APRS contact with International Space Station

IMG_0389Shortly after learning about APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System), I decided to see if I could interface my cheap BaoFeng UV-5R with my iPhone for use with PocketPacket.

A quick google search yielded the a schematic designed by KK6GIP. A good place to start.

A quick dig around in the junk box yielded the necessary components, a piece of recycled project board, an old busted iPhone headset, and the cheap headset that came with the radio. A few minutes later after some wire trimming and soldering – Voila! – an iPhone to BaoFeng audio interface.

IMG_0383

I tuned the radio into 144.390 MHz (a common 2m APRS frequency) and transmitted an APRS data burst. This resulted in my coordinates and message being received by K2PUT (a local digipeater) which was forwarded to an internet gateway.

Ok that was fun. What next?

When the International Space Station isn’t using its ham radio for voice, it operates as a FM Packet Radio Digipeater on 145.825 MHz.

scene composition: litho, frame 22

So I connected my homemade 2m yagi antenna, tuned to 145.825 and set my digipeater path to ‘VIA ARISS’.

Now all I had to do was wait for the ISS to pass overhead. The ISS completes around 15 orbits a day, so this didn’t take too long.

Using an iPad application called ProSatHD, I was able to determine down to the minute when and where the station would pass overhead.

Continue reading “APRS contact with International Space Station”

12V DC Ammo Can Power Box v1.0

IMG_5260

I wanted to build a custom rugged battery box on a budget for amateur radio communications and emergency charging. The ammo can was found in poor condition at an army surplus and was restored by sanding to remove rust, re-painting, and lubricating the rubber seal. I’m not yet satisfied with the internal fabrication and will continue to improve upon its design later. Future improvements to include: led switch, solar charge controller, improved mounting panel, volt/amp meter.

more photos below and materials list below…

Continue reading “12V DC Ammo Can Power Box v1.0”

Get into HAM radio for $45 dollars

 Why should I get a HAM radio & license?300px-International_amateur_radio_symbol_svg

  • How will I communicate with friends/family in a disaster scenario when internet/cellular/land communications are disrupted?
  • Could I be helpful in coordinating and relaying messages related to emergency and disaster relief?

What is HAM radio?

  • Amateur radio (also called ham radio) is the use of designated radio frequency spectra for purposes of private recreation, non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communication.

Do I need a license? Yes

  • There are 3 levels:
    • Technician – Entry Level – VHF/UHF & Limited HF privileges (pdf)
    • General – All tech privileges plus HF privileges (communicate around world) (pdf)
    • Extra – All General privileges + shorter call sign & additional HF privileges (pdf)

How much would it cost to get started? $45

Who can get a tech license? Is the test hard?

  • Just about anyone could take the technician’s exam and pass after putting forth a little effort studying and taking practice tests
    • For Moms, Dads, Sons, Daughters, Sisters, Grandparents, etc.. 8 years old and up
  • Learning morse code is no-longer a requirement
  • Basic math, no algebra or calculus required
  • Simple electronics

 


FPV drones with an Oculus Rift

It was only a matter of time, and now someone’s finally done it. The Oculus Rift is now being used for first person view aerial photography. It’s the closest you’ll get to being in a pilot’s seat while still standing on the ground.

via Pocket http://hackaday.com/2013/07/16/fpv-drones-with-an-oculus-rift/

New Quad-Copter Frame

It’s been a little while since I posted any updates on my aerial adventures.

This means I have been working hard and/or having lots of fun 🙂

Here the middle size copter in my current fleet. (mini quad, quad, octo)

This quad-copter version 2.0 has an upgraded frame and computer (newer arduino mega).

I will try to edit and upload some of the video footage from it when I get some time.