In recent years backyard radio astronomy has attracted an increasing number of people (radio amateurs and amateur astronomers alike) who have great fun in space exploration by radio. Strong signals are emitted by our sun and the giant planet jupiter. But even sources which are so distant that an optical amateur telescope will barely show them are within the range of amateur radio observatories. You want to know how and when to listen to jupiters radio noise storms? You ask for the current status of solar activity? You wish to buy off-the-shelf components for building your own amateur radio telescope? This page is intended to provide you with some interesting links!
General information and project overviews provided by clubs and individuals
The Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA) introduces the work of SARA and briefly overviews amateur radio astronomy projects. You will also find useful references for further reading and the text of SARA newsletters released in 1993 and 1994. The Woodbury Research Project is a radio astronomy effort of about 50 students of the Georgia Institute of Technology lead by Dr. Whit Smith from the Electrical Engineering department. They converted two abondoned AT&T satellite dishes, 100 ft each, into a working radio telescope and present some of their results. The MIT Haystack Observatory , Westford, Massachusetts, has a ''Small Telecope Project'' also described in the August 1996 issue of Sky and Telescope. A satellite dish was used for an 1420 MHz all-sky survey. Taunton Radio Astronomy Observatory Home Page (Trevor Hill, U.K.), offers a description of a 151 MHz amateur radio telescope. They observed the great comet chrash in 1994 with a 20.4 MHz phase switched interferometer. These data can be downloaded. Further results were observed with a 1420 MHz interferometer made of two 2.4 m dishes. William Lonc , is an emeritus professor of physics who has a special interest in developing small radio telescopes. He shows his amateur radio aerials and introduces his book "Radio Astronomy Projects". His page is linked to Radio Sky Publishing operated by SARA member Jim Sky. Jupiter observers will find noise storm predictions here. Also, there is some technical information about analog to digital converters together with readout software (pascale code). Check Jim's ftp directory for various documents including a description of his 38 MHz telescope and a pulsar catalogue.
The radio sun
Daily solar radio fluxes are observed by the DRAO 10cm SOLAR RADIO NOISE PATROL , since 1947. A daily updated solar terrestrial activity report, average monthly solar fluxes and sunspot numbers can be found at a norwegian site . The current state of solar activity is also provided by the Geophysical Alert Message of WWV, Boulder, Colorado (see below). Very useful links to up to date solar activity information is given by the at Solar Terrestrial Dispatch Homepage . All the information needed to understand solar activity reports is introduced by the Solar Guide aimed to shortwave listeners. Also, don't miss the page of IPS Radio & Space Services with their ``Interesting Facts and Educational Material'' (contains ``ever ything you always wanted to know about the Sun and ionosphere but were afraid to ask ...'').
Much information about radio meteors can be found on the individual homepages of radio amateurs. A good starting point to locate them is the Worldwide Amateur Radio Information This is one of my favoured amateur radio pages featuring ALL aspects of this popular hobby! Introductory meteor information aimed at amateur radio astronomers is presented by the International Meteor Organization . For beginners they answer frequently asked questions (receivers, antennas, frequencies to monitor ...), list addresses of radio workers which can be contacted for help, references to books and articles and provide an MS-DOS code for radio meteor workers.
Jupiter radio noise storms
The giant planet Jupiter sporadically emits powerful radio bursts which are best observed in the 18-22 MHz range. They can be monitored by shortwave receivers of good quality or by amateur radio transceivers. The set should be connected to an external antenna such as a simple dipole or a long wire. In a loudspeaker jovian bursts sound like a fast ocean surf. As a lover of this "jovian music" I appreaciate the monthly burst prediction schedules provided by the University of Florida Radio Observatory (UFRO) You can run their prediction program interactively on the screen. Some articles briefly describe jupiter's decametric emissions and how to observe them. Moreover, they offer examples of jovian bursts (long and short burst activity) as *.au files on this page! For beginners who have never heard jupiter roaring before, this makes the business of identifying the signals easier.
Those of us considering to look out for alien broadcasts should check the Home Page of SETI League . They offer continously updated information on hardware components, general SETI items, references to interesting books and articles and prepare a SETI League Technical Manual. You will also find links to other SETI League members.
The earth as a radio source
The many voices of mother earth such as lightning-generated whistlers, the ``dawn chorus'' or ``tweeks'' can be heard at very low frequencies (0.1-11 kHz). The receivers and antennas are described by John H. Davis. He is a member of the Long Wave Club of America and invites you to explore The World of Radio Below 500 kHz . To get your first listening experience, visit Steven P. McGreevy's page with sample records of Ground-based VLF Natural Radio recordings downloadable as wave-files.
For technical information on the ICOM R7100 receiver used for amateur SETI see the pages of ICOM U.S. and their UK site . The Radio Astronomy Supplies by Jeff Lichtman are presented by SARA member Rein Smith, W6/PA0ZN . His page covers further interesting topics such as SETI, EME (bouncing signals off the moon), digital signal processing and meteor scatter. Microwave Solutions Ltd. sells microwave assemblies for special applications. On their pages they list their standard products (Gain Control Amplifiers, Active Multipliers, Power Amplifiers, RF Integrated Assemblies). Information on special products not found on these pages are best inquired by mailing them your special requirements. Also, you should visit the page of at Angle Linear . They provide preamps, filters and other components intended for use below 2.5 GHz for: "business, cellular, trunking, aerospace, education, science, deep space and space shuttle, radio astronomy and amateur applications". Space born amateur radio astronomy is done by: the Satellite Amateur de Radio-Astronomie
Software and publications
"At the tone ..."
24 hours a day and 365 days a year the WWV and WWVH radio stations provide you with time signals, solar activity information and geophysical alert broadcasts transmitted on shortwave at 2.5, 5, 10, 15 and 20 MHz. These stations are operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology Time and Frequency Division , Boulder, Colorado. Details including hourly broadcast schedules can be found here . Note: unlike most time signal stations of the world which use the Single Side Band (SSB) mode for their transmissions WWV and WWVH use ordinary Amplitude Modulation (AM).
The amateur scientist
This page was compiled by Martin Neumann, DL6MJN