Top 10 looked like this, with average error rates in ppm. Bill De Carle, VE2IQ, has posted a ranked list of participants who submitted readings for both frequencies.
N8OBJ, John Gibbons
KB3UMD, Aidan Montare
Today’s FMTs are conducted completely online, with no manual log-checking or intervention. Connie Marshall, K5CM, provides Bruce Horn, WA7BNM, with the precise actual frequencies, participating individuals submit their measurements, and machines handle the rest. Ninety-eight radio amateurs took part on the April 2020 FMT. The next FMT will take place in November.
Taking part in the FMT does not require special laboratory equipment. Modern HF transceivers can measure frequency quite accurately, and SDR-based receivers and available software can enable precise frequency measurements. Today’s FMT leaders are able to accurately measure beyond the number of decimal places (out to 5) that a typical transceiver will display, however. One station participating in the 2019 spring FMT used an Elecraft KX3 and Spectrum Lab audio software. Another employed his Elecraft K3 transceiver and tuning forks to get within 1 Hz of the mark on both bands.
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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.
— presumably David, AD8Y, or Kristina, KD8OXT, describing W8EDU’s participation in the fall 2019 FMT
We will announce the next one, probably in November, and we encourage everyone with HF receiving equipment at their location to attempt a measurement! Reach out to us if you would like guidance on preparing for the event. No caesium clocks are necessary–even a modest station can score respectively with practice!
Details on the FMT from the ARRL.
Congratulations to our lab director and technical advisor, John Gibbons N8OBJ, for his code related to our HamSCI research project, which just appeared in the latest version of the fldigi software package!
Update: version 4.1.11 included a bug on that prevented it from working on Windows platforms. The newest release, 4.1.12, includes fixes and should allow Windows users to take advantage of John’s code changes.
Wed Apr 1 2020 - Version 4.1.11 *** Bug fix release *** cwio_morse * segmentation fault fix - change cwio_morse to *cwio_morse [...] analysis mode * changes to data file output - submitted by John Gibbons, N8OBJ
John’s code will help us and the HamSCI community as we develop a network of citizen science receivers to study the ionosphere. It will also aid the general Amateur Radio community in making frequency estimation measurements of whatever signals are interesting to them!
Go download the latest version, and get involved!
Following guidance regarding COVID-19, the 2020 HamSCI Workshop will still be held today and tomorrow, but has been moved to an online format. Registration is now free for everyone. That means you can come join us too! https://hamsci.org/hamsci2020
The HamSCI workshop brings together the amateur radio community and professional scientists for discussing projects involving both communities. This years theme is auroras.
The workshop runs most of Friday and Saturday the 20th-21st. Feel free to drop in at any time! Ham operators, scientists, interested passerby, and all others interested are welcome to join.
The full schedule of talks and registration information are at https://hamsci.org/hamsci2020. In particular, stop by at 12:00-12:20 PM EDT on Friday for a presentation by some of our own!
W8EDU bids bon voyage and wishes fair winds and following seas to Lydia KC1IYM, who has set sail on the Endeavor for training as a marine research technician. You can read about Lydia’s adventures here: https://www.marinetech.org/internship-blog/bid/10540
Today in Thwing from 11 to 3. Come on by!