Primary Investigator of WISRD’s DSPIRA Group


August 30, 2022

As the institute begins to resume operations, I have been working to recruit new members to the Radio Astronomy Group. I have reached out to several interested members to confirm interest and have also contacted previous members to confirm their involvement in the group in the new year. During the summer, the radio telescopes, along with the cosmic ray detectors, have been moved to the new WISRD Radio Telescope and Cosmic Ray Detector Observatory on the roof of Wildwood’s elementary school campus. This has helped significantly to cut down the noise caused by the environment at the previous location. We are working on both designing a banner to be placed there and a presentation to explain to the elementary students some of the work the observatory will be doing. I now intend to create a goal list for the year. When possible I hope to return to my work on calculating the speed of the earth around the sun, along with other white papers I have been working on.

April 28, 2022

This Monday, April 25, WISRD spring 2022 poster night was hosted. I presented for the Radio Astronomy Group poster. The presentation was very consistent and covered all relevant information about the project. I was also able to interact with listeners and answer individual questions about our work. I have worked on multiple projects recently. I have been working on calculating and writing a white paper regarding the power distribution for the telescopes and cosmic ray detectors. We have also made and tested a Faraday cage for the radio telescopes. This is to reduce noise found at the Wildwood building. We are still trying to further isolate and protect against noise on the roof. The Faraday cage for the other radio telescope is currently being made. I just help repair one of the radio telescopes that had been downed after the wind knocked it over and separated the horn from the can.

February 1, 2022

I reviewed the manuscript On the nature of radio-wave radiation from particle cascades By Clancy W. James.

January 26, 2022

Today, I set up two of our three raspberry pis to run on power over ethernet (POE). I added a POE hat to the pis and will do this with the final pi once it is no longer actively collecting data. All power for the system is now ready to be functioning. I am waiting on the parts of the group building the protection for the equipment.

January 25, 2022

Since the return from break, we have continued working on trying to get two radio telescopes and the cosmic ray array functioning on the roof. I have been spending time working to ensure we have power to all components. We had a solar panel and battery set up for power. There were limited connections to the power source using this method and I attempted to fix this by soldering a 12 V to 5 V converter. When soldering using this process, a capacitor on the power convertor exploded. This was due tp the fact that the positive and negative wires were soldered to the wrong inputs. I was able to solder them again so that it worked, but this was an important lesson in double checking I have the correct connections and lab safety. This method did not provide enough power and we will be looking into other options.

December 15, 2021

We are in the process of setting the Radio Telescope up more in a permanent position on the roof. We have completed building water proofing a base that has already been placed on the roof. It consists of a wooden base made using DSPIRA’s instructions. We then added a piece of wood across with a hole in it. This sits atop a wooden circular dolly with another hole in the center. All of this is atop a wood board that has a block with another hole attached to the top. A PVC is inserted through all these holes to hold the base in place, even when rotating. We have full range of vision through a combination of tilting the telescope itself and rotating the base.

We are now moving on to waterproofing and placing our electronic components. While working on this, we came to the decision that we would benefit from beginning our collaboration with the Cosmic Ray Detector group at this point. It has been a long term goal to work on joint research with this group, but this is the first time that we have attempted to collaborate. We will be including the Comic Ray Detector’s electronics in our box. We have recently acquired a waterproof box that is large enough to fit all the necessary components. We finished making a holed platform that fits inside the box to help prevent overheating. Today, we completed an experiment to ensure we would be able to cover our solar panel with plexiglass. When held up to LEDs without any covering, the solar panel produced 20.4 V. When covered with plexiglass it produced 20.0 V. We determined that this was an insignificant reduction in energy and that we will be able to use plexiglass in the base for the solar panel.

September 8, 2021

Today we held our first WISRD board meeting of the year. I made an effort to engage with the board and speak up. I believe that it will be important this year to focus on our main goals for every group’s project. To work towards my group’s goals, I have been focusing on understanding both the science and the process behind measuring galactic rotation and creating an interferometer. To do this, I have been working through Eric Trumbauer’s Prezi on Galactic Rotation.

August 25, 2021

WISRD and our lab group are getting back in to full swing this week as school starts again. Several group members are moving to new projects. I am looking for new recruits and have made sure to let old members know that I am open to future collaboration and communication. As we start the year, we are reaffirming our goals of measuring the rotational speed of the galaxy, attempting to prove dark matter using this, and building another radio telescope to create an interferometer. I also discussed with Joe a plan to combine new calculus skills with past physics knowledge to further my DISPRA work.

November 16, 2020

Today I worked with Glen Langston from DSPIRA. We both used VNC (Virtual Network Computing) to access Joe’s computer where he is currently running a working radio telescope. We viewed the data and I observed as he attempted to fix an issue with the code that prevented it from accepting longitudes over +/- 90 degrees. I learned some specific commands and got a better sense of how the program is run.

November 12, 2020

I recently presented about the building and components of the radio telescope at both WISRD’s Dark Matter Day and our 2020-2021 Fall Poster Night. I have also been working on writing an article on the phases of matter for the Inquirer. I am now in the editing stage of the process. Today, I began trying to use solder paste to solder another LNA. I tried applying the paste, attaching the component, then heating the board. The paste did seem to become more liquid and then cooled, but the components are still able move. I am also worried the paste ran together. I will continue trying to become more effective at using the solder paste for my surface mount soldering.

October 7, 2020

Today I talked with Howard Chun from the DSPIRA project. He explained a different method of making the LNA using solder paste. We also discussed other parts of the project and getting parts. I hope to use this new strategy to make another LNA in the near future. For now, I am still working on getting my current LNA working.

September 21, 2020

After trying to reheat parts of the LNA to see if the issue was dull solder or solder bubbles, it still is not working. I now have a five volt resistor, which will allow us to simulate the horn and test the LNA much easier. I also am going to try to make another LNA using solder paste and a heat gun in the near future. I have been trying to better understand the DSPIRA project and get my LNA running. I am also working on getting the Raspberry Pi running at my home. My other goals include familiarizing myself with JavaScript and Linux.

August 26, 2020

School has just restarted in online format. As I am approaching the new year, I am also continuing a project I started with West Virginia University’s Radio Astronomy Instrumentation Lab (WVU RAIL). I am working on the Digital Signal Processing in Radio Astronomy (DSPIRA) project by creating a radio telescope. The goals for this year are to create three working radio telescopes, sync them up to each, and contribute to the creation of DSPIRA’s program with other groups in the future. I also hope to try writing articles about my work on this project. In the future we also hope to work with the cosmic ray array team to see if we can detect radio waves from cosmic ray showers. I currently have built the horn and soldered Low Noise Amplifier (LNA), though I am in the process of testing and fixing the LNA.

July 23, 2020

The foam cone for the radio telescope has been built according to the instructions.

July 15, 2020

I have begun working with the West Virginia University Radio Astronomy Instrumentation Lab (WVU RAIL) to build a horn radio telescope. I have been using their GitHub page to help me build the radio telescope. I have previously been on a conference call with them. Today I started the process of on-board soldering the low noise amplifier.

April 15, 2020

I went over the basic astronomical ideas that will be present in my PANOPTES work. I looked at the idea of polar alignment, meridian flip, right ascension, and declination. I learned about the magnitude of stars and depth of transitions. I also looked at the Swarthmore Transit Finder, both what it does and how to use it.

April 13, 2020

After returning from break, I have finished introducing myself to the different PANOPTES forums, including the PANOPTES website and Slack page. Work has started on the poster for the upcoming poster presentation night. I also began work on my vitae.

March 16, 2020

Today we are starting online classes due to the corona virus. I have been going over code for PANOPTES and now have a better understanding of how to use the code. I am going to start setting up accounts on the PANOPTES website and creating a branch on PANOPTES GitHub. I am also planning to work on my article in the following week.

February 18, 2020

I am now working with PANOPTES to run a functional program for the AAG Weather Sensor. I have found and downloaded a software file from the product’s website and am trying to see if we can use it properly. I also recently finished a rough draft for an article for WISRD’s Inquirer magazine.

February 3, 2020

I’ve begun working with the PANOPTES team. I have started learning the controls for the PANOPTES telescope, such as how to move the telescope and view photos.

January 9, 2020

I am now working with team Athena to upload information from the gyroscope to an SD card to record the data for when it is launched. The separate code for the gyroscope and the SD card initialization work on their own, but when combined run into errors. We believe that it has to do with memory and are testing this by moving it from and Arduino Uno board to an Arduino Mega 2560.

December 5, 2019

I’ve been working mainly on working with team Athena. They are launching a cosmic ray detector attached to a small rocket. This cosmic ray detector must be able to withstand 13 g’s, and I have been tasked with helping create the system that will be used to test if it can survive this. I have a large motor that I tested the speed of using a strobe light. Using the speed I found and the equation: (T²a)/4π², I was able to find how long the arm length would need to be to generate 13 g’s. I have also created a system to will report the RPM needed to reach 13 g’s at any given arm length. I have calculated that for an arm length of 10 cm, it will need to have a velocity of 344 RPM. The strobe light works at *100 RPM.

November 5, 2019

Presentations at poster night went well and I shared my work on the anemometer. I have begun to calibrate the anemometer and am working on collecting and analyzing accurate data. I am awaiting a new, more stable, design for the anemometer to continue my testing. I have also been making progress on implementing stepper motors needed for the fluid dynamics team’s rocketry project.

October 1, 2019

I have completed the program to print out the average of the wind speed every 500 runs of the program on the LCD. This allows the data to be readable by only displaying every few seconds. I am now waiting for the new anemometer to be built, so it can be re-calibrated and then the anemometer and display will be completed.

September 24, 2019

I have started my time at WISRD by getting reacquainted with working with Arduino. I am now working on my first real project by fixing the anemometer by rewiring and re-coding the work done by Spencer for the aerodynamics team’s wind tunnel project. I have now rewired all the components, so they are functioning. I have reworked most of the code, so that I can display values from the anemometer on an LCD. I’m still working our some bugs, then it should be usable again.

IP Addresses and GNURadio Commands

External Radio Telescope IP Addresess:,

Internal Radio Telescope IP Addresses:,

Radio Telescope username: radioastro

Data location: Research/gr-radio_astro/examples/data

FileZilla: FTP port: 22


Radio Telescope Calibration

1. Open VNC Viewer and use the correct IP address and login to access the telescope.

2. Open a terminal window.

3. Use “cd Research” then ” cd gr-radio_astro” to change into the directory.

4. Enter command “NsfIntegrate100”.

5. Point the telescope down.

6. Set elevation to -90.0. Note: make sure to press enter, then click away, so it saves.

7. Change reocrd mode to average.

8. Open new terminal window.

9. Use “cd data” to change directory to view the incoming data.

10. Use command “ls” to list all files in the directory. Scroll to the bottom of the data.

11. Continue to check the latest data by using “ls” until 10 hot files (*.hot) are recprded.

12. Switch the the NsfIntegrate window and set observing mode to Hot/Cold.

13. Set record mode to save.

14. Set observing mode to survey and record mode to wait.

15. Turn telescope straight up.

16. Change elevation to 90.0, ensuring it has saved.

17. Repeat step 7 and steps 10-14 for cold files (*.ast).

Congrats! The telescope is now calibrated.

Contirbuted Assets

Code for Anemometer (Not Calibrated)

Code for Stepper Motor (Basic Movement): \\dumbledore\assests\Aerodynamics\StepperMotor.ino

Code for Gyroscope SD Card Backup: \\dumbledore\assests\Athena\Allyson

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