Canada May Be the Best Place for Hams to Experience the Solar Eclipse:
The ARRL Letter
April 20, 2017
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Canada May Be the Best Place for Hams to Experience the Solar Eclipse, Says VE7DXW:
Alex Schwarz, VE7DXW, who developed the online Scanning RF Seismograph
http://users.skynet.be/myspace/mdsr/ to determine which bands are
open, is among the many looking forward to the solar eclipse on August
21, 2017. Although the path of totality will move over Oregon then
southeastward toward South Carolina, he believes radio amateurs north
of the border can take advantage of this "very exciting celestial
event," as those in the US will be doing, and may have an edge of
sorts. Members of the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI
http://hamsci.org/) in the US will sponsor a Solar Eclipse QSO Party
conduct their own research.
"This will be spectacular when viewed with our eyes," Schwarz said.
"The effects of the solar radiation on the propagation of radio waves
will be equally or more exciting." Schwarz said it may appear that
Canada won't be a part of the solar eclipse, but British Columbia (BC)
will have up to 95% coverage, he pointed out.
"As the solar eclipse is moving over the planet, it is leaving a canyon
of de-ionized gas on the ionosphere in altitudes of about 100 to 300
kilometers," Schwarz said. "This puts Canada -- and especially Ontario
-- in a very good position to get really long signal paths to the
horizon toward the south. Southern Ontario will be in the best location
to make contacts into the southern and western US and Central America.
In southern BC, we can aim our antennas right down the length of the
propagation anomaly and reach the Caribbean and southeastern US."
Schwarz said timing is important, because the gas will ionize again
after the solar shadow has passed. The entire passage across North
America will be approximately 90 minutes.
Schwarz said that during the 1999 solar eclipse in Europe, radio
amateurs recorded long-distance contacts on 160 and 80 meters. "We want
to inform all amateurs about the opportunity of experiencing the solar
eclipse on a totally different level by operating radios in their
shacks," he said.
Schwarz encouraged all ham radio clubs to participate in the
opportunity, not only to view the eclipse but to experience its effects
on radio propagation.
NASA offers much more information
about the 2017 solar eclipse.
The ARRL Letter
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