SSDV picture from a PIE balloon – Image credit Dave Akerman M0RPI
Radio amateur David Akerman M0RPI will be launching a 434 MHz balloon from the BBC Stargazing Live solar eclipse event in Leicester on March 20.
The flight is to primarily to take photographs during the partial solar eclipse. Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV), RTTY and LoRa telemetry beacons will be transmitting from the balloon in 434 MHz, so plenty of stuff to tune in to.
The launch activities will be recorded and some of the footage will be transmitted on the special BBC Stargazing show from 9am to 10am on that day. There will also be a couple of very brief live segments where, hopefully, Dave will get to show some pretty live images. Also, assuming the payload is recovered, some of the recorded video should end up on the main Stargazing show in the evening (9pm-10pm, BBC2).
There will be 2 Raspberry Pi trackers each sending telemetry and SSDV using both RTTY and LoRa modulation. RTTY frequencies are Upper Sideband (USB).
Pi #1 (camera with solar film):
MARVIN: 434.300 MHz, RTTY, 910 Hz shift, USB, 300 baud 8 N 2
ZAPHOD: 434.350 MHz, LoRa, Implicit mode, Bandwidth 20.8 kHz, Error coding 4:5, SF6
Pi #2 (bare camera):
KRYTEN: 434.400 MHz, RTTY, 910 Hz shift, USB, 300 baud 8 N 2
RIMMER: 434.450 MHz, LoRa, Implicit mode, Bandwidth 20.8 kHz, Error coding 4:5, SF6
UPDATE March 18 – An additional beacon has been added:
BUZZ: 434.315 MHz, 425 Hz shift, 50 baud, 7 N 2
Launch time 8am Friday, March 20, 2015
As well as the TV stuff, the BBC are running a “spectacular live event” from the racecourse, open to the public from 9am to 3pm and then 6pm to 9pm. Entry is free to please do come along if you can. They have a real astronaut, Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA, and plenty else of interest – see
Radio hams will be at BBC Solar Eclipse event
The 434 MHz signals transmitted by High Altitude Balloons can have a range of up to 800 km. The path of the balloons can be tracked in real-time at http://spacenear.us/tracker/
Useful links for tracking, receiving and decoding the telemetry from 434 MHz balloons can be found at
Listen for 434 MHz balloon signals online using the SUWS WebSDR, further details at