Eclipse experiments a great success

| March 23, 2015
Solar Eclipse 2015

The partial eclipse of the sun as witnessed from RSGB HQ on Friday, 20 March 2015.

The RSGB’s solar eclipse radio experiments on Friday, 20 March were deemed a great success.

Many listeners in the UK using medium wave radios reported hearing a big increase in signal strengths from distant stations, such as BBC Radio Scotland on 810kHz, around 09.30—the time of maximum eclipse.

Meanwhile, licensed radio amateurs took part in a wide range of experiments on many bands, including a QSO party on 160, 80m and 40m.

The use of the reverse beacon network (RBN) and Morse code meant that the received signal to noise ratios of those taking part could be automatically logged.

Other stations, including some in Iceland and the Faroe Islands, used WSPR—the Weak Signal Propagation Reporter—to test propagation on paths around Europe.

All this data is now available for RSGB members to download and analyse themselves on the RSGB’s Radio Propagation Questions forum.

The early indications are that propagation around the UK on the lower frequencies improved as predicted as the D region of the ionosphere diminished during the eclipse.

This meant that skywave signals were not attenuated as much and were able to be returned from the higher layers, just as they are at night.

Meanwhile, propagation around the UK on the higher bands, including 5 and 7MHz, became noticeably worse as the F region declined and the critical frequency reduced.

Signals going straight up were unable to be returned back to Earth due to lower ionisation levels in the E and F regions.

Conditions returned to normal as the eclipse ended.

A lot of analysis can now be done to look at specific paths and times using the data that were collected and Propagation Studies Committee Chair, Steve Nichols G0KYA, would like to thank everyone who took part in the experiments.

A full report will appear in a future edition of RadCom.

Category: Front Page News, GB2RS Headlines, RSGB Notices