The RBN is a global network of passive receiving stations that automatically listen for Morse code transmissions on multiple HF bands and aggregate the results to a central server. These results allow for real-time monitoring of HF communications links, as well as provide valuable data for later study. The Blackstone RBN receiver consists of a Software Radio Laboratory QS1R software defined radio capable of monitoring several bands simultaneously from 10 kHz - 62 MHz. The Afreet Software CW Skimmer and RBN Aggregator software decode observed Morse code signals and report them back to the RBN central servers. The Blackstone RBN receiver is connected to a DX Engineering active vertical receive antenna, which the installation team mounted on top of currently unused SuperDARN antenna poles. These poles serve as a a both radio frequency ground plane and cattle guard to protect against curious bovine visitors.

The Reverse Beacon Network was recently featured in an article in Space Weather Quarterly (Frissell et al., 2014(external link)) that highlighted both its potential for conducting ionospheric science, as well as its important role in the Citizen Science movement.

In photo (Left-to-Right): Magda Moses (KM4EGE, Virginia Space Grant Consortium research student), Nathaniel Frissell (W2NAF, SuperDARN PhD candidate), Deven Chheda (SuperDARN masters student), and Carson Squibb (Space@VT Research Experience for Undergraduates student). This marks Magda and Carson’s first trip to a SuperDARN site. Photo by Carson Squibb.

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