Radio hams will be at BBC Solar Eclipse event

Astronaut Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA

Astronaut Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA

Two radio amateurs, Dave Akerman M0RPI and Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA, will be at the BBC Stargazing Live solar eclipse event at Leicester on March 20.

Dave Akerman M0RPI is well known for many High Altitude Balloon flights. These have carried the Rapsberry Pi computer board as part of the payload and produced spectacular pictures some of which were transmitted in the 434 MHz band using the amateur radio Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) mode.

Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA was on the October 2007 Shuttle STS-120 mission to the International Space Station. In 2010/11 he was flight engineer for ISS Expeditions 26 and 27 and installed amateur radio equipment in the Columbus module of the space station.

The Leicester Mercury newspaper reports the BBC is staging a spectacular show at the racecourse in Leicester to coincide with the solar eclipse on March 20.

It says Leicester was chosen by the BBC because it is home to the National Space Centre and Leicester University which are at the forefront of space exploration and were involved in the Beagle 2 mission to Mars in 2003.

Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA said: “I’ve never been to Leicester and I’m really looking forward to visiting.”
“It will be great to interact with the kids and share my enthusiasm of space, science, maths and technology”.

The free event will be open from 9am until 3pm and from 6pm until 9pm on March 20.

Read the Leicester Mercury story at
http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/BBC-live-event-Leicester-racecourse-mark-solar/story-26096057-detail/story.html

BBC Stargazing Live event details http://www.bbc.co.uk/stargazing

RSGB respond to Ofcom UHF review

Ofcom-logo-col-tThe RSGB has responded to the Ofcom call for inputs to the strategic review of the 420-470 MHz spectrum.

The review includes the key Amateur 430-440 MHz and Amateur-Satellite 435-438 MHz allocations.

The consultation had been due to close on February 19 but was extended to February 26 to give more time for responses.

Read the RSGB response http://rsgb.org/main/files/2015/02/RSGB_UHF-Review_response.pdf

Ofcom: 420-470 MHz Consultation
http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2014/december/ofcom_420_470_mhz_consultation.htm

APRS balloon heads for UK

CNSP-22 Predicted Track for February 26 to March 1, 2015

CNSP-22 Predicted Track for February 26 to March 1, 2015

An amateur radio balloon CNSP-22, call sign K6RPT-11, is crossing the Atlantic at an altitude of 11,150 metres and should reach the British Isles on Friday, February 27.

The solar powered around-the-world high altitude balloon was released by the California Near Space Project team from San Jose on Monday, February 23 and is expected to reach the UK on Friday. The APRS beacon should have a radio range of up to 400 km.

The amateur radio APRS frequency is not standardized world-wide. The USA uses 144.390 MHz FM while the British Isles and Europe use 144.800 MHz. It is understood the balloon will change frequency to 144.800 MHz when it reaches this side of the Atlantic.

See the K6RPT-11 APRS track at
http://aprs.fi/#!mt=roadmap&z=11&call=a%2FK6RPT-11&timerange=86400&tail=86400

California Near Space Project
Web http://www.cnsp-inc.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/California-Near-Space-Project/255864787858630
Twitter http://twitter.com/k6rpt

APRS http://www.aprs.org/

APRS frequencies used around the world http://info.aprs.net/index.php?title=Frequencies

APRS-UK Yahoo Group https://groups.yahoo.com/group/APRSUK

ISS SSTV in a Brazilian School

Paulo PV8DX of AMSAT-BR turned the recent Slow Scan TV transmissions from the International Space Station (ISS) into an education outreach opportunity for amateur radio.

On Monday, February 23, 2015 at the Gonçalves Dias school he explained amateur radio to the students and demonstrated receiving an ISS SSTV picture on 145.800 MHz FM.

The ISS pass he received did not produce a strong signal and only part of the picture was captured but as can be seen from the video the students were enthusiastic and excited to be receiving a signal from space.

Paulo expressed the hope that the ISS will send images on school days more often.

Watch ISS – SSTV , By PV8DX

AMSAT-BR https://sites.google.com/site/amsatbr/

Information on receiving ISS SSTV http://amsat-uk.org/2015/02/11/more-iss-slow-scan-tv/

Space Station SSTV and Packet Radio via SUWS WebSDR

ISS SSTV and Packet Radio signals on the SUWS WebSDR

ISS SSTV and Packet Radio signals on the SUWS WebSDR

Martin Ehrenfried G8JNJ reports excellent SSTV and Packet Radio signals from the International Space Station (ISS) using the online SUWS WebSDR.

144 MHz prototype helix antenna

144 MHz prototype helix antenna

The omni-direction helix antennas at the WebSDR were designed with high elevation satellites in mind. Conventional antennas concentrate the radiation pattern towards the horizon resulting in weaker signals when a satellite is above 15 degrees elevation. Comparisons with other WebSDRs show the SUWS antennas provide a 6 to 10dB better signal to noise ratio on similar passes.

Martin says: “I had been experimenting with single turn ‘twisted halo’ design, and decided to try stacking them to see if I could achieve more gain. Modelling suggested that a stretched 3 turn helix with a helix circumference of approx 1/2 wave length and an overall length of 1/2 wave at 70cm, and fed with a gamma match at the centre would offer reasonable gain, an omni-directional pattern and mixed polarisation.”

You can use the free online SUWS Web Software Defined Radio from your PC or Laptop to receive the ISS and the many amateur radio satellites transmitting in the 144-146 MHz or 435-438 MHz bands. It also provides reception of High Altitude Balloons in the 434 MHz band and coverage of the microwave 10368-10370 MHz band.

The SUWS WebSDR is located at Farnham not far from London, 51.3 N 1.15 W, listen to it at http://websdr.suws.org.uk/

Full details of the antennas are available at http://g8jnj.webs.com/currentprojects.htm

Brazilian radio amateur uses SUWS WebSDR to receive ISS SSTV
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/09/06/iss-sstv-on-suws-websdr/

ISS SSTV image 9/12 received by Martin Ehrenfried G8JNJ using the SUWS WebSDR on Dec 18, 2014

ISS SSTV image 9/12 received by Martin Ehrenfried G8JNJ using the SUWS WebSDR on Dec 18, 2014

IARU-R1 VHF Newsletter Released

IARU_Region_1_logoIARU Region 1 has released issue 65 of the VHF-UHF-uW newsletter, it covers WRC-15 which could affect a number of amateur radio bands.

The newsletter says agenda items at the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference includes topics that affect amateurs in the 5MHz, 5GHz, 10GHz, 24GHz and 77GHz bands.

WRC-15 decides the agenda items for the next conference (WRC-19). IARU Region 1 has proposals in CEPT concerning these potential agenda items:
• 50 MHz Amateur-Satellite Service allocation
• 3.4 GHz harmonisation

There may be a need to raise the option of a new allocation such as 1300-1310 MHz in order to mitigate restrictions that are appearing in the existing 23cm band.

Read the newsletter here

Stunning Results from ISS SSTV

ISS SSTV image 2 received by Andrew Garratt M0NRD Feb 22, 2015

ISS SSTV image 2 received by Andrew Garratt M0NRD February 22, 2015

The ISS Slow Scan television Transmissions have already produced some great pictures, more will be sent Monday on 145.800 MHz FM until 2130 UT.

On the AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB) Clint Bradford K6LCS posted:

Receiving SSTV from the ISS really CAN be simple: For my first time ever, I simply fired up a $3 iOS app, and held my iPod touch near my Yaesu FT-60R’s speaker, and downloaded one of the images from the ISS.

I didn’t think there was too much left in the hobby to excite me – but I was WRONG!!!

Greg KO6TH said “I’ve never received a clearer SSTV picture from anywhere, let alone outer space!”

Twelve different images depicting space pioneer Yuri Gagarin – the first human to orbit Earth – are being sent on 145.800 MHz using the SSTV mode PD180, with a 3-minute off time between transmissions.

The transmitter on the ISS uses 5 kHz deviation FM. If your rig has selectable FM filters (most mobiles do) make sure you choose the wider setting designed for 20 or 25 kHz channel spacing, usually marked FM or FMW.

Images received so far by radio amateurs world-wide are at
http://www.spaceflightsoftware.com/ARISS_SSTV/

Find out more about receiving these transmissions and links to decoding software at
http://amsat-uk.org/2015/02/11/more-iss-slow-scan-tv/

Amateur Satellite Tutorial Videos

David Casler KE0OG has released a series of tutorial videos for the US Extra class license two of which cover amateur radio satellites.

The first deals with Orbital Mechanics and the second covers the radio aspects of amateur satellites.

Watch Extra Lesson 2.3, Amateur Satellites (Part 1)

Watch Extra Class Section 2.3 Satellite Operations (Part 2)

See the other tutorial videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/davecasler/videos

SatNOGS give prize money to LSF

SatNOGS - Satellite Networked Open Ground Station

SatNOGS – Satellite Networked Open Ground Station

SatNOGS won the Hackaday grand prize of $196,418 for their satellite ground station, they plan to give the money to the Libre Space Foundation.

The Libre Space Foundation (LSF) is a non-profit foundation registered in Greece by the creators of the SatNOGS project. The aim of the foundation is to promote free and open source technology in space and support, develop and fund space projects.

Ground Stations are Just the Beginning: The SatNOGS Story
http://hackaday.com/2015/02/19/ground-stations-are-just-the-beginning-the-satnogs-story/

SatNOGS Win Hackaday Prize http://amsat-uk.org/2014/11/14/satnogs-win-hackaday-prize/

SatNOGS – Satellite Networked Open Ground Station https://satnogs.org/

Libre Space Foundation http://librespacefoundation.org/

Advert Features Ham Radio and ISS

International Space Station - Image Credit NASA

International Space Station – Image Credit NASA

The latest advert from Internet Services provider MTN Global features amateur radio and the International Space Station (ISS).

MTN Global’s latest brand commercial tells the story of a little boy who discovers, via the internet, that it is very simple to build a homemade radio that will allow him to actually speak to an astronaut in space. He tries and fails and tries again, using the internet to embark on a journey of discovery that takes a rather unexpected turn. Because that’s the thing about discovery, there’s always more to discover.

Watch MTN: ‘Space’

My first radio contact with an Astronaut
http://www.southgatearc.org/news/december2005/qso_with_an_astronaut.htm

Check the status of the ISS amateur radio stations at http://issfanclub.com/

How to hear the ISS http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/how-to-hear-the-iss/

How to use the ISS APRS Packet Radio Digipeater
http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/how-to-work-the-iss-on-aprs-packet-radio/

More ISS Slow Scan TV Activity http://amsat-uk.org/2015/02/11/more-iss-slow-scan-tv/

What is Amateur Radio ? http://www.essexham.co.uk/what-is-amateur-radio