BBC TV: Radio Hams Balloon Flight and Pocket Spacecraft

Malawi Hgh Altitude BalloonRadio amateurs Jerry Sandys G8DXZ, Andrew Ashe G8SRV and Michael Johnson M0MJJ appeared in the May 17 edition of the BBC TV technology show Click which is now available on the web. (Overseas viewers may need to use a UK based proxy server)

Jerry Sandys G8DXZ along with other APJHAB team members, Peter Gibbs (BBC weather presenter) and Andrew Ashe G8SRV flew three balloons during a week long High Altitude Balloon (HAB) holiday in Malawi. The first flight was from Mumbo Island in Lake Malawi and was successfully recovered after landing on the lake. The second flight was from Mvuu Wilderness Camp on the bank of the River Shire. The BBC technology show “Click” sent a camera operator to film the second flight and shot a 3:30 minute segment for the show.

Malawi Recovering the PayloadBy the time they arrived at Kumbali for the third flight, they didn’t have enough Hydrogen left to lift the electronic payload so decided to do a “message in a bottle” flight released by three young school children. Jerry says the look on the children’s faces as their messages, attached to the red cloud buster, disappeared into the sky was amazing.

The team flew a RTTY Arduino tracker and also an Iridium Arduino tracker, both worked well. On the second flight they also flew a two tube Geiger counter as an experiment for Reading University. A Hero 3 GoPro and Polaroid sport camera was used for photography.

Watch the Click High Altitude Balloon (HAB) segment at 12:55 into the show

BBC weather presenter Peter Gibbs has written an article about their experience, read it and also watch the video at

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Pocket Spacecraft

Pocket Spacecraft

Radio amateur Michael Johnson M0MJJ appears in the same edition of Click. He is interviewed about his 435 MHz Pocket Spacecraft known as ‘Scouts’. A ‘Scout’ is a wafer thin disk with flexible electronics, smaller than a CD, containing a transceiver, antenna and solar cells. It is hoped to carry them in a CubeSat which would deploy them in Lunar orbit. The segment starts at about 9:00 into the show

Permanent link to video clip which should be viewable overseas

Michael Johnson M0MJJ’s Pocket Spacecraft were also mentioned in the BBC Radio 4 Today show, see

UK radio amateur plans Lunar Pocket Spacecraft

Pocket Spacecraft