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VLF


Project Leader: Simon Dawes
Members: Joe Dray, Mark Loveday

Synopsis
If you want to get into radio astronomy this is where to start. Using some cheap and simple equipment we will build a VLF monitoring station for the observatory and then provide plans and instructions for others to follow to set-up their own VLF monitoring station. Using VLF we can monitor solar activity and I have been doing this for some years with reasonable success, however there are some small problems I'd like to overcome to make monitoring VLF truly open to everyone.

  1. I'd like to base it on the Raspberry Pi this is a small and low power computer (Linux based ARM processor)
  2. I'd like it to recognise solar activity (SIDS) without user intervention
  3. I'd like it to report on SIDS automatically to our website and to the BAARAG and BAA solar section.

The biggest challenge with this project will be writing the software, previous VLF stations have relied on 'spectrumLab' but this software depends on a x86 processor (like windows PC's) but the Raspberry Pi uses an ARM processor (like mobile phones)

Project Phases
1) building the SW to read a usb sound card and doing the FFT analysis - in progress
2) detecting automatically SIDS (sudden Ionospheric disturbances) using the FFT data
3) outputting the data to google docs (either live or in near realtime batches) - we have a data plan to consider...
4) integrating the data into a live feed onto the website
5) automatically sending results to a distribution list
6) building the antenna
7) assemble, commission and test


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