At this very moment the Polarstern, a German research icebreaker is presently off the coast of Africa en route to a scientific station in Antarctica. Ham radio operators onboard the vessel are operating DP0POL/mm via the satellite Es’hail 2 / QO-100 using a 75cm portable dish on deck and 6 watts of RF from equipment sponsored by AMSAT-DL.
Look for them at 10.489.920 MHz for direct QSO or monitor their activity via the Web SDR hosted at Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall, UK.
It’s a radio adventure that gets even more interesting once you dig a little deeper into the details of the scientific outpost, Neumayer Station III in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica.
DPØGVN is a club station located at the German Antarctic Research Station and there’s more than just a satellite ground station in operation there. It seems an ideal location for a receiver setup because the RF environment is amazingly QRM-free with a noise floor 20, 30 or even more dB below typical noise in urban areas.
The receiver is a SDR built around three Red Pitaya (StemLAB 125-14 with 50 dB preamplifier). They permanently observe all eleven WSPR band segments between 160m and 6m and upload the spots to wsprnet.org. A BananaPi and a RaspberryPi single board computer take care of control tasks. A third Red Pitaya is currently monitoring the ever-increasing FT8 traffic on the amateur radio bands. Properly decoded transmissions are reported to pskreporter.info.
By the way, it’s summer there now and January is usually the warmest month. True to form, the temperature is already a balmy 23F at the station this morning.