Monday, 8 February 2010

Licensed to CQ: groundstation team pass Amateur Radio course

After a rollercoaster weekend of getting to grips with the principles of radio and Paul Steed, our groundstation guys passed their Foundation exam in Amateur Radio. In doing so, these members of the Lunchsat team are now licensed to transmit from a groundstation at a maximum power of 10W.

In a nod towards the radio exam success of yesteryear, Matthew Ashworth (Portsmouth Groundstation), Timothy Mead (Power), Mauricio Molas Serrano (Portsmouth Groundstation), Jason Stones (Media) and Benjamin Yarwood (Mechanical) all passed the exam, demonstrating proficiency in Morse code, groundstation hardware, the etiquette of transmission, the terms of the Amateur Radio license, and the physics of radio communications.

It followed a two-day introduction to Amateur Radio held on the final weekend in January, which saw the group of five radio hopefuls:
  • send messages in Morse code with Navy transmitters that were actually used in World War II (check);
  • transmit to another radio amateur from a groundstation in proper radio etiquette and with the use of callsigns (check);
  • learn the physics involved in telecommunications (check);
  • watch a cheesy educational video made by BT from the eighties (check).
All in a weekend's work. So what does all this mean for Lunchsat?
Once work on the Portsmouth groundstation is completed with Foundation licenses in hand, the team will be able to communicate with other satellites via radio groundstations around the world. With an Intermediate license, scope for transmission will extend to 50W, to allow for communication with the International Space Station -- one of the outreach goals of the Lunchsat project!

Paul Steed, a member of St Johns Ambulance, reprised his role as tutor for the two-day course -- held on his home turf in the humble abode of SJA in Waterlooville, a few junctions north of Portsmouth on the A3.

Not fazed in the slightest at the prospect of yet more radio goodness, Ben, Tim, Andrew and Jason are set to head towards the next frontier -- the Intermediate course -- on the weekend of 20-21 February. Lucky devils.

The Radio Society of Great Britain offers such two-day training courses in Amateur Radio across the country -- check out their website for details of courses available in your region. Radio spectrum in the UK is regulated by Ofcom, which issues and regulates Amateur Radio licenses. For further information and to get involved in the global Amateur Radio community, check out the Amateur Radio Research and Development Corporation (AMRAD).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment about this article for the EADS Astrium Lunchsat team.