UBSEDS19/20 balloons launch from Bristol

UBSEDS IMG_2406Richard Meadows M0SBU reports two high altitude balloons carrying 434 MHz payloads will launch from Bristol on Monday, August 29. There will be Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) transmissions.

Online real-time tracking of UBSEDS balloons!mt=roadmap&mz=8&qm=3_days&q=UBSED*&f=UBSEDS20

We’re planning the first launch of ‘pico-pi’, our Raspberry Pi Zero based tracker, from Bristol this Bank Holiday Monday, August 29 between 0500 and 0530 BST. This launch is using a 1.9m envelope and longer payload train, and so we have a NOTAM in place.

There’s more information about the tracker itself here:

The combined payload mass will be about 70 grams, and the attempted float altitude will be about 13 km. This is our first launch of this setup, so it seems unlikely that everything will go to plan!

First is the UBSEDS19 backup tracker, which is powered from a single AAA Lithium Energiser battery. It transmits Contestia 16/1000 with pips and RSID on 434.615 MHz USB, once per minute below 8km altitude and every two minutes otherwise. The battery is expected to last a few days.

Next is UBSEDS20, which is the experimental Raspberry Pi Zero board. This is powered from solar panels only, and hence is only expected to operate continously after about 0830 BST (before this it may transmit without a GPS lock, as the Raspberry Pi and GPS are powered down).

– 434.610 MHz USB: 300 baud RTTY, 850Hz shift, 8N2 transmitting telemetry and SSDV. There is also Contestia 16/1000 with RSID on this frequency. If you are listening to the RTTY, remember to turn off the ‘RxID’ button on the top right of dl-fldigi.

– 869.85 MHZ LoRa ‘Mode 3’ (250kHz / SF7 / EC4:6, explicit header), transmitting SSDV with the callsign ‘UBSEDL’. This frequency is only active in Europe. Many thanks to Dave Akerman M0RPI for making his work on LoRa available for us to use, including the lora gateway.

Rather than the usual JPEG SSDV, this payload is transmitting Better Portable Graphics (BPG) images. This is experimental, and doesn’t support it just yet. Hence receivers should upload to instead, please read the instructions on this site. You’ll need dl-fldigi release 3.2 and slightly modified LoRa gateway, as explained on the site. The dl-fldigi release can be found here:

Many thanks to everyone who attempts to track these.

Richard Meadows M0SBU
Bristol SEDS

Useful balloon links

Richard took the amateur radio courses run by the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society (CARS) at Danbury in Essex. Further information on the courses is available from the CARS Training Coordinator, Christopher G0IPU
Tel: 07908-107951
Email: training2016 at

First contact via ham radio satellite AO-85

getting-started-with-amateur-satellites-2016-front-coverOn Saturday, August 13, 2016, Christian Jacobs 2E0ICL made his first contact via the amateur radio FM CubeSat AO-85, it was with Peter Goodhall 2E0SQL.

On YouTube Christian writes:

First contact over AO-85 with Peter 2E0SQL using a new Elk antenna, a Comet CF-4160 diplexer, and two handheld transceivers. This video also features a portable SO-50 contact with Abdel M0NPT at Cow Drove Hill in Hampshire, UK.

Watch First contact via AO-85, and operating /P from Cow Drove Hill

AO-85 information

The book – Getting Started with Amateur Satellites – is now available from the AMSAT-UK shop at

A popular antenna for satellite working is the Elk 2m/70cms Log Periodic available in the AMSAT-UK shop at

Graham Shirville G3VZV to be next BATC President

Graham Shirville G3VZV speaking at the 2016 AMSAT-UK Colloquium - Credit Mike Rupprecht DK3WN

Graham Shirville G3VZV speaking at the 2016 AMSAT-UK Colloquium – Credit Mike Rupprecht DK3WN

The British Amateur Television Club (BATC) has announced that Graham Shirville, G3VZV, has been chosen to be the organisation’s next President. He first joined BATC in the early 1970’s, where he supported the development of the network of ATV repeaters in the UK for many years.

FUNcube-1 in clean room with Graham Shirville G3VZV

Graham working on FUNcube-1

More recently he has been closely involved with the development of the HamTV system on the ISS and with the schools contacts with Tim Peake during his Principia Mission.

Graham has also been a driving force behind AMSAT-UK’s FUNcube satellite projects and was briefly shown working on the FUNcube-1 satellite in the RSGB Youth video Amateur Radio – a 21st Century Hobby.

He provided the deployment mechanism for the Slow Scan Television (SSTV) satellite ARISSat-1/KEDR which was released from the International Space Station by cosmonauts Sergei Volkov RU3DIS and Alexander Samokutyaev.

British Amateur Television Club

Watch An update on the FUNcube Project by Graham Shirville G3VZV & Jim Heck G3WGM

Watch ESA ESEO FUNcube-4 Payload Update & Demonstration by Graham Shirville G3VZV & Chris Bridges 2E0OBC

Satellite operation during ILLW

Getting Started with Amateur Satellites 2016 Front CoverKen Eaton GW1FKY reports the Barry Amateur Radio Society will be active on the amateur radio satellites during International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend August 20-21.

The Barry Amateur Radio Society will be operating from a twin pair of lighthouses located at Nash Point situated on the coast of the Bristol Channel – South Wales.

We will be active from approx. 0700-1600 GMT.

In addition to operating on the HF and VHF bands I also plan to set up my portable satellite equipment for operation and contacts during suitable passes.

Callsign/Lighthouse as follows:

GC6BRC – Lighthouse (High) Ref: UK0071
GC4BRS – Lighthouse (Low)  Ref: UK0072

Locator Ref: IO81FJ
QSL Manager: MW0DHF (Philip King)

International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend – ILLW

The book – Getting Started with Amateur Satellites – is now available from the AMSAT-UK shop at

A popular antenna for satellite working is the Elk 2m/70cms Log Periodic available in the AMSAT-UK shop at

UKHAS Conference Cambridge


SSDV picture from a PIE balloon – Image credit Dave Akerman M0RPI

There’s an impressive line-up of radio amateurs among those giving presentations at the UK High Altitude Society (UKHAS) conference in Cambridge on Saturday, September 10, 2016.

The conference takes place at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge and attracts those interested in learning about building and flying High Altitude Balloons or in tracking their 434 MHz signals.

Tickets can be purchased from the wiki page and cost just £10 each.

Provisional Schedule as at August 16:
09:30     Assembly – Drinks & Biscuits
10:00     Welcome & Introduction
10:10     LoRa – Dave Akerman M0RPI
10:40     Evidence that Biology is Continually Arriving to Earth from Space – Prof Milton Wainwright (Univ. of Sheffield)
11:10     Operation Outward – Steve Randall G8KHW
11:40     Break
12:00     Chase & Recovery – Dave Akerman M0RPI
12:30     VORTEX Parachute Tests – John Underwood
13:00     Lunch
14:00     CUSF’s Martlet Rockets – Adam Greig M0RND
14:30     Introducing AirCores – Dr Johannes Laube (UEA)
15:00     Scheduled Talk Subject to Official Approval
15:30     Break
15:45     500 cu m Solar Balloon Project – Sven Steudte DL7AD
16:15     Superpressure Maths & Envelope Construction – Richard Meadows M0SBU (UBSEDS)
16:45     End

UKHAS were offering the option to complete the amateur radio Foundation Practical Assessments and Exam at the conference. This was rapidly fully booked, perhaps a sign of the shortage of Foundation exams venues.

If you would like to speak or run a workshop, please do get in touch with either Daniel Saul M6DSA or Steve Randall G8KHW. Contributions don’t need to be directly linked to ballooning and they look forward to all suggestions.

Conference registration information is at

Amateur Radio Space Communications at Raspberry Pi event

Seema Talib-Hussain talking to Tim Peake GB1SS

Seema talking to Tim Peake GB1SS

Pete Sipple M0PSX from Essex Ham will be giving a talk about the Tim Peake GB1SS amateur radio school contacts at the Southend Raspberry Jam on Saturday, August 20.

The talk about Tim Peake’s amateur radio educational outreach activity starts at 10:30. Other activities during the day include a talk on Tim Peake and the AstroPi at 11:30 and a Build a Radio Workshop at 12:00.

Southend Tech and Enterprise4Good are holding Southend Raspberry Jam #10 at the Hive Enterprise Centre in Southend, SS2 6EX. The event runs from 10am until 5pm and is free but advance booking is required, see

What is Amateur Radio?

Find a short Amateur Radio training course near you at