Unforgettable day schoolchildren spoke to an astronaut in space

Reid Wiseman KF5LKT - Image credit NASA

Reid Wiseman KF5LKT – Image credit NASA

The Southend Echo reports on the contact between pupils at Winter Gardens Primary School in Canvey, Essex and the International Space Station.

The contact took place on October 8 having taken two years of preparation. It was organised by the South Essex Amateur Radio Society and involved a link-up with an amateur radio station in California, W6SRJ, who relayed the signal to and from the ISS while it was traveling over the USA at 27,600 km/h. The children were able to speak to astronaut Reid Wiseman KF5LKT who was using the ISS callsign NA1SS.

The newspaper article includes a picture of the school pupils with Pete sipple M0PSX, read it at

Read a report on the contact at

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)

South Essex Amateur Radio Society

The Roy Stevens, G2BVN, Trophy awarded to Gaston, ON4WF

Gaston Bertels ON4WF - ARISS Contact

Gaston Bertels ON4WF conducting an ARISS contact

The IARU Region 1 Roy Stevens, G2BVN, Memorial Trophy was awarded to Gaston Bertels, ON4WF, for his meritorious service to amateur radio over many years. Gaston was the chairman of the Eurocom Working Group and then the chairman of the ARSPEX Working Group. Gaston, aged 87, has decided to step down as ARSPEX WG chairman.

Gaston received a standing ovation when the award was announced.

AMSAT-UK add their congratulations and respect for all his hard work in IARU Region 1 and with the organisation of the ARISS School contacts, as well as his Chairmanship of ARISS-EU and, for a time, of ARISS-International.

Gaston was instrumental in getting DATV antennas for 1260 and 2400 MHz installed on the International Space Station (ISS), see http://www.southgatearc.org/news/march2007/ariss_antenna_donations.htm

Gaston Bertels ON4WF Graham Shirville G3VZV and astronaut Frank De Winne ON1DWN at the European Parliament

Gaston Bertels ON4WF, Graham Shirville G3VZV and astronaut Frank De Winne ON1DWN at the European Parliament

6th European CubeSat Symposium

Swiss Space Systems S3

Swiss Space Systems S3

The 6th European CubeSat Symposium will take place from October 14-16, 2014 at Estavayer-le-Lac in Switzerland.

The Symposium has attracted more than 100 abstracts submitted from 31 different countries. Von Karman Institute and Swiss Space Systems are proud to support the CubeSat community by coorganising this leading CubeSat event in Europe, for the first time in Switzerland.

Von Karman Institute continues to act as the coordinator of the World’s most ambitious CubeSat Project QB50, whereas Swiss Space Systems is designing an innovative launcher specifically for small satellites to bring the launch costs to 25% of today’s market value.

The symposium abstracts are available at

6th European CubeSat Symposium https://www.cubesatsymposium.eu/

Silverstone B-64 balloon still flying

Track of the B-64 balloon

Track of the B-64 balloon

The B-64 balloon launched at 06:51 GMT on July 12, 2014 from Silverstone is still in the air flying at just over 12,000 metres and transmitting on 434.500 MHz Contestia 64/1000 and also APRS.

B-64 envelope - Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

B-64 envelope – Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

On Saturday, October 3 Phil Heron MI0VIM reported decoding data while it was over the North Atlantic ocean, coming up to the 6th time it would pass the United Kingdom on it’s continuing journeys around the world.

B-64 was built by radio amateur Leo Bodnar M0XER, he made both the plastic foil envelope and the solar powered transmitter payload which weighs just 11 grams.

Leo has utilised some clever techniques storing positions when the balloon is out of radio contact then later transmitting a log file of previous locations in the comments field of the APRS packet. This enables a fairly complete path to be built up. B-64 only stores 5 days worth of data, where you get a straight line on the track it has been out of radio contact.

See the B-64 track at

July 31 B-64 completes first journey around the world

Useful balloon links

B-64 transmitter payload weighs just 11 grams - Credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

B-64 transmitter payload weighs just 11 grams – Credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

4M lunar ham radio payload shipped

4M payload under test

4M payload under test

Ghislain Ruy LX2RG reports the 4M Lunar flyby amateur radio payload was shipped on Thursday, October 2 and he departs for the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on Sunday, October 5.

He says the lifetime of 4M is quite an unknown: it may be as short as 100 hours (so at least to the Moon) and could extend for some weeks if the attitude is favorable.

It is now known that the spacecraft will not re-enter the Earth atmosphere after the flyby but instead enter a wonderful orbit. You will find information animations and some JT65B test files at


The launch will be transmitted by CNTV/CCTV: http://www.cntv.cn/ or http://english.cntv.cn/ or http://english.cntv.cn/live/p2p/index.shtml

LX2RG says the team are setting up their ground station, and are especially looking for southern hemisphere stations: ZS, VK and ZL, Southern America continent mainly, as they will be placed first hand for the early hours.

Launched is planned in a narrow window at 17:59:xx UTC on October 23 and flyby is to occur nominally on October 28 at 00:33 UTC.

4M is planned to start transmissions at 19:17 UTC, possibly with 10 minutes additional delay.

K1JT has developed a special version of WSJT. In addition of all the features of the standard version, it includes also the display and logging of the dT to three decimal places and the logging of the manual offset that can be entered in JT65B modes. This version should be used by all who wants to participate to the ‘Multilateration’ experiment.

The participant to this experiment should also make sure that the clock of their PC stays synchronized to the UTC time. Desired accuracy should be within 1ms and within 10ms at the very least. Use of NTP synchronizing software is a must.

The special version can be downloaded with the following links:

The LuxSpace ground station comprises 2 x 8 element crossed Yagis from Joachims antenna (with an improved design to lower the back lobe), a SSB.de LNA and Yaesu antenna rotators.

Best regards.

Ghislain Ruy LX2RG
Email ruy@luxspace.lu with “4M Amateur” in the subject

Read the paper 4M Mission: a Lunar FlyBy experiment

EME 2014 slides: 4M, A Moon Flyby Mission

Manfred Memorial Moon Mission (4M) http://moon.luxspace.lu/

4M-LXS Lunar amateur radio payload

UK schools contact with International Space Station

Astronaut Alexander Gerst KF5ONO

Astronaut Alexander Gerst KF5ONO

On Wednesday, October 8 at 10:08:49 UT there will be an ARISS contact between astronaut Alexander Gerst KF5ONO on the International Space Station (ISS) and students at the Winter Gardens Primary School, Canvey, Essex and Pilton Bluecoat School, Barnstaple, Devon.

The ISS will be over the USA at the time and they will be making use of an amateur radio Telebridge Ground Station in California, W6SRJ, to actually make the link to the Space Station.

South Essex Amateur Radio Club (SEARS) http://www.southessex-ars.co.uk/

ISS Expedition 42 Poster Released

ISS Expedition 42 official crew poster

ISS Expedition 42 official crew poster

Radio amateur and astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti IZ0UDF has put the final touches to the official crew poster for the International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 42. It is now available to download

Samantha Cristoforetti IZ0UDF

Samantha Cristoforetti IZ0UDF

The poster parodies the popular The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and is without doubt the best ISS crew poster yet released.

USA’s Terry Virts and Russia’s Anton Shkaplerov portray the two-headed Zaphod Beeblebrox, Russia’s Alexander Samokutyaev is Humma Kavula, USA’s Butch Wilmore is Arthur Dent, Russia’s Elena Serova is Ford Prefect with Italy’s Samantha Cristoforetti as Trillian. NASA’s Robonaut 2 guest-stars as Marvin the Paranoid Android.

Samantha should launch from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on November 23, 2014 at 2059 UT (3:59pm EST) also flying with her in the Soyuz will be Anton Shkaplerov and Terry Virts. She is expected to return to Earth in May 2015.

Download the high resolution (57 MB) poster from

Samantha Cristoforetti IZ0UDF on Twitter https://twitter.com/AstroSamantha

ISS Expedition 42 http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition42/

Help needed to track 144.390 MHz APRS Balloons

James Cutler KF6RFX and Benjamin Longmier KF5KMP - University of Michigan

James Cutler KF6RFX and Benjamin Longmier KF5KMP University of Michigan

Benjamin Longmier KF5KMP and his team are looking for stations in the Azores and Portugal to help track their balloons.

On the UK High Altitude Society (UKHAS) group he writes:

My team (Project Aether) launched a balloon recently that did a lap around the Midwest in the US, headed East past Nova Scotia and is still floating strong. We don’t have any contacts in the Azores or Portugal, and are requesting help in contacting some of these folks that might be able to decode our APRS packets.

Tactical callsign: Aeth21-9
APRS track: http://aprs.fi/#!mt=terrain&z=9&call=a%2FAETH21-9&timerange=259200&tail=259200
144.390 MHz FM

We also have two more experimental balloons that will be heading into the Atlantic within ~24hrs.
Tactical callsign: Aeth22-1
APRS track: http://aprs.fi/#!mt=terrain&z=7&call=a%2FAETH22-1%2Ca%2FAETH22-3&timerange=259200&tail=259200
144.390 MHz FM

Tactical callsign: Aeth22-3
APRS track: http://aprs.fi/#!mt=terrain&z=7&call=a%2FAETH22-1%2Ca%2FAETH22-3&timerange=259200&tail=259200
144.390 MHz FM

Thanks for any help!
email: longmier at umich.edu

Links to balloon beginners guides and tracking information

Ham Radio at Monkton Stargazing Weekend

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) - Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) – Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

On October 11-2 the Monkton Nature Reserve & Thanet Observatory will be listening to the amateur radio satellite FUNcube-1 and will have an ARDF activity.

On the BIS World Space Week pages they say:

Daytime – we will have solar telescopes to observe the Sun’s surface and prominences. We will have on show the only Solar Ionospheric Disturbance monitor in the United Kingdom which will indicate when the Sun is giving out a solar flare – of huge importance to the communication and navigation satellites in orbit.

The Hilderstone Radio Club will demonstrate the reception of data from the FUNcube satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) giving information on the temperature of its special black and shiny panels in deep space. Using this data visitors can determine the period of its orbit and its speed. They will also demonstrate the reception of weather satellite pictures sent by radio waves to Earth.

We will put on a radio direction finding activity, similar to Geocaching, where visitors have to find hidden transmitters using only a handheld radio and antenna, with a prize for the shortest time.

The club will also set up a special radio station so that visitors can send messages to amateur radio enthusiasts around the world. Information on Space will be provided by the UK Space Agency and worksheets on satellites will be available with questions set by the Nottingham Geospatial Institute.

Source: http://www.bis-space.com/wsw/event-news/monkton-stargazing-weekend/

Celebrate UN-declared World Space Week October 4-10. The biggest public space science #STEM event in the world – Use hashtag #WSW2014
Twitter https://twitter.com/WorldSpaceWeek
Web http://www.worldspaceweek.org/

Hilderstone Radio Club http://g0hrs.org/

Monkton Nature Reserve & Thanet Observatory http://www.monkton-reserve.org/one-b/

IARU Administrative Council Plans for WRC-15

IARU_LogoThe Administrative Council (AC) of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) held its annual meeting on September 27-28, 2014 in Albena, Bulgaria. The AC is responsible for the policy and management of the IARU and consists of the three IARU international officers and two representatives from each of the three IARU regional organizations.

Here is a summary of the discussions and actions.

The Council reviewed the IARU positions on each of the WRC-15 agenda items that relate to amateur radio or may have an impact on amateur radio.  The Council made a number of modifications to the paper related to justifications for the IARU positions.  This information will be forwarded to all IARU member-societies.

The Council expressed support for Region 1 in its effort to obtain a CEPT proposal for post-WRC-15 conference agenda items for worldwide harmonization of 160 meters, harmonization of 6 meters and an allocation at 3.4 GHz.

The Council reviewed the participation of IARU at the upcoming WRC-15 and the President announced the members of the team who will represent IARU.

Upon the recommendation of the IARU EMC Coordinator, the Council adopted IARU Resolution 14-1 (“concerning the protection of the radio spectrum as a natural resource”) dealing with EMC issues related to the radio spectrum and which encourages IARU member-societies and regional organizations to pursue implementation of this resolution as a matter of high priority, requests standard-setting bodies and regulators to fully support this objective and implores designers and manufacturers to make every reasonable effort to minimize radio spectrum pollution emanating from their products.

The Council expressed the importance of obtaining the ITU Advance Publication Information (API) numbers from administrations for satellite projects operating in the amateur and amateur satellite bands so that information about the number of operating satellites can be maintained, for frequency coordination and for resolving interference issues.  IARU will work with administrations to establish protocols for satellite frequency coordination and to raise awareness of the satellite regulations.

The Council adopted the IARU Emergency Telecommunications Guide for use by the IARU member-societies to strengthen amateur radio disaster preparedness, response and mitigation.

The Council also adopted various strategies related to improving amateur radio disaster preparedness, response and mitigation and to promote the role of amateur radio in such activities to the general public and to government and non-government organizations.

The Council created the ad hoc “IARU Member-Society Relations Project Team” and adopted Terms of Reference for the project.  This action arose from Minute 10.10 from the 2013 Council meeting Summary Record dealing with “Second Society Issues.”

The Council adopted a system to provide more efficient remote monitoring of certain ITU meetings that may impact amateur radio.

The Plan for the Development of Support for Amateur Radio Frequency Allocations 2012-2017 was reviewed by the Council.  The September, 2013 version of the IARU Spectrum Requirements which is the working document that sets out the spectrum requirements of the amateur and amateur-satellite services, was reviewed, discussed and updated.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) meetings at which IARU representation will be required for the remainder of 2014 and for 2015 were identified, and plans for representation at these meetings were reviewed.

In view of the year 2015 being the 150th anniversary of the International Telecommunication Union, the theme “ITU & IARU:  Celebrating 150 years of Advancing the Telecommunication Art” was adopted for the next World Amateur Radio Day, April 18, 2015.

The budget for the years 2015-2017 as presented by the IS was reviewed and adopted. The budget is based upon anticipated financial contributions from the three regional organizations to defray a portion of the expenses, in accordance with previously adopted policy.

The Council received information about the Hamsphere Initiative from Martti Laine, OH2BH.  The Council will review the initiative and seek further information from the project leaders.

The Council was made aware of an ATV interference incident on the 23 cm band in which the German administration prohibited operation of an ATV repeater because of interference to the Galileo GPS system.

Attending the meeting were IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA; Vice President Ole Garpestad, LA2RR; Secretary Rod Stafford, W6ROD; regional representatives Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T, Dennis Green, ZS4BS, Reinaldo Leandro, YV5AM, José Arturo Molina, YS1MS, Gopal Madhavan, VU2GMN, Wisnu Widjaja, YB0AZ and recording secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ. Also present as observers were Ramón Santoyo, XE1KK, observer from Region 2 and Don Beattie, G3BJ, observer and President-elect from Region 1.

The next scheduled in-person meeting of the AC will be held in the vicinity of Yogjakarta, Indonesia, in October, 2015 in conjunction with the IARU Region 3 Conference.

IARU http://www.iaru.org/