At the 36th annual ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference (DCC), held September 15–17 this year in St. Louis, HamSCI members presented preliminary evidence that the August 21 solar eclipse had a significant effect on HF propagation. The DCC is geared toward technically minded Amateur Radio operators who specialize in building and designing hardware and software to support digital communication and radio.
In their presentation, “HamSCI and the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse,” HamSCI members Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF; Bill Engelke, AB4EJ; Josh Katz, KD2JAO; Spencer Gunning, K2AEM, and Josh Vega, WB2JSV showed initial results of the Solar Eclipse QSO Party and other HamSCI eclipse experiments. Their presentation demonstrated that the number of 14-MHz Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) spots decreased, while the number of 1.8- MHz and 3.5-MHz spots increased during the eclipse totality. The HamSCI researchers say this suggests a decrease in both maximum usable frequency and D-layer absorption during the eclipse.
John Ackermann, N8UR, described his work in making wideband recordings during the eclipse in his presentation, “How to Fill a Terabyte Disk: Using Software Defined Radios in the HamSCI Solar Eclipse Experiment.”