Additional Payloads: Cameras and HF Voyager

Europa is our newly acquired Wave Glider SV3, equipped with three solar panels, which has the ability to power more payloads than our Wave Glider SV2s. In addition to the hydrophone, we have integrated two other payloads. The second payload is a camera system with two HD cameras; one provides a view from the surface float and the other from below the surface looking at the sub. Europa will send pictures periodically from each camera to JRF in real-time. These photos will help our pilots visually monitor the ocean and Europa's health. 

The third payload is called the HF Voyager, which is an entirely autonomous radio station. Because it is designed to allow two-way communications with amateur radio operators worldwide, it supports a new communication mode that has taken the amateur radio world by storm: FT8. With shorter transmit-receive cycles making for quicker contacts, it will be the ideal mode for communicating with our autonomous remote station in the Pacific. Jupiter’s two abiding passions have been humpback whales and radio technology, and now we have combined our two passions in a way that serves each uniquely and also allows them to intersect.

Furthermore, during the mission, HAM operators will call the Voyager on the 20 Meter amateur band and (if propagation permits) the Voyager will respond with telemetry including location and other data. These ‘contacts’ will transmit from areas that are rarely occupied by human sailors. We have taken off-the-shelf components and customized and integrated them for this application. The system also supports PSK-31 for two-way comms, and  WSPR (transmit only) allowing us also to create a propagation study based on the contacts received over the course of this trans-pacific mission. HF Voyager is a project of the Jupiter Research Amateur Radio Club (JRFARC), a group of amateur radio operators affiliated with the sponsoring organization.

The migration of North Pacific Humpback Whales and their song

A Humpback whale’s migration of 6,000 miles is one of the longest of any mammal. North Pacific humpback whales migrate from their summer feeding grounds within and around the Gulf of Alaska to their breeding grounds in Mexico, Hawaii, Japan, and the Philippines. Hints of undiscovered whales within deeper waters are prevalent, such as a photo-identification record of a whale that traveled between Mexico and Hawaii in one winter season, stories of humpbacks near atolls far to the south and west of Hawaii, and a suggestion from the SPLASH study on migratory destinations of an ‘undiscovered’ winter assembly. Previous song studies show there is mixing of humpbacks throughout the North Pacific, but it’s not known when or how this occurs. Even one record of a humpback song in the deep waters would be significant and undoubtedly lead to further investigations. Additionally, tracking their song and migration patterns could shed some light on biological responses to environmental changes, including climate change and global warming.


While in their breeding grounds, male humpbacks sing. Fifty years ago, through listening to the sounds from the ocean, a fascinating discovery was made about a humpback and its song, which helped create the modern conservation movement known by three words worldwide:  “Save The Whale.” The subsequent album produced by Dr. Roger Payne, Song of The Humpback Whale, is the most successful natural history recording ever made. Today, it is still unclear why male humpback whales sing a song. Dr. Jim Darling, of Whale Trust Maui, is in pursuit of researching the mysterious song. Jim and his team hypothesize the song may be a means for individual males to recognize how closely associated they are with other males and may determine if specific males cooperate or compete for females. Their research focuses on comparing songs from different regions within the North Pacific Basin to determine the similarities and differences between them.


The ocean is a loud place filled with many different sounds - a chorus composed of fish, marine mammals, crustaceans, mollusks, etc., and even anthropogenic noises such as ship traffic. The combination of these sounds creates a soundscape, which varies within different areas or environments. Ecoacoustics, an interdisciplinary study, is a new science that uses soundscapes over wide-ranging spatial and temporal scales to determine ecological relationships between species and their ecosystems. Ecoacoustic studies can engender conservation efforts and support the management of marine resources.

Scientists originally used soundscape indices to determine diversity among terrestrial populations. Currently, researchers are only beginning to develop marine acoustic indices. Since this new science is still in its early stages, collecting new data and establishing baseline studies are essential in its development. Researchers have recorded marine soundscapes in multiple studies, including the investigation of shallow, hard bottoms of the Adriatic Sea, the examination of the soundscape of the critically endangered Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin population, and the status of coral reefs in the South Pacific. These studies provide new insights into the marine biological soundscapes within those areas and on the potential use of ecoacoustics in future monitoring programs. We hope our data from Europa does the same.

For more about these projects, please contact us at HUMPACS@jupiterfoundation.org