The HF Voyager Project
Jupiter Research Foundation Amateur Radio Club (JRFARC) has integrated an HF transceiver with an autonomous ocean-going drone. Our mission is to deploy a ham radio station that roams the world’s oceans while providing an opportunity for amateur radio operators everywhere to make contacts with rare locations.
Our sponsor, Jupiter Research Foundation, has loaned JRFARC a Wave Glider and donated some radio equipment for this effort. Our club members have assembled a specialized waterproof ham radio payload and antenna system for the Wave Glider. We’ve used a combination of off-the-shelf and custom software and hardware to allow the system to operate autonomously for months at a time.
We will originally launched the system from the Island of Hawaii in January of 2016. After a nearshore ‘shakedown cruise’ of about one month, we brought the system in for some tweaks. We've had it in the nearshore waters for a few more test cruises this spring and we continue to perfect the system. Sometime in the late summer of 2016 we plan to send the Voyager out to the open ocean. Our pilots will guide it to sections of the North Pacific that are not normally available to ham operators. The station will use PSK31 on the 20 meter band as its primary operating mode. In the future we may add additional bands and modes.
The club plans to give a certificate of recognition to operators worldwide that have a confirmed contact with the HF Voyager. In the future we hope to collaborate with Amateur Radio organizations and publishers to sponsor operating events and contests for HF Voyager contact milestones. Gridsquare collectors, maritime operating fans, Islands on the Air participants, and all other hams interested in this unique opportunity to make a contact with an autonomous roving maritime station should find this to be an exciting new aspect of their favorite hobby.
Be sure to check out our HF Voyager Blog for updates and schedules.