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/

UBSEDS14 balloon flying across Pacific

UBSEDS14 balloon flight track as at March 14, 2016

UBSEDS14 balloon flight track as at March 14, 2016

On Monday, March 14 the UBSEDS14 balloon, launched by University of Bristol students, passed over Japan and out towards the Pacific, having traveled over 15,497 km since launch.

The University of Bristol Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (UBSEDS) launched their balloon on Monday, March 8. Powered by a single AA Lithium Energiser Battery (LR91) the balloon has been transmitting about 5dBm of Contestia 16/1000 on 434.600 MHz USB at 4 minute intervals as well as APRS during its flight at an altitude of about 11,000m.

The balloon has a diameter of 1.5m and the payload weighs just 21.3 grams. 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.

UBSEDS14 information is available at
http://www.bristol-seds.co.uk/hab/flight/2016/03/07/ubseds14.html

UBSEDS14 balloon launch
http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2016/march/ubseds14_balloon_launches_today.htm

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

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/

2015 UKHAS Conference

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

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 London on Saturday, August 22, 2015.

The UKHAS conference attracts those interested in learning about building and flying High Altitude Balloons or in tracking their 434 MHz signals. The conference takes place at the University College London (UCL).

Schedule:
09:30     Assembly – Drinks & Biscuits
10:00     Welcome & Introduction
10:10     10 years of UKHAS – Steve Randall G8KHW & Ed Moore M0TEK
10:30     HF Pico – Andy Nguyen VK3YT (Streamed)
11:00     Crossing the Karman Line – Laurence Blaxter & Leo Bodnar M0XER
11:30     Break
11:45     QB50 – Dhiren Kataria M6END MSSL
12:15     Stratos School Habbing – Dave Green
12:45     A balloon-borne accelerometer technique for measuring atmospheric turbulence – Graeme Marlton
13:15     Lunch
14:15     A Short Guide to Parachutes – Ed Moore M0TEK
14:30     Predictor – Adam Greig M0RND & Daniel Richman M0ZDR
14:45     UKHASnet Weekend
15:00     Flexible timings: workshops, discussions etc
– IQ Sampling and Software Defined Radio for Beginners – Adam Greig M0RND (G06)
– Eagle CAD Workshop – Anthony Stirk M0UPU (G08)
– UKHASnet node demo – James Coxon M6JCX (Lobby)

UKHAS are also offering the option to complete the amateur radio Foundation Practical Assessments and Exam at the conference. This has been fully booked, perhaps a sign of the shortage of Foundation exams in central London.

Conference registration information is at
https://ukhas.org.uk/general:ukhasconference2015

434 MHz Balloon Launch at Dorset Rally

Jules G0NZO with the BONZO1 foil balloon

Jules G0NZO with the BONZO1 foil balloons

Jules G0NZO hopes to launch a 434 MHz balloon BONZO8 from the Flight Refuelling ARS Hamfest on Sunday, August 9 at Cobham Sports and Social Club Ground, Merley, near Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 3DA.

The Hamfest lecture stream will start at 11am with a talk on Transverter and RXGEN designs by Kevin Avery G3AAF.

At 11:45am Jules G0NZO will be giving a quick overview of High Altitude Ballooning in the UK and an equipment demonstration. Subject to prevailing weather conditions the launch is planned for 12:30pm and listeners across southern England should be able to tune into the signal on 434.650 MHz USB as well as follow the balloon track online.

The balloon launch will be either a 100gm latex balloon, or a pair of 36″ foil balloons, filled for minimal free lift, to attempt to get the payload to float for the maximum distance. If a latex balloon is used, a simple polythene parachute will be attached, for safety.

Jules G0NZO with the BONZO3 Latex Balloon

Jules G0NZO with the BONZO3 Latex Balloon

The payload is a basic tracking beacon. Radiometrix NTX2 licence exempt transmit module, modulated with RTTY, by a PIC processor and Ublox GPS receiver. Powered by 3xAAA lithium batteries.

BONZO8 Frequency 434.650 MHz USB, ASCII 7 bit RTTY at 50 bps. Approximately 320 Hz shift.

Depending on altitude the 434 MHz transmitter may have a range of around 250 km.

At 1:30pm Essex radio ham Justin G0KSC (InnovAntennas / Force 12) will give a talk on Antennas and at 2:30pm Colin G4KLB will be talking about HamTV from the International Space Station (ISS).

Talk In to the Hamfest will be on 145.550 MHz FM and the gates are open from 10am to 4pm. There is disabled access from 9.30am. Admission is £3.50 and there will be trade stands, a car boot sale, licensed bar as well as lectures. Details from Tony G3PFM on 07743 475018.

Hamfest information http://www.frars.org.uk/cgi-bin/render.pl?pageid=1432

High Altitude Balloon links for online tracking, UKHAS mail list / chat room, WebSDR
https://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

Essex STEM Balloons Launched

Image received from The Boswells School payload on June 29, 2015

Image received from The Boswells School payload at 1416 GMT on June 29, 2015

On Monday, June 29, 2015 three high altitude balloons from Essex schools and colleges transmitted Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) in the 434 MHz band.

The balloons, part of the educational Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiative, were taken to an approved site at Elsworth, Cambridge for the launch.

Transmission coverage area of the balloons at 1352 GMT June 29

Transmission coverage area of the balloons at 1352 GMT June 29

The balloon from The Boswells School, Chelmsford reached an altitude of 36,937 metres. It had the call sign BWELLS and transmitted Frequency Shift Keying (FSK) ASCII RTTY at 600 bps on a nominal frequency of 434.450 MHz USB. Balloon frequencies may vary from nominal by several kHz during a flight due to the cold temperatures at high altitudes.

Stewards Academy, Harlow achieved an altitude of 39,876 metres. Their call sign was SWARDS and had a nominal frequency of 434.050 MHz USB and 300 bps data rate.

The Prospects College of Advanced Technology, Basildon reached an altitude of 38,659 metres with their balloon, call sign PROSP, which transmitted on a nominal frequency of 434.150 MHz USB with a 300 bps data rate.

All three balloons transmitted images using SSDV. Individual packets from an image were received by radio amateurs across the UK and NE Europe and automatically uploaded to a central server with the final image being built up from all the good packets and displayed on the web for all to see.

The SSDV images transmitted by the balloons can be seen at:
http://ssdv.habhub.org/SWARDS
http://ssdv.habhub.org/BWELLS
http://ssdv.habhub.org/PROSP

The balloon tracks were displayed live on the web at http://tracker.habhub.org/ and may still be available to view if you select the option to display the past 3 days.

The balloons carried a Raspberry Pi computer board and a Pi in The Sky (PITS) high altitude balloon tracker. On May 24 Chelmsford radio amateur Chris Stubbs M6EDF carried out a test of the PITS tracker for Essex Council, read his report at http://chris-stubbs.co.uk/wp/?p=578

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

High Altitude Balloon links for online tracking, UKHAS mail list / chat room, WebSDR and SSDV
https://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

MADHEN EGGSPLORER-1 Balloon Launch

Eggs in Space on front page of the Sleaford Standard newspaper

Eggs in Space on front page of the Sleaford Standard newspaper

At around 10-11am on Sunday, June 28, 2015 Andrew Garratt M0NRD and the South Kesteven Amateur Radio Society are planning to launch balloons from the 10th World Egg Throwing Championship held at the Swaton Vintage Day at Swaton, near Sleaford, Lincolnshire.

As well as telemetry data it is also planned to transmit Slow Scan Digital Video images in 434 MHz. Depending on altitude the signals from a balloon may have a range of up to 800 km, potentially covering much of the British Isles. A real-time track with altitude will be displayed online at http://tracker.habhub.org/

Andrew provided this information on the UKHAS Mailing List : First ever flights for me, so in at the deep end. The ‘egg’ payload will be carried aloft by the balloon and will have a parachute decent into the North Sea when the balloon eventually bursts. There will be SSDV and backup tracker, kindly sponsored by MADHEN http://madhen.net/

Callsign – MADHEN
USB RTTY 300 Baud 880 Hz Shift – Ascii 8 bits, no parity, 2 stop bits Telemetry and SSDV – 434.400 MHz

Callsign – EGG1
Backup tracker
USB RTTY 50 Baud 380 Hz Shift – ASCII 7 bit, no parity, 2 stop bits
Telemetry – 434.650 MHz (old non-tcxo NTX fixed frequency)

Second flight planned, a foil floater with VAYU-NTX tracker kindly donated by Steve Smith G0TDJ

Callsign – EGGDX
USB RTTY 50 Baud 450 Hz Shift – ASCII 7 bit, no parity, 2 stop bits
434.450 MHz (fixed frequency)

Launch should be around 10-11am.

All help in tracking greatly appreciated

Andrew Garratt M0NRD
Chairman South Kesteven Amateur Radio Society
http://www.skars.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/eggsplorer1

UPDATE June 30, 2015:
BBC News report on the balloons http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-33277561

Andrew M0NRD’s report on the day
http://nerdsville.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/first-hab-flights-were-success.html

Read the Sleaford Standard newspaper report
http://www.sleafordstandard.co.uk/news/local/eggs-in-space-team-of-radio-hams-scramble-to-be-first-to-achieve-egg-straterrestrial-space-mission-1-6803863

High Altitude Balloon links for online tracking, chat room, free software and SSDV
https://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/