Solar powered 434 MHz balloon reaches Syria

Track of the B-44 balloon taken on April 10, 214, two days after launch

Track of the B-44 balloon taken on April 10, 214, two days after launch

On Tuesday, April 8, 2014 radio amateur Leo Bodnar M0XER launched two foil “party” pico balloons from Silverstone with solar powered payloads transmitting on 434.500 MHz USB using the Contestia 8/1000 data mode. By Thursday, April 10 one of the balloons, B-44, was reported to be over Syria.

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

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

Depending on altitude the balloons could have a range of 300-500 km and remain aloft for several days.

Balloons: 90cm Qualatex foil party balloon
Payloads: 12 grams solar powered tracker
Telemetry: 434.500 MHz, USB, vertical polarisation, Contestia 8/1000
B-44 is 1500Hz higher than B-43 so it should be possible to see both in the same audio bandwidth.

These balloons use digital mode “Contestia 8/1000″. Unfortunately it is not possible to automatically configure this mode in dl-fldigi. Therefore please follow this procedure:
• Autoconfigure B-43 or B-44 flight as usual.  This will default to DOMX 16 mode.
• Select menu option  Op Mode -> Contestia ->  8/1000.  The bottom left corner of dl-fldigi should now read CTSTIA 8/1000
• Enable RxID button at the top right corner of dl-fldigi.

Downlink data contains two lines of telemetry every 4 minutes.Time between telemetry data is filled with beeps at 3 sec intervals.

Leo says “I appreciate help of everybody who joins in for tracking!”

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

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

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

You can see online real time tracks and frequencies of balloons at http://spacenear.us/tracker/

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

Listen to balloons online (when in range of south-east UK) from anywhere in the world with the SUWS 434 MHz WebSDR (select USB) http://amsat-uk.org/2013/12/28/websdr-for-434-and-1296-mhz/

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

Check the #highaltitude IRC channel for chat about launches. A web client is available at
http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=highaltitude

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

Track of B-44 and B-45 balloons on April 19, 2014

Track of B-44 and B-45 balloons on April 19, 2014

434.300 MHz balloon to launch from Danbury

Chris Stubs M6EDF with 434 MHz trackers

Chris Stubs M6EDF with 434 MHz trackers

On Saturday, March 29, at around 10:00 GMT Chris Stubbs M6EDF will be launching a balloon CHEAPO carrying a payload transmitting 50 bps 7n2 RTTY on 434.300 MHz USB.

Chris gave a well received presentation on high altitude balloons at a recent Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society (CARS) Skills Workshop. His latest launch will take place from Danbury Common at around 10 AM on Saturday, March 29.

The forecast looks like the balloon will take a scenic path along the east coast of England before being lost forever over Scotland, see http://ready.arl.noaa.gov/hypubout/184444_trj001.gif

The balloon could have a radio range of 300-500 km depending on altitude.

There should be a number of other balloons transmitting between 434.050 and 434.575 MHz also launching on Saturday.

Predicted track for CHEAPO launch on March 29, 2014

Predicted track for CHEAPO balloon on March 29, 2014

You can see online real time tracks and frequencies of all the balloons at
http://spacenear.us/tracker/

Listen to the balloons online from anywhere in the world with the SUWS 434 MHz WebSDR (select USB)
http://amsat-uk.org/2013/12/28/websdr-for-434-and-1296-mhz/

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

Free iPhone balloon tracker HABHub can be downloaded from iTunes store https://itunes.apple.com/nl/app/habhub/id737310999?l=en&mt=8

Check the #highaltitude IRC channel for chat about launches. A web client is available at
http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=highaltitude

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

Chris Stubbs M6EDF http://chris-stubbs.co.uk/

The CARS amateur radio skills workshops are held on the 3rd Monday of each month at the Danbury Village Hall, CM3 4NQ. The Skills Workshops are open to all, and there’s no charge for attending. For details, and to sign up for email updates, see
http://www.hamskills.co.uk/

To find out more about amateur radio and the Chelmsford training courses speak to Clive G1EUC on
Tel: 01245-224577
Mob: 07860-418835
Email: training2014 at g0mwt.org.uk
Web: http://www.g0mwt.org.uk/training/

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

434 MHz XABEN and other balloon launches go ahead today

High altitude balloon 434 MHz trackers made by Chris M6EDF

High altitude balloon 434 MHz trackers made by Chris M6EDF

Steve G8KHW planned to launch five balloons XABEN64-68 carrying 434 MHz payloads from Elsworth on Wednesday, March 12. The permit for them arrived at the last minute on Wednesday morning. Technically the flights need a permit despite being 100g balloons as they are on a line rather than mounted in the neck.

The balloons may have a range of 200-500 km so should be receivable on a SSB (USB) radio over much of the UK or can be received World-Wide using the SUWS WebSDR

Steve says: The plan is to launch 5 identical payloads on 5 identical 100g balloons as near identically filled as I can manage in order to see the sort of spread of burst altitudes. The balloons will be launched as quick as I can fill them and launch them – so its likely that all 5 balloons will be in the air at the same time.

With all those flights I’m going to need some help tracking them – so lots of listeners would be appreciated. Callsigns and Frequencies to follow on the UKHAS Mailing List – but all will be on 434 MHz with standard 50 Baud 470 Hz 7N1 RTTY.

SSDV picture from a PIE balloon - Image credit Dave Akerman M6RPI

SSDV picture from a PIE balloon – Image credit Dave Akerman M6RPI

XABEN64-68 Callsigns and Frequencies (USB):
- uX3 434.250
- uX0 434.350
- uX1 434.400
- uX2 434.450
// skipping 434.500 to avoid BALYOLO
- uX5 435.550

There should be a launch from Westcott, Buckinghamshire on Wednesday at 12.00 Callsign: BALYOLO Frequency 434.500 MHz.

Project Ascend are launching Wednesday at 0900 from Cockermouth,Cumbria. They say please listen out for us on 434.450 MHz USB,  Callsign HAB55331. Further information at http://projectascend.co.uk/

Dave Akerman M6RPI/M0RPI says he’s planning to launch at around 2pm on Thursday, it’ll be a regular payload up-burst-down, probably with 2 trackers. The launch will take place from the field behind Dave’s new house just north of Ross-On-Wye, so receivers in the west of England will be particularly welcome. No SSDV just 50 baud RTTY telemetry. There will be live video streaming of the launch and chase at http://www.batc.tv/streams/m0rpi_chase

The two payloads are BUZZ and ZURG.  Both 50 baud 7 bits no parity 2 stop bits, 480Hz shift. BUZZ is on 434.600 MHz and ZURG on 434.650 MHz.  Former is an rfm22b and latter an NTX2 so they will drift somewhat.

On Thursday, March 13 Adam Cudworth will be launching HABE 12 from Worcestershire on 434.200 MHz.

James Coxon M6JCX launching a PICO balloon on 434.301 MHz USB

James Coxon M6JCX launching a PICO balloon on 434.301 MHz USB

Check the IRC channel for chat about the launches on irc.freenode.net #highaltitude
A web client is available at http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=highaltitude

Online real-time tracking of balloons
http://spacenear.us/tracker/

Listen to the balloons online using the Southampton University Wireless Society (SUWS) 434 MHz WebSDR located near Basingstoke (51.294N, 1.131W)
http://amsat-uk.org/2013/12/28/websdr-for-434-and-1296-mhz/

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

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

‘Travel’ to Space for £40 / $70

VR2Space Payload Module

VR2Space Payload Module

Researchers from the Surrey Space Centre, University of Surrey have launched a unique campaign that will enable the public to ‘travel’ to space for the cost of a pair of trainers.

VR2Space BalloonVirtual Ride to Space will use cutting-edge virtual technology and a specially designed spacecraft to deliver a three-dimensional, immersive experience, allowing everyone to see what astronauts experience on an ascent to space.

The experience will be created by capturing HD footage of space, via a weather balloon which will carry a cluster of twenty-four HD video cameras to a height of 20km – twice the height of a commercial airplane. During ascent these cameras will capture panoramic footage of the balloon’s journey to space.

Following the flight, specialised software will stitch this footage together to recreate a panoramic view of the space trip. The subsequent space ride will then be viewed using Oculus Rift, a state-of-the-art virtual reality, head-mounted display. The system is designed to deliver high definition 3D virtual environments that can be explored by the wearer, as if they are in space  themselves.

The £30,000 project will be funded by public contributions through the crowd-sourcing funding platform, Kickstarter.

Surrey Space Centre University of Surrey, Guildford

Surrey Space Centre
University of Surrey, Guildford

“Only 530 people have ever travelled to space. For most of us it’s a distant and very expensive dream but this project is about enabling the remaining 99.999992% to see the world like never before,” said lead researcher Dr Aaron Knoll from the University of Surrey.

“Ride to Space will give all aspiring astronauts the chance to be a virtual passenger, riding the balloon to space, and unlike other Galactic flights, it won’t cost the earth to be on board!”

The project team are also developing a smartphone application that will allow users to experience the journey using the phones’ built-in gyroscope and accelerometer data, as well as a computer programme that will allow users to experience space via their PCs.

Investment for Virtual Ride to Space is being sought via Kickstarter. Please visit the Virtual Ride to Space page for more information.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1592839372/virtual-ride-to-space-using-the-oculus-rift

Channel 5 Gadget Show
http://gadgetshow.channel5.com/gadget-show/gadget-news/travel-to-space-with-the-oculus-rift

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/VR2Space

WebSDR for 434 and 1296 MHz

23cm_WebSDR_Antenna_up_mastFor those of you out of range of the flotilla of 434 MHz balloons launched on Saturday, December 28, you can still receive the USB signals!

Noel G8GTZ, Martin G8JNJ and Phil M0DNY from the Southampton University Wireless Society, have recently set up a Microwave WebSDR near Basingstoke in the UK. It currently supports parts of the 23cm and 70cm bands, (2m is a work-in-progress) and can be listened to from anywhere in the world.

The link is: http://websdr.suws.org.uk/

A couple of notes when using the websdr:

- Please set your location in dl-fldigi to somewhere around 51.294, -1.131 so we don’t have any fake receiver lines on the map!

- Connection to the site is over a several km wifi link, so once you’ve found the signal, please switch off your waterfall view (Set to ‘blind’) to save bandwidth for others.

- The waterfall speed will also be automatically limited as the number of users increases.

Enjoy!
Phil M0DNY

Frequencies of 434 MHz USB balloons going aloft on Superlaunch Saturday, Dec 28 can be seen at
http://ukhas.org.uk/ukhas:superlaunchsat

Real time tracking of the balloons at http://spacenear.us/tracker/

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

Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) Guide http://ukhas.org.uk/guides:ssdv

Check the #highaltitude IRC channel for chat about the launches
http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=highaltitude

Balloon flights are always subject to last minute changes. To get up-to-date information subscribe to the UKHAS Mailing List by sending a blank email to this address:
ukhas+subscribe@googlegroups.com

UK 434 MHz balloon aims for Poland

Archive Image - Ali Al-Azzawi M0PSI with a balloon - Credit Dave Akerman M6RPI

Archive Image – Ali Al-Azzawi M0PSI with a balloon – Credit Dave Akerman M6RPI

On “Superlaunch Saturday”, December 28 a number of 434 MHz balloon launches will take place. The radio signals from the balloons should be receivable over much of the UK.

Dave Akerman M6RPI and Anthony Stirk M0UPU plan to sent a balloon transmitting live SSDV images on 434 MHz from the UK to Poland.

The Raspberry Pi powered balloon is planned to take off at 1100 UT on Saturday from Brightwalton in Berkshire. The launch will be streamed live on the Internet.

Payload:
$$SLEET 434.400 MHz RTTY 50 7N2
$$SNOW 434.410 MHz RTTY 100 7N2
$$WANNAB1 434.420 MHz DominoEX16
$$CLOUDY 434.200 MHz RTTY 300 bps Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV)

BATC.tv stream from the launch site
http://www.batc.tv/streams/m0upu

Streaming video from Dave M6RPI cam
http://www.batc.tv/streams/hab-o-cam

Further information at http://www.daveakerman.com/?p=1457

Other 434 MHz balloons going aloft on Superlaunch Saturday can be seen at
http://ukhas.org.uk/ukhas:superlaunchsat

Real time tracking of the balloons at http://spacenear.us/tracker/

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

Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) Guide http://ukhas.org.uk/guides:ssdv

Check the #highaltitude IRC channel for chat about the launches
http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=highaltitude

Balloon flights are always subject to last minute changes. To get up-to-date information subscribe to the UKHAS Mailing List by sending a blank email to this address:
ukhas+subscribe@googlegroups.com

Santa uses 434.075 MHz during sleigh test

Mark and Cassie of STRATODEAN

Mark and Cassie of STRATODEAN

BBC TV News has reported on the 434.075 MHz STRATODEAN balloon carrying Santa and Rudolf that was launched from Coleford, Gloucestershire, UK.

The BBC say that amateur scientists Cassie Phelps and Mark Ireland, from the Forest of Dean, successful launched Santa and Rudolf into near-space 30 km above the Earth.

STRATODEAN report that when Santa finished off the modifications to the 2013 sleigh like all good engineers he opted to test the new changes before rolling it out into production and went to STRATODEAN for help! (It’s been a very well kept secret that they provide technical facilities to all their famous mythical friends. The Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny are already well established customers.)

They were given a clear project remit – to take him up and down on their payload to allow him to test the new handling abilities of his sleigh. Apparently the cost of reindeer propulsion (magic flying dust) has skyrocketed in the last few years and he can only justify the once a year purchase for Christmas due to Mrs Clauses’ bingo habit and the increasing Elf wages. Furthermore, for this test he can only bring Rudolf as the other reindeer are getting on a bit and they need to save their knees.

Watch the STRATODEAN video of the flight

Mark and Cassie with a STRATODEAN High Altitude Balloon

Mark and Cassie with a STRATODEAN High Altitude Balloon

The telemetry downlink from the balloon was on 434.075 MHz using 50 bps 350 Hz shift FSK with ASCII-7 code, 2 stop bits and no parity.

Watch the BBC TV news story – Amateur scientists attach a model of Santa Claus to a weather balloon
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25470809

Read The Telegraph story at
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/christmas/christmas-videos/10529615/Santa-and-Rudolph-spotted-in-orbit.html

STRATODEAN
Web http://www.stratodean.co.uk/
Twitter https://twitter.com/stratodean

A video of the STRATODEAN High Altitude Balloon Presentation given by Cassie Phelps and Mark Ireland to the annual AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium in Guildford last July can be seen at
http://amsat-uk.org/2013/07/22/video-of-stratodean-high-altitude-balloon-presentation/

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

How high-altitude balloon missions stay on track

Mark and Cassie with their STRATODEAN High Altitude Balloon

Mark and Cassie with their STRATODEAN High Altitude Balloon

In The Register Lester Haines interviews radio amateur Daniel Richman M0ZDR (ex-M6DRX) about the impressive Cambridge University Space Flight (CUSF) Landing Predictor.

Rob Anderson wrote the original landing predictor for High Altitude Balloons in 2008. Since then it’s been continually updated to improve performance, and now offers anyone wanting to send a balloon aloft the chance of seeing very quickly indeed just where it’ll burst and where they should head to recover their precious load.

Others who’ve worked on the predictor in the past five years are Fergus Noble M0NBL, Ed Moore M0TEK, Jon Sowman M0JSN and Adam Greig M0RND.

Read Fair winds and following servers: The art of flight prediction
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/12/18/lohan_flight_prediction/

CUSF Landing Predictor http://predict.habhub.org/

Daniel then M6DRX was one of three pupils at the Reading School who in 2010 built the Alien-1 high altitude balloon http://www.southgatearc.org/news/may2010/alien_1_launch.htm

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

Brazilian APRS Balloon Launches Sunday

PV8AA_placa_gpsThe Liga de Amadores Brasileiros De Rádio Emissão will launch an APRS balloon PV8AA-11 on Sunday, November 17 at 1000 UT. It is expected to reach at altitude of 23 km and will transmit on 144.300 MHz CW and 145.570 MHz packet.

Radiosonde PV8AA – 11
PWR : 500mW
Antenna 1/4 wave .
Battery: Lithium Polymer 7.2V x 1.7 – Test duration : 11h
QRG Coordinates: 144.300 MHz CW Telemetry : 145.570 MHz Packet

Elevation data , internal and external temperature , battery voltage , number of transmission and satellite – GPS .
Balloon : 1m30cm/350gramas . Holds average of 3 cubic meters of Gas
Experiment : 315 grams + parachute rope : 75gramas
Maximum anticipated altitude : 23 km, rate of climb and descent : 5-6 m / s approx .

Local Release : 2 ° 50 45N 60 ° 41 56 W – Facilities EMA – BV .

Monitoring by SITE http://www.aprs.fi/ PV8AA – 11

Listener Report please send to : pv8aa at hotmail.com or pv8dx at arrl.net

Czech Statocaching APRS ham radio balloon

Dropion Releasing Stratocache Radio SeedsStratocaching which launches Saturday, November 16 at 0800 UT (144.800 MHz FM APRS) aims to combine amateur radio stratospheric balloons with the popular pastime of Geocaching.

We would like to announce our first experimental flight STRATOCACHING as a result of  cooperation between Žádná věda association and Stsproject.net.
Launch Date: November 16, 2013
Launch Time: 8:00 UTC
Launch Location: Czech Hydrometeorological Institute Prague, Czech Republic
Stratocaching is a unique idea combining launch of a stratospheric balloon with a geocaching game. The Czech association Žádná věda (meaning Not a Rocket Sciencewith a cooperation of Stsproject.net is going to launch a special ballon set with a gondola called Dropion that includes 12 flying modules with GPS trackers called Stratocache. The modules (an imitation of maple seed design) will be released in the stratosphere and after they fall somewhere in the Czech republic (hopefully!), a geocaching hunt for Stratocaches will be started. The project has attracted many fans (there are 60.000 active geocachers in the Czech Republic) – and currently 11.000 „stratocachers“ registered for this  game.
Specifications:
·         Balloon Hwoyee: 3000g filled with helium
·         Total weight of payload: 3000g
·         Chute: Sperachute 72“
·         Estimated Ascent/ descent: 5-6 m/s up, 4 m/s down
·         Dropion: 1800g, made of styrodur, design inspired by nature (the name originally come from „drop- onion“)
·         Stratocache: 93 g, 40cm long, falls down rotating as a maple pod (2,5 m/s), with a GPS tracker Meitrack MT90 (replaced battery pack – Energizer Lithium)
·         Radioseed: 2 of the 12 „maple seeds“ bear a different tracking technology: RTTY+CW tracker
·         Electronic systems: APRS tracker, RTTY+CW tracker, Arduino computer, pyrotechnic system for releasing Stratocaches and balloon cutoff, IP video stream module (IP camera Axis M2014, PoE injector router Microtic), video recording module (GoPro Hero 3)
·         Altitude: the launch of Stratocaches and the balloon trajectory will be limited by a flight plan programmed in Arduino computer based on the wheather conditions (maximal altitude 30.000). The aim is to end the flight within the borders of the Czech Republic
Trackers onboard:
DROPION:
Callsign: OK1OMX – UKHAS RTTY 300Bd, 7N2, 450 Hz shift, freq 437.650 MHz, SSB/USB

OK1OMX-11 – APRS, freq 144.8 MHz

RADIOSEEDS:
Seed1 – UKHAS RTTY 300Bd, 7N2, 450 Hz shift, freq 437.670 MHz, SSB/USB
Seed2 - UKHAS RTTY 300Bd, 7N2, 450 Hz shift, freq 437.690 MHz, SSB/USB
All the trackers are using CW ID with HAM callsign  in between rtty sentences. Seed1 and Seed2 trackers will transmit in CW altitude and locator also.
Best regards,
Ivan Sobička