My home is in Locust Valley, NY, near the north shore of Long Island, about 30 miles from New York city. The area is a beautiful place to live, but a very poor site for recording seismic events from around the world. The ground is very noisy here from traffic and other human activity. We sit about 1000 feet above bedrock on a pile of wet sand and clay, which shakes resonantly at 0.72 Hz in the horizontal direction. Horizontal sensors don't respond to frequencies above 0.72 Hz, and their ambient noise is predominantly at 0.72 Hz. Vertical sensors don't respond to the horizontal vibrations, but sense a lot of higher frequency cultural noise. Being near the ocean, we also experience more microseismic noise, which originates predominantly in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Nonetheless, in the year 2002 I set out to build a complete amateur seismic station, with the goal of acquiring seismic event data comparable in bandwidth to professional network stations. It took about four years of building, buying, and computer programming, but my goal has been largely met. My station is REM, 40.88200N 73.58171W, and I regularly submit event files to the PSN network at http://www.seismicnet.com.
I operate three homebuilt sensors, which rest on the concrete floor of the basement of my home. Two are horizontal sensors of my own design and construction, detecting ground motion in the N-S and E-W directions, respectively. The third sensor detects up-and-down earth motion, and was built for me by another seismic hobbyist, Victor Aiello.
My data acquisition equipment is installed in a bedroom directly above the sensors. The weak sensor signals are conducted upstairs to their seismic amplifiers via telephone cable. The upstairs hardware consists of the three amplifiers, a ±5v DC power supply, a Dataq DI-154RS digitizer, a WWVB controlled wall clock fitted with an optical pickoff for minute marking the data files, and a desktop PC.
One can record data with the above equipment using only the software supplied with the Dataq device. It did not take me long to realize that I needed much more in the way of specialized software for logging, filtering, displaying, saving the acquired data, and converting it from the Dataq file format to the WinQuake PSN Type 4 format in common use by amateurs. I early on decided to program the needed software applications for myself, using Visual Basic 6.0, and proceeded forthwith to coding the needed applications. I regret than Microsoft has moved on from VB6, but my programs continue to run OK on Windows XP, 7 and 10 operating systems. VB6 is very easy to learn and use, and I have yet to find any obstacles to programming anything I want to do.
This site contains information about my seismic hardware and software, and will allow download of useful seismic applications for use by other amateurs. Some of this software is specific to Dataq devices, and some is of general use to students of seismometry and users of WinQuake.
My situation changed recently. I have moved from Locust Valley to assisted living in Darien, CT, to be nearer my oldest daughter. I can no longer log seismic data, since 2nd floor apartments are not suitable for seismometers.