School plans 2am balloon launch

Sun Chaser - LogoStudents at Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Walsall plan to launch the Sun Chaser 2 balloon (434.448 MHz USB) to capture images of the sunrise on Saturday, July 11.

Depending on altitude the signals from the balloon may have a range of up to 800 km, potentially covering much of the British Isles. Those outside the coverage area can receive the signals online using the SUWS WebSDR.

The school’s Project Horizon team say: We’re having a second attempt to capture footage of the sunrise from the Stratosphere over Wales/West England.

Watch the mission trailer

The report on launch 1 (some useful lessons learn’t, such as check interference by testing the GPS will all other kit running in the box and ALWAYS duct tape batteries into a cell holder) can be found here:
http://horizon.qmgs.walsall.sch.uk/index.html#sunchaserlaunch1

All being well, we have planned to launch from:

Location: Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Sutton Rd, Walsall, West Midlands, WS1 2PG
Latitude: 52.577498
Longitude: -1.965008
Altitude: 135m

The launch will take place at ~2:00am on Saturday 11th July (Sunday 12th is our reserve date).

The chase team will track and chase throughout the flight.

The probe will have a radio tracker (with two smartphone trackers as backup connected to two different networks). We’ve also got a couple of 16MP cameras and a GoPro onboard.

Tracker information:

Tracker: SUNCH1
Frequency: 434.448 MHz USB
Carrier Shift: 280-290
Baud Rate: 50
Bits per character: 7 (ASCII)
Parity: 0
Stop Bits: 2

As before, we’ll probably be the only ones tracking (unless any of you are night owls) so we’ll do our best. Our internet connection may be patchy at times so be prepared for quiet moments when we’re passing through low signal areas (we’ve got two hotspots with us: EE and O2).

We’ll be posting a steady stream of updates to twitter: https://twitter.com/horizonqmgs

We’re quietly confident, now we just need the wind speed on the ground to drop to 3-5mph ;-)

Wish us luck!

QMGS Project Horizon http://horizon.qmgs.walsall.sch.uk/

Links for tracking balloons online and the SUWS WebSDR are at
http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

Essex STEM Balloons Launched

Image received from The Boswells School payload on June 29, 2015

Image received from The Boswells School payload at 1416 GMT on June 29, 2015

On Monday, June 29, 2015 three high altitude balloons from Essex schools and colleges transmitted Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) in the 434 MHz band.

The balloons, part of the educational Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiative, were taken to an approved site at Elsworth, Cambridge for the launch.

Transmission coverage area of the balloons at 1352 GMT June 29

Transmission coverage area of the balloons at 1352 GMT June 29

The balloon from The Boswells School, Chelmsford reached an altitude of 36,937 metres. It had the call sign BWELLS and transmitted Frequency Shift Keying (FSK) ASCII RTTY at 600 bps on a nominal frequency of 434.450 MHz USB. Balloon frequencies may vary from nominal by several kHz during a flight due to the cold temperatures at high altitudes.

Stewards Academy, Harlow achieved an altitude of 39,876 metres. Their call sign was SWARDS and had a nominal frequency of 434.050 MHz USB and 300 bps data rate.

The Prospects College of Advanced Technology, Basildon reached an altitude of 38,659 metres with their balloon, call sign PROSP, which transmitted on a nominal frequency of 434.150 MHz USB with a 300 bps data rate.

All three balloons transmitted images using SSDV. Individual packets from an image were received by radio amateurs across the UK and NE Europe and automatically uploaded to a central server with the final image being built up from all the good packets and displayed on the web for all to see.

The SSDV images transmitted by the balloons can be seen at:
http://ssdv.habhub.org/SWARDS
http://ssdv.habhub.org/BWELLS
http://ssdv.habhub.org/PROSP

The balloon tracks were displayed live on the web at http://tracker.habhub.org/ and may still be available to view if you select the option to display the past 3 days.

The balloons carried a Raspberry Pi computer board and a Pi in The Sky (PITS) high altitude balloon tracker. On May 24 Chelmsford radio amateur Chris Stubbs M6EDF carried out a test of the PITS tracker for Essex Council, read his report at http://chris-stubbs.co.uk/wp/?p=578

Pi in The Sky project
http://pi-in-the-sky.com/
https://twitter.com/pitsproject

High Altitude Balloon links for online tracking, UKHAS mail list / chat room, WebSDR and SSDV
http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

MADHEN EGGSPLORER-1 Balloon Launch

Eggs in Space on front page of the Sleaford Standard newspaper

Eggs in Space on front page of the Sleaford Standard newspaper

At around 10-11am on Sunday, June 28, 2015 Andrew Garratt M0NRD and the South Kesteven Amateur Radio Society are planning to launch balloons from the 10th World Egg Throwing Championship held at the Swaton Vintage Day at Swaton, near Sleaford, Lincolnshire.

As well as telemetry data it is also planned to transmit Slow Scan Digital Video images in 434 MHz. Depending on altitude the signals from a balloon may have a range of up to 800 km, potentially covering much of the British Isles. A real-time track with altitude will be displayed online at http://tracker.habhub.org/

Andrew provided this information on the UKHAS Mailing List : First ever flights for me, so in at the deep end. The ‘egg’ payload will be carried aloft by the balloon and will have a parachute decent into the North Sea when the balloon eventually bursts. There will be SSDV and backup tracker, kindly sponsored by MADHEN http://madhen.net/

Callsign – MADHEN
USB RTTY 300 Baud 880 Hz Shift – Ascii 8 bits, no parity, 2 stop bits Telemetry and SSDV – 434.400 MHz

Callsign – EGG1
Backup tracker
USB RTTY 50 Baud 380 Hz Shift – ASCII 7 bit, no parity, 2 stop bits
Telemetry – 434.650 MHz (old non-tcxo NTX fixed frequency)

Second flight planned, a foil floater with VAYU-NTX tracker kindly donated by Steve Smith G0TDJ

Callsign – EGGDX
USB RTTY 50 Baud 450 Hz Shift – ASCII 7 bit, no parity, 2 stop bits
434.450 MHz (fixed frequency)

Launch should be around 10-11am.

All help in tracking greatly appreciated

Andrew Garratt M0NRD
Chairman South Kesteven Amateur Radio Society
http://www.skars.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/eggsplorer1

UPDATE June 30, 2015:
BBC News report on the balloons http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-33277561

Andrew M0NRD’s report on the day
http://nerdsville.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/first-hab-flights-were-success.html

Read the Sleaford Standard newspaper report
http://www.sleafordstandard.co.uk/news/local/eggs-in-space-team-of-radio-hams-scramble-to-be-first-to-achieve-egg-straterrestrial-space-mission-1-6803863

High Altitude Balloon links for online tracking, chat room, free software and SSDV
http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

ISS, Satellites and High Altitude Balloons

Sarah M6PSK and Kelly M6KFA demonstrate amateur radio at the Raspberry Jam May 30, 2015 - Credit M0PSX

Sarah M6PSK and Kelly M6KFA demonstrate amateur radio at the Southend Raspberry Jam May 30, 2015 – Image Credit M0PSX

Working the International Space Station,  amateur radio satellites and High Altitude balloons featured at two events over the weekend of May 30-31, 2015.

Tim Peake KG5BVI training on ISS Amateur Radio Station Equipment

Tim Peake KG5BVI training on ISS Amateur Radio Station Equipment

On Saturday, May 30 members of Essex Ham explained amateur radio to the Raspberry Pi community at the Southend Raspberry Jam event organised by the team from SOSLUG, the Southend-on-Sea Linux User Group, and aimed at encouraging people of all ages to get involved with programming, construction and technology.

The Essex Ham stand featured the popular “Send Your Name in Morse”, SDRs, Raspberry Pi and Arduino crossover projects, SSTV and data modes. A scrolling amateur radio video was shown and plenty of Essex Ham and Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) leaflets were handed out during the day.

A new feature for this Raspberry Jam was TeachMeet – A series of lightning talks – up to 8 minutes on a topic likely to be of interest. Pete M0PSX gave a lightning talk on amateur radio and working the International Space Station, outlining that contact is possible for amateurs using voice, image and data, and explaining the challenges of making contact. This was a nice tie-in with the Astro Pi – an experiment for young people involving astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI and his upcoming trip to the ISS.  While on the space station Tim hopes to contact UK schools on 145.800 MHz FM using the call sign GB1SS.

Chris M6EDF launching SXHAM1 - Image Credit Ed Bye G8FAX

Chris M6EDF launching SXHAM1 – Image Credit Ed Bye G8FAX

Sunday saw the Shoebury East Beach Field Day where several amateur radio activities took place. As well as the usual HF and VHF stations there was also satellite operation. Steve M0SHQ regularly explains amateur satellites at the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society Skills Nights in Danbury. During the morning despite the inclement weather he worked Juan Antonio EA4CYQ via SO-50 FM satellite. 2.4 GHz was used during the day to control a drone.

Chris M6EDF launched his high altitude balloon SXHAM1 carrying a beacon on 434.3 MHz which reached an altitude of 26.7 km and could be heard over most of England and into Germany. The launch was filmed by Bob G0FGX and Nick 2E0FGQ from TX Factor, an online TV show dedicated to amateur radio, and the feature is intended to be used to promote HAB and amateur radio to youngsters – Keep an eye on http://www.txfactor.co.uk/ to see Chris and the balloon launch in a future show.

Read the Raspberry Jam event report at
http://www.essexham.co.uk/news/raspberry-jam-may-2015-report.html

Read the SXHAM1 High Altitude Balloon Flight report with launch video at
http://www.essexham.co.uk/news/sxham1-high-altitude-balloon-flight.html

TX Factor video Chris M6EDF filling the SXHAM1 balloon with helium - Image Credit 2E0DVX

TX Factor video Chris M6EDF filling the SXHAM1 balloon with helium – Image Credit 2E0DVX

Mass 434 MHz Balloon Launch Sunday

A typical High Altitude Balloon - Image Credit STRATODEAN

A typical High Altitude Balloon – Image Credit STRATODEAN

There are many 434 MHz balloon launches planned for Sunday, May 24 from Elsworth, Cambridge, wind and weather permitting.

The USB FSK signals from the balloons should be receivable across much of the British Isles.

Provisional frequencies so far are:
434.447 – “ECC1” (PITS) (NTX2B can be reprogrammed)
434.300 – “CHEAPO” (RFM22 can be reprogrammed)
434.395 – “SPARK” (Fixed frequency)
869.500 – “CS4”  (UKHASnet node with GPS)
434.250 – “HL1″ (XABEN tracker)
434.350 – “uX0″ (XABEN tracker)
434.550 – “uX2″ (XABEN tracker)

Some of the launches should be Live Streamed via http://LiveHAB.com/

The LARDY-PICO balloon will also launch from Primrose Hill, London transmitting 434.647 MHz USB RTTY 50bps 270Hz shift.

For the latest frequency updates and launch status check the UKHAS Google Group. Links for the group and real-time balloon tracking are at http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

Listen to UK balloon radio signals on 434 MHz USB from anywhere in the world using the online SUWS WebSDR, further details at http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/15/suws-websdr-moves-to-new-site/

AMSAT-UK
Web http://amsat-uk.org/
Twitter https://twitter.com/AmsatUK
Facebook https://facebook.com/AmsatUK
Flickr https://flickr.com/groups/AmsatUK
YouTube https://youtube.com/AmsatUK
Yahoo Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FUNcube

X-Wing 434 MHz Balloon on BBC Click

X-Wing in Space - Image Credit Essex Space Agency

X-Wing in Space – Image Credit Essex Space Agency

On Sunday, May 17 the BBC TV technology show Click broadcast a report on Essex Star Wars enthusiasts who flew an X-Wing in near-space.

The balloon was launched on April 21, 2015 and reached an altitude of 36,190m before bursting and returning to Earth, landing in a field between Bedford and Northampton. Telemetry and Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) were transmitted on 434.510 MHz.

Phil St Pier of Romford and Matt Kingsnorth of Brentwood took around six months to complete the project at a cost of about £1,200.

Watch the BBC report with video shot at the “Essex Space Agency” Brentwood branch at
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-32384570

Read the Romford Recorder story at http://www.romfordrecorder.co.uk/home/romford_star_wars_fans_send_model_plane_towards_space_1_4068369

Project Helium Tears
http://projecthet.tumblr.com/
https://twitter.com/ProjectHeT
https://www.facebook.com/ProjectHeT
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAOju7S4k4zHW2_16EiyLVA/

High Altitude Balloons http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

Southampton students to launch 434 MHz eclipse payload

Assembling SUSF payloads for solar eclipse launchThe University of Southampton Spaceflight Society will be launching for the solar eclipse on Friday, March 20, with two 434 MHz Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) balloon payloads.

The transmitters are as follows:

MAJORA – 434.211 MHz USB, 600 bps RTTY, 600 Hz Shift, 8n2 – (SSDV + no GPS)
OLAF – 434.149 MHz USB, 300 bps RTTY, 880 Hz Shift, 8n2 – (SSDV + GPS)
There may also be a backup tracker on 434.700 MHz USB.

The launch will take place from Pepperbox Hill near Salisbury, at 7am due to the NOTAM, so it will be sent up slowly, perhaps landing in France.

Live launch webstream: http://www.batc.tv/streams/m0dny
Prediction: http://predict.habhub.org/#!/uuid=eb10ee6e7030c615d2e0f49243add969e42465b0
Project page: http://susf.co.uk/launches/eclipse/
Eclipse summary page: http://ukhas.org.uk/news:balloon_launches

Thanks in advance to all those who will try to listen

Matt Brejza

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
http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

Listen for 434 MHz balloon signals online using the SUWS WebSDR, further details at
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/15/suws-websdr-moves-to-new-site/

434 MHz balloon launch at BBC Stargazing event
http://amsat-uk.org/2015/03/16/434-mhz-balloon-launch-at-bbc-stargazing-event/

Ulster 434 MHz Solar Eclipse Balloon

Radio amateur Philip Heron MI0VIM reports on a Raspberry Pi balloon which will be launched for the eclipse and should be receivable across the British Isles.

All being well there will be a launch from Cookstown, N.Ireland on Friday, March 20 at about 0700 UT.

The plan is to have it rise high enough before the time of maximum solar eclipse, and maybe image the lunar shadow on the horizon. This will have a slow ascent rate and should hopefully float at about 36km, on a path which takes it south towards Dublin, before turning east to Wales and on towards Germany.

Callsign: EAGLE
Frequency: 434.250 MHz USB
Mode: RTTY 300 baud 8N2

The payload consists of a Raspberry Pi A+, camera and a Pi In The Sky module. It will be sending SSDV images throughout the flight.

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
http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

Listen for 434 MHz balloon signals online using the SUWS WebSDR, further details at
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/15/suws-websdr-moves-to-new-site/

434 MHz balloon launch at BBC Stargazing event
http://amsat-uk.org/2015/03/16/434-mhz-balloon-launch-at-bbc-stargazing-event/

434 MHz balloon launch at BBC Stargazing event

SSDV picture from a PIE balloon - Image credit Dave Akerman M6RPI/2E0LTX/M0RPI

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
http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2015/stargazing-live-leicester

Radio hams will be at BBC Solar Eclipse event
http://amsat-uk.org/2015/03/02/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
http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

Listen for 434 MHz balloon signals online using the SUWS WebSDR, further details at
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/15/suws-websdr-moves-to-new-site/

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