In a significant development regarding the infamous disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, a recent report has unveiled a groundbreaking methodology utilizing amateur radio technology to potentially track aircraft over vast distances. Authored by Richard Godfrey, Dr. Hannes Coetzee (ZS6BZP), and Prof. Simon Maskell, the report titled “How does WSPR detect Aircraft over Long Distances? Technical Paper” sheds light on the potential of the WSPRnet system in aircraft tracking.

The report asserts that WSPRnet radio signals possess the capability to reliably detect and track aircraft across extensive distances, extending to the far reaches of the globe. Key indicators such as anomalies in received signal levels, frequency deviations, or frequency drifts can signify potential disturbances caused by aircraft.

WSPRnet, characterized as a multi-static and multi-frequency system, boasts global coverage with approximately 6 million distinctive links between WSPR transmitters and receivers recorded in its database, each spanning propagation distances greater than 3,000 km. This extensive network, combined with the long coherent integration time of WSPRnet receivers and the enhanced radar footprint of modern aircraft within WSPRnet wavelength bands, ensures a high level of detection and reliable tracking capabilities.

The core methodology of WSPRnet involves statistical post-processing of meta-data from communication links, amalgamating radio wave reflections by aircraft akin to radar usage, ionospheric propagation, and the WSPR protocol. This innovative approach was employed to track the trajectory of MH370 from its last confirmed radar detection on March 7th, 2014, at 18:00 UTC until the end of the flight on March 8th, 2014, at 00:28 UTC. A total of 313 anomalies in signal levels or frequencies of WSPR signals were detected at the estimated position of MH370 across 130 different instances in time.

Notably, the report reveals that the crash site of MH370 lies at coordinates 29.128°S 99.934°E, a location lying outside the previous search areas designated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and Ocean Infinity.

This groundbreaking utilization of WSPR technology marks a significant advancement in the ongoing efforts to unravel the mystery of MH370’s disappearance. By harnessing the capabilities of amateur radio enthusiasts and leveraging the expansive WSPRnet network, researchers have demonstrated the potential for innovative solutions in the realm of aviation tracking and accident investigation.

As the aviation community grapples with the enduring enigma of MH370, this report serves as a testament to the ingenuity of collaborative efforts across disciplines, offering hope for future breakthroughs in aviation safety and search and rescue operations.


An amateur radio operator, military veteran, jack of all trades and master of none.

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