To help convert to amateur radio astronomy, I needed to brush up on many science topics. I spent much of the summer reading and asking questions about topics that ranged from astrochemistry, parabolic antenna design, general astronomy and pulsars, to Jovian planet RF research from both space probes and earth labs.
Soaked with science, amateur radio astronomy seems the ultimate hobby for those passionate about working with radio waves who also love science. Imagine listening to DX that's actually Gaussian noise lying 60 dB below your receiver noise floor !
I've built up my library with many astronomy books and also periodicals. If you're lucky and your university subscribes to a large catalog of journals, you'll enjoy access to scientific papers that you can locate with popular search engines such as OVID.
Further, I ordered many of the parts needed for my 18th build season over the summer. I can't wait to start back on the bench in the next week or so.
Above — My 4 favorite books from this summers reading break. Of anything, pulsars interest me the greatest. I learned that amateur neutron star enthusiasts experiment within the amateur radio astronomy hobby. Click for the website of Giorgio Dell'Immagine. The Neutron Star Group keeps an anthology of information on this web site
Above — A reading sample. I also spent many nights looking skyward with binoculars and my 150 mm X 750 mm Newtonian light bucket --- and the Sky and Telescope Pocket Atlas proved helpful. Although, I favor binoculars, on the telescope, my main eyepiece = a TeleVue 32 mm Click
Above — Access to scientific papers about radio astronomy + many online scientists proves very exciting for me.
Above — Some of my Jupiter receiver modules which I'll present in a 7-part segment later this Fall and Winter.
Above — My log amp prototype schematic which I'll build and edit this Fall. The radio receiver thus becomes a calibrated measurement receiver with a large dynamic range. This schematic is really just a well-filtered, low noise, calibrated S-meter. I'll drive an ADC with it-- so the output goes to a computer.
After the Jupiter receiver system gets completed, I'm moving to UHF and plan a superhet receiver for 400- 470 MHz with a first IF of 140 MHz.