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 http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Principia

School Shortlist for Tim Peake Space Station Contact

HamTV https://amsat-uk.org/satellites/hamtv-on-the-iss/

Astro Pi http://astro-pi.org/
Twitter https://twitter.com/astro_pi

Astro Pi launch changed

Astro Pi LogoTwo specially augmented Raspberry Pi’s called Astro Pi‘s were planned to fly with UK astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI to the International Space Station (ISS) on December 15.

On the ISS the Astro Pi’s are planned to run experimental Python programs written by school-age students; the results will be downloaded back to Earth and made available online for all to see. It is hoped that subsequently one of them will be used to provide a video source for the amateur radio HamTV transmitter in the ISS Columbus module.

It appears the amount of cargo on Tim’s Soyuz flight was overbooked so the Astro Pi’s will instead fly to the ISS on an Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus cargo freighter. The launch is currently planned for December 3 at 22:48 UT.

Read the full story on the Raspberry Pi site

HamTV https://amsat-uk.org/satellites/hamtv-on-the-iss/

RSGB Convention

The early booking discount for the RSGB Convention has been extended until August 31.

The Convention takes place in Milton Keynes, October 9-11, and there is an impressive line up of speakers planned, including:

• Ionosondes by Dr Ruth Bamford
• Regular 3000km+ contacts on 144MHz meteor scatter and tropo by John Regnault, G4SWX
• Reduced bandwidth digital TV by Noel Matthews, G8GTZ
• What makes the pings go ping? A deeper understanding of meteor scatter by John Worsnop, G4BAO
• The Raspberry Pi in your shack by Mike Richards, G4WNC
• Modelling and building Yagis for lower noise by Justin Johnson, G0KSC
• How do we get more activity on VHF/UHF? by John Regnault, G4SWX and Richard Staples, G4HGI
• Some reflections on aircraft scatter by John Quarmby, G3XDY
• Datamodes made easy by Mike Richards, G4WNC
• An update on LNBs for 10 GHz reception by Bryan Harber, G8DKK
• YOTA Wales and Italy by Mike Jones, 2E0MLJ and the RSGB Youth Committee

The after-dinner speaker on Saturday evening will be Howard Long, G6LVB. Howard is probably most well-known within the amateur world as the designer of the FUNcube Dongle SDR and his work with AMSAT-UK.

Further information on the Convention is at http://rsgb.org/main/about-us/rsgb-convention/

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 http://www.txfactor.co.uk/ 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

Astro Pi, Amateur Radio and ISS at Southend Raspberry Jam May 30

Southend Raspberry Jam 6The free Southend Raspberry Jam #6 event on May 30 will feature amateur radio and the International Space Station (ISS).

Entrants and winners of the Astro Pi competition will discuss their entries, with a recap of the competition before doing the coding later on.

Successful Astro Pi entries will be sent into space in November 2015 with UK astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI who will run them on a Raspberry Pi computer on board the ISS.

In late 2015 and 2016 UK astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI will be talking to UK schools direct from the ISS using amateur radio.

Organised by the Southend-on-Sea Linux User Group (http://soslug.org) this Raspberry Pi event takes place on Saturday, May 30 from 10:00 to 17:00 BST at the Tickfield Centre, Tickfield Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 6LL.

Among the many activities are:
• Hackathon: Scratch GPIO Electronics
• Talk: How Raspberry Pi changed my life Programming, Robots, and a successful Kickstarter by the age of 14
• Workshop: Learn to program real Apps for your own Android phone using Blockly and App Inventor
• Talk: Life Box A fantastic project, with lots of pretty LEDs, which models population growth in an environment
• Hackathon: Learn to program Minecraft, AstroPi and other hardware
• Talk: Object Orientated Programming

Free tickets and further information are available from http://southendjam.co.uk/

Download a Southend Raspberry Jam leaflet here

Astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI issues challenge for UK students to “make that call”

Send your code into space with astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI

Astro Pi: Your Code In Space http://astro-pi.org/

Ulster 434 MHz Solar Eclipse Balloon

Radio amateur Philip Heron MI0VIM reports on a Raspberry Pi balloon which will be launched for the eclipse and should be receivable across the British Isles.

All being well there will be a launch from Cookstown, N.Ireland on Friday, March 20 at about 0700 UT.

The plan is to have it rise high enough before the time of maximum solar eclipse, and maybe image the lunar shadow on the horizon. This will have a slow ascent rate and should hopefully float at about 36km, on a path which takes it south towards Dublin, before turning east to Wales and on towards Germany.

Callsign: EAGLE
Frequency: 434.250 MHz USB
Mode: RTTY 300 baud 8N2

The payload consists of a Raspberry Pi A+, camera and a Pi In The Sky module. It will be sending SSDV images throughout the flight.

The 434 MHz signals transmitted by High Altitude Balloons can have a range of up to 800 km. The path of the balloons can be tracked in real-time at http://spacenear.us/tracker/

Useful links for tracking, receiving and decoding the telemetry from 434 MHz balloons can be found at

Listen for 434 MHz balloon signals online using the SUWS WebSDR, further details at

434 MHz balloon launch at BBC Stargazing event