434 MHz Party Balloon B-64 Completes Epic Journey

B-64 Flight Path July 12 to July 31 2014

B-64 Flight Path July 12 to July 31, 2014

At about 16:30 GMT on Friday, July 31, the solar powered B-64 party balloon launched by radio amateur Leo Bodnar M0XER crossed the 1 degree West longitude line completing its circumnavigation of the northern hemisphere in just over 19 days.

Oliver M6ODP receiving B-64 at St Michael's Mount

Oliver M6ODP receiving B-64 at St Michael’s Mount

The balloon completed its transatlantic crossing and came within range of Cornwall in the morning. Oliver De Peyer M6ODP happened to be visiting St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall at the time. He used his Kenwood TH-F7E handheld to receive an APRS packet from the balloon.

As the day progressed B-64 moved from just south of Cornwall up the English Channel and radio amateurs and listeners from Manchester to Nantes in France were able to receive the 10 mW Contestia 64/1000 and APRS signal on 434.500 MHz.

B-64 passed over the Isle of Wight and floated over Bognor Regis and across Kent heading out into the North Sea near Herne Bay. As of Friday night it was still flying and transmitting.

B-64 APRS packet received by Oliver M6ODP

B-64 APRS packet received by Oliver M6ODP

Leo Bodnar M0XER launched his balloon from Silverstone in the UK at 07:00 GMT on July 12, 2014.  Using the amateur radio APRS network and the UKHAS network its location was tracked over Europe, Siberia, a brief sojourn across North Korea before heading out over Japan and across the Pacific Ocean. It then briefly entered the United States before swinging north into Canada.

It was heard in Greenland by Peter Thulesen OX3XR and on Friday morning finally came within range of the British Isles.

See the track of B-64 at http://spacenear.us/tracker/?filter=B-64 or at http://habitat.habhub.org/mobile-tracker/

Party balloon with tiny solar powered 434 MHz transmitter - Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

Party balloon with tiny solar powered 434 MHz transmitter – Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

Members of the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society received the signal from B-64. Just 4 weeks earlier, thanks to Chris Stubbs M6EDF, the Society had launched a balloon CARS-1 from their meeting venue. That balloon didn’t have solar power so the signal only lasted for about 10 hours. CARS training organiser Clive G1EUC reported receiving a strong signal from B-64.

Clive is currently taking names for the next amateur radio Foundation course which starts on Thursday, September 4. If you’d like to join the course or wish to find out more about the hobby give him a ring on:
Tel: 01245-224577
Mob: 07860-418835
Email: training2014 at g0mwt.org.uk
Web: http://www.g0mwt.org.uk/training/

What is Amateur Radio ?

Further 434 MHz balloon links at

Typical 434 MHz solar powered payload - Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

Typical 434 MHz solar powered payload – Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER



434 MHz balloon goes around the world

Flight path of the B-64 balloon launched by Leo Bodnar M0XER

Flight path of the B-64 balloon launched by Leo Bodnar M0XER

The 434 MHz solar powered party balloon B-64, launched by radio amateur Leo Bodnar M0XER, is approaching the UK at the end of a record breaking journey around the world.

Party balloon with tiny solar powered 434 MHz transmitter - Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

Party balloon with tiny solar powered 434 MHz transmitter – Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

Leo launched his balloon from Silverstone in the UK on July 12, 2014. It traveled east across Asia, the Pacific and the Americas and is expected to complete the final transatlantic crossing arriving over Cornwall on July 31 or August 1. It is then likely to continue eastwards into Europe.

Radio amateurs and listeners should be able to receive B-64’s Contestia 64/1000 signal on 434.500 MHz USB with the usual pips. When it is over the UK it will alternate the Contestia tranmission with APRS also on 434.500 MHz running 10 mW output.

During the circumnavigation of the northern hemisphere B-64 has traveled over 25,000 km across some of the most remote terrain in the planet.

See the track of B-64 at http://spacenear.us/tracker/?filter=B-64

Typical 434 MHz solar powered payload - Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

Typical 434 MHz solar powered payload – Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

Leo Bodnar M0XER balloons http://www.leobodnar.com/balloons/

Download the dl-fldigi software from http://ukhas.org.uk/projects:dl-fldigi

Beginners Guide to Tracking using dl-fldigi http://ukhas.org.uk/guides:tracking_guide

Listen to balloons online (when in range of south-east UK) from anywhere in the world with the SUWS 434 MHz WebSDR (select USB)

For High Altitude Balloon chat check the #highaltitude IRC channel. A web client is available at

To get up-to-date information on balloon flights subscribe to the UKHAS Mailing List by sending a blank email to this address: ukhas+subscribe@googlegroups.com

AMSAT-UK Space Colloquium Videos Now Available

AMSAT-UK_Bevelled_LogoThanks to the hard work of volunteers from the British Amateur Television Club (BATC) videos of the presentations given to the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium held in Guildford on July 26-27, 2014 are now available to view online or download to your PC.

Links to the presentation videos, PDF’s of the slides and the schedule are at

You can also access them by following these steps:
• Go to http://www.batc.tv/
• Click on the ‘Film Archive’ icon
• Select ‘AMSATUK 2014′ from the Category drop down menu
• Click on ‘Select Category’
• Select the video you wish to watch from the Stream drop down menu
• Click on ‘Select Stream’
• Click the play icon ‘>’ on the player
• Clicking on the icon to the left of the player volume control will give you full screen display.
• To download the video file to your PC right-click on the ‘Click Here’  link under the player.

AMSAT-UK publishes an newsletter, OSCAR News, that is full of Amateur Satellite information. A sample issue of OSCAR News can be downloaded here.
Join AMSAT-UK online at http://tinyurl.com/JoinAMSAT-UK/

Delfi-n3Xt Engineer Died on MH-17 over Ukraine

Fatima Dyczynski CEO and Director of Xoterra Space

Fatima Dyczynski CEO and Director of Xoterra Space

25 year-old Fatima Dyczynski, CEO, founder and project manager of Xoterra Space, was an Aerospace Engineer, thought leader, scientist, creative space enthusiast, motivated entrepreneur, public speaker, all world traveler and absolute futurist.

She perished July 17, 2014 on flight MH-17 over Ukraine.

Fatima was Operations Engineer for the Delfi-n3Xt CubeSat which carried an amateur radio linear transponder. Delfi-n3Xt was successfully launched in November 2013.

She presented the paper ‘A novel business model to substantiate the commercial viability of a CubeSat constellation for advanced Earth Observation and monitoring’ at the International Astronautical Federation Conference 2013 (IAC-13) in Beijing and had been planning to present a paper this September at IAC-14 in Canada.

It is reported her ultimate dream was to journey to Mars as an astronaut.

Watch Let’s make space personal: Fatima Dyczynski at TEDxGroningen 2013

Xoterra Space http://www.xoterraspace.com/the-team/

Vibrant life of young space engineer cut short on MH17 flight

Delfi-n3Xt http://amsat-uk.org/2013/11/23/delfi-n3xt-update-november-22/

Enhanced FUNcube-1 Dashboard App now available

Ciaran Morgan M0XTD - Image credit Mike Rupprecht DK3WN

Ciaran Morgan M0XTD – Image credit Mike Rupprecht DK3WN

This weekend saw the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium take place and Jim Heck G3WGM and Ciaran Morgan M0XTD together gave a presentation on the FUNcube-1 CubeSat mission.

The presentation included the announcement of a new version of the FUNcube-1 Dashboard. This has greatly improved decoding performance for weak signals – especially for Dongle users. Additionally the Dashboard can now activate the Bias-T pre-amp power from the Dongle.

The new version can now be downloaded and the guidance notes have been updated to provide full information about it.

All users are encouraged to install this new version to improve their system performance and further increase the amount of data being captured in the Warehouse.

Reports will be very welcome on the FUNcube forum http://forum.funcube.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=195

Dashboard App – Telemetry Decoder http://funcube.org.uk/working-documents/funcube-telemetry-dashboard/

Data Warehouse – Telemetry Archive http://warehouse.funcube.org.uk/

Murray Niman G6JYB Appointed RSGB Spectrum Chair

Murray Niman G6JYB

Murray Niman G6JYB

Following the advertisement of the position of Chair of the Spectrum Forum the RSGB Board have appointed Murray Niman G6JYB to the position.

Murray is no stranger to spectrum matters having held the post of RSGB Microwave Manager, since January 2007. He succeeds the former Spectrum Chair John Gould G3WKL who is now RSGB President.

2006 – Murray Niman G6JYB Appointed RSGB Microwave Manager

UK Space Agency: UKube-1 Success

UKube-1 CubeSat at Clyde Space

UKube-1 CubeSat at Clyde Space

The UK Space Agency (UKSA) report on the successful launch of their first CubeSat earlier this month.

With regard to the AMSAT-UK FUNcube-2 sub-system carried by the satellite the UKSA say:

“As well as providing a fantastic opportunity for innovative UK companies and UK academics to collaborate on a national space project, UKube-1 is also useful for training the next generation of space engineers and includes an education payload intended to support STEM initiatives. The payload consists of a tiny radio transmitter for science education and a materials science experiment from which school students can receive data which can be compared to results obtained from similar reference experiments in the classroom. The system, funded by volunteer members and friends of AMSAT-UK, is called FUNcube-2.”

Read the full story at

ARISS contact planned with ESA Space Camp, Fleetwood, UK

International Space Station - Image Credit NASA

International Space Station – Image Credit NASA

ARISS educational radio contact is planned with ESA Space Camp, Rossall School, Fleetwood, UK. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, July 29 at 14:01:13 UT . It will be a telebridge contact operated by W6SRJ in California.

A video from the event will be webcast at http://www.batc.tv/streams/arissuk/

International_Space_StationThe contact will be broadcast on EchoLink AMSAT (node 101 377) and JK1ZRW (node 277 208) Conference servers, as well as on IRLP Discovery Reflector 9010.

This annual camp is organized by the ESA Space Camp Committee takes place in a different European country each summer for 2 weeks. This year the camp takes place between 27 July and 10 August where 185 young space explorers aged 8 to 17 will meet each other in the UK at Rossall School. The children come from the following ESA establishments (UK, France, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands and Germany).

This will be the 20th Space Camp organised by ESA. This year the children will also be involved in celebrating this milestone with marking 50 years of ESA. Children, their parents and educators from the area will join the ESA campers on this special celebration day.
Rossall is a boarding school situated on a beautiful 160-acre site, there is plenty of room for extensive sports and cultural facilities, including a swimming pool, squash and tennis courts, as well as a fitness room and a climbing wall.

International Space Station ISS with shuttle Endeavour 2011-05-23The ESC 2014 programme will feature a balanced mix of sports such as flag rugby, lifeguarding, kayaking and martial arts. The theme for camp will be ‘Reach for the Stars!’ Well-equipped IT labs, classrooms and an on-site planetarium will be instrumental in setting up a space education programme that will keep the children motivated with new and exciting hands-on activities and educational tasks involving space-related themes, as well as learning about the culture of the host country.

As with all ESA Space Camps, there will be specific emphasis placed on socialisation and respect among the participants. We hope to make the camp a really unique experience for juniors and teenagers who are in the process of becoming citizens of a multicultural society.
This ARISS contact will mark a highlight in the space education programme as children will be learning about many aspects related to man’s endeavours to reach for the stars!

Students will ask as many of following questions as time allows:
1. Zachary (12): What has been your biggest challenge since being in space?
2. Noemi (11): On Earth bubbles in sparkling water (or cola) float upwards, but in the ISS, there is no up and down. Which direction do the bubbles go in sparkling water (or cola) on the ISS?
3. Kai (9): If you could change one thing on the ISS, what would it be?
4. Caroline (8): How do you sleep and for how long?
5. Lisann (10): Do you need sunscreen in space?
6. Nassim (8): Why do we have plenty of oxygen on earth, but not enough in space?
7. Auriane (10): Do you see time passing by in space? Do you have the same feeling of time duration (days & nights)?
8. William Baker (12): Can you give us an example of some added safety procedures or precautions you must take in doing everyday tasks while on the ISS?
9. Eduardo García (8): Why is there no oxygen outside the ISS?
10. Sonia ERNST: How long does it take to go around our planet?
11. Damien (9): What were your last thoughts when leaving earth?
12. Tristan (8): How do you keep your clothes clean on the Space Station with so little water?
13. Marie (8): Are there any seasons on the ISS?
14. Emil (8): What do you do for fun on the ISS?
15. Charles (13): I have been fascinated by the film “Gravity”. How realistic is the film? Is space crowded by debris and therefore so dangerous?
16. Roxane (10): How many switches are there inside the spacecraft, and do you know what all of them do?
17. Andrew (13): Is it highly stressful to be in space?
18. Ella (9): How do you have a bath when the water goes everywhere?
19. Benjamin (11): How do you dispose of the waste?
20. Luca (13): How are medical surgeries done in space if a specialized doctor is not available?
21. Lena (11): How is it in the ISS, when you arrive the first time? Was the journey comfortable?
22. Giulio (10): What would you like to achieve that you haven’t yet?
23. Eveline (9): I’ve been practicing various types of sports the last years, and now I still do judo. What sports can you practice in the International Space Station, a weightless environment?

ARISS is an international educational outreach program partnering the participating space agencies, NASA, Russian Space Agency, ESA, CNES, JAXA, and CSA, with the AMSAT and IARU organizations from participating countries.

ARISS offers an opportunity for students to experience the excitement of Amateur Radio by talking directly with crewmembers onboard the International Space Station. Teachers, parents and communities see, first hand, how Amateur Radio and crewmembers on ISS can energize youngsters’ interest in science, technology and learning.


Gaston Bertels, ON4WF
Chair ARISS Europe

ARISS http://www.ariss.org/

ISEE-3 Spacecraft Presentation in Guildford on Saturday

ISEE-3 - ICE Spacecraft - Image credit NASA

ISEE-3 – ICE Spacecraft – Image credit NASA

Achim Vollhardt DH2VA and Mario Lorenz DL5MLO from AMSAT-DL Bochum will be giving a presentation on ISEE-3 (ICE) from 1:50-2:40pm (1250-1340 GMT) on Saturday, July 26 at the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium at the Holiday Inn, Guildford, GU2 7XZ. The event is open to all.

It is hoped to have a live demonstration of telemetry reception from the spacecraft during the presentation.

The International Sun-Earth Explorer (ISEE-3) is a NASA spacecraft that was launched in 1978 to study Earth’s magnetosphere. It was repurposed and renamed the International Cometary Explorer (ICE) in 1983 to study two comets and has been in a heliocentric orbit since then, traveling just slightly faster than Earth. It’s finally catching up with Earth from behind with the closest approach expected in August, 2014.

Since NASA no longer has the capability to receive and command the spacecraft a group of amateurs, with NASA’s permission, decided to do it for themselves.

Bochum Amateur Radio Facility

Amateur Radio Facility at Bochum

On March 1-2, 2014 radio amateurs at the Bochum Amateur Radio Facility in Germany were able to detect the beacon signal from the spacecraft over a distance of 43 million km. After some changes to the ground equipment and aligning the receive antenna to the predicted position in the sky, the 2 GHz beacon signal could positively be identified due to its frequency, the position in the sky and the frequency shift due to the radial velocity (Doppler shift).

The 20m dish at Bochum was used to receive the signals. In 2003, AMSAT-DL converted this former industrial monument into a fully functional groundstation for deep space probes. Since 2009 the facility is being used by volunteers almost full time as ground receive station for data from the STEREO mission with its two spaceprobes monitoring the sun from different viewing angles.

In June Dennis Wingo KD4ETA and other volunteers succeeded in commanding the spacecraft using the Arecibo dish in Puerto Rico.

Admittance to the Colloquium is £10 a day. You can register in advance at http://shop.amsat.org.uk/shop/category_10/Colloquium-2014-Fri-25-July-to-Sun-27-July.html registration can also be done on the day.

The schedule and map is at http://amsat-uk.org/colloquium/colloquium-2014/

Live video streaming http://amsat-uk.org/2014/07/23/batc-to-webstream-space-colloquium/

BATC to Webstream Space Colloquium

BATC Logo SmallVolunteers from the British Amateur Radio Club (BATC) will be streaming the presentations from the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium which takes place July 26-27 at the Holiday Inn, Guildford, GU2 7XZ. The event is open to all.

The dedicated BATC members have been recording and streaming the Colloquium for over 7 years.

Watch the International Space Colloquium presentations on Saturday, July 26 between 10:00 and 17:30 BST and on Sunday, July 27 between 09:00 and 16:00 BST (GMT +1) at

The programme for the Colloquium is available at http://amsat-uk.org/colloquium/colloquium-2014/

Further information on the BATC is available at http://batc.org.uk/