Abstracts for 2021 SARA Spring Conference

Abstracts for 2021 SARA Spring Conference


Title: Converting a G5500 AZ/EL Rotor to an RA/DEC Tracking System

Author: Richard A. Russel, Deep Space Exploration Society, Colorado


Abstract: The G5500 AZ/EL rotor is used for amateur radio satellite tracking. The interface between the computer and the G5500 is expensive. This paper shows the development of an arduino based interface for tracking astronomical sources in Right Ascension (RA) and Declination (DEC). The design includes an arduino, relay shield, and a real-time clock. The software uses the data from the real-time clock to calculate sidereal time. Based on the known location of the telescope, the RA and DEC are calculated. The RA and DEC are then converted to azimuth and elevation coordinates. The interface to the G5500 reads the AZ/EL antenna position by converting the G5500 voltages to position data. The position data is compared to the target AZ/EL . The G5500 controls the rotor movements by closing 4 lines to ground, one each for up, down, left, and right. The interface uses relays, controlled by the arduino, to close these lines. By continuously calculating the updated AZ/EL, the interface successfully tracks any given RA/DEC coordinate that is above the horizon.


Title: Innovations in merging optical astronomy with radio astronomy.

Author: Thomas Ashcraft, Heliotown Observatory, New Mexico. www.heliotown.com


Observations of transient luminous events, Jupiter, solar phenomena, space dust and fireballs at optical and radio wavelengths.


Title: Pulsar Observations at the Astropeiler Stockert Observatory.

Author: Wolfgang Herrmann, Astropeiler Stockert e.V., Bad Munstereifel, Germany


The talk will cover the characteristics of the Astropeiler Stockert 25-m dish and the instrumentation and analysis tools used for pulsar observations.


A number of pulsar observations will be addressed in particular to demonstrate effects like scintillation, mode changing and giant pulses. The observation program which is dealing with the magnetar XTE 1810-197 will be explained, and the potential relationship between magnetars and fast radio bursts will be addressed.


Title: Implementation, modification, improvements and uses for SARA's Scope in a box

Author: Pablo Lewin


I will be talking about my experiences constructing and implementing the "Cheap and Easy Hydrogen Line Radio telescope" AKA SARA's Telescope in a Box, including possible refinements like upgrading the 60 cm grid antenna by adding 1/4 inch mesh lining and further improving the sensitivity by adding a Nooelec wideband LNA ($20) on Amazon.


In addition to the existing  1.4GHz LNA, I will discuss the operation and techniques to get the most of the IF average app and some ways to reduce interference in the 1.4GHz band by using computers with a clock speed significantly higher than 3.0GHz or making sure small computers are shielded.


I will also cover  upgrading to a large dish and I will discuss my design of an fully steerable simple yet sturdy Front Wheel Bearing Hub Assembly for Chevy Pontiac Buick Saturn ALT/AZ motorized mount for less than $300 for larger dishes...


I may briefly cover building a very simple Feed for 1.4GHz out of a 8 in. to 6 in. Round duct Reducer.


I may briefly cover how to get used large dishes in your area (USA only) by using the website "Offerup.com"


Finally I will briefly cover the use of the software Radio Eyes to create drift scan tables to possibly detect other radio phenomena


Title: High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program: HAARP – 2020

Author: Whitham D. Reeve, Reeve Observatory, Alaska


This presentation reviews the Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI) and several of the Diagnostic Instruments located at the HAARP facility near Gakona, Alaska. The IRI consists of a 3.6 MW transmitter and associated antenna system with 2.8 GW effective radiated power that is used to stimulate the ionosphere. The Diagnostic Instruments observe and record the effects and include receivers covering radio bands from ELF to UHF, magnetometers, riometers, and optical and infrared cameras. The presentation also includes a description of the instrumentation that the author has setup for personal studies of HF radio propagation, space weather and Jupiter radio emissions in the HF band. The HAARP facility did not conduct any research campaigns in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the facility is ready for 2021.


Title:  Mendoza, Argentina SuperSID Report

Author:  David Westman, Seattle, Washington


Daniel Robaldo, of the DaVinci Foundation in Mendoza, Argentina, asked SARA to send him a SuperSID which he set up in the foothills of the Andes Mountains near Mendoza.   This location is under the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly, an area of unusual weakness of the Earth's magnetic field. I will describe the station setup and the data we have obtained there.  I will also describe some problems we have had with the SuperSID kit and we can discuss how these can be overcome.