The American space agency NASA runs a yearly challenge called the “International Space Apps Challenge”. The challenge encourages global collaboration in solving several space and Earth related problems. This year one of the challengers is creating a system called the “BigWhoop” which will be a global networked system of radio receivers that will be used to continuously monitor the radio spectrum. They write:
[BigWhoop] is a full system for collecting data from small radio-receivers measuring everything within the radio spectrum around the world. BigWhoop schedules the monitoring, the collection of data via the internet, the database handling and the final analysis as well as visualization.
As well as being able to constantly track aircraft through ADS-B signals, they write that BigWhoop will have the following other applications:
We can detect places of high spectrum activities such as radio towers and tell you, when a new music channel starts its broadcast service. Or we can find sweet spots of radio silence where radio telescopes can be placed and listen to weak cosmic radio sources, that would have been drowned in man-made radio noise otherwise.
The BigWhoop code is still in “pre-alpha”, but they are currently asking for owners of RTL-SDR dongles to be volunteer testers.
Recently we also posted about some similar networked radio projects. One called ThumbNet which has a greater emphasis on education and promotion of the sciences, and another called SatNOGs which focuses on the receiving and global networking of satellite communications.
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