In October 2013 Celebrity TV chef Heston Blumenthal visited radio amateur David Akerman M0RPI to fly a potato to near-space on a high altitude balloon as part of his TV show Heston’s Great British Food.
Dave says: “It started with a call from a TV production company who were working on a series for Heston Blumenthal. They’d heard that I fly the Raspberry Pi and wanted to include it in their Pie episode. The idea was to fly a potato as that was the first vegetable to be grown in space.”
Read Dave’s well illustrated account of the event at http://www.daveakerman.com/?p=1496
The show Heston’s Great British Food was broadcast on Channel 4 on Thursday, May 1. You can watch it online during the next few days at
The Spud in Space segment starts at about 24:38 into the show.
Dave is well known for his balloon flights using the Raspberry Pi computer board. On July 14 2012 Dave, then M6RPI, built and launched PIE1 from Brightwalton, in Berkshire. The images taken by the camera were transmitted in the amateur radio 70cm band (434 MHz) using the Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) standard, see
His next flight will take place on Sunday, May 4 at around 6:30pm BST and aims to capture the sunset with some new cameras.
The two trackers are:
PIE – 434.650 MHz, 300 baud, 750Hz shift, 8, N, 2. Telemetry and SSDV.
BUZZ – 434.600 MHz, 50 baud, 460Hz shift, 7, N, 2. Telemetry only
Expected flight profile is burst alt 30km ascent 5m/s descent 5m/s. Landing spot NW of Cheltenham.
Dave M0RPI http://www.daveakerman.com/
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
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
Listen to balloons online (when in range of south-east UK) from anywhere in the world with the SUWS 434 MHz WebSDR (select USB) https://amsat-uk.org/2013/12/28/websdr-for-434-and-1296-mhz/
Check the #highaltitude IRC channel for chat about launches. A web client is available at