A real time HF beacon monitoring station for South Africa

Mudzingwa, Courage (2009) A real time HF beacon monitoring station for South Africa. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

High frequency, HF (3 - 30 MHz), radio communications are greatly affected by ionospheric conditions. Both civilian and military users need reliable, real time propagation information to show at any time the feasibility of communicating to any part of the world on a particular frequency band. For this thesis, an automated receiving/monitoring station for the Northern California DX Foundation (NCDXF)/ International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) International Beacon Project was setup at the Hermanus Magnetic Observatory, HMO (34.42oS, 19.22oE) to monitor international beacons on 20 m, 17 m, 15 m, 12 m and 10 m bands. The beacons form a world wide multiband network. The task of monitoring the beacons was broken down into two steps. Initially the single band station, at 14.10 MHz, was installed and later it was upgraded to a multiband station capable of automatically monitoring all the five HF bands. The single band station setup involved the construction and installation of the half-wave dipole antenna, construction and installation of an HF choke balun; and the choice of Faros 1.3 as the appropriate monitoring software. The multiband monitoring station set-up involved the installation of an MFJ-1778 G5RV multiband antenna, construction and installation of a Communication Interface - V (CI-V) level converter and configuring the Faros 1.3 software to monitor the beacons on all five HF bands. Then a web page was created on the HMO space weather website (http://spaceweather.hmo.ac.za). Here, the real-time signal to noise ratio (SNR) and short path (SP)/long path (LP) plots are uploaded every 3 minutes, showing real time HF propagation conditions on the five HF bands. Historical propagation data are archived for later analysis. A preliminary data analysis was done to confirm the peration of the monitoring station. The archived data were analysed and compared to ICEPAC (Ionospheric Communications Enhanced Profile Analysis and Circuit) predictions. Results show that the real-time signal plots as well as the archive of historical signal plots, convey information on ropagation conditions to users in terms that are easy to interpret and understand.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Radio, Shortwave radio, Radio and television towers
Subjects:Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Physics & Electronics
Supervisors:McKinnell,, L. A.
ID Code:1862
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:19 Jan 2011 12:09
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:21
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