ISS, Satellites and High Altitude Balloons

Sarah M6PSK and Kelly M6KFA demonstrate amateur radio at the Raspberry Jam May 30, 2015 - Credit M0PSX

Sarah M6PSK and Kelly M6KFA demonstrate amateur radio at the Southend Raspberry Jam May 30, 2015 – Image Credit M0PSX

Working the International Space Station,  amateur radio satellites and High Altitude balloons featured at two events over the weekend of May 30-31, 2015.

Tim Peake KG5BVI training on ISS Amateur Radio Station Equipment

Tim Peake KG5BVI training on ISS Amateur Radio Station Equipment

On Saturday, May 30 members of Essex Ham explained amateur radio to the Raspberry Pi community at the Southend Raspberry Jam event organised by the team from SOSLUG, the Southend-on-Sea Linux User Group, and aimed at encouraging people of all ages to get involved with programming, construction and technology.

The Essex Ham stand featured the popular “Send Your Name in Morse”, SDRs, Raspberry Pi and Arduino crossover projects, SSTV and data modes. A scrolling amateur radio video was shown and plenty of Essex Ham and Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) leaflets were handed out during the day.

A new feature for this Raspberry Jam was TeachMeet – A series of lightning talks – up to 8 minutes on a topic likely to be of interest. Pete M0PSX gave a lightning talk on amateur radio and working the International Space Station, outlining that contact is possible for amateurs using voice, image and data, and explaining the challenges of making contact. This was a nice tie-in with the Astro Pi – an experiment for young people involving astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI and his upcoming trip to the ISS.  While on the space station Tim hopes to contact UK schools on 145.800 MHz FM using the call sign GB1SS.

Chris M6EDF launching SXHAM1 - Image Credit Ed Bye G8FAX

Chris M6EDF launching SXHAM1 – Image Credit Ed Bye G8FAX

Sunday saw the Shoebury East Beach Field Day where several amateur radio activities took place. As well as the usual HF and VHF stations there was also satellite operation. Steve M0SHQ regularly explains amateur satellites at the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society Skills Nights in Danbury. During the morning despite the inclement weather he worked Juan Antonio EA4CYQ via SO-50 FM satellite. 2.4 GHz was used during the day to control a drone.

Chris M6EDF launched his high altitude balloon SXHAM1 carrying a beacon on 434.3 MHz which reached an altitude of 26.7 km and could be heard over most of England and into Germany. The launch was filmed by Bob G0FGX and Nick 2E0FGQ from TX Factor, an online TV show dedicated to amateur radio, and the feature is intended to be used to promote HAB and amateur radio to youngsters – Keep an eye on to see Chris and the balloon launch in a future show.

Read the Raspberry Jam event report at

Read the SXHAM1 High Altitude Balloon Flight report with launch video at

TX Factor video Chris M6EDF filling the SXHAM1 balloon with helium - Image Credit 2E0DVX

TX Factor video Chris M6EDF filling the SXHAM1 balloon with helium – Image Credit 2E0DVX

How drones teach young people science & math

Parrot AR Drone 2.0Fox News reports that drones (UAV’s) are a new tool that teaches youngsters some pretty sophisticated science and math concepts.

Read the Fox story at

Middlesex Foundation Radio Hams success in UAV (Drone) competition

BBC – ESA seeks help to control robot spacecraft

Parrot AR Drone 2.0

Parrot AR Drone 2.0

BBC News report that the European Space Agency (ESA) is turning to owners of terrestrial robot aircraft to aid those that journey into space.

The agency has released an App that makes use of the cameras on the Parrot drone to simulate docking with a virtual space station.

The Parrot drone quadcopter has proved popular with many iPhone owners as it can be controlled via the 2.4 GHz WiFi signal from the handset.

Data generated by the agency’s App will be analyzed to help fine tune navigation software for its own drones.

Read the BBC story at

ESA Smartphone App Turns Drone into Spacecraft

Middlesex Foundation Radio Hams success in UAV (Drone) competition

Middlesex Radio Hams success in UAV competition

HALO UAV in flightStudents from Middlesex University Robotics department obtained their Foundation Licences after a Verulam Amateur Radio Club (VARC) course and went on to win UAVforge.

The amateur radio Foundation training course was part of the preparations by members of the HALO team to take part in the international UAVForge competition in the USA.

This is an international drone competition and involved the team taking on some of the world’s top engineers and universities. They succeeded in becoming the highest scoring team at UAVforge.

The HALO team comprised:
Witold Mielniczek M6HUJ
Mantas Brazinskas M6LTU
Mehmet Ali Erbil M6DUC
Dr Stephen Prior M6ESY

Their HALO Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) used a Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) system with a 900 MHz data downlink and a 5.8 GHz video downlink along with a 1280 MHz video feed.

Watch DARPA UAVforge Milestone 3 Live Fly Video – Team HALO HD

This video was shot from HALO and relayed over 3.2 km via a 1280 MHz live video feed using a 2.5 W Video TX with a Yagi antenna positioned 30 m up a tree.

Watch UAVforge 2012 Team HALO Attempt 2

Further information including a photo of some of the Middlesex University radio amateurs can be seen at

Team HALO Win UAVForge Competition 2012

A 2009 paper on Development of a Co-Axial Tri-Rotor UAV


Verulam Amateur Radio Club (VARC)

10 year old Foundation licence holder interviewed on TV about his amateur radio DIY space projects