Posts Tagged ‘RSGB’

Contact with Tim Peake on a handheld.

And a happy new year to you too.

Today was a great day. I wanted to listen in on the ISS as it flew past and especially the contact that Tim Peake was going to have with Sandringham School in St. Albans.

The pass was scheduled for 8:47am and I decided that I would share my experiences of listening in and also show you all how easy it is to accomplish with nothing more than just a handheld radio.

Today I used my Yaesu VX8. only because it was the only radio charged up. The fact is that any 2m FM radio will be able to listen in on the ISS and other amateur satellites that fly overhead.

Anyway here is the video, I hope you enjoy it. And yes. It really was very very cold.


Contact with Tim Peake on a handheld.

And a happy new year to you too.

Today was a great day. I wanted to listen in on the ISS as it flew past and especially the contact that Tim Peake was going to have with Sandringham School in St. Albans.

The pass was scheduled for 8:47am and I decided that I would share my experiences of listening in and also show you all how easy it is to accomplish with nothing more than just a handheld radio.

Today I used my Yaesu VX8. only because it was the only radio charged up. The fact is that any 2m FM radio will be able to listen in on the ISS and other amateur satellites that fly overhead.

Anyway here is the video, I hope you enjoy it. And yes. It really was very very cold.


Acorn II – Buildathon instructions

For those who have not seen the Arcorn II SDR kit, you can now purchase the complete kit for just £29.95 from www.kanga-products.co.uk The kit is an excellent entry into SDR receivers and we will be featuring this kit as a a part of the 2015 buildathon at the RSGB convention.

To aide the construction, I have created a set of instructions that may help with anyone who is building this little kit. You can download the PDF here,  There are significantly more pages than the Kanga instructions, but for a group construction project we find that lots of space and easy to follow instructions are a great help.

And if you haven't seen the construction video - here it is again.





Acorn II – Buildathon instructions

For those who have not seen the Arcorn II SDR kit, you can now purchase the complete kit for just £29.95 from www.kanga-products.co.uk The kit is an excellent entry into SDR receivers and we will be featuring this kit as a a part of the 2015 buildathon at the RSGB convention.

To aide the construction, I have created a set of instructions that may help with anyone who is building this little kit. You can download the PDF here,  There are significantly more pages than the Kanga instructions, but for a group construction project we find that lots of space and easy to follow instructions are a great help.

And if you haven't seen the construction video - here it is again.





Hamfest HAB Launch likely to be postponed to Saturday

Given the latest flight path prediction, weather forecast and approval restrictions I will unfortunately have to likely postpone the National Hamfest high altitude balloon till Saturday.

The forecast for tomorrow is strong gusty winds at ground level which isn't ideal for launching, but that is the least of the issues.

The current flight predictions for tomorrow are not good. The prediction model used is accurate and for the size of balloon I have and the amount of helium at my disposal even a maximum fill giving the maximum ascent rate and assuming the calculated decent rate for the parachute it is still putting the likely landing right on the coast. Earlier in the week the landing wasn't quite as marginal but as the model's data set have been updated it has drifted further eastward, it is odds on it will actually land out to sea.

However the real show stopper was when I received the CAA approval for the launch this morning. They have put a restriction not permitting a launch if the balloon and payload is likely to go on a North Easterly or Easterly path that could interfere with operations on local military airfields.

This is the predicted flight path, generated by the CUSG Landing predictor at predict.habhub.org and the flight path currently goes directly over RAF Cranwell but not at a high enough altitude. 

Flight prediction for Friday
Saturday is forecast to be a much calmer day with a predicted path as shown below

Flight prediction for Saturday

There would be no issues with the airfields for that flight path and has the advantage of going almost straight up and landing close by.

Apologies to those wanting to track on Friday, but the situation is out of my control and I would be foolhardy to ignore the prediction and  it is very unlikely it will change significantly to allow a flight tomorrow so I hope you can all track on Saturday. I will still be at the Hamfest tomorrow with the equipment if you want to know more about what it is all about.


Hamfest HAB Launch likely to be postponed to Saturday

Given the latest flight path prediction, weather forecast and approval restrictions I will unfortunately have to likely postpone the National Hamfest high altitude balloon till Saturday.

The forecast for tomorrow is strong gusty winds at ground level which isn't ideal for launching, but that is the least of the issues.

The current flight predictions for tomorrow are not good. The prediction model used is accurate and for the size of balloon I have and the amount of helium at my disposal even a maximum fill giving the maximum ascent rate and assuming the calculated decent rate for the parachute it is still putting the likely landing right on the coast. Earlier in the week the landing wasn't quite as marginal but as the model's data set have been updated it has drifted further eastward, it is odds on it will actually land out to sea.

However the real show stopper was when I received the CAA approval for the launch this morning. They have put a restriction not permitting a launch if the balloon and payload is likely to go on a North Easterly or Easterly path that could interfere with operations on local military airfields.

This is the predicted flight path, generated by the CUSG Landing predictor at predict.habhub.org and the flight path currently goes directly over RAF Cranwell but not at a high enough altitude. 

Flight prediction for Friday
Saturday is forecast to be a much calmer day with a predicted path as shown below

Flight prediction for Saturday

There would be no issues with the airfields for that flight path and has the advantage of going almost straight up and landing close by.

Apologies to those wanting to track on Friday, but the situation is out of my control and I would be foolhardy to ignore the prediction and  it is very unlikely it will change significantly to allow a flight tomorrow so I hope you can all track on Saturday. I will still be at the Hamfest tomorrow with the equipment if you want to know more about what it is all about.


Acorn II SDR Kit

This year at the RSGB convention we will be running a buildathon based upon the same format of the other successful build events in the past – this is an excellent time to attract a new audience to our events.

This year however we are using a new kit. The Acorn II kit developed by Kanga Products and M0XPD, is a Software Defined Radio kit that runs on the SSB portion of 40m. But the kit can also be configured to run on any HF band – assuming you have a Band pass filter & a suitable Local Oscillator. The kit has been developed to allow you to pipe in an external Local Oscillator and allow you to connect Band pass filters for other HF bands.

The kit was developed to run with the M0XPD Si5351A Arduino shield, which allows you to use the Arduino as a VFO. And can plug straight into the radio as a local oscillator

Using just a stereo line in on a sound card, and some widely available SDR software (Such as HDSDR), you can get great results from little financial outlay. It is indeed a great introduction into SDR.

I built one of the prototypes here is a video of the build. I will cover configuration & set up in a forthcoming video – perhaps when I have access to a good 40m antenna




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