highaltitude.log.20061205

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[00:17] <Gerg> Hello
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[21:12] <Gerg> Hello
[21:12] <icez> hi
[21:13] <Gerg> I am Greg, from Imperial College London
[21:13] <Gerg> I found your irc channel on your website :)
[21:13] <icez> As weird as it may sound, I'm not from the UK at all :]
[21:13] <Gerg> :]
[21:14] <icez> so, what are you studying in?
[21:15] <Gerg> Physics
[21:15] <icez> aw cool.
[21:15] <Gerg> We are currently building a high altitude balloon :)
[21:15] <icez> cool
[21:16] <Gerg> Was wondering if anyone has some experience with this?
[21:16] <icez> well, personally, not yet, but if you stick around, there's around 5-6 people that did that come here.
[21:16] <Gerg> Cool :D
[21:17] <Gerg> Where are you from?
[21:17] <icez> originally from Canada, but now I'm in Arizona
[21:18] <Gerg> Cool
[21:20] <icez> what year are you in at ICL?
[21:21] <Ebola> :o
[21:21] <Ebola> Activity!
[21:22] <icez> lol.
[21:22] <Gerg> I'm in the 3rd year
[21:22] <Gerg> :)
[21:22] <icez> cool :D
[21:22] Action: icez started this year :|
[21:22] <Gerg> What you studying?
[21:23] <icez> CS/astro
[21:23] <Gerg> Cool :D
[21:23] <Ebola> Which reminds me, I should probably look into the regulations for launching one of those things
[21:23] <icez> Ebola, where do you live?
[21:23] <Ebola> UK
[21:23] <Gerg> Yeah, me too for the UK
[21:23] <icez> aw
[21:24] <icez> I know they have big restrictions on flying over London and using radio frequencies :p
[21:24] <Ebola> the site doesn't appear to link to any :(
[21:24] <Gerg> Yeah
[21:24] <Ebola> So much for climbing onto my roof with one :P
[21:24] <icez> Ebola, oh, i'll tell that to the others :)
[21:24] <Gerg> London wouldnt be good to fly over, too many planes landing...
[21:24] <Gerg> Might get sucked into an engine or something :/
[21:25] <icez> i know they usually force a cutdown of the balloon if it gets too close to london:)
[21:25] <icez> Gerg, that wouldn't be good :]
[21:25] <Gerg> hehe yeah :]
[21:25] <Ebola> yay expensive equipment being sucked into even more expensive equipment
[21:25] <icez> i'm surrounded by 3 airports
[21:25] <Gerg> Me too :(
[21:26] <Ebola> aye
[21:26] <Ebola> do it somewhere up north
[21:26] <Gerg> I was planning on launching from Exeter
[21:26] <Gerg> Winds should carry it eastwards
[21:26] <icez> the last mission I heard, the balloon _almost_ crossed the channel
[21:26] <icez> but they lost it in the middle:[
[21:27] <Ebola> :(
[21:27] <Gerg> :s dam hehe
[21:27] <Ebola> hmm
[21:27] <Ebola> could use a glider to cross the channel? :p
[21:27] <Gerg> Some people have crossed the channel in a glider
[21:27] <icez> some people are into gliders here too
[21:27] <Gerg> I fly gliders
[21:27] <Gerg> real ones...
[21:28] <icez> well, balloon-powered gliders actually :)
[21:28] <Gerg> HEhe :D
[21:28] <icez> I've only flown airplanes and helicopters
[21:29] <Gerg> Ebola where you live in UK?
[21:29] <Ebola> London
[21:29] <Gerg> Cool, me too
[21:29] <Gerg> You study?
[21:29] <Ebola> You would if you go to imperial college...nope going next year
[21:30] <Gerg> Where to? :]
[21:30] <Ebola> Who ever will have me :P
[21:30] <icez> lol
[21:30] <Ebola> Don't have any offers yet :/
[21:30] <Gerg> HEhe, any particular subject? ;]
[21:30] <icez> I was accepted by the one I wanted to go, but $$$ wins and I'm not there :[
[21:30] <Ebola> My school in its great wisdom managed to delay my application by 3 weeks somehow
[21:30] <Ebola> Pharmacy!
[21:30] <Gerg> :D
[21:31] <Ebola> Which goes well with an interesting in wanting to build a balloon and stuff
[21:31] <Gerg> HEhe :]
[21:31] <icez> of course
[21:31] <icez> medication distribution by balloons;)
[21:32] <Ebola> Well, I *could* try to get one to africa from the UK
[21:32] <icez> I can already imagine the people getting bombarded by tylenol bottles
[21:32] <Gerg> Lol
[21:32] <Ebola> cyanide filled one?
[21:32] <Ebola> +s
[21:32] <Gerg> :D
[21:33] <icez> well, there are some (professional) balloons that go from New Mexico to Arizona
[21:33] <Gerg> Is there anyone on this channel who has built a modem for transmitting telemetry?
[21:33] <icez> not "huge" but still big
[21:33] <Ebola> I actually checked into places which manufacture superpressure balloons, but the only one I found doesn't appear to sell to individuals
[21:33] <Gerg> oh dam :(
[21:33] <Ebola> weird american company!
[21:33] <Gerg> The helium would be very expensive to fill the thing too, if it's very large
[21:34] <icez> mmm, I really need to talk to the guys about putting more links on the website
[21:34] <icez> yeah helium is not cheap
[21:34] <Gerg> I'm getting it from my university, but it's still quite pricey :(
[21:34] <icez> too bad hydrogen goes *boom*
[21:34] <Ebola> :(
[21:35] <Gerg> Yeah :(
[21:35] <Gerg> Well, at the moment I'm still working on all the electronics :] hehe
[21:35] <Gerg> No need to worry about how the thing will actually fly yet ;)
[21:35] <Ebola> go to hyde park and kidnap a goose
[21:36] <icez> well, if you use only a balloon, it'll go where nature makes it go
[21:36] <icez> :)
[21:36] <icez> hyde park?:)
[21:36] <Ebola> oh yes, it's a big park here!
[21:36] <Ebola> It's even in the hitchikers guide to the galaxy ;o
[21:36] <icez> lol
[21:37] <Ebola> And something attached to a goose is almost guaranteed to reach canada
[21:37] <Ebola> unless someone shoots it
[21:37] <icez> lol
[21:37] <icez> *oh noes the UK is attacking us with geese!*
[21:38] <Ebola> they come here to spend the winter, or at least stop off
[21:38] <icez> I didn't know there were geese in the UK:|
[21:38] <Ebola> heh
[21:38] <icez> all I hear animal-related about the UK is sheep
[21:38] <icez> sheep here, sheep there!
[21:38] <Ebola> that's wales
[21:39] <icez> ah
[21:39] <icez> we don't hear much about other countries around here..
[21:40] <icez> unless they are getting bombarded or they have big bombs
[21:40] <Ebola> yeah
[21:40] <Ebola> what interests me is if there are any regulations concerning what sort of material the payload container can be made of
[21:41] <icez> I wouldn't think so, if it's not hazardous
[21:41] <icez> most people here use styrofoam containers
[21:41] <Gerg> indeed
[21:41] <Ebola> I'd quite like to use an ABS camera case
[21:42] <icez> ABS?
[21:42] <Ebola> so that way it'll float
[21:42] <Gerg> That'd probably be fine
[21:42] <Ebola> kind of plastic
[21:42] <Gerg> Although it's quite heavy...
[21:42] <icez> ok
[21:42] <icez> well, with nicely closed styrofoam containers, it usually floats
[21:42] <icez> but then you need a boat if it goes byebye in the ocean
[21:42] <Gerg> Yeah, a styrofoam container would probably float even if it filled with water
[21:43] <Gerg> and ABS case would sink if it filled with water...
[21:43] <Ebola> or rely on the kindness of strangers if it lands on shore someone
[21:43] <Ebola> the cases I'm looking at are designed to float
[21:43] <icez> :)
[21:43] <Gerg> But you'd have to drill holes etc in them ;)
[21:43] <icez> usually you put some way of reaching you on the outside of the box
[21:43] <Gerg> For cameras to look out :]
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[21:44] <icez> kc0wys lost his for a long time until someone found it
[21:44] <Gerg> hehe :D
[21:44] <icez> he managed to get some pictures and videos out of it :p
[21:44] <Gerg> Cool :D
[21:44] <Ebola> obviously some contact info :p
[21:44] <Ebola> And as for holes, cover them up with clear plastic?
[21:44] <Gerg> Yeah true
[21:44] <Gerg> But clear plastic might degrade the image quality! by like 0.01%
[21:45] <icez> yeah
[21:45] <icez> polarized clear plastic would be better =]
[21:45] <Gerg> Yeah :]
[21:45] <Ebola> ohnoes 0.01%!
[21:45] <Gerg> ABS would be good if it fell in the water, but it'd need some styrofoam inside for insulation probably
[21:46] <Gerg> To keep it warm :)
[21:46] <Ebola> easy enough to add
[21:46] <icez> it's pretty hard to get a bad picture at 20000 feets :]
[21:46] <Gerg> Yep :)
[21:47] <icez> but as jcoxon would say, start cheap.
[21:47] <icez> really cheap.
[21:47] <icez> then slowly go less cheap :P
[21:47] <Gerg> Yeah
[21:48] <Gerg> Luckily we have people paying for our stuff :]
[21:48] <icez> because his less expensive balloons were recovered
[21:48] <Ebola> with luck I can pick one up on ebay for a fiver
[21:48] <icez> and his most expensive...gone.
[21:48] <Gerg> What was in it?
[21:48] <icez> uhm
[21:49] <icez> http://www.pegasushabproject.org.uk/pegasus2.html
[21:49] <icez> towards the bottom of the page
[21:50] <Gerg> Ah ok
[21:50] <Gerg> Ah yeah, I was gunna ask
[21:50] <Gerg> Anyone have any idea how interface with a mobile phone to send text messages?
[21:51] <icez> nope:[
[21:51] <Ebola> what kind of mobile?
[21:51] <Gerg> We were originally gunna rip the keypad off the front and solder wires to the button pads and have a PIC just dial the phone
[21:51] <icez> lol
[21:51] <Ebola> if it's a nokia you can just use gnokii in linux and a data cable
[21:51] <icez> I think there are better ways
[21:51] <Gerg> shoddy style
[21:51] <Gerg> Yeah, its a nokia
[21:51] <Ebola> which model?
[21:51] <Gerg> 3100
[21:52] <Ebola> pretty sure that's supported
[21:52] <Ebola> let me check
[21:52] <Gerg> Thing is, we're not using linux
[21:52] <icez> you're not :O
[21:52] <Ebola> yup
[21:52] <Ebola> You're not?
[21:52] <Ebola> What are you using?
[21:52] <Gerg> We're building the computer ourselves
[21:52] <icez> please tell me it doesn't start with W Gerg :[
[21:52] <Gerg> haha nope
[21:52] <Ebola> I hope you're using a BSD
[21:52] <icez> good :]
[21:52] <Ebola> gnokii works with bsd
[21:53] <Ebola> or should
[21:53] <icez> well, then you'll still need some sort of "computer" or something
[21:53] <Gerg> We're using a pic microprocessor
[21:53] <icez> oh.
[21:53] <Ebola> :<
[21:53] <icez> you're going the complicated way :]
[21:53] <Gerg> Yep :]
[21:53] <Gerg> We're building the modem too
[21:53] <icez> my electronics skills suck.
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[21:53] <Ebola> so do mine
[21:53] <icez> I still burn LEDs
[21:53] <icez> :[
[21:53] <Gerg> :D
[21:54] <Ebola> I managed to break my dad's old 6110 :(
[21:54] <Ebola> And I have no idea why it broke considering I've had other phones apart tonnes of times!
[21:54] <icez> but i'm taking a computer engineering class next semester :D
[21:54] <Ebola> woo
[21:55] <Gerg> :D
[21:55] <Gerg> Well, I guess I'll have to use my old school method of dialling the mobile phone
[21:55] <icez> i know most people here use gumstix or laptops or linux-enabled routers as computers for balloons
[21:55] <Ebola> so are you still going to have a gps unit connected to it?
[21:55] <Gerg> Yeah its got a gps connected to it
[21:55] <icez> old school is good :D
[21:56] <Gerg> It'll be amusing watching the phone dial itself
[21:56] <Gerg> then type in the gps coordinates into a txt message
[21:56] <Gerg> :)
[21:57] <Ebola> crazy
[21:57] <icez> the guy that finds the balloon might find it amusing too
[21:57] <icez> "it's alive!"
[21:57] <Gerg> Yeah if he nicks it I'll dial it up hehe
[21:57] <Gerg> Tell him he's a bastard
[21:57] <Ebola> Just tell him you're from the government
[21:57] <LaurenceB> Hi there I'm the guy behind the MiHAB1 and 2 balloons
[21:58] <icez> then he tells you "uhm, i work for the recycling thingy"
[21:58] <icez> hi LaurenceB
[21:58] <Ebola> And if he doesn't hand it over he'll be done under the official secrets act
[21:58] <icez> Ebola, how about self-destruction?:)
[21:58] <Gerg> HEhe yeah
[21:58] <LaurenceB> so if you want any abvice I might be able to help
[21:58] <Ebola> I think injuring people is not a good idea :P
[21:58] <Gerg> hello LaurenceB
[21:58] <Gerg> :)
[21:59] <Ebola> Information about UK regulations would be nice
[21:59] <Ebola> And/or where I could find some online
[21:59] <Gerg> Indeed
[21:59] <LaurenceB> Yes, thats not my strong point...
[21:59] <Ebola> All I've found so far is the email address of some guy at the civil aviation authority
[21:59] <Gerg> Also some info on interfacing to a nokia phone would be useful...
[21:59] <Ebola> Thought I'd ask here before I emailed anyone official
[21:59] <Gerg> without using Linux
[21:59] <LaurenceB> You will need a NOTAM
[21:59] <LaurenceB> thats from the CAA
[22:00] <Ebola> ok
[22:00] <LaurenceB> It gives you permission to use some location for launches
[22:00] <Gerg> LaurenceB how did you track your balloons?
[22:00] <LaurenceB> radio and txt
[22:00] <Gerg> :)
[22:00] <Gerg> And what did you use as the control computer?
[22:00] <LaurenceB> txt is sent every minute
[22:01] <LaurenceB> I used a atmel mega8 micro
[22:01] <Gerg> I don't know those...
[22:01] <LaurenceB> for the flight computer off active robots website
[22:01] <icez> oh, i love atmega's
[22:01] <LaurenceB> you can program it with bascom avr
[22:02] <LaurenceB> it's a very good compile
[22:02] <Gerg> Cool
[22:02] <Gerg> Does it run some sort of OS?
[22:02] <Ebola> I have some atinys somewhere and no programmer :P
[22:02] <LaurenceB> I've just bought the full version
[22:03] <Gerg> LaurenceB how did you interface to the mobile phone?
[22:04] <Gerg> Cos we're having a little trouble working that part out for a nokia phone..
[22:04] <Ebola> http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=014&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&viewitem=&item=330057649515&rd=1&rd=1 :o
[22:04] <LaurenceB> brb sory got to make some food :(
[22:04] <icez> 510 for all this junk?! cool:D
[22:05] <Ebola> you can resell the ataris alone to get your money back
[22:05] <icez> well
[22:06] <icez> the shipping UK->US would be a pain
[22:06] <Ebola> yeah
[22:06] <Ebola> buy it and have it shipped to me :P
[22:06] <icez> suree:)
[22:06] <Ebola> :P
[22:08] <icez> this is amazing though
[22:08] <icez> :\
[22:11] <Gerg> That atmel is nice :]
[22:11] <Gerg> We've got things very similar to that in our teaching labs, I've never used one though
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[23:13] <LaurenceB> Gerg- the phone interface just uses a datacable
[23:14] <Ebola> Gerg wants to use a microcontroller
[23:14] <LaurenceB> these contain a 12v-3.3v convertor, this has to be removed
[23:15] <LaurenceB> and then you can solder onto the micro
[23:15] <Ebola> hmm
[23:15] <LaurenceB> in bascom you can create software serial ports
[23:15] <Ebola> that's neat
[23:15] <LaurenceB> then you send a pdu string
[23:15] <LaurenceB> these are pretty complicated
[23:16] <LaurenceB> it's basically one of the data packets that go over the gsm network
[23:16] <LaurenceB> its coded in 7 bit then sent in hex
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[23:18] <LaurenceB> theres a site somewhere that will create pdu strings, then you can copy off the header
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[23:20] <LaurenceB> and send this to the phone followed by the ascii string converted to 7bit
[23:21] <LaurenceB> you can try this out first with a datacable and hyperterminal
[23:22] <LaurenceB> You have to be careful not fry things with RS232
[23:26] <Gerg> cool :D
[23:26] <Gerg> Man it sounds pretty complicated :/
[23:27] <Ebola> which is why you should have gone with the linux option
[23:27] <Gerg> But that's not as fun ;) hehe
[23:27] <Ebola> bet you'd have a lot of bugs to iron out either way!
[23:27] <Gerg> hehe yeah :D
[23:28] <Gerg> Would this board be suitable? http://www.active-robots.com/products/controllr/m32db.shtml
[23:29] <Gerg> We're considering this becuase it's got a radio link output already built in...which we may be able to plug a higher powered transmitter into?
[23:30] <Ebola> I'm off
[23:30] <Ebola> night
[23:30] <Gerg> gnite :)
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[23:33] <Gerg> That's a pretty sweet way of doing it :D
[23:33] <Gerg> How did you encode/decode the data to send through the radio link?
[23:34] <LaurenceB> The radio was a 433 mhz
[23:35] <LaurenceB> I didn't build it
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[23:35] <LaurenceB> the guy with the radio builds wifi equiptment for bt
[23:35] <LaurenceB> so hes quite good with radio!
[23:36] <Gerg> Ah hehe cool :)
[23:36] <LaurenceB> I think the way it worked was it sent ascii fm
[23:37] <LaurenceB> this used a radi module from rfsolutions
[23:37] <Gerg> Ah ok
[23:37] <LaurenceB> these are the only thing thats legal in uk
[23:37] <Gerg> Yeah
[23:37] <LaurenceB> you are limited to 10mw
[23:38] <LaurenceB> it worked at 300 baud
[23:38] <Gerg> We're getting a HAM licence so we'll be able to go up to 8W
[23:38] <Gerg> I think
[23:38] <Gerg> What distance did 10mW work to?
[23:38] <LaurenceB> the reciever was an ssb reciever going into a sound input on a laptop
[23:39] <LaurenceB> we calculated 2000KM
[23:39] <Gerg> man :S
[23:39] <Gerg> That far??!
[23:39] <LaurenceB> we has 20km then used an attenuater
[23:39] <Gerg> Hmm
[23:40] <Gerg> Cool
[23:40] <LaurenceB> if you go to the ukhas wiki you can see some pictures and I think the code is up there too
[23:41] <LaurenceB> with 8W you could start a pirate radio station!
[23:41] <Gerg> Hehe yeah
[23:41] <Gerg> Prolly use 2W
[23:42] <LaurenceB> If you had 2way radio and linux you could have ssh
[23:42] <Gerg> Yeah that'd be really good
[23:42] <Gerg> WE were considering doing that
[23:43] <LaurenceB> have you heard of aprs?
[23:43] <Gerg> NOpe...
[23:43] <Gerg> ah packet radio
[23:43] <Gerg> ?
[23:43] <LaurenceB> yes
[23:43] <Gerg> Yeah we were gunna use that too hehe, but it is too expensive for us
[23:44] <Gerg> So we've decided to build out own modem
[23:44] <LaurenceB> you can go to th website and communicate with the balloon
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[23:44] <Gerg> Yeah that'd be very good :)
[23:45] <LaurenceB> there are enogh stations for it o work across europe
[23:45] <LaurenceB> Are you UK based?
[23:45] <Gerg> Yeah, London
[23:45] <Gerg> Imperial College
[23:46] <LaurenceB> Cool what are you studying?
[23:46] <Gerg> Physics :]
[23:46] <LaurenceB> Aha me too - Oxford
[23:46] <Gerg> Cool :D
[23:46] <Gerg> I'm a 3rd year
[23:46] <LaurenceB> Me too :D
[23:47] <LaurenceB> All the physicists at oxford are too theoretical
[23:47] <Gerg> Yeah that's why I didn't want to go hehe!
[23:47] <Gerg> Although that is the case at IC too :(
[23:48] <LaurenceB> I applied to do electronics at york and birmingham, but I tried physics at oxford and got in
[23:48] <Gerg> Cool :D
[23:49] <LaurenceB> Anyay the comms with the phone aren't too hard
[23:49] <Gerg> Cool
[23:49] <LaurenceB> its about 20 lines of code
[23:49] <Gerg> Hehe :D
[23:49] <Gerg> It's the method of transmitting the telemetry that we're getting stuck on atm
[23:50] <Gerg> Encoding it correctly to be transmitted
[23:50] <LaurenceB> I just sent a string from the gps, how are you stuck?
[23:51] <Gerg> Well the actual method of encoding the signal to be sent to the transmitter
[23:52] <Gerg> Using some kind of modem chip
[23:52] <LaurenceB> Sounds hard...
[23:53] <LaurenceB> http://wiki.ukhas.org.uk/projects:mihab
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[23:55] <LaurenceB> I'd better b going it's late see you
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[00:00] --- Wed Dec 6 2006