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CASSIOPE Spacecraft Listens In on 2018 ARRL Field Day:

from The ARRL Letter on July 12, 2018
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CASSIOPE Spacecraft Listens In on 2018 ARRL Field Day:

The Canadian CASSIOPE (CAScade, SmallSat, and Ionospheric Polar Explorer) spacecraft once again eavesdropped on ARRL Field Day activity. CASSIOPE's Radio Receiver Instrument (RRI) was tuned to 7.005 MHz during six passes over the North American continent during Field Day 2018, although there was no advanced publicity this year. The RRI is a component of the spacecraft's Enhanced Polar Outflow Probe (e-POP), a suite of eight science instruments that study space weather.

"We're really happy with our results this year," remarked Gareth Perry, a physics and astronomy postdoctoral research associate at the University of Calgary in Canada, CASSIOPE's home institution. "RRI recorded plenty of chatter between Field Day participants, especially during our passes over the eastern and central United States on the evening of [June 23]."

CASSIOPE also had turned a close ear to activity during Field Day 2015 and 2017, and its activities last year were heavily promoted.

"It's been tough to sort out the 2017 data, so we decided to use a different tactic this year," Perry said. He and members of the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI group coordinated with the Nashoba Valley Amateur Radio Club (N1NC) and with the Indianapolis Radio Club (W9JP) -- which operated Field Day as N9NS with the Hoosier DX and Contest Club (N9NS) and a coalition of other Central Indiana radio clubs -- to "direct traffic," asking their members to stick to pre-selected frequencies during the passes, and to record their transmitting logs.

"We figured that it would be easier to assign frequencies ahead of time, so that we [would] know where to look in post-processing, which seems to have paid off," Perry added.

Perry and the HamSCI group have been using ARRL Field Day as an opportunity to study space weather and HF radio wave propagation. He's hoping that CASSIOPE will continue to participate in Field Day. "We're looking forward to next year already!" he said.

Perry is the lead author of the first publication to use data from the ARRL Field Day experiments, Citizen radio science: an analysis of Amateur Radio transmissions with e-POP RRI. The paper, which reports on CASSIOPE's involvement in ARRL Field Day 2015, is set for publication in Radio Science. Read more


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