Author Topic: Utah  (Read 1987 times)

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Offline b.e.wilson

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Utah
« on: August 26, 2014, 09:55:27 AM »
With the other introductions, I'll add mine.

I'm Bruce, getting a controller set up in Orem, Utah, along the Wasatch Front. Should fill a bit of a hole in the west. I'm using orthogonal three-turn shielded loops made of coax.

I'm also considering getting a controller set up at the Capitol Reef Field Station, but need to find out how the system operates over a satellite internet link (I've asked about this at blitzortung.org forum already).

Bruce, KF7K  http://science.uvu.edu/wilson/weather
Bruce/KF7K

Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: Utah
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2014, 10:50:19 AM »
Yes! Will help a whole bunch West of the Rockies!    Welcome aboard, Bruce!...
As you get your Orem station online, would there be anything to prevent you temporarily taking the working system to Capitol Reef and testing, assuming no definite experience is passed on to you? Up to 1500ms latency could be an issue, as you are aware....
After all, this is a "hobby", and we all figure stuff with trial, error, testing.... and a bit of theory and "what if"...  . I don't see it effecting the GPS timestamps... just transmission to the server...  :?:
« Last Edit: August 26, 2014, 10:55:56 AM by Cutty Sark Sailor »
 

Offline b.e.wilson

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Re: Utah
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2014, 03:36:47 PM »
The field station will have full internet by winter, so that problem is solved. Now I just need permission and funding.
Bruce/KF7K

Offline schaffer970

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Re: Utah
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2014, 03:37:18 PM »
Looking forward to having someone else helping to plugging the holes up west of the Rockies!   \:D/

Offline Tarma

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Re: Utah
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2014, 10:41:04 AM »
You beat me to it. I was hoping to build one this winter. It is still on my "to do list". In the meantime I will just continue to watch my old Boltec. :)
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 10:44:04 AM by Tarma »

Offline b.e.wilson

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Re: Utah
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2014, 10:46:48 AM »
Why not build one? What the West is missing is the close-in strike detection--most stations are doing well only in long-range detection, and even medium-range is weak. With stations in the north, center, and south of the state, we'd be doing pretty well. Use the Grand Junction station as the fourth, and we'd pick up a lot of short-range strikes--enough to do science with the data.
Bruce/KF7K

Offline Tarma

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Re: Utah
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2014, 10:50:48 AM »
Oh I still intend to build one. Just not sure when I will get to it! Need to work on my soldering skills a bit first.

Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: Utah
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2014, 11:32:39 AM »
b.e.w.'s been thinking and reading!   =D>
I did some "off-the-wall" amateur analysis the other day... took 60 strikes off my station data page, as the page updated, -- so they were 'random'.... from roughly 180miles to 1500miles distant...  I did a very rough 'deviation' vs 'distance' look-see.... just a quickie, for curiousity... what showed was an average deviation of about 2.6 miles for all 60... but strokes between 180-300miles the average deviation was 1.6 miles, with many under a half mile. Those strokes were generally located (first 5-12 stations) by our more dense "Eastern U.S." stations. Note there was no lightning in the ground wave region(<80miles) of my station. The deviation absolutely depends on the optimization and location of the other 'locators'....plus a bunch of other things....
It's signal quality, preferably no skywaves, (NOT distance) and station density that increases location accuracy... and other parameters when they are brought on board...
 

Offline W3DRM

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Re: Utah
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2014, 11:54:01 AM »
This is to Bruce and all other hams on this forum.

Even if you aren't ready to jump into the fray of Blitzortung, just yet, please pass the information on about Blitzortung to all of your ham buddies. Especially those in the western US. We desperately need more western stations. That is the only way we will be able to begin getting better quality strike information, as Cutty has already pointed out. Give them the links to this forum and the Blitzortung website too. Talk it up in any ham meetings or breakfasts you go to. You just might spark some interest.
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Offline b.e.wilson

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Re: Utah
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2014, 12:10:59 AM »
Got my kit at 3 this afternoon, by 9 I had it all assembled. Only burned my finger once.

Just waiting now for an account ID so I can install the firmware, and then hook it all up to the antennas tomorrow and I'll see how it does initially.

1155 is live! Now to tune/tweak, and build cases for the boards.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2014, 09:14:58 AM by b.e.wilson »
Bruce/KF7K

Offline JonathanW

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Re: Utah
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2014, 10:37:55 AM »
Well done, Bruce!  I see you on the maps helping with the Missouri strikes this morning.  Welcome to the network!

Offline b.e.wilson

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Re: Utah
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2014, 08:19:42 PM »
Is there a sort of lightning "ground effect?" I got my loops from six feet off the ground to about 16 feet, and my detection rate has really dropped off. I'll leave them in the air for a couple days to confirm this, but it looks like a ground-mounted antenna is by far the best for my location.
Bruce/KF7K

Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: Utah
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2014, 08:53:43 PM »
Is there a sort of lightning "ground effect?" I got my loops from six feet off the ground to about 16 feet, and my detection rate has really dropped off. I'll leave them in the air for a couple days to confirm this, but it looks like a ground-mounted antenna is by far the best for my location.
Bruce, the lightning cells are rather distant, right now, and of somewhat weaker intensity... so it's hard to say... meantime, there are 2 basic components.... the "skywave" which reflects back and forth from the current Ionosphere's altitude and ground... and the "ground wave" which has two components: the "ground wave" which follows the contour of the earth, and the "space wave" which is directly from source, through the air to the receiver...

The "ground wave" of the 'ground wave'  is distorted by cliffs, valleys, mountains and buildings.  The 'Space Wave' (a subdiv of the 'ground wave') is not.  The "skywave" signals are those that bounce back and forth between the Ionosphere and the ground resulting in distorted, and delayed signals. 

Typically, the "ground wave" components are best, especially only the "Space wave" component of the "ground wave" ....  hope you and others are following me....
Confusing, ain't it....?

Now, the "Ground wave" components only have a max distance of about 80Km (50 miles) or so..therefore any signal received beyond that is a "skiywave".... reflected numerous times off the earth/ionosphere waveguide, and are delayed, distorted, etc....

So, from Utah... you've got massive Mountain ranges which affect the "ground wave" part of the "ground wave" ,  distance, (eastern Midwest US, currently)... which means  "Sky Wave" reception... and weaker signals from the cells...
So you have far less 'good' signals to receive...

And remember, as a rule of thumb only, because it may vary... only the nearest 6-12 stations will locate, and if your signal is too 'dirty' (distorted) you may not 'qualify' as a 'detector'... and therefore your "LD efficiency" will be lower....

It's about quality...

Hope this didn't confuse or sound patronizing......

Mike


 

Offline b.e.wilson

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Re: Utah
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2014, 10:21:12 PM »
Thanks for that. I've been wondering about VLF propagation.

So with my antenna at 6 feet, the station efficiency ran between 80% (storms in the midwest) to 20% (storms only in the east). Currently it's 5%, and that's with storms in the west. Something is very different, and from your description of propagation, it's not because the antenna is 10 feet higher.

I'll keep working on this. Or I'll just lower my antenna and be happy with it.

PS: I just noticed what looks like periodic computer interference I never saw before. I'll investigate that.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2014, 10:27:33 PM by b.e.wilson »
Bruce/KF7K

Offline JonathanW

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Re: Utah
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2014, 09:07:56 AM »
In addition to what Mike wrote, interference or proximity to significant amounts of iron, nickel, iron-based steel, etc. (magnetic shielding materials) could have an impact.

Offline b.e.wilson

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Re: Utah
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2014, 09:21:11 AM »
Hmmm. Metal. That could definitely have an impact here, as the antenna is now mounted on a metal RV shed, next to my house with a metal roof. I used a shielded loop to "unhook" the effects of all that metal from the loop's response pattern, but didn't give much thought to the effect of the metal on the signals getting to the antenna.

More experimentation today, it seems. Thanks for the feedback and info.
Bruce/KF7K

Offline Cutty Sark Sailor

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Re: Utah
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2014, 09:44:12 AM »
Some locations are 'electrically' weird...
Take my H field antennas for example....
It took several months last year to find my environment's "sweet spot"... its an area 3-6' above the garage floor, directly in front of the garage door, within about an 8 cubic foot volume space wise!   Anything outside  that "box" results in much lower S/N ratio of the magnetic component... and since it's magnetic, shielding does nothing but decrease the S/N a bit more...
go figure.  ](*,) 
Yes, I have determined the various sources, but am unable to get permits to dynamite the truck axle factory about mile south, or saw down a few street lights, etc...  and there are some exotic factors about my home's construction....

As far as E field goes, it's pretty clean, ////  there's an intermittent disturber somewhere SE of the probe, but who cares, for the most part....? I may at some point move the probe a few meters NW or W... since that 'interference' drops off quickly with distance, but... but... I'm just too dammed lazy right now... .... I need to see how the seasonal environment affects the E field...

Do remember that H field antennas, can generally be located in any noise free spot... E field probes ALWAYS must be a few meters above earth and away from any structures and electrical 'arcing' or 'static' producers.  H field antennas can be 'shielded' to help with E field noise, but E Field probes are virtually immune to the same H field magnetic components that mess over your H field signals. So... E field is  'immune' to H field.  H field is susceptible to both, , especially what's called "near field" M components. M components will not be affected by shielding... but shielding may help mediate E field signals in H field antennas....

Lordy... aint' this fun!!!!!
Need coffee...

Mike



 

Offline b.e.wilson

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Re: Utah
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2014, 03:14:24 PM »
So I put up my system last week, and it did a beautiful job. The coax loop antenna at the time was mounted low, between buildings, using non-shielded CAT6 cable. After playing around with enclosures, I put it together (with the coax shields grounded to the amp board), and everything went to the dogs:

1) One loop has gone deaf. Probably a short between the shield and the center conductor, but could be a break in the conductor somewhere, I've used the continuity detector, and haven't found it. yet. Thinking I might have blown an amp, I cross-connected the inputs and both responded identically, and both responded properly to gain changes, so it's not the amp board.

2) The loop which works now has a big 45 KHz signal on it. It can pick up lightning amongst the noise, but it's always there. And it's got intermod with some AM band stations (at least is sounds like it when I listen to the signal on the buzzer). I get a clean signal on my radio (FTdx3000), unmodulated S7 carrier (on an antenna tuned to the ham bands, so it's pretty strong). You can see it here: http://frankfortweather.us/BoStaSig/orem1155/index.html , green signal.

So I have two questions, should anyone know the answer:

1) Have I missed some way a receiver can go deaf? I'm getting tired of confirming things work...I need to find the thing that doesn't.

2) What transmissions are at 45 KHz? I can find nothing in my Klingenfuss or online. Perhaps it's something more local/short-range. I can null it out on a NE-SW direction in Utah (on a line pointing toward Australia on one side, New York and Europe on the other).

EDIT: There is a third question: what is causing the intermod? There are no mixers in the amp, so it must be coming from the first adjustable-gain amp. That amp has the full-bandwidth signal, so it must be intermod between two strong signals present in the antenna. A 50 KHz difference could be caused by two local AM station, but not 45 KHz. I need to recheck the frequency in the system. I can hear a 45 KHz signal using my ham receiver, but maybe what's getting into the system is different. Ill check that, and do a quick survey of local AM stations, see if there is a 50 KHz difference somewhere.
EDIT: two stations, 1400 KHz and 1450 KHz are each +40 dB on my ham antenna.
MORE EDITS: okay, it's intermod in the first gain stage. I can turn the gain of stage 1 down to 1 and increase the gain of the last variable amp, and the intermod goes away. So it's manual settings for me for a while, or the servers can be programmed to recognize modulated sine waves in the signal and move to a preference of low gain in stage 1.

So now I'm left only with the question of why the red channel is deaf. I'll keep working on it. It must be mechanical. I apologize if this sounds like a dubug log, but that's what it's become.

LAST EDIT: All fixed. I don't know what I did to wake up the red channel , but in taking it apart, testing for continuity, and reassembling, it worked.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 08:14:14 PM by b.e.wilson »
Bruce/KF7K

Offline W3DRM

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Re: Utah
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2014, 10:48:32 PM »
Bruce,

Your B Channel looks really low. The gain is set at 1.8. Might want to check that out. Are you running in manual mode as Cutty suggests for initial setup and testing?
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Offline b.e.wilson

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Re: Utah
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2014, 11:10:57 PM »
I set channel B (green) very low to increase the total dynamic range of my station.  Channel 1 (directed east/west) is far more sensitive because the bulk of the signals in that direction originate from great distances. Channel B (directed north/south) is set insensitive because most of the local strikes (being loud) are found in those directions. I also oriented the sensitive antenna so as to null out the interfering AM stations causing intermod.
Bruce/KF7K

Offline W3DRM

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Re: Utah
« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2014, 11:27:10 PM »
I set channel B (green) very low to increase the total dynamic range of my station.  Channel 1 (directed east/west) is far more sensitive because the bulk of the signals in that direction originate from great distances. Channel B (directed north/south) is set insensitive because most of the local strikes (being loud) are found in those directions. I also oriented the sensitive antenna so as to null out the interfering AM stations causing intermod.

Okay, that makes sense. Also, we're probably past most of the major lightning activity for this year so raising the gains on A won't hurt anything. Just keep in mind for the next season that you may want to lower the A-channel gain when the activity builds up again. Hopefully, by then we will have more stations west of the Rockies so we will start detecting more of the storms in this part of the country.

73's...
Don - W3DRM - Minden, Nevada --- Blitzortung ID: 808 --- FlightRadar24 ID: F-KRNO2
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Offline b.e.wilson

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Re: Utah
« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2014, 11:31:34 PM »
Yeah, I figure once I set my own gains and levels, I'm responsible for setting them correctly. It'll be a regular monitoring operation until I find the proper setting for the season. Or until the server-side code is made to accommodate situations like mine automatically.
Bruce/KF7K

Offline b.e.wilson

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Re: Utah
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2014, 09:56:59 AM »
Richo has provided the proper solution: lower the value of R1 and R16, the loop terminating load. My loops are probably resonant about 1400 KHz, and with a 2.2 kOhm load, the Q of the loops is high, making them very efficient at 1400 KHz and sort of "magnifying" the intermod problem.

He suggested lowering the value of R1 and R16 to 100 ohms. I went to 150 ohms, and the intermod has disappeared at all first-amp gain settings. This is the solution to the intermod problem. Lowering the first-amp gain is a diagnostic and temporary solution only.
Bruce/KF7K

 

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