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Monitoring My Eclipse Radio Signals Online

IonosphereOn the day of the eclipse, you will be able to view my radio signals live as I send transmissions to determine how the ionosphere is reacting to the eclipse. The map and list shown below will be constantly updated. The map will incorrectly show that my signals are originating from Minnesota, but my signals will actually be originating in Hastings, Nebraska. The locations of the receiving stations will be correctly shown on the map. If you want to view this as a separate web page, go to:

I predict that during as the eclipse begins in Oregon, propagation will be enhanced toward the west, and as it moves to the east, propagation will be enhanced in that direction.  You will be able to follow this live at this site.

If you have a shortwave receiver, you will also be able to hear me directly on the frequencies listed above.  Transmissions will be very short, so tune to the frequency of the last transmission and listen.  The receiver should be set for CW/SSB reception.  You will hear me send in Morse code TEST DE W0IS:


Even if you don’t have a shortwave receiver, you can tune in using one of the many shortwave receivers that are connected to the Internet at  Pick a receiver close to one of the locations where my signals are shown as being received on the map above.

For other ways that you can “listen” the eclipse by radio, please visit my Eclipse Radio Experiments page.

Sunday Traffic Update for Nebraska

Traffic today between Lincoln and Grand Island on westbound I-80 was very heavy, but moving along at or near posted speeds.  US 30 and state highways between Freemont and Lincoln had very little traffic.  Rest area parking along I-80 was almost full.  I do recommend that if you see a parking spot on the truck side as you pull in, then you should take it.  Once you get to the end of the car parking, there’s no place to turn around.

We did see units of the Nebraska National Guard out and about, but there doesn’t appear to be any need for their services at this time.

Eclipse glasses appear to be unavailable.  But they’re not needed, so don’t let that stop you from coming.

The Cornhusker State seems to have everything under control.


Travel Updates: MN to NE

We drove today from Minneapolis to Freemont, Nebraska, near Omaha. Tomorrow, we will drive to our viewing location in Hastings.  There were no traffic problems today.

There was fairly heavy traffic southbound on Interstate 35 from Minneapolis to Des Moines, but absolutely no problems.  The majority of the cars we saw in Iowa had Minnesota license plates, and many were obviously loaded with camping gear, cameras, and other signs that they were eclipse chasers.  We spoke to several other chasers in rest areas, and everyone was very upbeat.

Traffic is always heavy on Interstate 80 between Des Moines and Omaha, and today was no exception.  In addition to the normal truck traffic, there were many cars and RV’s with Minnesota and Wisconsin plates.

To get to our hotel in Freemont, we continued on 680, which was eerily devoid of traffic.  We got on northbound I-29 for a few miles, and southbound traffic toward the eclipse seemed moderately heavy for a Saturday.

We got off I-29 onto US 30 to head west into Nebraska.  There was no traffic to speak of.  We gassed up in Blair and drove to Freemont with no problem.  The hotel clerk apparently didn’t have glasses yet, and was very grateful when we gave him a pair.

I’ll update tomorrow with conditions between Freemont and Hastings.  We might continue on US 30 to Grand Island, but due to the lack of problems, we might get back on the interstate just to report the conditions.

If you are making a last minute trip and hear that traffic is heavy on I-35 and I-80, our experience today suggests that a better route might be to drive to Sioux City, Iowa, and then continue on US 30 to Grand Island or other points in totality.

At least five hotels in Omaha still show availability for Sunday night for under $100.  To find one, check my Minnesota Iowa travel page and click on any of the hotels listed there.  Even if it’s not available, you’ll see a list of all available hotels.

Win Free Eclipse Glasses!

This contest how now ended.  We are running a Facebook contest, and two lucky winners will receive a free pair of eclipse glasses.  The glasses are similar to the ones shown here, and are ISO and CE certified as safe for direct viewing of the sun.  They are made in the USA by American Paper Optics.  (I purchased them directly from American Paper Optics, and they were shipped to me directly, so there’s no chance that these are counterfeits.)

Most retailers have now run out of the glasses.  This might be your only chance to get them, and they won’t cost you a dime!

To enter, simply follow these two steps:

  1. “Like” us on Facebook. Just click on this link and then click the “Like” button near top of the page.  (If it says “Liked,” then you already have this step taken care of.)
  2. Go to the contest announcement, which is the pinned post at the top of that page. I have randomly generated a number between 1 and 200. Post your guess as a comment to that Facebook post.  The two closest guesses will be the winners. I will contact the winners for their mailing addresses.

The winners will be the two who posted the numbers closest to the secret number.  In case of tie, the earliest post(s) will win.

The contest ends at 11:59 PM Central Time on Monday, August 14, 2017.  I will contact the winners by Facebook message, and you will need to send me your mailing address.  I will mail them by First Class Mail on Tuesday, August 15.  Glasses will be sent folded in a normal business size envelope.

If you want to purchase eclipse glasses, please see my post with advice on where to find the few remaining pairs.  Click here for more eclipse information.

1957 Two Tube Junkbox Special Broadcast Receiver

1957JulPEpictorialSixty years ago, the July 1957 issue of Popular Electronics showed how to put together this simple two tube broadcast receiver using junkbox parts.

The AC-DC set used a 35W4 rectifier, and the 12AT7 dual triode served as detector and audio amplifier to drive the speaker.  The author reported that it pulled in many local stations, and up to 500 miles at night.

The article warned that the AC-DC chassis should be kept clear of pipes and other grounded objects.


1927 Baffin Island Expedition


Effie M. Morrissey 1894.jpg

Effie M. Morrissey in 1894. Wikipedia photo.

Shown above as it appeared 90 years ago is radio operator Edward Manley aboard the Effie M. Morrissey, as it prepared for the Putnam Baffin Island Expedition to the Arctic in search of the magnetic north pole.

The smaller battery powered transmitter on the shelf would operate on 33 and 20 meters, with the larger longwave generator transmitter was on the left. The battery set used twenty B batteries in series to supply 900 volts.

The ship was built in 1894 and served as a fishing vessel until 1925. She made her first voyage of exploration in 1926. The preparations shown above were for her second voyage.

In 1946, the ship was renamed the Ernestina, and is currently based at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. She is owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The top photo is from the July 1927 issue of Radio Digest.

Dominion Day, 1867

220px-Canada_flag_halifax_9_-04Today marks the 150th anniversary of the formation of the Dominion of Canada. The British North America Act, which served as Canada’s constitution until the constitution was “patriated” with the Canada Act of 1982, was approved by the British Parliament in February 1867, and received the assent of Queen Victoria on March 29, 1867, with an effective date of July 1, 1867. The Act united the colonies of Canada (which was divided into Ontario and Quebec), Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

Using Your Flashlight in a Blackout, 1942


75 years ago, Americans were preparing for the possibilities of blackouts in case of enemy air raid. In this day’s issue of Life magazine, June 15, 1942, Eveready carried this ad explaining the importance of keeping a flashlight, and how to use it during a blackout.

The ad first admonished that every home should have one or more flashlights, but that before buying new ones, old ones should be inspected to see if they could be repaired. In many cases, only a new bulb or lens, or a fresh set of batteries was required. The flashlight should be kept in a convenient accessible spot, and always put back.

During a blackout, it was important to never point the light toward an unshielded window, skylight, or open door. Outside, the flashlight should be shielded. This could be accomplished by covering the lens with two layers of newspaper.

If unshielded, the flashlight should be used outside only when absolutely necessary, taking care to never point it even slightly upward, and never toward reflective objects.

And, of course, the flashlight should have Eveready batteries, with an extra set of spares.

Coronation of King George VI, 1937

The Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the mother and father of the current Monarch) took place on this date 80 years ago today, on May 12, 1937.

King George V had died on January 20, 1936, at which time Edward VIII assumed the throne. Shortly thereafter, he caused a constitutional crisis after announcing his plans to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. The crisis was resolved by his abdication on December 11, 1936, at which time George VI assumed the throne.

Edward’s coronation was originally scheduled for May 12, 1937, and the event went on as scheduled, with George rather than Edward being crowned.

1937May15RadioGuideThe event was broadcast live by radio in America. Radio Guide for the week ending May 15, 1937 predicted that the event would be “without doubt, radio’s biggest show–the ‘crowning event’ in the twenty-odd years of radio broadcasting’s existence.” The magazine reported that there would be a battery of microphones in place to bring the scene to listeners all over the world.” NBC and CBS planned six hours of continuous coverage.