Schumann Q burst and background Lightning detection
My goal in this particular project is to help others participate The project removes the need for expensive custom hardware to receive Schumann cavity signals. This simple project will allow them to get started in the science involved. Weather, electronics, computing, programming, its all in this one project for people interested in having having fun while they learn.
OK, what is this about?
Normally to receive and chart Schumann Lightning levels in the Earths Cavity, requires expensive hardware and software. This is no longer true. By using the power grid as an antenna, and a super DSP program, together in the right way, it can be done with only the computer and software. You will see the three main Lightning producing parts of the world come alive as the sun passes over them. This reception happens on 7.8 Hz , the earths natural radio cavity frequency. NO you can not hear it! It is below human hearing frequencies. You will receive signals that originate on the other side of the world from you. 8Hz acts like a direct wire connection for anywhere in the world that has lightning.
This page is for experimenters who would like to explore the Earth's Schumann Cavity signals. In previous experiments I built a hardware receiver. It works quite well but does require the hardware. These pages will show how it can be done with only your computer and the necessary software. All FREE! Not even an advertisement attached. We will simply use the world famous Spectrum Lab program by Wolfgang Buscher DL4YHF. Then the " .usr" files to run it. This file turns Spectrum Lab into an 8 Hz Schumann Cavity receiver. It also does the chart plotting.
We will NOT be building an antenna of any kind. Your computer unless running on batteries is connected to some of the worlds most convenient Schumann antennas. That being the power grid running the computer. NO we DO NOT clip anything to the power line!! There is nothing to connect except the normal power to the computer. So what do we need? A Windows type computer that can run Spectrum Lab. The configuration files(2) that will tell Spectrum Lab how to be the receiver we need. That is it! Well almost. You have to operate program to receive Schumann signals and plot them. This is 99% setting audio levels and chart low and high points. Wolf has very extensive instructions on his site but we will give the highlights for doing just this part of the program. This same setup and receiver is used to pass the same information to some of my other Schumann programs.
Gerry Gore, WB5TXA, Retired Air Force / DOD career: electronics, programming,
|The following describes in brief how
The power grids of the world are huge wire antennas. During solar activity they have collected enough signal strength to melt power line components. That given we only want it to deliver enough to detect and chart. These signals on the grid are very small by most comparisons. But we have some neat things that just happen to work in our favor for detection. Think for a moment what we are attempting to do here. We are after very weak microvolt signals that are ridding on top of usually 120 or 240 VAC. power. So how the heck can you do that right?
I discovered quite by accident how this can be done. If you think about 8 Hz in the 50-60Hz world you can see that power supplies in today's equipment use switching types. They hum the frequency up to maybe 40 kHz for rectification and smoothing out to pure DC voltages. This makes the components small and cheaper.
What it does to help us on 8 Hz is that the whole thing makes a great 0-to above 60 Hz low pass filter! They are not concerned it seems with very weak signals below 60 Hz. So the between components stray capacitance seems to allow enough signal to slide through to be detected.
Out on the power grid there are non-linier signal mixing just like in a radio mixer. Here the signals involved is 60 Hz and 8 Hz. So what do we get from that? The usual original two signals plus their addition and subtraction. So we have new generated side bands on 67.8Hz and lower one at 52.2 Hz. It is one of these we are going to receive with our custom built receiver using Spectrum Lab.
Before we do the reception a couple of things need to be designed to help with the weak signals. Remember the signals we want are actually traveling on our various DC power supply voltages. So to keep our sound card background level as low as we can, we need to put a ground shorting plug across both the line inputs of the sound card. (Don't forget this!) That gives us the lowest noise floor we can get with the sound card. Next we want to use a 60 Hz Local Osc. into the mixer. By using a double balanced mixer mode we can destroy any 60 Hz traveling with our 67.8Hz sideband. Only a good DSP software can do this kind of thing because of being so close together in frequency! So now we have the 7.8 sideband to use. Next just like in a normal radio we filter the I.F. of 7.8Hz to pass on for charting. You can also detect the original 7.8Hz and the other 52.2 Hz sideband if you design a receiver for them. I decided to use the high sideband to help the soundcards lack of low end response. Usually spec'ed 20-20kHz.
I have seen traces of 14 Hz second Schumann but it seems too weak and unnecessary anyway. My experience is that this simple detection don't seem to produce upper band instances of the fundamental 7.8Hz. That might be due to the power grid or just too weak a level for the system noise figure, which is basically that of the sound card. Which is nothing good in the world of weak signals.
Another thing of interest, these signals are E' field type. Also 360 degree type lobes most likely. However that needs research maybe? Magnetic core type antennas have 180 degree figure 8 lobes with nulls off the sides. So plots done with E' field will not exactly fit one for a core antenna of course.
Gerry Gore, WB5TXA
Dr Earle Williams of MIT for his guidance on Q burst, and other atmospheric science.
Ham friends Sven , Paul and Cor for their experimental stations and expert help. See more from them on my pages as time goes by.
Wolfgang Buscher DL4YHF, the ham who really makes this all possible because of his unique one of a kind Spectrum Lab program.
Brian Hamilton for help on his building a special SFTP program that can do minutes
OK, now what?
For those interested in doing research and other hobby endeavors, I will supply the operating files for Spectrum lab at no cost. I do this as a hobby and interest in the science of it all. Email me for the info you need to get started. This not a huge interest item I'm sure so I think I can handle the direct mail.
About me: I am not in business. So I can not sell you anything. I am retired but work more now.
You can contact me with the link below if you would like to join in the fun.