Monthly Archives: January 2015

PS-33 PICO balloon APRS & Olivia MEL-SA-NSW

PS-33 is scheduled for released on Sunday 1/2/2015 at 8am.

Solar powered party balloon, 10mW TX
APRS on 145.175Mhz
Olivia 8/250 on 434.649Mhz USB (Dial frequency)

Tracking as PS on SNUS
and VK3YT-11 on APRS.FI

Prediction

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Update #1 10:00pm 1/2/2015 AEST

PS-33 was released but had a hardware failure and shut down early.

PS-32 HF PICO Balloon Australia Day

PS-32 was released at 7am AEST Australia Day 26/1/2015 from Melbourne.

Solar powered, 20mW TX
TX WSPR and JT9 on 30m and 20m

This will be simultaneously tracked with PS-31.

Dial frequency 10.138700Mhz and 14.095600Mhz (standard WSPR dial frequencies).
JT9 at 1200Hz offset, coexisting with PS-31 at 1000Hz offset

See HF decoding info in the FAQ section or here

Tracking as PS-32 on SNUS here
WSPR call sign is VK3ANH

Prediction:

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Assistance with tracking is appreciated.

Update #1 8:00pm 27/1/2015 AEST

PS-32 has crossed the international dateline and past -60 latitude.

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Prediction

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Update #2 12:00pm 31/1/2015 AEST

PS-32 came close to the South America Coast 46H ago, and hasn’t been heard from since.

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Predicted path

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It is very possible that the balloon is still flying, but a bad combination of shutdown at night and propagation time might be the main factor that prevents long range reception of the telemetry.

Please keep watching out for the next few days!

Update #3 6:00pm 4/2/2015 AEST

It appears that PS-32 has gone down somewhere between South America and South Africa.
Thanks everyone for assistance with tracking, and see you at the next launch!

PS-31 HF payload Mel – NZ – Pacific

PS-31 was released at 7am AEST 24/1/2015 from Melbourne.

Solar powered, 20mW TX
TX WSPR and JT9 on 30m and 20m

With dial frequency 10.138700Mhz and 14.095600Mhz (standard WSPR dial frequencies),
these will put WSPR at 1400Hz-1600Hz, and JT9 at 1000Hz, allowing decoding of both WSPR and JT9 without changing frequency on each band.

See HF decoding info in the FAQ section or here

Tracking as PS-31 on SNUS here
WSPR call sign is VK3YT

Prediction:

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Assistance with tracking is always appreciated.

Update #1 6:00am 25/1/2015 AEST

PS-31 has been doing well, just crossed the international dateline, getting ready to head west back to New Zealand. Thanks everyone for helping out with tracking.

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Top WSPR spots

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WSPR map

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Prediction

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Wind pattern

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Update #2 11:00am 26/1/2015 AEST

PS-31 did a U-turn around New Zealand over night, and soon will be heading East again.
We had a huge turn-out of stations to help with tracking.

(PS-32 was also released for a multiple balloon tracking exercise)

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Some very impressive WSPR spots

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Prediction

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Update #3 7:30pm 27/1/2015 AEST

PS-31 went down at sunset with the last JT9 packet at 08:03 UTC, probably due to rain/ice developed over the NE of NZ.

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WSPR

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Thanks everyone for tracking, and hope PS-32 will keep going for much longer.

Pebble Watch Apps for Picospace balloon tracking

I have written a little App for the Pebble Watch to assist with tracking of PICOSPACE balloons, starting with PS-30.

The watch displays the time from last telemetry, lat, long, altitude, speed, battery voltage and solar voltage.

The data is polled from picospace.net (via the phone) every two minutes. You will need internet connectivity from your phone (3G or Wifi).

If new telemetry is received after 30 minutes from last telemetry the watch will also vibrates.

Pebble hab

The screen shot show PS-30 was heard from 7 hours 14 minutes ago, at 9697m, and speed of 216kmph.

Click this link from your phone to install the Pebble Watch Apps

HAB_ALERT.pbw

HF decoding

Picospace HF payloads send telemetry data using standard JT9 packets.

WSJT-X software has been modified to allow upload of JT9 telemetry from balloons to SNUS (spacenear.us) website.

The software can be downloaded here:

Tested version 1.5.0-devel:

Windows Installer
Source file

Beta version 1.6.0-devel:

Windows Installer
Source file

Note: 1.6.0-devel can also decode WSPR

The modified software adds two options on the main page:

* Telemetry: selecting this will allow packets to be uploaded to to server
* Location: selecting this will send your grid square to be displayed on SNUS map

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Some important parameters for the software setup:

* The frequencies will need to be set to the standard WSPR dial frequencies:

30m: 10.138700Mhz
20m: 14.095600Mhz

This will put WSRP in the standard 1400Hz-1600Hz audio band, and JT9 at somewhere outside of the WSPR segment, typically at 800Hz/1000Hz/1200Hz/1800Hz, depending on flights. Please see flight announcement for the JT9 offset.

This allow simultaneous tracking of multiple balloons at the same time.

Please note the software will decode multiple payloads automatically with no special settings, ie. if the setup can decode one payload it will decode multiple payloads. You just need to have the correct dial frequency and time synchronisation.

From PS-57, only 30m band will be used unless specified otherwise.

* See the WSJT-X manual here for setup details.
* Mode should be JT9. The “JT9 AND JT65” mode expects the different signals are in different parts of the audio bandwidth and is not recommended.
* Add your grid square in the settings for the “Location” option to work
* Enable Location and Telemetry options to allow upload of your grid square and telemetry data.
* WSPR/JT9 start transmitting at the beginning of the scheduled minute, so the computer will need to have the time synced to a time server on the internet.

The software behaves like a standard WSJT-X version otherwise, and can be used for standard QSOs. If the software is not tracking a PICOSPACE balloon, please turn off the Telemetry option to avoid uploading unnecessary data to the servers.

The positions of the balloons are displayed on SNUS tracking page spacenear.us which can be accessed through the Tracking shortcut at the top of this web page.

A big thank you to the UKHAS guys for making SNUS available to the HAB community.

TX time and frequency schedule (minute in the hour and TX band).
Each of the following timeslots has two minutes of WSPR transmission, and followed by 2 x one minute JT transmissions.

0 30m // Mandatory JT9 and WSPR, two per hour
10 30m // Optional JT9 and WSPR – Only when battery is charged
20 30m // Optional JT9 and WSPR – Only when battery is charged
30 30m // Mandatory JT9 and WSPR, two per hour
40 30m // optional JT9 and WSPR – Only when battery is charged
50 30m // Optional JT9 and WSPR – Only when battery is charged

Two instances of WSJTX software can be run at the same time, by specifying the -r option on the command line. It is recommended that one instance is used to decode WSPR and perform band-hopping if CAT is used, and one to decode JT9.

C:\WSJT\wsjtx\bin\wsjtx -r WSPR

Only for Multi-band payloads

Versions from 1.6.0-devel will also add an option, “PS hopping” on the WSPR page to map the band-hopping sequence to Picospace payload TX schedule.

This is to cater for the multi-band payloads, which is no longer required from PS-57 as only payloads will transmit only on one frequency, 30m unless specified otherwise.


0 30m // Mandatory JT9 and WSPR, two per hour
10 20m // Optional JT9 and WSPR – Only when battery is charged
20 30m // Optional JT9 and WSPR – Only when battery is charged
30 20m // Mandatory JT9 and WSPR, two per hour
40 30m // optional JT9 and WSPR – Only when battery is charged
50 20m // Optional JT9 and WSPR – Only when battery is charged

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When this option is enabled, the bands lower than 30m will be mapped to 30m, and the bands higher than 20m will be mapped to 20m.

The “Band Hopping” option needs to be selected as well.

The bands should be selected as shown here:
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This will allow the 20m and 30m bands to be cycled through in 10 minute intervals.