ARRL on Festival of Frequency Measurement

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

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!



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 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.


Our coaxial cable should look this good…

Image result for wwv antennas

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


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


and their operating position



A detail of the adjacent bookshelf



We like WWV!


Solving a Morse Mystery

It’s not surprising that the message didn’t parse. This is American Morse Code, the original, which is distinct from the Continental version people think of as Morse Code today.
It’s even more boring than they thought:
(Correction: That RE is actually a CO, as in “County.”)

For what it’s worth, the Morse code message on our tote bags from HamSCI does indeed contain a special message. Most people assume it spells out the place and date of the conference, and never bother to read it.

hamsci tote bag

Also, remember to come play radio at the Pink Pig this weekend:
73 de KD8OXT,