UK students to have direct contact with astronaut Tim Peake during Principia mission

Blue Peter Principia Mission Patch

Blue Peter presenter Lindsey, Principia mission patch competition winner Troy and UK astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI

Working with the UK Space Agency, ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) is giving a number of UK schools the opportunity to speak directly to Tim Peake, the first British ESA astronaut, during his mission on board the International Space Station (ISS). This will enable live interaction between pupils and Tim and is anticipated to be one of the highlights of the Principia STEM outreach programme.

Tim Peake KG5BVI training on ISS amateur radio station equipment

Tim Peake KG5BVI training on ISS amateur radio station equipment

During his 6 month mission to the ISS, starting in December 2015, Tim will be undertaking a wide range of science experiments, some of which have been designed by students from around the UK. Additionally he has committed to take part in a large range of educational outreach activities with schools and colleges around the country.

Jeremy Curtis, Head of Education at the UK Space Agency, said:

“Both Tim’s space mission and amateur radio have the power to inspire young people and encourage them into STEM subjects. By bringing them together we can boost their reach and give young people around the UK the chance to be involved in a space mission and a hands-on project that will teach them new skills.”

The pre-arranged schools contacts will take place between January and April 2016 and students will be able to put a number of questions directly to Tim using amateur radio VHF and UHF radio equipment specially installed at the school for the occasion.

HamTV dish antenna at Goonhilly - Credit Frank Heritage M0AEU

HamTV dish antenna at Goonhilly – Credit Frank Heritage M0AEU

The 3.8 metre dish owned by Satellite Applications Catapult is being loaned to the project to track the ISS and will ensure real time video will be available during the schools’ contacts scheduled for early next year. The dish is almost in the shadow of the 29 metre dish “Arthur” built in 1962 to receive the first transatlantic television signals from the Telstar-1 spacecraft.

For Tim Peake’s mission, the ARISS team of licensed UK Radio Amateurs is planning a world first by also receiving live video from the ISS during the contact. Using the HamTV transmitter, which has recently been commissioned on board the ISS, Tim will be the first astronaut to use this equipment during a two way schools contact.

As well as building a vehicle based receive system, which will be installed at the school on the day of the contact, the team recently visited Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall to commission a dish to receive the 2.4 GHz HamTV transmissions from the ISS.

During the contact at the schools the ARISS team will be providing information displays on the ISS position and have webcams showing both the local and Goonhilly dishes as they track the ISS.

The hosting schools will be organising presentations and displays before and after the contact and the ARISS team will be providing a live web cast of all the day’s events including the actual contact with Tim Peake.

The live event webcast will be hosted by the British Amateur Television Club (BATC) on their web streaming service at

The ARISS programme is designed to maximise the impact of the Principia Mission outreach activities. It will directly engage students with media and communication technologies with the goal of inspiring them to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

UK Space Agency Principia site

School Shortlist for Tim Peake Space Station Contact

NASA TV to cover launch of Tim Peake KG5BVI


ISS Display 2015-12-11


School Shortlist for Tim Peake Space Station Contact

Major Tim Peake KG5BVI

Major Tim Peake KG5BVI

On Tuesday, July 14 at the UK Space Conference in Liverpool the names were announced of the UK schools which have won the opportunity to contact UK astronaut Tim Peake via amateur radio during his mission to the International Space Station. Tim holds the call sign KG5BVI and is expected to use the special call GB1SS from the amateur radio station in the Columbus module of the ISS.

Tim Peake KG5BVI training on ISS Amateur Radio Station Equipment

Tim Peake KG5BVI training on ISS Amateur Radio Station Equipment

Tim will launch to the ISS in December of this year and will spend 6 months working and living in space. The Amateur Radio competition is a collaboration between the UK Space Agency, the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) and the European Space Agency (ESA).

Selected schools will host a direct link-up with the ISS during a two-day, space related STEM workshop which will be the culmination of a large range of learning activities using space as a context for teaching throughout the curriculum.

ARISS UK (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) will provide and set up all necessary radio equipment such as low earth orbit satellite tracking antennas and radios, to establishing a fully functional, direct radio link with the ISS from the schools’ very own premises. In a ten-minute window when the ISS will be over the UK, an amateur radio contact will be established with Tim, and students will be able to ask him questions about his life and work on board the ISS.

Owing to the nature of scheduling the links, which is dependent on geography, the exact orbit of the ISS and the crew schedules, the exact dates and times for possible links will not be known until 2 weeks before the link up is scheduled. The shortlisted schools will all be prepared for such scheduling challenges and, by having a number of schools, we can ensure that all links are used.

Soyuz TMA-19M Mission Patch

Soyuz TMA-19M Patch

Jeremy Curtis, Head of Education at the UK Space Agency, said:

We’re delighted with the amount of interest in this exciting project and look forward to working with the selected schools as they make a call into space.

Both Tim’s space mission and amateur radio have the power to inspire young people and encourage them into STEM subjects.

By bringing them together we can boost their reach and give young people around the UK the chance to be involved in a space mission and a hands-on project that will teach them new skills.

The following schools have been shortlisted for a possible ARISS call with Tim whilst he is in orbit on the ISS:

Principia Mission Patch

  • Ashfield Primary School, Otley, West Yorkshire
  • The Derby High School, Derby
  • The Kings School, Ottery St Mary
  • Norwich School, Norwich
  • Oasis Academy Brightstowe, Bristol
  • Powys Secondary Schools Joint, Powys
  • Royal Masonic School for Girls, Rickmansworth
  • Sandringham School, St Albans
  • St Richard’s Catholic College, Bexhill-on-Sea
  • Wellesley House School, Broadstairs

John Gould, G3WKL, President of the RSGB, said:

The Radio Society of Great Britain will be delighted to support shortlisted schools by teaching their pupils about amateur radio and helping them through their licence exams where appropriate. Members of our Youth Committee are based across the UK and will be keen to visit the chosen schools in their area and chat to the pupils.

The ARISS UK Operations team will now work with the shortlisted schools to prepare them for this exceptional opportunity during the mission of the first British ESA Astronaut.

ARISS Europe

UK CanSat 2015 Winner Announced

St Paul's Team Impulse - UK CanSat 2015 Winners - Image Credit ESERO-UK

St Paul’s Team Impulse – UK CanSat 2015 Winners – Image Credit ESERO-UK

ESERO-UK, the UK space education office, based in York, has announced the winner of the UK round of the International CanSat competition .

A CanSat is a student built simulated satellite with all the major subsystems including radio communications on 433/434 MHz and power fitting into a 350 ml soda can.

ESERO-UK organises the annual UK CanSat Competition for teams of secondary school students.

Winner of the Beginners’s category was the CANnoneers, from Tonbridge School in Kent. Runners up include: Spiritus, Putney High School, London; #getjezsrockettospace, from Allestree Woodlands School, Derby; Benenden CANSAT Avengers, from Benenden; Kent and Colossus, from St. Paul’s School, London.

“I highly recommend this wonderful opportunity to anyone who has the chance. Jump on it as it’s a unique opportunity to gain a lot of experience in a unique learning environment and will give a good amount of experience for anyone even considering a career in engineering! I enjoyed the experience and I’m sure the rest of my team did too.” Walter Tso, Outreach Manager and Electronics Assistant, CANnoneers.

Team Impulse, from St Paul’s School in London won the Advanced category of the competition. Runners up include: OSSO , from Oundle School, Northamptonshire; Heathrow Aeronautical Engineers, from Heathrow UTC, Greater London.

Team Impulse, from St Paul’s School in London, were announced overall winners of the 2015 CanSat competition and will go on to compete at the European CanSat Competition in Portugal.

“We are thrilled to be continuing the great British tradition of innovative engineering and are delighted to be representing St Paul’s and the UK at the CanSat final in Portugal.” Team Impulse, St Paul’s School.

Tom Lyons, ESERO Teacher Fellow said: “This year’s completion was a great success with all teams launching and recording data with their CanSats. We’re now looking forward to the 2016 competition and hoping to attract even more teams to get involved.”


UK 434 MHz CanSat Competition

Team Impulse St Paul’s School on Twitter

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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Error Correcting Code talk by leading STEM proponent

Professor Chris Budd G4NBG / G8OPB

Professor Chris Budd G4NBG / G8OPB

Professor Chris Budd G4NBG (formerly G8OPB), a leading proponent of getting young people into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), will give a presentation to the City of Bristol RSGB Group.

On Monday, May 26 at 7:30pm he will talk about the history and modern practice of both code breaking and error correcting codes.

The talk will be given at the City of Bristol RSGB Group in the Bristol Lawn Tennis & Squash Club, Redland Green, Redland, Bristol BS6 7HF

Chris is Professor of Mathematics at the Royal Institution of Great Britain and Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Bath. He is a passionate populariser of maths, being involved in projects with schools on various maths related topics. He is also Vice-President for the Institute for Mathematics and its Application (IMA).

This is sure to be a fascinating talk!

City of Bristol RSGB Group G6YB

G4NBG – Getting young people into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics #yourlife

434 MHz balloons have a role in STEM Education

Horizon Project - Gagarin - Isle of Wight

Project Horizon – Gagarin – Isle of Wight

The UK Department for Education (DfE) has selected the Horizon balloon project to feature in the department’s #yourlife campaign to promote Maths and Science.

Horizon Team Hard at Work

Horizon Team Hard at Work

Pupils at Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Walsall built the Gagarin payload which transmitted FSK RTTY telemetry data on 434.075 MHz. The students launched it on a high altitude weather balloon which reached an altitude of 35,118 metres before bursting. The Gagarin payload returned safely to Earth by parachute and the students were able to retrieve the stunning still images and video taken in near-space.

The telemetry transmitter could be received over most of the British Isles and radio amateurs were able to track the balloon’s progress from the transmitted GPS data. The Horizon team used a Yaesu FT-817 transceiver to receive the signal from the balloon and dl-fldigi software to decode it. Among those supporting the project were Yaesu and Essex-based Rapid Electronics.

CASSiE and the proto-type flight computer

CASSiE and the proto-type flight computer

Adam Coghlan, a mathematics teacher at the school, says:

There have been two teams worth of pupils involved in this project and UKHAS members have helped track every launch.

The pupils get so much out of it:
– many go on to start their own projects after a year in the Horizon Team
– most of the team members have reported extremely positive university interviews following their involvement with the project (some have had personal letters from lecturers and letters from universities wishing them luck, hoping that they’ll choose xxxxx when results day comes etc)
– team members who have visited us having left the school for university have got involved in projects at university and have been a lot more open to the opportunities at university beyond their academic studies

The project has a big impact on the pupils who take part and we’re so grateful to the UKHAS members who have supported us and who help with the tracking on launch days.

Watch Project Horizon’s Beat Felix mission – The launch of Gagarin

See the ‘Your Life’ post on the Department for Education’s Facebook page at

Project Horizon

#yourlife “Science and maths makes you more prepared for life and for business” Dr Melanie Windridge, physicist and science communicator

Yaesu UK

Rapid Electronics

You can see online real time tracks and frequencies of balloons at

Listen to balloons online (when in range of south-east UK) from anywhere in the world with the SUWS 434 MHz WebSDR (select USB)

Download the dl-fldigi software from

Beginners Guide to Tracking using dl-fldigi

Check the #highaltitude IRC channel for chat about launches. A web client is available at

To get up-to-date information on balloon flights subscribe to the UKHAS Mailing List by sending a blank email to this address:

Project Horizon - flight path of Gagarin

Project Horizon – flight path of Gagarin

From Holiday Inn to Outer Space

David Bowman G0MRF giving one of his popular FUNcube satellite presentations

David Bowman G0MRF giving one of his popular FUNcube satellite presentations

On Friday, July 4, the Whitton Amateur Radio Group (WARG) will be hosting a presentation by David Bowman G0MRF on the subject of the FUNcube satellite.

David is a member of the AMSAT-UK team behind the successful development and launch of the amateur radio FUNcube-1 CubeSat which transmits telemetry for Educational outreach (STEM) and carries a 435/145MHz SSB/CW transponder. The presentation will have a live reception of the satellite as it passes over Europe.

The meeting is open to all, the doors open at 7 pm and the talk commences at 8:15 pm. Whitton Community Centre has good car parking and disabled access as well as the use of the bar. A small charge of £1.50 per person will be asked to cover room hire.

The venue is the Whitton Community Centre, Percy Road, Whitton, Middx, TW2 6JL

Directions can be found on the Whitton Amateur Radio Group site

M6CME to give Keynote Presentation at IWD STEM Conference

It's ONLY Rocket Science Cover - Dr Lucy Rogers M6CME

It’s ONLY Rocket Science Cover – Dr Lucy Rogers M6CME

Dr Lucy Rogers M6CME, author of It’s ONLY Rocket Science, will be giving the keynote presentation at the International Women’s Day (IWD) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) conference in Chester.

The evening event, which is free of charge, takes place at the University of Chester Riverside Innovation Centre (RIC) seminar room on Friday, March 7 at 6pm.

Lucy M6CME is a Fellow of both the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and of the Royal Astronomical Society. Her book “It’s ONLY Rocket Science” is widely respected in both the space industry and in education.

Download the event leaflet

Dr Lucy Rogers M6CME

International Women’s Day March 8


FUNcube-1 has left the cleanroom

FUNcube-1 flight model - Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

FUNcube-1 flight model – Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

The exciting news is that FUNcube-1 CubeSat is now en-route to the Yasny launch site.

It was flown on a special flight from Rotterdam yesterday and it cleared through Russian customs this morning.

Well before the launch date, Dashboard software, to decode and display the telemetry, will be made available for download, this will function on any windows pc or laptop using either a Dongle or a 2 metre SSB capable receiver. Additionally a set of pre-launch keps will also be distributed.

This launch is expected to carry more than ten spacecraft using the amateur satellite service and one of them will, itself, later deploy up to nine CubeSats and PocketQubes so there should be plenty of new signals to listen for after this launch.

More info about FUNcube and some pictures can be seen here

Radio Ham is HENAAC Luminary Honoree

Ali Guarneros Luna KJ6TVO - Image credit NASA Ames

Ali Guarneros Luna KJ6TVO – Image credit NASA Ames

Radio amateur Ali Guarneros Luna KJ6TVO has been named a 2013 HENAAC Luminary Honoree.

A NASA Ames Systems Engineer on the TechEdSat CubeSat Project she is committed to encouraging young people to pursue science, technology and engineering careers. In recognition of her achievements, Ali Guarneros Luna KJ6TVO, has been named as one of the 2013 Luminary Honorees by the Hispanic Engineering National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC).

Born in Mexico City she now lives in San Jose, California, receiving her BS in Aerospace Engineering at San Jose State University in 2010 and completing her MS in Aerospace Engineering at San Jose State University in 2012.

HENAAC 2013 Luminary Honorees

Radio Amateur Encourages Engineering as a Career

KJ6TVO “Pursuing My Childhood Dream”