Planning for the August 2017 Eclipse

We’re less than 3 months out from the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. A partial eclipse will be visible throughout most of North America, and the total eclipse will be visible from a swath that cuts across the center of the United States. The next event that will provide a coast-to-coast total eclipse path will be on August 12, 2045.

This will be special for a number of reasons. First and most obviously, it’s a rare spectacle. The last total eclipse across any portion of the US occurred in 1979, 8 years before I was born. The next will take place in 2024.

Second, and equally important, this eclipse will be an opportunity to study the ionosphere we use every day as amateur radio operators. When the sun goes away for a couple minutes, what happens to the ionosphere? Does propagation change, and if so, for how long, and on which bands? The folks at HamSCI have helped organize a Solar Eclipse QSO Party (SEQP) that will help provide valuable data to ionospheric physicists, using a combination of user-submitted logs, RBN, WSPR, etc.

I will be participating in the SEQP from somewhere within the totality zone. I’ve arranged this to coincide with a trip to visit my family in Ohio, so it’ll most likely be somewhere in the vicinity of I-75. I will be operating 100W sideband somewhere between 10 and 40 meters (the range of the G5RV Jr.) from one of the many parks around Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The exact location will be the subject of much research between now and then and will likely change on game-day if necessary due to clouds.

Are you planning to participate in the SEQP? Will you be in the same area? Tweet me or email me. Let’s coordinate a sked, or discuss ideas/plans.