Balloon repeater to launch from Suffolk on Sunday

James Coxon M6JCX launching a PICO balloon on 434.301 MHz USB

James Coxon M6JCX launching a balloon carrying a transmitter payload

LAUNCH POSTPONED: Sadly due to technical issues I’m going to have to postpone this flight for a little longer – no point launching something that will definitely won’t work!

On Sunday, April 27, at around 11am (1000 GMT) radio amateur James Coxon M6JCX will launch the first UKHASnet balloon repeater from Suffolk. He writes:

Just a heads up that I’m going to try and launch tomorrow the first UKHASnet balloon repeater. The aim of the flight is to test both the concept of UKHASnet and if it works the range of the current setup. UKHASnet (http://www.ukhas.net/) is a simple wireless network that uses licence exempt radio modules.

There are a number of nodes around the UK and also in the Netherlands which normally just communicate on a local scale, the balloon payload will act as a airborne node which will hopefully connect these networks together temporarily.

The payload is based on a ATmega328 (arduino bootloader) with a Ublox 6 GPS and a RFM69HW Radio module. It’ll be tx and rx on 869.500 MHz using FSK, 2000 bps and using the UKHASnet protocol. Balloon will be a 100g latex filled for a very slow ascent to maximise flight time, launched from Suffolk. Launch will be around 11:00, however, there are forecasts of showers so this may change.

There is NO onboard 434 MHz module and no RTTY or other traditional format, we’ll be aiming to pipe the location data onto spacenear.us to allow easy following. That said it’ll be possible to hear the payload with good radios and SDRs that can tune to 869.500 MHz and we would be grateful if recordings of signal can be made as this could then be played back and decoded via the hardware (there is no software decoder – yet).

More information can be found on the website http://www.ukhas.net/ and there is a IRC channel on freenode #ukhasnet where you can follow the progress. A web client is available at http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=ukhasnet

As with many of my flights this is highly experimental so probably won’t work so don’t get disappointed if it gets delayed, postponed or fails!

UKHASnet http://www.ukhas.net/

A UKHASnet Workshop was held in March http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2014/march/ukhasnet_a_uhf_mesh_network.htm

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

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