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National Science Foundation Awards Nearly $50,000 Grant to HamSCI Founder

Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, an assistant professor at The University of Scranton Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering, has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant of nearly $50,000 to support the 2022 Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI) Workshop. The event is set for March 18 – 19 at The US Space & Rocket Center® in Huntsville, Alabama. The in-person conference also has a virtual format option.

HamSCI is a collective of professional researchers and radio amateurs with the objective to foster collaboration between the amateur and professional communities to advance scientific research and understanding, encourage development of new technologies to support this research, and provide educational opportunities for both the amateur radio community and the general public.

The workshop will serve as a team meeting for the HamSCI Personal Space Weather Station project, the beneficiary of a $1.3 million NSF-funded project grant awarded to Frissell. That project seeks to harness the power of a network of radio amateurs to better understand and measure the effects of weather in the upper levels of Earth’s atmosphere. The theme for the 2-day HamSCI workshop is “The Weather Connection.” The fifth annual workshop will feature prominent leaders in space weather, atmospheric weather, and the connection between them.

“The workshop series has led to cutting-edge work in the fields of space physics, citizen science, and the use of crowd-sourced ionospheric data,” Frissell said. “To maximize the potential of the ham radio-professional researcher relationship, meetings are needed to bring these groups together to learn about each other’s communities [and] vocabularies, to share ideas, and to participate in activities that advance both the scientific field and the radio hobby.”

Frissell’s research focuses on the ionosphere, the atmospheric region that extends 50 – 600 miles above Earth’s surface. According to Frissell, changes in the ionosphere alter the behavior of radio wave propagation and greatly affect the radio communications and global navigation satellite systems. “Understanding ionospheric structures and processes will lead to an increased understanding and prediction of these effects,” he said.


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