Ledbury 434 MHz School Balloon Launch

SSDV picture from a PIE balloon - Image credit Dave Akerman M6RPI/2E0LTX/M0RPI

SSDV picture from a PIE balloon – Image credit Dave Akerman M6RPI/2E0LTX/M0RPI

Ryan Ing reports he will launch a high altitude balloon with a 434 MHz Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) payload from the John Masefield High School Thursday, September 15.

The balloon’s transmitter should have a range of some 500-600 km for much of its flight permitting reception across the UK.

Ryan says: I’ll be doing my first launch around 10am Sept 15 from my sixth form in Ledbury, Herefordshire.  Predicted to burst at 32km, landing somewhere near Leominster.

RTTY, 434.250 MHz, 300 baud, 770 Hz Shift, 2 stop bits and 8 bit ASCII. With SSDV

Online real-time tracking of balloons http://tracker.habhub.org/

Useful High Altitude Balloon, UKHAS and SSDV links https://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

UBSEDS19/20 balloons launch from Bristol

UBSEDS IMG_2406Richard Meadows M0SBU reports two high altitude balloons carrying 434 MHz payloads will launch from Bristol on Monday, August 29. There will be Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) transmissions.

Online real-time tracking of UBSEDS balloons https://tracker.habhub.org/#!mt=roadmap&mz=8&qm=3_days&q=UBSED*&f=UBSEDS20

We’re planning the first launch of ‘pico-pi’, our Raspberry Pi Zero based tracker, from Bristol this Bank Holiday Monday, August 29 between 0500 and 0530 BST. This launch is using a 1.9m envelope and longer payload train, and so we have a NOTAM in place.

There’s more information about the tracker itself here: https://github.com/bristol-seds/pico-pi-rel

The combined payload mass will be about 70 grams, and the attempted float altitude will be about 13 km. This is our first launch of this setup, so it seems unlikely that everything will go to plan!

First is the UBSEDS19 backup tracker, which is powered from a single AAA Lithium Energiser battery. It transmits Contestia 16/1000 with pips and RSID on 434.615 MHz USB, once per minute below 8km altitude and every two minutes otherwise. The battery is expected to last a few days.

Next is UBSEDS20, which is the experimental Raspberry Pi Zero board. This is powered from solar panels only, and hence is only expected to operate continously after about 0830 BST (before this it may transmit without a GPS lock, as the Raspberry Pi and GPS are powered down).

– 434.610 MHz USB: 300 baud RTTY, 850Hz shift, 8N2 transmitting telemetry and SSDV. There is also Contestia 16/1000 with RSID on this frequency. If you are listening to the RTTY, remember to turn off the ‘RxID’ button on the top right of dl-fldigi.

– 869.85 MHZ LoRa ‘Mode 3’ (250kHz / SF7 / EC4:6, explicit header), transmitting SSDV with the callsign ‘UBSEDL’. This frequency is only active in Europe. Many thanks to Dave Akerman M0RPI for making his work on LoRa available for us to use, including the lora gateway.

Rather than the usual JPEG SSDV, this payload is transmitting Better Portable Graphics (BPG) images. This is experimental, and ssdv.habhub.org doesn’t support it just yet. Hence receivers should upload to http://ssdv.bristol-seds.co.uk/ instead, please read the instructions on this site. You’ll need dl-fldigi release 3.2 and slightly modified LoRa gateway, as explained on the site. The dl-fldigi release can be found here: https://github.com/jamescoxon/dl-fldigi/releases/tag/3.2

Many thanks to everyone who attempts to track these.

Richard Meadows M0SBU
Bristol SEDS http://www.bristol-seds.co.uk/

Useful balloon links https://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

Richard took the amateur radio courses run by the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society (CARS) at Danbury in Essex. Further information on the courses is available from the CARS Training Coordinator, Christopher G0IPU
Tel: 07908-107951
Email: training2016 at g0mwt.org.uk
Web: http://g0mwt.org.uk/training

UKHAS Conference Cambridge

2012-07-14--14-15-29-PIE1-1B

SSDV picture from a PIE balloon – Image credit Dave Akerman M0RPI

There’s an impressive line-up of radio amateurs among those giving presentations at the UK High Altitude Society (UKHAS) conference in Cambridge on Saturday, September 10, 2016.

Watch Live at http://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/ioa/streaming

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsaAI_L8A1g

The conference takes place at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge and attracts those interested in learning about building and flying High Altitude Balloons or in tracking their 434 MHz signals.

Tickets can be purchased from the wiki page and cost just £10 each.

Provisional Schedule as at August 16:
09:30     Assembly – Drinks & Biscuits
10:00     Welcome & Introduction
10:10     LoRa – Dave Akerman M0RPI
10:40     Evidence that Biology is Continually Arriving to Earth from Space – Prof Milton Wainwright (Univ. of Sheffield)
11:10     Operation Outward – Steve Randall G8KHW
11:40     Break
12:00     Chase & Recovery – Dave Akerman M0RPI
12:30     VORTEX Parachute Tests – John Underwood
13:00     Lunch
14:00     CUSF’s Martlet Rockets – Adam Greig M0RND
14:30     Introducing AirCores – Dr Johannes Laube (UEA)
15:00     Scheduled Talk Subject to Official Approval
15:30     Break
15:45     500 cu m Solar Balloon Project – Sven Steudte DL7AD
16:15     Superpressure Maths & Envelope Construction – Richard Meadows M0SBU (UBSEDS)
16:45     End

UKHAS were offering the option to complete the amateur radio Foundation Practical Assessments and Exam at the conference. This was rapidly fully booked, perhaps a sign of the shortage of Foundation exams venues.

If you would like to speak or run a workshop, please do get in touch with either Daniel Saul M6DSA or Steve Randall G8KHW. Contributions don’t need to be directly linked to ballooning and they look forward to all suggestions.

Conference registration information is at
https://ukhas.org.uk/general:ukhasconference2016

UKHAS Conference Cambridge Sept 10

SSDV picture from a PIE balloon – Image credit Dave Akerman M0RPI

SSDV picture from a PIE balloon – Image credit Dave Akerman M0RPI

The UKHAS Conference will be held at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, on Saturday, September 10, 2016. There will be an opportunity to take the amateur radio Foundation Practical Assessments and Exam.

The conference attracts those interested in learning about building and flying High Altitude Balloons or in tracking their 434 MHz signals.

Tickets can be purchased from the wiki page and cost just £10 each.

This is our first year away from London but the change in location also comes with a greatly reduced ticket price, with thanks to Andy Batey G7LBL for offering up the facilities. Hopefully this will offset any increased difficulties in travel and Cambridge is still well connected to the major transport hubs.

For those who haven’t attended before, the conference is a great opportunity to learn more about the hobby and meet new faces. There will be a series of structured talks, workshops and discussions.

If you would like to speak or run a workshop, please do get in touch with either Daniel Saul M6DSA or Steve Randall G8KHW. Contributions don’t need to be directly linked to ballooning and we look forward to all suggestions.

As in previous years, there will also be the opportunity to take RSGB amateur radio exams on the day. Please contact Phil Crump M0DNY if you are interested email: phil <at> philcrump.co.uk

We look forward to seeing you all in September!

Cheers,

Daniel & Steve

UKHAS Conference Booking https://ukhas.org.uk/general:ukhasconference2016

Those intending to take the amateur radio Foundation exam may find this free Online Foundation course useful http://www.essexham.co.uk/foundation-online

Last year’s conference had an impressive line of of radio amateurs giving presentations
https://amsat-uk.org/2015/08/17/2015-ukhas-conference/

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 http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/VIDEO-Engineering-students-launch-giant-balloons/story-29266315-detail/story.html

Pi In The Sky telemetry board
http://pi-in-the-sky.com/
https://twitter.com/pitsproject

Sent into Space
http://sentintospace.com/
https://twitter.com/Sent_into_space

Useful High Altitude Balloon links https://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

Getting ready for the launch - Credit KMF Metal

Getting ready for the launch – Credit KMF Metal

UBSEDS15 balloon launches from Bristol Saturday

UBSEDS balloon envelope

UBSEDS balloon envelope

In March the 434 MHz and APRS balloon UBSEDS14 flew around the northern hemisphere. On Saturday, April 30 a new balloon UBSEDS15 will be launched by the University of Bristol Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. The signal from the balloon may have a range of 400 km so should be receivable across the southern UK.

Richard Meadows M0SBU writes:

Another pico launch from Bristol this Saturday, April 30. The launch will be at 0900 ISH. As before the payload is transmitting on 434.600 MHz USB, with an output power of about +6dBm. Each transmission of Contestia 16/1000 will be preceded by 10 seconds of pips and RSID.

This payload uses solar panels to generate power. Hopefully the transmission rate will be once per minute during the day, and once every two minutes at night (if the payload operates at night). It’s also capable of transmitting APRS packets, but will only do so outside countries where the amateur license is not permitted airborne (like the UK).

It will probably head south quite quickly after launch, so trackers on the south coast are particularly appreciated. More details will appear on the website http://www.bristol-seds.co.uk/flights.html

UBSEDS14 tracker payload

UBSEDS tracker payload

Despite the weight constraints the team have managed to employ sophisticated Geofencing technology to prevent the balloon transmitting when over certain countries and also to select different APRS frequencies depending on the territory being overflown.

UBSEDS on Twitter https://twitter.com/bristolseds

Online real-time tracking of balloons http://tracker.habhub.org/

Useful High Altitude Balloon Links https://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

UBSEDS15 Solar Powered Balloon http://www.bristol-seds.co.uk/hab/flight/2016/04/30/ubseds15.html

UBSEDS14 around the world balloon http://www.bristol-seds.co.uk/hab/flight/2016/03/07/ubseds14.html

One of the students involved in the project is Richard Meadows M0SBU. He took the amateur radio courses run by the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society (CARS) at Danbury in Essex. Further information on the courses is available from the CARS Training Manager
Email: training2016 at g0mwt.org.uk
Web: http://g0mwt.org.uk/training

What is Amateur Radio? http://www.essexham.co.uk/what-is-amateur-radio

Find an amateur radio training course near you https://thersgb.org/services/coursefinder/

A free booklet is available aimed at introducing newcomers to the hobby that can also be used as a handy reference while getting started, see
http://rsgb.org/main/get-started-in-amateur-radio/alex-discovers-amateur-radio-2/