Astro Pi and ISS Contacts at Southend Raspberry Jam May 30

Southend Raspberry Jam 6The free Southend Raspberry Jam #6 event on May 30 will feature International Space Station (ISS) amateur radio contacts. In late 2015 and 2016 UK astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI will be talking to UK schools direct from the ISS using ham radio.

Also featured will be the Astro Pi competition. Entrants and winners will discuss their entries, with a recap of the competition before doing the coding later on.

Successful Astro Pi entries will be sent into space in November 2015 with UK astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI who will run them on a Raspberry Pi computer on board the ISS.

Organised by the Southend-on-Sea Linux User Group (http://soslug.org) this Raspberry Pi event takes place on Saturday, May 30 from 10:00 to 17:00 BST at the Tickfield Centre, Tickfield Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 6LL.

Among the many activities are:
• Hackathon: Scratch GPIO Electronics
• Talk: How Raspberry Pi changed my life Programming, Robots, and a successful Kickstarter by the age of 14
• Workshop: Learn to program real Apps for your own Android phone using Blockly and App Inventor
• Talk: Life Box A fantastic project, with lots of pretty LEDs, which models population growth in an environment
• Hackathon: Learn to program Minecraft, AstroPi and other hardware
• Talk: Object Orientated Programming

Free tickets and further information are available from http://southendjam.co.uk/

Download a Southend Raspberry Jam leaflet here

Astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI issues challenge for UK students to “make that call”
http://amsat-uk.org/2015/03/20/tim-peake-uk-students/

Send your code into space with astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/12/10/send-your-code-into-space/

Astro Pi: Your Code In Space http://astro-pi.org/

Sarah Brightman – Space Flight Postponed

Sarah Brightman Space Flight Training February 2015

Sarah Brightman Space Flight Training February 2015

Sarah Brightman announced Wednesday, May 13, 2015 that she is postponing her plans to launch aboard the upcoming Soyuz TMA-18M spaceflight mission expected for September.

Ms. Brightman said that for personal family reasons her intentions have had to change and she is postponing her cosmonaut training and flight plans at this time. She would like to express her extreme gratitude to Roscosmos, Energia, GCTC (Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center), Star City, NASA and all the cosmonauts and astronauts, for their support during this exciting time in her life.

“Since 2012, Sarah has shared her story of a lifelong dream to fly to space. Her international fame as the world’s best-selling soprano has enabled her message to circle the globe, inspiring others to pursue their own dreams,” said Eric Anderson, Co-Founder and Chairman of Space Adventures, Ltd. “We’ve seen firsthand her dedication to every aspect of her spaceflight training and to date, has passed all of her training and medical tests. We applaud her determination and we’ll continue to support her as she pursues a future spaceflight opportunity.”

Danish Astronaut Andreas Mogensen KG5GCZ@Astro_Andreas tweeted
Sad to lose a fantastic crew mate. Best of luck, Sarah

Youngest radio ham in Gujarat state

Sakshi Vagadia VU3EXP

Sakshi Vagadia VU3EXP

In 2012 St. Paul’s school student Sakshi Vagadia spoke to astronaut Sunita Williams KD5PLB as part of an ARISS school contact. Now, at 15, she has received her amateur radio licence VU3EXP.

Sakshi has just finished her 9th grade in St. Paul’s School, Rajkot and is the fourth member of her family to get an amateur licence. Her father is Rajesabhai Vagadia VU2EXP, her uncle Prakash Vagadia VU3PLJ and cousin Priyesa Vagadia VU3GLY.

Sunita Williams KD5PLB on the ISS

Sunita Williams KD5PLB on the ISS

A year after speaking to Sunita Williams KD5PLB via the ARISS school contact Sakshi was able to meet her in person when Sunita visited the Government Science College (GSC) in Ahmedabad.

Sakshi did her training at the Gujarat Institute of Amateur Radio in Gandhinagar and took her amateur radio examination on February 25, 2013 received her pass result on April 2, 2013. It took the Government of India (WPC Wing) over two years to issue her amateur radio licence which she  finally received on April 24, 2015.

Sakshi’s achievement was reported in the local press. See the article written in Gujarati at
http://www.divyabhaskar.co.in/news/SAU-RJK-smallest-ham-operator-of-rajkot-sakshi-vagadia-4982404-PHO.html

It can be difficult to get an amateur radio licence in India. The archaic licensing system appears to have changed little since the 1940’s and is plagued with bureaucracy. After passing the exam it can take 12-24 months for Government officials to process the licence application. Among the information required on an Indian licence application are things such as height, eye colour, occupation and details of your Father, although not your Mother. There are even police checks on the suitability of an applicant. There are some parts of the country where Government simply refuses to issue any amateur radio licences.

Indian Ham Radio Licensing http://www.qsl.net/vu2msy/Ham_Licencing_Info.htm

India seeks relaxation of red-tape provisions
http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2014/september/india_seeks_relaxation_of_red_tape_provisions.htm

2012 Sunita Williams KD5PLB ARISS school contact
http://www.southgatearc.org/news/november2012/excited_kids_go_on_space_talk_with_sunita.htm

ISS HamTV now transmitting on 2395 MHz

Samantha Cristoforetti IZ0UDF with ISS HamTV Transmitter

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti IZ0UDF with ISS Ham Video Transmitter

Friday, May 1, 2015 the Ham Video transmitter on board the Columbus module of the International Space Station was powered on and started transmitting in “Blank Transmission” (BT) mode.

HamTV Antennas at ARISS Telebridge Station IK1SLD in Casale Monferrato, Italy

HamTV Antennas at ARISS Telebridge Station IK1SLD in Casale Monferrato, Italy

In this mode, the transmitter is operated without camera. The digital TV signal is fully formatted, but the content of the video is black and the content of the audio is at zero level. From a technical perspective, the BT signal is all that is needed for testing and fine tuning ground stations.

The European network of chained ground stations is presently nearly complete. Six ground stations span the continent in “X”  formation. For each ascending pass over Europe, four stations provide about ten minutes of solid copy and the same is true for descending passes:

– Ascending passes: Lisbon (Portugal ==> Poitiers (France) ==> Casale Monferrato (North Italy ==> Kolo (Poland)
– Descending passes : Cork (Ireland) ==> Poitiers (France) ==> Casale Monferrato (North Italy ==> Matera (South Italy.

The chained ground stations are streaming the digital video to the BATC server (British Amateur Television Club). BATC set up a multiviewer page, accessible at:

http://www.batc.tv/iss/

The page shows all six streams from the chained  ground stations. Each view can be maximized to full screen and the audio of each stream can be set to level or muted.

International Space Station - Image Credit NASA

International Space Station – Image Credit NASA

Presently, active stations stream technical data provided by the software developed by Jean Pierre Courjaud F6DZP. Several data are most interesting to observe:
–    the “constellations”, which visualize the QPSK (quaternary PSK) modulated signal
–    the  digital Signal/Noise ratio = MER (dB) (Modulation Error Ratio)
–    the control LEDs that change from red to green on decoding the digital signal.

The Ham Video transmitter frequency is 2395 MHz and the symbol rate is 2.0 Ms/sec.
More information is available at:

http://www.ariss-eu.org/columbus.htm

The Ham Video transmitter will stay on as long as on board operations permit. When the ground stations will be operating reliably, the Ham Video transmitter will be used to enhance ARISS school contacts. Uplink will remain VHF audio only. This operational mode is dubbed ARISS Ham TV.

73,
Gaston Bertels – ON4WF
ARISS-Europe chairman

ARISS FSTV gallery http://www.spaceflightsoftware.com/ARISS_FSTV/

HamTV Transmitter in the ISS Columbus Module

HamTV Transmitter in the ISS Columbus Module

ISS 2395 MHz Digital Amateur TV Blank Transmission Test

Front panel of the HamTV transmitter

Front panel of the HamTV transmitter

The request to power up the Ham Video system was added to the crew task list on April 16.

That means, that crew is invited to activate Ham Video as a free time activity. No precise day/time for this activity is fixed.

Please monitor the 2395 MHz at 2.0 Ms/s frequency and tell everyone as soon as you observe it.

This will be a period of blank transmission for testing and calibration. Please make maximum use of it.

Read the HamTV overview by Gaston Bertels ON4WF http://tinyurl.com/HamTVoverview

Join the ISS HamTV Yahoo Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HamTV

ARISS-EU HamTV Bulletins http://www.ariss-eu.org/

HamTV on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Hamtvproject

Video of ISS HamTV – Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA April 13, 2014
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/04/14/video-of-iss-hamtv-koichi-wakata-kc5zta-april-13-2014/

ISS Ham Radio SSTV Video

On the weekend of April 11/12 Randy Hall K7AGE used his Arrow dual band J-Pole antenna, FT-817, Signalink USB interface and MMSSTV software to capture some great amateur radio Slow Scan Television (SSTV) images from the International Space Station (ISS).

Watch SSTV Images from the International Space Station

ISS Slow Scan TV Active on Weekend of April 11 http://amsat-uk.org/2015/03/31/iss-sstv/

Using WebSDRs Worldwide for the ISS http://amsat-uk.org/2015/04/14/using-websdrs-for-iss/

ISS SSTV in the UK Press http://amsat-uk.org/2015/04/15/iss-sstv-in-the-press/

ISS SSTV in the Press

ISS SSTV Image 2 of 12 received by Andrew Garratt M0NRD April 11, 2015

ISS SSTV Image 2 of 12 received by Andrew Garratt M0NRD April 11, 2015

AMSAT-UK member Andrew Garratt M0NRD got some good publicity for Amateur Radio from the recent ISS Slow Scan Television transmissions.

The SSTV pictures were sent in celebration of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human to reach space, on April 12, 1961. The Russian cosmonauts on board the station transmitted images from Gagarin’s life which were received by radio hams worldwide. Andrew said he hoped it would encourage more people to become interested in radio.

Read the full story at
http://newarkadvertiser.co.uk/articles/news/A-message-from-space-picked-up-in-Newark

Local newspapers are generally only too glad to publish stories like this if someone takes the time to get in touch and tell them about it. Andrew made sure the newspaper was aware of his local clubs website URL and Facebook page enabling those reading the story to contact the club.

Follow M0NRD on Twitter http://twitter.com/nerdsville

ISS Slow Scan TV Active on Weekend of April 11 http://amsat-uk.org/2015/03/31/iss-sstv/

Using WebSDRs Worldwide for the ISS http://amsat-uk.org/2015/04/14/using-websdrs-for-iss/

ISS Slow Scan TV Active on Weekend of April 11

ISS SSTV image 9/12 received by Frank Heritage M0AEU at 19:21 UT on Dec 18, 2014

ISS SSTV image 4/12 received by Frank Heritage M0AEU at 19:21 UT on Dec 18, 2014

The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) has announced another round of amateur radio Slow Scan Television (SSTV) activity from the International Space Station (ISS). It will commemorate the anniversary of the first human spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin which took place on April 12, 1961.

Continuous operation, using the call sign RS0ISS, is expected to start at 1000 UT on Saturday, April 11 and continue until 2130 UT on Sunday, April 12.

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

Twelve different images will be sent on 145.800 MHz FM using the SSTV mode PD180, with a 3-minute off time between transmissions.

One of the photos shows the commemorative diploma created by PZK, the national Polish Amateur Radio society, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the birth of first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

The equipment used will be the Kenwood D710 transceiver located in the Russian Service Module. It is thought the equipment may be producing about 25 watts output which should provide a very strong signal.

Plans are being discussed for transmitting new images from space enthusiasts around the world in the coming months. Additional details will be released.

The images received by amateurs world-wide during previous transmissions can be seen at http://www.spaceflightsoftware.com/ARISS_SSTV/ and you are invited to upload any pictures you receive during the upcoming transmissions.

In the UK newspaper the Daily Mail, Jonathan O’Callaghan wrote about how 22-year-old Radek Karwacki, an AMSAT-UK member, received pictures from the ISS using a £10 ($15) RTL-SDR dongle and a dipole antenna, see http://amsat-uk.org/2015/02/04/iss-sstv-in-uk-press/

International Space Station - Image Credit NASA

International Space Station – Image Credit NASA

All you need to do to receive SSTV pictures direct from the space station is to connect the audio output of a scanner or amateur radio transceiver via a simple interface to the soundcard on a Windows PC or an Apple iOS device, and tune in to 145.800 MHz FM. You can even receive pictures by holding an iPhone next to the radio loudspeaker.

On Windows PC’s the free application MMSSTV can be used to decode the signal, on Apple iOS devices you can use the SSTV app for compatible modes. (Note: see comments below about MMSSTV adjustments which may be needed to reduce picture slant)

The ISS puts out a strong signal on 145.800 MHz FM and a 2m handheld with a 1/4 wave antenna will be enough to receive it. The FM transmission uses 5 kHz deviation which is standard in much of the world apart from the British Isles and Europe where 2.5 kHz deviation is more common.

Many FM rigs can be switched been wide and narrow deviation FM filters. For best results you should select the wider deviation filters. Handhelds all seem to have a single wide filter fitted as standard.

The ISS Fan Club website will show you when the space station is in range.

ISS SSTV image 12/12 received by Martin Ehrenfried G8JNJ using the SUWS WebSDR Dec 18, 2014

ISS SSTV image 12/12 received by Martin Ehrenfried G8JNJ using the SUWS WebSDR Dec 18, 2014

Paul Turner G4IJE, co-developer of the SSTV PD modes, says regarding the MMSSTV PD180 mode: “Don’t forget to either enable “Always show RX viewer” or use the “Picture viewer” (magnifying glass icon) to show the picture at its real resolution of 640 x 496. If you just view as normal you will only see 320 x 248 resolution, which kind of defeats the object of using a high resolution mode.”

In Option > Setup MMSSTV (O) > RX make sure Auto-slant is ticked.

On the AMSAT-BB Rick W2JAZ and Alan WA4SCA comment on the need to set the MMSSTV sound card setting to 48 kHz instead of the default 44.100 kHz
• Options
• Setup
• Misc
• Then the Clock section at the bottom of the page

The MMSSTV default setting may need to be set to 24000 (exactly half of the sound card setting). You then should get good clean images.

The sound card adjustments will vary slightly depending on the version of the OS you are running, but usually will be under the advanced properties for the device. You can probably use a higher sampling rate for the sound card so long as it is a power of 2 multiple (2,4,8, etc) of the value in MMSSTV. For instance 192k (8x) has no issues. The same applies to most similar software.

You can receive the SSTV transmissions online using the SUWS WebSDR remote receiver located near London along with the MMSSTV software http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/15/suws-websdr-moves-to-new-site/

ISS Fan Club – Tracking / Predictions http://www.issfanclub.com/

Free MMSSTV Slow Scan TV software http://hamsoft.ca/pages/mmsstv.php

iOS SSTV App https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/sstv/id387910013

For more on Slow Scan Television SSTV, see this article SSTV – The Basics
http://www.essexham.co.uk/sstv-the-basics

How to be successful with the ISS Slow Scan Television (SSTV) imaging system
http://www.marexmg.org/fileshtml/howtoisssstv.html

IZ8BLY Vox Recoder, enables you to record the signals from the ISS on 145.800 MHz while you’re away at work http://antoninoporcino.xoom.it/VoxRecorder/

ARISS Slow Scan TV (SSTV) Blog and Gallery http://ariss-sstv.blogspot.co.uk/

Those capturing images are encouraged to upload them to
http://www.spaceflightsoftware.com/ARISS_SSTV/submit.php

Information on the MAI-75 SSTV experiment
http://www.energia.ru/eng/iss/researches/education-26.html

Video showing reception of SSTV using the FUNcube Dongle Pro SDR and SDR-RADIO going into Virtual Audio Cable (VAC) then to MMSSTV software https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6MOrX9iZCk

ISS SSTV received online with SUWS WebSDR
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/09/06/iss-sstv-on-suws-websdr/

ISS SSTV 1/12 received by Martin Ehrenfried G8JNJ using the SUWS WebSDR Dec 18, 2014

ISS SSTV 1/12 received by Martin Ehrenfried G8JNJ using the SUWS WebSDR Dec 18, 2014

Video of AESP-14 CubeSat deployment from ISS

AESP-14 CubeSat

AESP-14 CubeSat

The Japanese Space Agency, JAXA, have released a video showing the deployment of the Brazilian amateur radio satellite AESP-14 from the International Space Station (ISS).

The AESP-14 is a 1U CubeSat developed by undergraduate and graduate engineering students at the Technology Institute of Aeronautics (ITA) in Brazil. The satellite’s primary mission is to test the various subsystems in the space environment.

AESP-14 CubeSat released from ISS - Photo by Samantha Cristoforetti IZ0UDF

AESP-14 CubeSat released from ISS – Photo by Samantha Cristoforetti IZ0UDF

The satellite was sent to the ISS as cargo on the SpaceX Falcon 9 mission CRS-5. Launch had been scheduled for December 16, 2014 but was postponed three times and it wasn’t until January 10, 2015 that the launch eventually took place. AESP-14 then awaited deployment from the ISS by the JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) which is in the Japanese Experimental Module, Kibo.

The deployment took place around 1250 UT on Thursday, February 5. The AESP-14 telemetry beacon had a power output of 500 mW and used AX.25 with 9600 bps GMSK modulation (G3RUH standard) on 437.600 MHz. It should have started transmitting 30 minutes after deployment but as of March 30 nothing had been heard. It may be the battery did not survive several months without being recharged or the antenna may have failed to deploy.

Watch Deployment of AESP-14 Brazilian CubeSat

AESP-14 website http://www.aer.ita.br/~aesp14

Telemetry information sheet http://www.aer.ita.br/~aesp14/AESP-14Telemetry.pdf

AESP-14 CubeSat released from International Space Station http://www.spaceflight101.com/iss-expedition-42-updates-february-2015.html

Astronaut issues challenge for UK students to “make that call”

Tim Peake KG5BVI, the first British ESA astronaut, has issued an invitation to UK school pupils to contact him via amateur radio whilst he is in space.

Tim will launch to the International Space Station (ISS) in November of this year and will spend 6 months working and living on the ISS. Thanks to a collaboration between Amateur Radio on the International Space Stations (ARISS), the UK Space Agency, the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) and the European Space Agency (ESA), UK school pupils will be able to contact him whilst he is on board the ISS via a scheduled amateur radio link-up. Continue reading