ARISS and Amateur Radio in Raspberry Pi magazine article

Students programming the Astro Pi computers Credit: UK Space Agency (Max Alexander)

Radio amateur Dave Honess M6DNT is interviewed in the popular Raspberry Pi magazine MagPi about “Taking Education to the Stars”.

The article, on pages 84/85 of issue 75 November 2018 MagPi, covers the educational role of the two Astro Pi units on the International Space Station.

Dave mentions Tim Peake KG5BVI / GB1SS and the work of ARISS – Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, saying:

“Radio remains the only way to communicate with all our spacecraft throughout the solar system, and organisations like ARISS and local HAM radio clubs are, in my opinion, becoming more and more necessary to attract new talent.”

Download the Free PDF of MagPi magazine from

David Honess M6DNT with both ISS Astro Pi computers

David Honess M6DNT with both ISS Astro Pi computers

In 2017 Dave Honess M6DNT and Tim Peake KG5BVI / GB1SS were inducted into the prestigious CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame for their educational work in the ISS Astro Pi program and ARISS, Dave said:
“I was really surprised when I heard I’d been inducted into the Hall of Fame, especially alongside Tim! Thank you to CQ magazine for the honour.”

Since March 2018 Dave Honess M6DNT has been working at ESA ESTEC (European Space Research and Technology Centre) in the Netherlands where he is ISS and International Education Operations Coordinator


Radio ham awarded space achievement honour

Astro Pi Logo

Astro Pi Logo

Cornwall Live reports that radio amateur David Honess M6DNT has been awarded a prestigious space achievement honour for his Astro Pi work with the Tim Peake GB1SS Principia mission.

David Honess M6DNT was presented with a Sir Arthur Clarke Award, on behalf of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation and the British Interplanetary Society, for Space Achievement – Industry/Project Individual.

This came after Mr Honess and his Astro Pi project which installed two Raspberry Pi’s (Izzy and Ed) on to the International Space Station as the platform for students to run their own code in space and speak with Major Tim Peake GB1SS.

Mr Honess has been “the driving force” behind getting two UK designed and manufactured Astro Pi computers onto the International Space Station to provide a unique facility to inspire children and adults to learn to code.

Read the full story at

Sir Arthur Clarke Awards Winners

You can follow the two ISS Astro Pi’s Izzy and Ed at


Raspberry Pi could generate ISS HamTV video

International Space Station - Image Credit NASA

International Space Station – Image Credit NASA

The ARISS meeting minutes for August 16, 2016 cover the discussion about using a Raspberry Pi computer board to generate video to feed the ISS Digital ATV transmitter.

An idea was proposed by Jean-Pierre Courjaud F6DZP for using Raspberry Pi at the transmitting ground stations for generating a H264 video stream that modulates a DVB-S or DVB-52 carrier. His report was distributed to the ARISS team on August 12, 2016.

Discussion:  Jean-Pierre Courjaud had brought this idea to a Ham TV Technical (HTT) meeting for using Raspberry Pi to generate a H264 video stream. Raspberry Pi is used in the United Kingdom for DATV on 2 meters.

Gaston Bertels ON4WF termed this a cost effective solution, probably easy to work on, many people and schools would be able to receive video from the ISS, and he inquired if this idea was proposed for the Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA flight next year. Jean-Pierre Courjaud related that Paolo Nespoli had asked about it, and the team hopes he could use it if the idea is presented for review to the ARISS-International Technical Evaluation & Support Committee and approved by ARISS Delegates.

Jean-Pierre Courjaud explained that Raspberry Pi could be a solution for two things—first, the webcam could be used instead of the onboard ISS camera, and second, signals received by schools could be transmitted back to the crew.  Frank Bauer KA3HDO felt the astronauts would like this.  Dave Taylor W8AAS asked about the type of receiver schools would need and how signals would be uplinked.  Jean-Pierre Courjaud clarified that schools would have a narrowband ATV receiver that uses a USB dongle; this would bring the signal to the Surface Pro computer that Paolo Nespoli plans to fly on ISS, and modified mini-tutioune software would decode the uplink signal received from the L-band antenna.

Dave Taylor inquired what new hardware would have to be tested and certified for flight.  Jean-Pierre Courjaud said that Nespoli plans to take the Surface Pro, and to be tested and launched would be the USB interface that would work with the L-band antenna and serve as an L-band receiver with the Surface Pro. During Nespoli’s mission the mini-tutioune software could be uploaded to his Surface Pro.  Oliver Amend DG6BCE planned to share the meeting discussion with Emanuele D’Andria I0ELE and ask him and the committee, because the project originated with AMSAT-Italia, to give the plan, including what must be tested and launched, to Mark Steiner K3MS, chair of the ARISS-International Technical Evaluation & Support Committee.

Read the full ARISS Meeting Minutes August 16, 2016 at

ARISS Meeting Minutes

Schools in mass launch of 434 MHz balloons

Successfully launched tracked and retrieved - Credit Hobb Computer Services

Successfully launched tracked and retrieved – Credit Hobb Computer Services

TV presenter Jason Bradbury 2E0JAB was among those present at a mass launch of 25 balloons transmitting in 434 MHz on Thursday, May 12, 2016.

Tracks of some of the balloons - Credit PitsProject

Tracks of some of the balloons – Credit PitsProject

Balloons from 25 schools were launched in batches of five from RAF Cosford. Each balloon carried a payload incorporating two small cameras and the Raspberry Pi In The Sky telemetry tracker. The balloons transmitted on unique frequencies ranging from 434.040 to 434.790 MHz.

Jason Bradbury’s balloon reached an altitude of 33 km before it burst and the payload parachuted back to Earth. The next problem was finding it. He tweeted:

Call out to my radio amateur friends. Need help finding 434.04mhz telemetry binary code

The balloon was eventually found stuck up a tall tree.

Watch the BBC TV Midlands Today report on the event

The Sentinel newspaper report – Students are flying high as experiment takes them to the edge of space

Pi In The Sky telemetry board

Sent into Space

Useful High Altitude Balloon links

Getting ready for the launch - Credit KMF Metal

Getting ready for the launch – Credit KMF Metal

Listen for ISS with Raspberry Pi 3 and LimeSDR

LimeSDR 100 kHz to 3800 MHz SDR Transceiver - Credit Lime Microsystems

LimeSDR 100 kHz to 3800 MHz SDR Transceiver – Credit Lime Microsystems

Andrew Back G7JKB writes in Design Spark about using the Raspberry Pi 3, he is very adamant about this technology, his long journey to mastery started with the alluring Teardrop Flags at a technology trade show some years ago.

LimeSDR to receive amateur radio transmissions from the International Space Station. Update: The article refers to the SoDeRa SDR but due to a trademark issue the name is now LimeSDR.

Raspberry Pi 3 - Credit RS-Online

Raspberry Pi 3 – Credit RS-Online

The LimeSDR board was only formally announced in February 2016 at the Mobile World Congress. Developed by Lime Microsystems in Guildford, Surrey and featuring their latest Field programmable RF (FPRF) transceiver, the LMS7002M, the SoDeRa is capable of supporting just about any wireless standard that operates between 100 kHz and 3.8 GHz. As if this wasn’t enough, it’s also dual channel — MIMO — with two each fully independent transmit and receive channels.

The board also includes an Altera Cyclone IV FPGA, enabling high throughput processing to be carried out in hardware, between the transceiver and FX3 USB 3.0 controller.

Read Andrew’s article at

Watch LimeSDR board – create apps for wireless networks

Launch announcement

Lime Microsystems, Surrey Research Park, GU2 7YG


Andrew Back G7JKB

Tim Peake KG5BVI and the ISS Astro Pi’s

Competition winner Hannah Belshaw with the Astro Pi flight unit. Hannah’s entry logs data from the Astro Pi sensors, and visualises it later using structures in a Minecraft world.

Competition winner Hannah Belshaw with the Astro Pi flight unit.
Hannah’s entry logs data from the Astro Pi sensors, and visualises it later using structures in a Minecraft world.

AMSAT-UK members are leading on the Amateur Radio on the ISS (ARISS) Schools contacts programme for the upcoming Tim Peake Principia mission to the ISS. A number of high profile school contacts are planned to be carried out and this activity is being coordinated with the UK Space Agency as part of the overall Principia Educational Outreach programme.

Two specially augmented Raspberry Pi’s called Astro Pi‘s are planned to fly on an Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus cargo freighter to the ISS in early December. They will be used by UK astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI during his Principia mission on the Space Station which is expected to commence in mid-December.

The Astro Pi’s are planned to run experimental Python programs written by young people in schools across the country; the results will be returned back to Earth at the end of the mission. ARISS/AMSAT-UK members are actively involved in discussions with the UK Space Agency, ESA, the Raspberry Pi Foundation and others to establish the feasibility of re-purposing one of the Astro Pi units, either within or post Tim Peake’s mission, to provide an alternative video source for the amateur radio HamTV transmitter in the ISS Columbus module. Additional discussions are ongoing with all parties for joint educational activities into the future with the Astro Pi units being networked and potentially enhancing the capability of the amateur radio station on board Columbus.

The main mission of HamTV is to perform contacts between the astronauts on the ISS and school students, not only by voice as now, but also by unidirectional video from the ISS to the ground. ARISS has been working with Goonhilly and hope to provide a video download facility via one of their large dishes for the schools contacts as well as attempting to receive the video at each school as part of the contact.

Principia mission

School Shortlist for Tim Peake Space Station Contact


Astro Pi