20 February, 2024

Svalbard, JW1ITS, in International WSPR Beacon Project

1000 spots over the last 2-3 days of reception.
Image from WSPR Rocks.
This month a new receiver station in the International WSPR Beacon Project was established near Longyearbyen, Svalbard. It is located at the Kjell Henriksen Observatory, at 520 m above sea level. This is a nice location for reception, but it is a tough place for outdoor antennas.

The receiver is an Airspy HF+ Discovery and software is running on a Raspberry Pi 4 and it is intended to run continuously 24/7. The receiver receives WSPR which was conceived by Nobel laureate Joe Taylor, K1JT. WSPR is run in a Coordinated band hopping schedule from 3.5 - 28 MHz, i.e. each frequency is received every 20 minutes.

At present the antenna is temporary and quite prone to noise. It receives best on the higher bands, like 28 MHz (10 m), but there has been reception on all bands from 5 MHz to 28 MHz as is evident from the band count shown to the right. Work is under way to improve the antenna. 

The receiver station is a collaboration between:
  • The International WSPR Beacon Project.
  • The Norwegian Association for Amateur Radio (Norwegian Radio Relay League).
  • The University centre in Svalbard (UNIS) where Mikko, also radio amateur JW5FUA, does local support.
  • Department of Physics, University of Oslo, whose instrument rack the receiver is located in and where I work.
  • Department of Technology Systems, University of Oslo whose call sign sign is used. The call sign, JW1ITS, is the Svalbard equivalent of LA1ITS, where the three final letters are the initals of "Institutt for Teknologisystemer".

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