Micrel Prototype Radio

One of the current projects is to build a radio module to be a replacement for the excellent, but large and expensive, Radiometrix NTX2.

A first prototype uses the Micrel MICRF112 10mW FSK transmitter with a varactor controlled crystal pulling arrangement. An onboard variable capacitor also allows tuning of the centre frequency to anywhere in the LPD433 ISM band.

This prototype was soldered up today and is working well. We hope to develop this technique further to produce a cheap & reliable radio capable of MFSK and DominoEX as well as the standard 50/300 baud RTTY.

MICRF112 Prototype

MICRF112 Prototype under test

Nova 19 – Another CUSF Altitude Record

Nova 19, the 19th official Cambridge University Spaceflight payload was launched today from Churchill College.

Filling was impeded due to very high winds and heavy rain showers, but eventually the payload carrying the Squirrel Nexus One smartphone and the Arduino tracker was in the air.

Nova 19 Filling

Nova 19 Filling

After beating the UK altitude record for high altitude balloons at 36206m, Nova 19 landed in a tree in Exning. We were unable to retrieve it, but stay tuned for the photos and videos when we get it back!

Nova 19 Tie Off

Nova 19 Tie Off

Nova 19 in the tree

Nova 19's landing site

Nova 18 Launch

Today saw the launch of Nova 18, carrying the Squirrel smartphone and the Ferret Arduino tracker. Ferret has had some bugfixes since its last flight and seemed to perform much better this time.

The Nova 18 Payloads

The Nova 18 Payloads

The Squirrel smartphone was running a custom app called SquirrelPhoto enabling it to take pictures at set intervals. Unfortunately the software crashed at about 14km, but some excellent images were recorded up until that point.

Nova 18 from 14km by the Squirrel smartphone

Nova 18 from 14km by the Squirrel smartphone

Some work is planned for the Squirrel software and another flight can be expected soon, perhaps with video!