Solar Eclipse Preparation

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The solar eclipse coming up on 21 August 2017 will cut clear across the US. I'll be visiting friends near Salem, Oregon in an excellent location directly under the path of totality. QST's cover article in the August issue discusses propagation experiments and a QSO party during the eclipse. I plan on using my Flex 1500 to participate. Since Smart SDR 2.0.17 has come out, I'll probably also SmartLink back to my Flex 6700 in Austin, Texas. Many other Flex users will participate. I suggest we start sharing ideas now to assure the best use of these resources. Flex technology may offer capabilities not available in other equipment. In my case should the 6700 offer important additional capabilities that would help in Salem, I'll consider taking it along too. Who is participating and how?
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Jim Bryce W5HFS

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Posted 9 months ago

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Mark - WS7M

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Cool idea,

I am lucky to have a former boss that owns his own private jet.  He has invited me to travel with him to a clear weather city directly along the path.  We will park the jet at the airport and watch the eclipse.

Depending up on cell phone coverage I may try to remote to my radio.  We should try to setup a net frequency or something.  That might be fun.
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Richard McClelland, AA5S

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My XYL and I were working in southern Germany in August, 1999 when there was a total solar eclipse.  It was a very cloudy day and we thought there was no chance to see anything.  About three minutes prior to the eclipse, the clouds parted enough for us to see the sun and we saw the full eclipse.  We're hoping for equal luck this time, even though it will only be something like 94% total in northern Colorado. 
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Mark - WS7M

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Hey Richard, nice to see you.  We never did meet up for lunch.  Have to plan that sometime.
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Richard McClelland, AA5S

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That sounds good.  I'm working downtown now, we could meet there during the week if it's convenient or I could find my way towards the Broadcom/HPE campus.  I can be reached at rick at dillweed.com :-)  
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NX6D Dave

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I'll be in Madras Oregon with my XYL and a friend and his XYL on a photography expedition.  We've been working through the preparation steps for weeks now and have it nailed down.  I'll be taking my 6500 and my portable station gear (solar, antennas, lightweight net, etc.) and plan to set it up in Madras.  I'll participate in radio adventures to the extent I can, but the photography comes first.

If we take video (still uncertain), I may put WWV in the sound to time the events.

My second TSE.  I was in the Caribbean in February 1998.
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Mark - WS7M

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Nice... This will be my first, probably my last.
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David Livingston

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The full eclipse will be passing directly over my home in Columbia, SC.  All hotels are completely booked for a minimum of 3 days. Private homes are renting for up to 3K per day with 3 day minimum. The greater Columbia area is expecting an influx of 750,000 visitors. Greater Charleston, SC  experiencing the same influx and conditions. All schools were rescheduled to start on August 22 not on the 21st which was when they were supposed to start.
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Bob Hawkins

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I am in.  I have a Felx 1500 with a QRP amp-  output is about 100 watts.  What data do we want to collect and how do we collect it?  I will follow this thread. 
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Richard McClelland, AA5S

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@David.  Hope for good weather.  During the last eclipse I witnessed, we heard stories about people traveling considerable distances to be in the path of totality, only to be struck by unexpectedly cloudy weather.  I can't imagine the disappointment they must have felt.
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David Livingston

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I can only imagine their disappointment.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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I am going to be sitting in a field, near Sweetwater TN with my eclipse glasses on gawking at the sun. 
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Steve W6SDM

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Tim, they have some cool eclipse tee shirts on Amazon.com to go along with your glasses.  :)  You won't be needing an umbrella, however.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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The XYL ordered our tee shirts this morning.  "I blacked out in Sweetwater TN for 2 minutes and 37 seconds"
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Mark - N7MHB

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We will be driving south to Eastern Oregon and watching from a roadside stop somewhere in the path.  its about a two hour drive for 2 and half minutes of cool
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Steve W6SDM

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I am a member of Arizona Near  Space Research.  We are a group of radio amateurs who fly high-altitude balloons.  I will be traveling to Glendo, Wyoming, which is in the direct path of the totality, as part of Project ASCEND.  The Arizona ASCEND! Solar Eclipse Balloon Project mission is to provide NASA a live video streaming source of the moon’s shadow crossing the earth from a high altitude balloon during the total eclipse.

We will also be assisting Arizona university student, faculty and support team members who will conduct the flight of two helium filled high altitude balloons with student built payloads to capture and transmit live video from approximately 80,000 feet during the totality of the eclipse. Additional scientific payloads will accompany the balloon trains to enhance the understanding of the eclipse effects on the earth. The balloons’ flight paths will cross over the ground station at Glendo State Park, Glendo, Wyoming. Arizona/NASA Space Grant Consortium is partnering with non-profit organizations of Arizona Near Space Research (ANSR) and the Prescott Astronomy Club to make this project possible.

Other groups along the path of the eclipse will also be streaming live video to NASA TV.  As the shadow passes from area to area, the groups will hand off their video so that there is contiguous coverage on NASA TV.

I will be leaving my Flex at home,  Instead, I will use my mobile VHF/UHF rig with APRS to track the payload upon re-entry.  In addition to APRS, there is a mode C transponder and a CW beacon to help us locate it.  This will be my first time off road in Wyoming, so I am looking forward to the adventure.

I will also have my portable HF station with me and I hope to operate from my camp site at Glendo State Park.  
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Mark - WS7M

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Very cool.  Is the video going to be posted where non-NASA can view it?  Would love to see it!
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Steve W6SDM

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Mark,

Actually, NASA TV is a public cable channel.  If you've got Cox, Dish Network, or anything similar, you probably have it on your channel lineup.  You can set it to record and enjoy the show.

All of our flights have Go-Pro cameras aboard.  It's really cool to watch the balloon ascend into the stratosphere, disintegrate when there isn't any pressure to hold it together, and then watch the payload re-enter with the help of a parachute.  

We have some videos of previous flights posted on our website at www.ansr.org.
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Bill Perkins

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Going to load up and go about 120 miles north of Atlanta into the path of totality and operate from there, none of that remote stuff for me. Flex 6300 with laptop, two big a. batteries, vertical homebrew antenna good for 17m, 20m, 40m, and 6 (though I don't think I'll be doing 6 that day).
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NX6D Dave

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Going back to the original post, are we thinking of a Flex QSO party?  I would like to join in something like that, before and after the eclipse.  Since I will be way to the west, I could contact stations to the east and talk about what happened, etc.

Should we do some sort of planning on bands, modes, frequencies, etc?

Just random "thinking out loud".
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Bill Perkins

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I'd be open to a Flex QSO Party concept.
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Will be in Sun Valley, Idaho. Going to activate some Eastern Nevada grid squares on 6m during the trip, and will leave the Flex running at home. Probably set it on a WSPR low band frequency. During the 1979 eclipse, nighttime HF conditions started setting in. Was really interesting.
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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My girlfriend got some eclipse glasses from walmart for a dolla'.  I may go blind during the event.  :-D Watching from NC if the sky is clear...
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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They should be ISO 123122 certified and if that is to be believed, you should be OK.
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Jim Bryce W5HFS

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Please protect your eyes. There are fake solar eclipse glasses et al out there. Some even say they are ISO and other rated and are not. Avoid ordering from web sites that appear to handle only eclipse glasses. The vendor may have obtained a bunch of questionable quality and set up for a quick buck. Here is the best source for obtaining safe glasses, the American Astronomical Society's listing of reputable vendors. You may pay more even for the same glasses available cheaper elsewhere, but that's a small price to pay for assurance you really are protecting your eyes:    https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters
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Jeff

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I will be using FT8 mode on multiple bands and observing how my propagation changes during the event on pskreporter.info.  I hope to see enhancement of the low HF bands.  Will the path of totality act as a grey line propagation path?  We'll see!