Amateur Radio Newsline Report 2110 for Friday, April 06, 2018 — Amateur Radio Newsline

The HF Voyager was featured on Amateur Radio Newsline this week. Kent Peterson, KC0DGY, interviewed Kurt Kiesow, N6FW for the story. Have a listen, it is quite informative.

The transcript follows:

IN THE PACIFIC, AUTONOMOUS RADIO RIDES THE WAVES

JIM/ANCHOR: Meanwhile, as we know sometimes there isn't a real live ham doing the operating. An entirely autonomous digital ham radio station is operating on a piloted drone on the Pacific Ocean.  Newsline's Kent Peterson KC0DGY has the details.

KURT: We invented a technology called the wave glider, which is an autonomous maritime vehicle that harvests wave energy for propulsion.

KENT:  That's Kurt Kiesow (KEE-SO) N6FW from Jupiter Research Foundation.  Their  glider made by the Liquid Robotics company is designed principally for oceanic research. Kurt says depending on wave action and ocean currents, their drone can travel about 25 to 40 miles per day. A number of the foundation employees are hams, so they made room on board for ham radio. At first they thought of hosting a CW beacon -- but soon wanted more.

KURT: FT8 came to light, we decided that was a more efficient and more enjoyable way to interact with this maritime mobile station. We wrote some custom software to call CQ and respond to calls and it operates on 20 meters. You can call KH6JF/MM or listen for our CQ and have a QSO with us using FT8 on 20 meters right above 14.070.

KENT: Kurt says the system usually operates 24 hours per day, but in cloudy weather the solar charging system capacity drops and they sometimes need to take the station down until the batteries are recharged. They control the radio using the Iridium satellite data channel and have a full time control operator to keep their station legal. They have an Elecraft KX3 and a raspberry Pi on board, as well as a hustler with a top hat hardened for marine use.

KURT: When we call CQ we wrote some algorithms which looks at the waterfall to find an opening so we don't step on other stations. It's such an intriguing  project because it touches so many things, amateur radio, ocean science a very unique invention and the physics behind that invention.

KENT: It's easy to find - at least if you're on land.

KURT: If you simply search for HF Voyager on Google, it will take you right to our page. It shows a world map and where the latest contacts were made.  That all happens in near real time.

For Amateur Radio Newsline this is Kent Peterson KC0DGY