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

Ofcom: 420-470 MHz Consultation

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!mt=roadmap&z=11&call=a%2FK6RPT-11&timerange=86400&tail=86400

California Near Space Project


APRS frequencies used around the world

APRS-UK Yahoo Group

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


Information on receiving ISS SSTV

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

Full details of the antennas are available at

Brazilian radio amateur uses SUWS WebSDR to receive ISS SSTV

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

Find out more about receiving these transmissions and links to decoding software at

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

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

SatNOGS Win Hackaday Prize

SatNOGS – Satellite Networked Open Ground Station

Libre Space Foundation

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

Check the status of the ISS amateur radio stations at

How to hear the ISS

How to use the ISS APRS Packet Radio Digipeater

More ISS Slow Scan TV Activity

What is Amateur Radio ?

Women, STEM and Amateur Radio

Bob McGwier N4HY writing code for the amateur satellite P3E

Bob McGwier N4HY writing code for the amateur satellite P3E

Bob McGwier, N4HY shares his views about Women in Science, Technoloy, Engineering, Math and Amateur Radio.

Bob, a former AMSAT director and vice president for engineering, is Director of Research, Hume Center and Research Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech.

At Virginia Tech, where I lead the work in a large research center, I have several female graduate students in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). I had one female graduate student in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering (master’s degree). I have multiple female undergraduate research assistants including the most amazing kid who came with many RF engineering projects in her experience base, an engineering notebook, and a daddy who couldn’t talk her into amateur radio and who told her she was on her own after sophomore year (she’s a second semester freshman). I have a female executive assistant, a female project manager, a female program manager for research, and a female program manager for education.

They are an incredibly diverse group of talented people that it is my honor and privilege to work with. Yet, they all have one thing in common that I wish to share. They are all licensed radio amateurs.

I am the faculty adviser at Virginia Tech’s Amateur Radio Association. I am the architect and designer and the principal investigator on the new Virginia Tech Satellite Ground Station which should go into operation in April. I have four graduate students who are doing thesis projects, class projects, and more involving this facility. A young member of our engineering staff, also a ham, is the actual lead system engineer on this project. At the all volunteer meetings for construction, operation of amateur radio satellites (such as QB50) over half the people coming are women and all are working on their ham licenses so they can operate the amateur radio spacecraft. Do you think there might be a connection, a correlation, and maybe even an agenda?

In the UK Anne-Marie Imafidon set up the STEMettes organisatio. She passed her GCSE in computer science aged 10 and became the youngest graduate to attain a masters degree, aged 19

In the UK Anne-Marie Imafidon set up the STEMettes organisation. She passed her GCSE in computer science aged 10 and became the youngest graduate to attain a masters degree, aged 19

My mother put amateur radio in front of me in a very positive way and she was a super strong principled woman. She stood in front of racism in a county that had a KKK wizard as sheriff and ran the campaign committee with her best friend for the sheriff that defeated him. She was a feminist. She was a feminist in the mode of: you, as an individual, must treat everyone the same way, not equal outcomes but with equal care and intent, and provide for equal opportunity and then they are on their own.

My goodness! She was and is an amazing woman and she is so brilliant. She left school, married my father and had me. In my center, no one is forced to be a ham. I don’t give the exams, I only lead by example, and explain how amateur radio has impacted me. I leave it there. The results speak for themselves.

I am determined to have the women around me have NO ceiling on their achievement where I can remove the ceiling without disadvantaging anyone else. I encourage them to reach for the stars. I push them hard in their research and at work. I expect no less of them than I do any other. My mother pushed me hard, showed me the value of work and discipline and made me work to pay my way. I will push them. I believe I am showing that the numbers in engineering and sciences are a product of socialization and not capability.

In four short years, I give you the above. I must be developing a reputation. My center director and I are getting almost all the top talent coming into graduate school in ECE (male and female) as our graduate students. I am getting most of the female graduate students and I am DEFINITELY getting all of them that are in the top ten (say) entrants. I owe this to my mother Ann Terry for all she did for me, literally saving me from self-destruction. I owe it to the many women I have seen with my own two eyes who are smart beyond compare and are vectored down roads that might not be of their choosing because they don’t see opportunity, or the value, or life affirming virtues of this path. I am appalled and will fight back. They can choose what they will, but they will be shown the value.

I have a mentor who many of you know. It is Tom Clark, K3IO. He was doing what I am doing now years before and was an example I have always tried to emulate in this regard.

Finally: On the undergraduate student, she took and passed tech and general in one night. She went home and proudly showed dad who went “Yeah but I have an extra class”….. She pursed her lips and looked at me as she told this and I said: “The extra exam is given every month at VTARA this Spring, but the work I am giving you and your grades are the top priority”. NOTHING stands in the way of women doing math, science and engineering except the roadblocks we place in front of them.

What are you doing to your daughters, sisters, female friends that, even without intent, discourages them so that a single man on a mission can draw this much out of the crowd without a single word of advertising, self promotion, and just word of mouth really telling that we are here. Introspection and mindfulness are all I am asking for.

I almost forgot to mention, my very first graduate student was a female and a ham and got her Master’s degree in Mathematics from me at Auburn University in 1986. Lynne now has her doctorate in stochastic processes and statistics from UNC and is on the faculty at Georgia. Her father, Eddie, is also a ham and an example of the kind of encouragement that EVERY father of a daughter should provide. I haven’t embarrassed them by tagging them, but they are in my fondest memories.

Female Ham Radio Operators

What is Amateur Radio ?

In the UK the goal of STEMettes and its sister organizations is to get the women in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) workforce up to 30% by 2020.
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