Listen to Jupiter

Jupiter is a wonderful object for radio study. It is somewhat predictable and yet often surprising in its violent outbursts below 40 MHz. You can receive Jupiter using relatively simple equipment or you can construct complex spectrograph receivers and build monstrous antenna arrays to capture its more subtle messages. The complex relationship between the gas giant planet and its volcanic moon Io is not completely understood, but we do know these bodies work together to produce "radio noise storms" as they pirouette through space. Many factors come into play for the amateur radio astronomer who tries to capture a noise storm. In order maximize your chances of success, you should take time to understand the potential hurdles and optimize your equipment for this task

69” copper tube
4 pieces of 12” wood (for upright support)
24” × 24” wire mesh
24” × 24” piece of wood (for square frame)
1.5m antenna cable
portable radio with short wave band (SW 2)
U bolts (optional)
Duck tape


• Nail together the 24” × 24” square base. (wire mesh on to the piece of wood)
• Nail on the 5 upright supports.
• Attach the antenna loop to the uprights with the U bolts. If you don't have U bolts, tie or wire the antenna loop in place. The distance from the wire mesh to the antenna loop is 12”.
• Attach the antenna cable to the open ends or the antenna loop. You can do this by inserting the bare ends of the antenna cable into the open ends of the tube. Then, flatten the tube onto the wire with pliers, or use a large screw inserted into the ends of the tube.
• Connect the other ends of the antenna wires to the radio. If your radio has a special place to connect an extra antenna, use that. If your radio just has a stick antenna, wrap 2 meters of insulated wire around the antenna. Attach the antenna cable to this wire.
• Turn on the radio and select SW 2. Look closely at the numbers beside SW 2. Turn the volume up and tune towards the 21 MHz end of the dial. Your antenna will work best here.
• Turn the tuning knob slowly as you listen. You should be hearing interesting sounds like hums, hisses and chirps, maybe even some foreign languages. You are detecting a variety of electromagnetic signals. Some might be coming from radio stations halfway around the world. Some could be secret codes from spies. Others will be signals from electrons stopping and going inside the machines close to you. Your refrigerator sends out signals and so does the transformer on a pole outside. But some of these sounds are signals arriving from planets and stars deep in space!
• This antenna is designed to detect radio storms on Jupiter. You can check this out for yourself. First, find out where in the sky Jupiter appears. Then, tune the radio to a spot where nothing else is interfering. All you should hear is a steady, gentle hiss. Now, point the antenna at Jupiter and listen. If a radio storm is happening, you might hear something.



Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Yeah but how do u get the radio to receive it?
My am radio deos not receive under 40 MHz