Saturday, December 28, 2013

Cloudy day activity

I have been looking at articles for amateur astronomy radio telescopes. I finally decided that I'm going to assemble a simple one for use on those cloudy days and see how that goes.   Here is a link for anybody that might be interested. There are many more of course.

The first piece of equipment has arrived.

The second major component is in the mail.  Update:  The second major component is in my hands.  Work shall commence directly.  :D

I have the antenna mounted on my Dob base, a terminator on the extra LNB port and the power cord fabricated.

The first test run was encouraging.  I pick up a strong signal from the sun.  As it turns out my service monitor has the ARRL RT circuit board with audio output installed,  I had read an article describing this circuit board   IBT Build   and I was going to build one but...  it is already there.  :D  I put a lighter plug on my power cord so that I could power the monitor from my home made battery box that I use for my scope mount.
I have the SkyPipe  SkyPipe   charting software installed on my laptop and I just need to finish the audio interface cord and I will be ready for the next test.

The winter weather has stopped any further testing at the moment.  I do have a pack of Teflon washers coming.  these washers will be added at the antenna and antenna mount pivot points so that the hardware can be tightened but the antenna altitude angle can be changed without the use of tools.

Teflon Washer

PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) Flat Washer, 1/4" Hole Size, 0.253" ID, 0.562" OD, 0.062" Nominal Thickness, Made in US (Pack of 25)
I installed the Teflon washers yesterday and that really improved adjusting the antenna altitude.  I snugged down the pivot point bolts and put a washer under each adjusting point nut and snugged them down.  Now you can re-position the antenna angle easily and it stays put without having to loosen and tighten the adjustment nuts.
I'm looking in to VLF (Very low frequency) receivers for detecting natural radio emissions.  They can detect solar flares by the disturbance in the magnetosphere, radio emissions from Jupiter, lightening strikes and so on.  I would connect this receiver into another input for SkyPipe to record with the input from the antenna dish.
Radio Jove
WR-3 VLF Receiver
Inspire VLF-3

Here are some recorded sound tracks of Natural radio signals.  These are definitely worth a listen.

  I have decided to add to my radio telescope  ability by building the Radio Jove radio receiver and using it also to monitor the solar activity.  The output of this receiver can be monitor by Radio-SkyPipe concurrently with the dish output.  I still don't know if the dish output will be useful but the Radio Jove receiver output will be meaningful.  It has that added ability to also monitor radio emissions from Jupiter.  This radio is from an ongoing NASA program.  I will also be getting the Inspire VLF-3 receiver to be able to listen to the Natural Radio signals at a lower frequency (see recordings above.).
  Today I happened on to another idea that I may well apply to the dish antenna in the future.  This setup would actually receive and record Ha emissions data.

Natural radio explained -
Natural Radio

Radio Jove receiver -

I have started to gain some experience with the dish antenna.

January 01, 2014
I was trying to match up my recordings from today with solar flare data and not having any luck. I just noticed on Space Weather.Com a report of an X-Ray solar flare at 2200 UT. The middle chart shows the biggest spikes that I recorded today. Shortly before this the recording was pretty much a flat line and after the spikes subsided. Most solar flares monitor receivers are on a much lower frequency then what I'm using so a big maybe here.

Earlier recording (Time is UT) -


Recording at time of X-Ray flare -

Right after -
February 02, 2014
Today AR1967 produced a flare staring at 21:24:00 UT peaked at 22:04:00 UT and ended at 22:14:00 UT. I had some recording runs at that time and I may have caught some of the action. There was a lot of activity at this time. See the strong signal at 21:36:04 UT.

This one I'm thinking is a continuation of the action out to 22:02:40 UT.

At 22:27:00 UT A1968 produced a C8.4 flare and I think that the right side of this trace is some of that action.

1 comment:

Bill Griffith and Mike Bridges said...

Looking good Bill, anxious to see what the visual will bring you