n MNASSA : Monthly Notes of the Astronomical Society of South Africa - GRB130427A detected by Supersid monitor : observers page

Volume 72, Issue 5_6
  • ISSN : 0024-8266



For many years amateur astronomers have been using simple radio receivers to monitor the effects that solar flares have on the Earth's ionosphere and the knock-on effect that this has on the propagation characteristics of low frequency radio stations. These systems are variously known as SES recorders (Sudden Enhancement of Signal) or SID recorders (Sudden Ionosphere Disturbance) and operate at frequencies around 20 kHz. Stanford university have developed a system that does not require a radio receiver and utilizes the power of a sound card in a small computer, which they call the Supersid. Software supplied monitors up to ten transmitting stations on a continuous basis. The radio stations that are monitored are used by the military to communicate with submarines out at sea. It is only the carrier wave strength that these receivers are interested in. SID recorders run 24 hours a day, require very little maintenance and work whether it is rainy or clear. All they require is an antenna, a small amplifier circuit and an old computer with a sound card.

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