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My attempts at SID monitoring have been languishing for a while due to radio problems, though I have been getting to grips with Arduino and even had a go at building my own.
In order to move things along I went to the UKRAA stand at Astrofest and bought the VLF radio kit, their signal generator and the 15V power supply.
Last weekend I soldered the board. It wasn’t too difficult following their instructions which are pretty clear. The only fiddly bit was soldering on an SMD capacitor but they also give you a through-hole one as well. Initial tests suggest it is working but I will have a better idea when it is all connected.
This weekend I have been working on the housing and hopefully tomorrow get the leads soldered. From left to right will be led power, 15V in, 15V out, antenna in, then analogue -ve and +ve (can be 5V or 2.5V).
I am building it as-is, so the first iteration will have the radio running off mains power and in turn the radio will power the Arduino. That seems a bit backwards but I would just like to get logging data. For the time being it will write to an SD card, but the Arduino MKR 1010 looks rather good and comes with WiFi and encryption.
That though, is a long way off..! Anyway, this shows progress so far.
Following on from discussion in an earlier thread I thought I would post the rest of my May SID observations which were made using my portable loop antenna rig.
May was a quiet month, as shown by the following plot of solar flare classes (data from GOES-15).
There were no high energy C class flares above C3.3 and no M or X class flares at all.
My small portable loop is 60x60 cm and will struggle to detect anything less than C5.1 class flares (it is too noisy) , though M and X classes can be seen, so as a result the plots below do not show any obvious flare activity. In fact YTD we have had I think only one M class flare.
This coming month I may try and get my larger loop working again, but then I did say that last month too!
I need to get round to building a case for my ST102, but with a lot of diy recently I can't quite face any more sawing. So I had been thinking about a little project for my holiday.
I had stumbled onto some websites showing circuit diagrams for VLF radios to listen for lightning - the astronomy bit is that they can also apparently pick up the effects auroras :). Electronics has always been a bit of a mystery to me, I understand what the individual bits do but arranging them to do something useful other than lighting up a LED is beyond me. In the end I opted for the peanut butter radio in the following link;
I then ordered a breadboard and enough components to make four (insurance from accidents, dodgy soldering, rabbit attack etc).
After a day of poring over the diagram and adding components to the breadboard the creation in the photo came into being. The aerial is the looped wire with the knot in the end, while the wire seemingly connected to nothing is the earth.
To my considerable surprise when I turned it on I could hear it making a humming noise. I took it out into the garden and I think that all the A/C power cables nearby are interfering, but I could start to hear the frying pan sound of lightning.
Following the schematic was fun, and although the circuitry is all over the place it wasn't as difficult to do as I thought it would be - a bit like a crossword or sudoku. So if you have ever wondered about trying it, give it a go.
The prototype is not very rugged as the earth and aerial keep falling out, so the next part is to replicate it on veroboard and fully solder it.
And that I think is where everything will get rather more tricky!