HORUS 49 – Anstey in (near)-space 2.0 – 30th June

Back in 2016, AREG & Project Horus helped Anstey the Echidna, the Tea Tree Gully Library’s mascot, explore near-space. Anstey didn’t have enough fun on the previous launch, and so on the 30th of June 2018, we will be re-launching Anstey back into near-space on a high-altitude balloon launch!

Anstey in near-space on Horus 39

The launch is currently scheduled for 10AM CST on Saturday the 30th of June, however as usual, weather conditions may cause this to be re-scheduled. The launch will be from the Mt Barker High School Oval, and spectators are welcome. Launch crew should be on-site from approximately 9AM.

Tracking of the flight will be available via the HabHub tracker.

Telemetry Information

The telemetry frequencies for the flight are as follows:

  • RTTY Telemetry – ‘HORUS’ – 434.650 MHz  (100 baud, 425 Hz Shift, 7N2)
  • Wenet Imagery – 441.200 MHz (Wenet 115kbps FSK)
  • Experimental Horus Binary Payload – 434.640 MHz (100 baud 4FSK)

As usual, the RTTY telemetry can be decoded using dl-fldigi. Note: Recent testing of dl-fldigi’s decode performance has found that the auto-configured RTTY receive bandwidth is too narrow, and can detrimentally impact decode performance (by up to 3dB!).

To fix this, open dl-fldigi, and in the Configure menu, select Modems, and then go to the ‘RTTY’ tab. Drag the ‘Receive filter bandwidth’ slider to 200, then click ‘Save’. Note that this setting will be reset whenever you hit the ‘Auto-Configure’ button!

Wenet Imagery

As with most Project Horus launches, this flight will feature live imagery via the Wenet high-speed imagery downlink. Images will be available throughout the flight at this link:

http://ssdv.habhub.org/HORUS

Reception of the Wenet signal requires a RTLSDR and a Linux PC/Laptop. Instructions on how to set up the required software are available here.

Experimental 4FSK Telemetry

This launch will include the use of a re-purposed Vaisala RS41 radiosonde, programmed to transmit a new binary 4FSK telemetry mode, developed by David VK5DGR and Mark VK5QI. This new mode is intended to eventually (read: probably a year away) replace RTTY telemetry on Horus flights. It runs at 100 baud, is approximately 850 Hz in bandwidth, and has an almost 6dB performance improvement over the current RTTY telemetry!

Decoding this telemetry requires installation of a new decoder application (an updated version of FreeDV), and some helper scripts to upload the data to the online tracker. A guide on how to install and operate this new decoder is available here.

Conclusion

More information will be available closer to the flight!

AREG June Meeting tomorrow night!

The June meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group will be held Friday June 15th, starting at 7.45pm. There will be no formal presentation this month. Instead, after the business meeting to be held at 8.00pm there will be an opportunity for a members show and tell.

Bring along your latest gadget and give people a chance to look and see!

The meeting will be held at the Fulham Community Centre, off Phelps Court, Fulham. Hope to see you there!

New FreeDV 700D HF Digital Voice Mode

Many amateurs are experimenting with various digital voice modes, such as Yaesu System Fusion C4FM, D-STAR and DMR etc, mostly on the VHF and UHF bands. Did you know, however that there is also a digital voice mode for HF radio operation that was specifically designed by amateur radio experimenters?

FreeDV, based on a fully open source codec known as Codec2, has been created by David Rowe VK5DGR in collaboration with a team spread across the globe.

FreeDV is enabling amateur radio enthusiasts to experiment with new open source digital based voice transmission techniques on the High Frequency (HF) bands.  While text based HF digital modes are common, FreeDV is the first new VOICE mode for HF since SSB was introduced in the 1950s and 60s.

New version of FreeDV – 700D announced

Over the past 18 months or more, David and his team have been busy working to improve the lower bit rate versions of FreeDV. The original system, released as FreeDV 1600, was based on a 1600bits/sec data stream, but was a few dB off being equal with SSB. Now, David is pleased to announce that the new FreeDV 700D mode is ready for wider trials.This new version uses a 700 bit/s speech voice codec, powerful forward error correction, and a new modem to send digital speech over HF radios.

What is really exciting however is that testing of FreeDV 700D has demonstrated that it is outperforming SSB on poor channels! Here is a demo of SSB, followed by FreeDV 700D, on a poor quality 3,200 km path between Adelaide and the Bay of Islands, in New Zealand.

Where can I get it?

You can run FreeDV using any PC set up for digital modes, using the FreeDV 1.3 GUI program, which you can download from freedv.org.

Where can I find FreeDV activity?

Australian FreeDV activity is typically on 7.177 and 14.236 MHz. You can also coordinate FreeDV QSOs using the FreeDV QSO finder at qso.freedv.org

So why not try the new FreeDV 700D mode, and join us in experimenting with it on the HF bands!

Next AREG Meeting Friday May 18th – RF Connector Myths Dispelled

Like most Amateur Radio operators your shack probably contains a plethora of different RF connectors linking radios to tuners, antennas, amplifiers, receivers etc. Have you ever wondered why there are so many varieties? Have you ever wondered which ones are the right ones to use in a given situation? Do you run high power and have you considered whether your connectors are up to the task, especially if you are dealing with high VSWR leading towards your tuner?

Our guest speaker this month is Matt VK5ZM, who will take you through the different types of connector and provide an insight into their design and the criteria to consider when choosing them for your installation.


The meeting will start at 7.45pm at the Fulham Community Centre, off Phelps Court in Fulham (formerly known as the Reedbeds hall) with the presentation starting at 8.00pm. Following the meeting, tea coffee and cake will be served followed by a club business meeting.

Visitors are most welcome to come along – the meeting is open to everyone. We would love to see you down at the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group!

River Paddling Marathon 200: Practice Day This Saturday!

In preparation for the RPM200 there will be an opportunity to run through the practice for checkpoints at Murray Bridge this Saturday the 5th May.

Why are we getting together? We are honing our skill at spotting paddlers on the river for their back to back event, which in turn is a practice for the RPM. Getting the opportunity to practice scribing the paddlers numbers while they are on the far side of the river will help prepare us for tracking at checkpoints. This event will also help us understand what equipment we will need for the RPM. An afternoon sitting  beside the river isn’t a bad thing either, with a sausage or two sizzling on the BBQ.

What time: Arrive at the reserve at 12:00pm for the BBQ, with the first paddlers arriving around 1:00pm, through until around 4pm.

What to bring;

  • Lunch, offerings to the BBQ, drinks etc.
  • Hat, sun screen, jumper
  • Table and Chair
  • Optical amplification, ie binoculars
  • Pen & paper
  • Hand held radio

Where will you find us? Under the shelter at the Murray Bridge Foreshore Reserve;

Liaison on 439.025MHz FM Simplex.

If you are coming to participate, please let us know; kimhawtin@gmail.com

IRLP Node 6214 back on air!

The AREG IRLP node 6214 via VK5RSB 70cm is now back on air and available for general use.

The IRLP nodes “new” computer is now a Raspberry Pi 2, with modifications to the IRLP board to allow for operation on 3 volts as is used by the Raspberry Pi.

During both the morning and afternoon drive times, Monday to Friday, the node 6214 will be off line. It is available all the time Saturday and Sundays.

Weekday morning:

  • off at 07:00am
  • on at 09:30am

Weekday afternoon:

  • off at 3:00pm
  • on at 7:00pm

Access for IRLP operation still requires the current issued access code.

(details may be found at  http://www.areg.org.au/activities/irlp-node-6214)

DTMF “0” is the only “free” access to advise the status of the IRLP linking.

I will write up a blog report with photos for the AREG web pages in due course.

Feedback on the IRLP operations is most welcome, might need to make some level adjustments???

Ben VK5BB

AREG IRLP Node 6214 Administrator

AREG Members Decoding SSTV from Space!

Captured by VK5QI SatNOGS gateway

AREG members across VK5 have been enjoying the latest series of SSTV broadcasts from the International Space Station this week coming from RS0ISS. The following from the AMSAT UK website tells more:

ARISS Russia is planning a special Slow Scan Television (SSTV) event April 11-14 from the International Space Station in celebration of Cosmonautics Day.

The transmissions are to begin on April 11 at 11:30 UT and run through April 14 ending at 18:20 UT.

Supporting this event is a computer on the ISS Russian Segment, which stores images that are then transmitted to Earth using amateur radio, specifically the onboard Kenwood TM-D710E transceiver.

Transmitted images will be from the Interkosmos project period of the Soviet space program https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interkosmos

The transmissions which were coordinated with the ARISS scheduling team, will be made on 145.800 MHz FM using the PD-120 SSTV mode.

The pictures here were captured by Theo VK5MTM, Graham VK5EU and Mark VK5QI in Adelaide on the 144MHz band using FM receivers.


Photos captured by Theo VK5MTM

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photos Captured by Graham VK5EU

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

April Meeting: Project Horus Update

The next meeting of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group will be held on Friday 20th April starting at 7.45pm. The presentation will be given by Mark VK5QI on the latest developments with the new telemetry systems and modes that are being developed and show how you can become involved. The talk will cover:

  • Results of the recent THOR16 test flight
  • A progress report on modifying the Bureau of Meteorology RS41 RadioSondes
  • An introduction to the new MFSK modem being developed

Members will also be introduced to a new proposed member payload launch program. It’s aim is to encourage experimentation and technical development among club members in the area of high-altitude balloon payload development.

Visitors as always are MOST WELCOME! You will find us at the Fulham Community Centre, Phelps Court, Fulham!