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High Power Rocketry with Ham Based Telemetry

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by N5HZR, Nov 12, 2019.

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  1. N5HZR

    N5HZR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Recently, Dr. Thomas Hays KI5AIF and Jarod Manning KI5FHT gave a great presentation on High Power Rocketry to the South Canadian Amateur Radio Society (SCARS) members. In this presentation, they show a couple of supersonic flights and talk about the rockets and the radios that make them happen. This telemetry device uses a UHF radio to send back position, speed, and more data in real-time to the support team on the ground. To help the students understand the radio process, and the RF 'budget' for the flights, Dr. Hays encourages his students to get their amateur license.

    We hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

    SCARS is located in Norman, OK and is on the web at

    Attached Files:

    HB9AIS, W4SEX, KD0CAC and 10 others like this.
  2. KZ4AK

    KZ4AK XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Reminds me of way back in high school. Was a member of SOLAR (Society of Lynchburg Amateur Rocketeers). Started with 3' x 1" diameter rockets. Finished with 2 1/2" dia, 12' long, two stage units. Fuel was zinc dust and sulfur. Had a railroad tie blockhouse with remote theodolite tracking stations with comms back to blockhouse - with sound powered phones (transistors were expensive!). We also preempted the Navy Polaris launch by several months, launching a two stage unit from beneath a farm pond. One of our members got a summer job offer from NASA with that launch. Sadly, in the early 60s it was not so practical to use telemetry. We had plans for a 12' x 1' liquid fueled rocket using hydrazine and red fuming nitric acid but never the had funds to make it happen. The FAA finally tracked us on radar and shut us down.
    Woody - KZ4AK
    N5HNX, K4GHL, N9JLF and 4 others like this.
  3. KF4ZKU

    KF4ZKU Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is so cool. And a great way to apply amatuer radio tech to rocket tech I was a rocketeer back 22 years ago I launched a a micro powered radio beacon under part 15 rules in an crude attempt to radio locate the ejected nose cone it was basic but fun always wanted to launch a tv camera on one but was too complicated and expensive at the time . These days I’m getting into drones may continue where I left off when I find more time congratulations on this 73 de George Kf4zku
    N5HZR and KP2CH like this.
  4. W2AAT

    W2AAT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was part of a nerdy group of kids interested in rockets and other radio controlled things. Back in those days all radio control was on 27 Mc, which was the same frequency as Mrs Sneedby's garage door opener. You can imagine what happened when she opened and closed her door. Two of us were elected to get our ham tickets so that we could move our radio control to 220 Mc. My friend Bruce let his license lapse, and I've been on the air ever since. Oh yes, after I set our basement on fire experimenting with rocket fuels, my dad nixed any future experimentation. This explains why I'm not a chemical engineer and did not work for NASA...
    N5HZR, W6KCS, KG5CJA and 1 other person like this.
  5. KI5AIF

    KI5AIF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Altus Metrum makes some really cool rocket computers that utilize the amateur bands to talk back to the ground. Definitely worth checking out:

    Also worth going to the Kansas Kloudbusters page / launches. They're a great group that helps MANY in the region get airborne.
    AG5DB, N5HZR and K6CLS like this.
  6. ZL2SCI

    ZL2SCI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Great presentation , also another interest area for Amateur Radio and the introduction of Students to Rocketry .... using data links for tracking and recovery of the rockets as well as real time out put of data from the payloads ....

    N5HZR likes this.
  7. WD0BCT

    WD0BCT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    This may have made you a prime candidate to work for NASA! Think of the experience you earned w/o costing them a penny.
    Perhaps Thiakol could have used your rocket fuel experience!
    N5HZR likes this.
  8. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sugar iz da real stuff!

    You do NOT wanna mess with hydrazine. Really toxic:)
    WD4ELG and N5HZR like this.
  9. W2AAT

    W2AAT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the comment. I mostly was involved with solid fuels. Back in those days, kids could go to the local chemical supply company and buy just about anything they wanted. Thinking back, I had a lot of explosives. If I were a kid and had that stuff these days, the FBI and other federal agencies would be knocking at my door. I'd even be discussed on CNN. In all honesty, I loved the chemistry... more than electronics, which explains my career...

    I think that we had more freedom to explore back in those days. Also, I can't remember hearing about a nerdy kid doing destruction to others... Science was fun!!!
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
    W1YW, N5HZR and WD0BCT like this.
  10. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Absolutely right--

    And if we did what we did then-- now-- society would label us terrorists rather than explorers and inventors! Messed up...

    Remember those aluminum cigar tubes? When I was kid (seven) I had the brilliant idea of taking those red-rolls caps and sticking them in like a jelly roll, after soaking with lighter fluid. Glued wings on the sides. Lit with nichrome wire and two 9v batteries.. This ended up being a poor rocket and, unfortunately, a fair,loud, and uncontrolled incendiary device. Managed only to burn a 100 square foot patch of lawn before hosing it out...end of THAT!
    WD4ELG, K4GHL, N5HZR and 1 other person like this.

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