Blair Hearth, KD2EPA, of Oceanport, New Jersey, has joined the select group of individuals who have received Gold certification in the Radio Astronomy Observation program of the International Astronomical League for making at least 10 galactic observations. Hearth, who already had qualified for Silver certification, used the InfoAge Science History Museum’s TLM-18 dish for a few of his observations but most were accomplished by using Amateur Radio equipment to scan the void. A member of the Garden State Amateur Radio Association and the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers, Hearth in 2015 was the recipient of the ARRL Hudson Division Technical Achievement Award for his work in radio astronomy and RFI. As Hearth explains on his QRZ.com profile:
“I use a low frequency receiver to collect data that indicates sudden ionospheric disturbances. My venerable Kenwood R-600 receiver is dedicated to receiving Jovian radiation at 20.1 MHz. I also monitor and count meteors via radio reflection using a NooElec 2 dongle, SDR# and HDRFFT software. I attempt observations of extra-solar radio objects in the 408 MHz ‘band’ using GNU Radio, an excellent LNA and a DB8 bow-tie antenna.”
Hearth said he uses the TLM-18 60-foot dish for research into “the velocity of the sun with respect to the Local Standard of Rest.” He also will take part in data-gathering during the August solar eclipse. Hearth will deliver a presentation, “How to Use Ham radio Gear to Do Radio Astronomy,” at the International Astronomical League’s 2018 international meeting. He enjoys QRP operating and has a WSPR beacon on 20 meters.