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SHARP - Shaftesbury High Altitude Robotics Project

Page history last edited by Robert Striemer 1 month, 4 weeks ago



The information here-in, especially as it relates to school based Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) projects and amateur radio courses will remain and I hope you will find it useful.



2023 New! A Teachers Guide to High Altitude Balloon Projects

a very large pdf document hosted on the Manitoba Association of Physics Teachers (MAPT) website.


MAPT's HAB Flight Day 2019


Data Files:



Google Earth (kmz) Files:





MAPT's Southwest Winnipeg Mini Weather Server - Updates Every 10 Minutes






Rob Striemer (VE4SHS)


December 16, 2018




Shaftesbury's Satellite Communications/Amateur Radio Station Dismantled


The Pembina Trails School Division dismantled Shaftesbury High School's ARISS telebridge/satellite communications station at the end of June. The station/portable classroom will be returned to a regular teaching space for September 2018. The station was built with donations received from Prairie Mobile Communications, JVC Canada, Kenwood Canada, the Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) and many Manitobans as well as Shaftesbury High School and the Pembina Trails School Division (PTSD). The station was certified in 2015 by ARISS International as Canada's only ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) telebridge station setting the stage for regular radio contacts between astronauts on the International Space Station and students at Shaftesbury as well as schools around the world (telebridge). Unfortunately there was only one direct radio contact beween astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on the ISS and Shaftesbury students in the station. The station was operational until preamp failures occured late in 2015. Shaftesbury teachers were eventually able to retrieve the faulty preamps from the antennas on the library roof and have them repaired but by 2016, new PTSD safety protocols prevented their reinstallation. The repaired preamps and student built antennas have been sitting in the station awaiting installation ever since. Plans were proposed to Shaftesbury and the Pembina Trails School Division that would allow the station to be repaired and to resume ISS operations but to no effect. The room was also used by SHARP students for their high altitude balloon project work and for the delivery of amateur radio certification courses until 2017. There was no significant Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) activity in this space during the 2017-18 school year.


It is believed that the contents of the station will be put into storage by the school division and it will eventually be disposed of or even destroyed in the coming year. I have not been able to determine how the expensive station equipment might be freed up for educational use by PTSD students and other educators through entities such as the University of Manitoba Space Applications & Technology Society (UMSATS), the University of Manitoba Amateur Radio Society (UMARS) or the Manitoba Association of Physics Teachers (MAPT). The large directional LEO satellite tracking antennas are still in place on the library roof at least for the time being.


video: ARISS Student-Astronaut Radio Contact Explained


Shaftesbury Station Equipment (Partial List of Larger Items)

Satellite Transceivers

SPID AZ-EL Antenna Rotators and MD-02 Controllers

M2 VHF and UHF Antennas

GLENMARTIN Antenna Towers


Gone But Not Forgotten


Rob Striemer (VE4SHS)

July 2018


MAPT's HAB Flight Day 2018


Eleven Manitoba schools launched high altitude balloons (HABs) with student experiments, cameras and tracking radios from Alonsa Manitoba on April 27, 2018. All payloads but one have been recovered. A few more schools will fly later in May or June.


First year HAB team; Miles MacDonell Collegaite produced this video of HAB Flight Day 2018.


For interactive 3D representations of each team's flight path, click on the links below. (You must have Google Earth installed on your system.)


Miles Macdonell Collegiate

Garden City Collegiate

West Kildonan Collegiate

River East Collegiate

University of Winnipeg Collegiate

HC Avery Middle School

Lundar Collegiate

Leila North Middle School

St. James Collegiate

Fort Richmond Collegiate

Maples Collegiate

Collège Jeanne-Sauvé

Immanuel Christian School

Sisler High School


Immanuel Christian Flight Path May 2nd, 2018



 More information is available on the Manitoba Association of Physics Teachers web site.



MAPT's Second Annual  HAB Symposium Complete - HAB Flight Day 2018 Next MAPT Event


Shaftesbury Wins Best Use of Radio Award



Report to WARC on Shaftesbury's Radio Award

Symposium News

HAB Symposium Presentations

HAB Symposium Arduino Sketches




Manitoba Schools 2nd Annual High Altitude Balloon Symposium


Sponsored by the Manitoba Association of Physics Teachers and Manitoba Aerospace.


Friday, February 9th, 2018 at Bernie Wolfe School


for all Manitoba School HAB Teams – Students & Teachers!



All Day Sessions on High Altitude Balloon Science and Engineering, Awards and Lunch; $10.


High Altitude Ballooning News for September 2017


The Manitoba Association of Physics Teachers (MAPT) received a $1000 grant from the IEEE Canada Foundation to complete the development of the Iridium Transceiver Circuit developed by Shaftesbury High School students Bryce Jenkins (VA4VBC) and Matthew Hewlett (VE4MRH). They will produce two complete circuits, provide code and additional printed circuit boards for testing on school HABs in 2018. Tom Tessier of Solara Remote Data Systems has been mentoring Bryce and Matthew. Solara provides Iridium Transceiver and the Iridium satellite service. This circuit saved the Shaftesbury HAB from landing in the USA last May. We plan to have Tom and the guys talk about and demonstrate the finished products at the upcoming Manitoba Schools HAB Symposium.


MAPT also received a $1000 grant from Manitoba Aerospace Association to support our second Manitoba Schools HAB Symposium. Some of the grant will cover the cost of original trophies to be awarded to school teams. We would like to get help from schools with the building of the trophies as opposed to buying the standard achievement trophies from a commercial supplier. If you are on good terms with talented shops teachers (metal, woods, plastic, electronics) at your school please discuss this idea. MAPT now has the funds to cover the cost making the trophy. Among the suggestions for award categories are: Best Engineering, Best Science, Highest Altitude, Best Payload Construction, Longest Flight, and Best Photography or Videography. River East Collegiate has agreed to host the HAB Symposium likely in early February of 2018. The symposium venue will likely be RETSD Educational Resource Centre (Bernie Wolfe School) at 95 Bournais Drive in Transcona.



The Science Teachers Association of Manitoba (STAM) will again hold their annual SAGE conference at Westwood Collegiate (360 Rouge Road) on Friday, October 20th. As this is a speaker series conference this year, MAPT will not be running any sessions however Andrea Miser (Maples Collegiate) and I will be at the MAPT table in the gymnasium. Please visit, have a look at our MAPT swag, renew your MAPT membership ($5) and check that we have your correct contact info. The location of MAPT’s AGM is still to be determined.


Quadcopters for River East Team

Two quadcopters (drones) along with radio transmitters, First Person View gear, lipo batteries and charger, servos and many other parts and accessories was donated by MAPT friend Alan Thoren. The equipment has found a home with physics teacher Dean Hallick and the River East Kodiaks HAB team.



River East Collegiate HAB Team with RC Quadcopters


Basic Amateur Radio Certification Course

I have no information yet on when and where the next amateur radio course will be.




A high altitude balloon (HAB) called SPARTAN-1 will launch Monday, June 26th from Lundar on the east shore of Lake Manitoba around 11AM. This is the first HAB flown by Sisler High School students and the tenth Manitoba school HAB to fly in 2017. The balloon and payload is expected to reach an altitude of about 32 kilometres near Oakville before descending on its parachute and landing in the vicinity of Elm Creek around 2PM. SPARTAN-1’s amateur radio (APRS) tracking beacon will use the call sign VE4SHS-11 for this mission. You will be able to follow the flight in real time on aprs.fi.


Sisler is the largest school in Manitoba with an enrollment of about 1800. The school offers students many technology programs including cyber security, engineering and design technology and robotics.



June 25th, 2017


The Manitoba Association of Physics Teachers High Altitude Balloon Report

Langruth, a small town on the west side of Lake Manitoba, was the perfect launch site for MAPT’s High Altitude Balloon Flight Day 2017. This is the third year that the Manitoba Association of Physics Teachers has organized HAB flights that launch from rural schools. Eight teams launched HABs this year and other schools sent observers. Students from the HAB schools work on their payloads all year long. Each payload includes science and engineering experiments as well as a 2-metre band Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) transmitter. The HAB’s APRS beacon transmits a call sign, as well as latitude, longitude, altitude and airspeed provided by the attached GPS receiver. Most teams include students and teachers who are certified amateur radio operators.

Shaftesbury High School’s team (SHARP) launched their HAB using teacher Adrian Deakin’s call sign VA4AMD-8 first. All HABs were in the air by noon. The weather was warm and sunny. Surface winds were light. The children of Langruth Elementary School watched with great interest from the edge of the field. Launches are always fun and exciting events for our growing community of young scientists and engineers.


SHARP 7Ir is launched from Langruth Elementary School.  St. James Collegiate and Maples Collegiate HABs are ready to go.


After the launches, all the HABs drifted out over Lake Manitoba. The teams quickly cleaned up the launch site and got into their vehicles and proceeded to chase their high flying experiments. At an altitude of about 10 km, near the city of Portage la Prairie, the HABs entered the polar jet stream. The balloons were now travelling at over 200 km/h. These speeds were faster than our model had predicted and concern was growing among some teams that their payloads could land in the United States.



The Polar Jet Stream May 4th, 2017 is 10 km above Portage la Prairie (HAB data via APRS).


A half hour later, the Shaftesbury High School HAB was at an altitude of almost 20 km (65000 feet) and about 40 km to the southeast of the chase team. The crew had stopped at a gas station on the outskirts of Portage la Prairie to consider the speed and range problem. The HAB was now above the jet stream but it was much farther south than predicted. The team decided that an engineering experiment called the Iridium Satellite Transceiver Circuit in the Shaftesbury payload should be activated right away. Student Bryce Jenkins sent a command from his cell phone, through the Iridium satellite system, to the SHARP HAB at 12:37 to “cut” the Dacron line between the parachute and the balloon. The Iridium transceiver-Arduino circuit worked perfectly. This turned out to be the right decision. Although the Shaftesbury payload did not reach its desired 30 km altitude in a region of the atmosphere called near space, it did stay in Canada. Otherwise the Shaftesbury payload would have joined another team, landing just across the border in Minnesota. Thank you Tom Tessier (VE4TRT), president of Solara Remote Data Delivery for mentoring students Bryce Jenkins (VA4VBC) and Matthew Hewlett (VE4MRH) on this project! Tom and MAPT will encourage the guys to develop the device further.


The SHARP payload, free of the balloon, descended to Earth hanging from its parachute. It landed within a few hundred metres of a farmhouse three miles northeast of Plum Coulee, Manitoba. The farmer who owned the land, discovered the payload. Mr. Nickel happily gave it to students Bowen LeMay and Bryce Jenkins. A good discussion about the HABs and the technology in the payload was had with the Nickel family. Bryce had earlier decided to not trigger the cold smoke dispenser in the payload, just before the landing, because the team would not be near enough to see the coloured smoke trail. Now with the payload on the ground, Bryce sent the command, through the Iridium satellite system, to trigger the smoke. Unfortunately the smoke dispenser was damaged when the payload landed and it did not start properly. All we saw was a puff of smoke from the fuse. Our new friends gave Bryce a propane torch and lots of orange smoke was quickly produced.


The Shaftesbury High School payload is recovered on the Nickel farm Near Plum Coulee.

Peter Toth (VE4TTH), Winnipeg Amateur Radio Club president and RAC assistant director is third from the left.

Bryce Jenkins (VA4VBC) is third from the right.


All teams had adventures which makes these science and engineering field trips really special and unique events. MAPT looks forward to the annual MB HAB Schools Symposium where students will present papers on what they learned from the May 2017 flights and relive their successes and failures and discuss plans for future flights.


For the complete storey with reports from all teams (except College Jeanne-Sauve and Sisler which launched later) download this pdf.


MAPT's Article for the summer edition of The Canadian Amateur (TCA); journal of the Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC).


Manitoba Associtaion of Physics Teachers HAB Teams Website: https://mapteachers.wordpress.com/hab/


June 9th, 2017



Basic Short Course 13 Concludes

Twenty-five students wrote the basic qualification exam on Saturday, March 25th. Twenty-one students passed with honours (80%+). This is a tremendous result! Only one student did not pass and he was close. Congratulations to a dedicated group of students. We hope to hear you on VE4WPG very soon.


Among the four high school students who certified are two international students who attend Shaftesbury High School. Diego Fernandez (VA4DFR) and Matteo Regge (VA4FXR) from Spain and Italy respectively now have Canadian call signs. Students and teachers from River East Collegiate and Garden City Collegiate also received their call signs. These schools are part of the growing number of schools with high altitude balloon projects that use amateur radio (APRS) for tracking their high flying science and engineering experiments.


April 5, 2017


November 2016 Update

SHARP students are assembling the new M2 UHF antenna in the ground station. Arrangements with Pembina Trails School Division for accessing the roof are being worked out. It's hoped that the HF antenna on the roof of the ground station (QRM issue) can be moved to the library roof before the first snow.

Shaftesbury students are hoping to have radio contacts with students of the Shanley High School Amateur Radio Club (KD0TCP) in Fargo, North Dakota and with students at Garden City Collegiate in Winnipeg
The Winnipeg Amateur Radio Club's Basic Short Course 12 concluded Saturday, October 22nd at Shaftesbury with the writing of the Industry Canada exam. Two high school students passed the course with honours. Congratulations to Nik Reichert (VE4NJR) of Garden City Collegiate and Nikhil Sharma (VA4NIK) of Shaftesbury. Thankyou WARC, the instructors and examiner Bob Jacobs (VE4RCJ). Thirteen people sat the exam and nine passed, all with honours. WARC's next BSC may start in February of 2017.

Grade 12 student Jordan Bowley (VE4JRB) made a presentation on his HAM WAN project at the November 14th WARC meeting.

On Wednesday, October 26th, Shaftesbury High School hosted the first Manitoba Schools High Altitude Symposium from 9 AM to 3 PM in the school library. Students and teachers from several schools including Shaftesbury, Fort Richmond, St. James, Garden City, Maples, Sisler, Steinbach, Immanuel Christian and River East attended. Students and teachers made short presentations on a number of topics including, Amateur Radio, the Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS), HAB Physics, HAB Chemistry, Payload Stabilization, HAB Arduino Projects, Atmospherics, Fundraising and Using Social Media. The presented papers have now been compliled and are available for download here. The Proceedings of the 1st Manitoba Schools High Altitude Symposium sponsored by the Manitoba Association of Physics Teachers - MAPT.


Here is a new SHARP 6 video by Bryce Jenkins (VA4VBC). Thanks Bryce! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6InyezkDgFU




 Nikolaus Reichert (VE4NJR) and Nikhil Sharma (VA4NIK) left.  Thirteen presentations were made at the 2016 Manitoba Schools HAB Symposium (two photos on the right).


November 15th, 2016


Advanced Receiver Research Preamps Repaired

ARR has repaired the ARISS Telebridge preamps that failed last November due to corrosion. The preamps arrived back at Shaftesbury a few days ago. The problems Shaftesbury had with its preamps were similar to some of the issues described on eHam.net. Repairs cost less than $150 which included replacement of MGF-1302 GaAs FETs. Almost half the cost was related to shipping and insurance. We are happy with the service ARR provided. We look forward to mounting the units in new water resistant housings and then putting them back up on the towers this summer.


The school team was recently informed by ARISS International that Shaftesbury has lost its status as an ARISS Telebridge. ARISS International is currently persuing other options. Shaftesbury will refocus its Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program in the 2016-17 school year.


June 23, 2016




Five HAB Constellation Launched from Carman Collegiate


The mass launch of High Altitude Balloons (HABs) on Friday, April 30th was a great success.


For the story of SHARP 6, click here.








Maples, Shaftesbury and Fort Richmond payloads landed within 2 miles of each other. St. James and Maples landed about 1/4 mile apart. The biggest spread was between Garden City and Fort Richmond, they landed about 6 miles apart. Fort Richmond was the last to land, about 46 minutes after the first; Garden City. The flight prediction provided through HABHub and the UK High Altitude Society proved incredibly accurate once again.






Friday, April 29th is HAB Flight Day


Five Winnipeg high schools will be launching high altitude balloons from Carman Manitoba. SHARP balloon's call sign is VA4AMD-8. The launch will be at 10:30 AM from Carman Collegiate. The payload should "cut down" at an altitude of 31.7 km (104,000 feet) at 12:37 PM. The balloon's burst altitude is 32.8 km which will be reached at about 12:42 PM. The SHARP 6 payload is now predicted to land at 1:23 PM about 5 miles east of Roland.


Balloons from Fort Richmond Collegiate (VE4JPI), St. James Collegiate (VE4SHS), Maples Colleigiate (VA4NGC) and Garden City Collegiate (VE4GMK) will also launch from Carman Collegiate at 10:30. 


David Nyoff (VA4DVD) a grade 11 student and recent grad of WARC's Basic Short Course 11 conducted a launch from Carman on Thursday, April 28th which appears to have been successful, landing near Stevenfield Provincial Park.


SHARP's payload is very simple. The shape is an inverted, truncated pyramid with four fins. Quality ball bearing swivels were used on the balloon line to reduce rotation. The payload to parachute distance is extended slightly. There will be three cameras, two precision temperature sensors and a Geiger counter in the payload. SHARP 6 will not include the amateur radio cross band repeater that flew last year.


The flight path below shows a launch from Carman Collegiate with a landing east of Roland. The students hope to get some interesting videos of the mass launch, cut down and with luck, the parachute landing of at least one HAB payload. Two chase cars will be equipped with Kenwood TM-D710 mobile transceivers connected to laptops running aprsis/32 and open street maps.


Mr. Deakin (VA4AMD) will bring an Arrow antenna and attempt to work some satellites while he is waiting for the payloads to return. The students are also hoping that Syls drive in across from Carmen Collegiate is open for business.


Please follow us Friday on aprs.fi after 10:30 AM.



Flight Day Call Signs


Garden City Collegiate

Gabe Kraljevic (VE4GMK)


Maples Collegiate:

Andrea Misner (VA4NGC)


Fort Richmond Collegiate:

Jennifer Piasecki (VE4JPI)

Pardeep Mathode (VA4PWM)

Jared Kozak (VA4CAN)


Shaftesbury High School:

Adrian Deakin (VA4AMD)

Robert Striemer (VE4SHS)

Patrick Dunlop (VA4PJD)

Dylan Fijal (VA4DFJ)

Bryce Jenkins (VA4VBC)

Tara Towns (VE4TET)

Jordan Bowley (VE4JRB)

Gabriel Cohen (VE4AFK)


And special guest:

Peter Toth (VE4TTH) 


Thursday, April 28, 19:30 CDT




March WARC Meeting at Shaftesbury



The Winnipeg Amateur Radio Club (WARC) held its March meeting at Shaftesbury High School. The business portion of the meeting was held in the library. Afterwards, a special presentation was made in the Shaftesbury satellite tracking station by the students. Amateur radio classes, the Global Space Balloon Challenge, HF and satellite QSOs, and the ARISS Telebridge were discussed. Finally, Derek Hay representing the Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) presented the students with a cheque for $1200 to continue work on the station. Thankyou RAC!




Basic Short Course 11

WARC's Basic Short Course 11 concluded Saturday March 19th at Shaftesbury High School with the writing of the final exam. Thirteen earned their call signs. Congratulations to all the participants including the volunteer instructors and examiners Adam Romanchuk (VE4SN) and Bob Jacobs (VE4RCJ). Thanks also to the Manitoba Amateur Radio Museum which provided each student with a pass to the MARM and the Manitoba Agricultural Museum in Austin. Finally, a reminder to all new hams that WARC's spring flea market will be held Sunday morning, April 17th at the Heritage Victoria Community Club in St. James. Be sure you are there when the doors open at 9:30.


Fort Richmond Collegiate - Finalists in Samsung's Solve For Tomorrow Competition



It's Voting Season!

Please support Fort Richmond Collegiate’s Team in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Challenge. The Fort Richmond team has made it to the final round of the national school competition. A win would be a huge boost to the school’s engineering projects. Jared Kozak (VA4CAN) and Pardeep Mathode (VA4PWM) were students in BSC10 last fall (Jared, below and Pardeep, below-right of the eagle in the photo above). Pardeep is now in control of the school’s new Kenwood TH-D72A and was heard on the morning net during spring break. The team is managed by physics teacher Jennifer Piasecki (VE4JPI).


FRC is one of five Winnipeg high schools including Shaftesbury that are using amateur radio in their engineering projects. SHARP has been working with the FRC team on high altitude ballooning, amateur radio and related projects for a couple of years. All five high schools (Shaftesbury, St. James, Garden City, Maples and FRC) will again launch HABs this spring as part of the Global Space Balloon Challenge.


Please check out their video on the Samsung website below. Fill in the short form and vote for Fort Richmond Collegiate. Let’s see if we can help them win the final round!

The voting link is http://pages.samsung.com/ca/solvefortomorrow/English/vote.html


March 22, 2016


February Report



The Winnipeg Amateur Radio Club (WARC) will hold amateur radio classes at Shaftesbury High School beginning on Saturday, February 20th. Twenty-five students are currently registered for Basic Short Course 11 (BSC-11).


Net Control Operator Workshop

Nineteen students and teachers participated in a Net Control Operators’ Workshop at Shaftesbury High School on February 11. The workshop was put on by WARC's long time Chief Instructor David Rosner (VE4DAR). The purpose of the workshop was to give basic information and advice to students who could go on to be a net control operator for the Newbie  nets DAR has been running over the last couple of months. The Newbie Nets are to help new graduates to get on the air as soon as possible. Among the topics covered were: what is a net; types of nets; role of net control stations/operators; net scripts; handling check-ins; and tips for running a good net.


The Newbie Net is planned to continue until the end of June.  Net Control Operators (NCO’s) have been scheduled until the end of April.  Several NCO’s signed up at the workshop.  As students from other schools get their ham ticket, we hope the Winnipeg Newbie Net serves as their meeting place.


The Winnipeg Newbie Net is held every Saturday at 10 AM on the Winnipeg repeater VE4WPG. Thanks Manitoba Repeater Society.


And a big THANK YOU to DAR for starting  up the Newbie net!



HF at Shaftesbury

Shaftesbury has acquired an Icom IC-718 HF transceiver. Students are using the new rig to get their feet wet in the world of DXing. Special thanks to Peter Toth (VE4TTH) and Rolf Bandlow (VE4VZ) for helping with this project.



Global Space Balloon Challenge

Shaftesbury (SHARP) along with Garden City (Gopher Space), Maples Collegiate (Net Force), St. James Collegiate (Jimmies) and Fort Richmond Collegiate (F.R.E.E.) will once again compete in the Global Space Balloon Challenge. Other Manitoba schools are welcome to join in the fun. We are planning for flights on Friday, April 29th.


Shaftesbury to Host March WARC Meeting

The Winnipeg Amateur Radio Club will hold its March 14th meeting at Shaftesbury High School. The address is 2240 Grant Avenue at the south-east corner of Grant Avenue and Shaftesbury Boulevard. Parking is available all around the school. The business portion of the meeting will be in the library on the second floor. An elevator is available at the foot of the stairway in the middle of the school. We hope to see a good turn out.


February 16, 2016


Winnipeg Schools Amateur Radio Report


RAC Grants and WARC Basic Qualification Course at Shaftesbury

Shaftesbury received grants from the Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) totalling $2400 to complete Canada’s only ARISS Telebridge station. The station is operated by qualified students under the overall supervision of adults. Thank you RAC! The grant will be used to purchase a directional antenna kit, a lightly used HF transceiver, and a computer and software.


Shaftesbury High School will again host the Winnipeg Amateur Radio Club’s Basic Qualification course from February 20 to March 19th. Several students and teachers from at least three Winnipeg high schools will be taking the course in addition to other Manitobans. Course information and online registration is linked here. Shaftesbury student Dylan Fijal (VA4DFJ) will be teaching the regulations section.


Amateur Radio and High Altitude Balloon (HAB) Projects in Winnipeg Schools

The Global Space Balloon Challenge ( https://www.balloonchallenge.org/ ) this year runs from April 11 to May 9. Five Winnipeg High Schools participated last year in a mass launch from behind the high school in Morden Manitoba. The HABs are tracked using amateur radio APRS beacons. Fort Richmond Collegiate, Garden City Collegiate, St. James Collegiate and Maples Collegiate plan to launch their HABs with student experiments on Friday, April 29.  May 6th is the backup date.


Garden City Collegiate & Maples Collegiate Reports

The Garden City Collegiate (home of the Gophers) satellite tracking station should be up and running by the end of February. Alan Thoren (VE4YZ) and Rob Striemer have begun the clean-up and checks of the rig that has been unused since 2009. The only obvious problem noted so far is the azimuth rotor motor was unable to rotate the antennas. The problem may be the bearing. Work on the rotor will have to wait until spring. Staff and student hams at GCC should be able to get on the air very soon. By March, it’s expected that Garden City students will be in daily radio contact with Shaftesbury students about 12 kilometres to the southwest. This will enhance the high altitude balloon and amateur radio projects at both schools. With the help of the Winnipeg amateur radio community, we hope to add simple VHF/UHF rigs at Maples and Fort Richmond Collegiate. The situation at St. James Collegiate looks promising as they have had roof top antennas in the recent past.



Teachers and students at Garden City Collegiate met with Alan Thoren (VE4YZ), former owner of the FT-736R, SWR meters, LVB Tracker, rotor and five antennas pictured above.



The Gopher Space high altitude balloon team from Garden City Collegiate made a special presentation to the Seven Oaks School Division board of trustees recently. The Gopher Space presentation included a video which really impressed the trustees. The 5 minute video of last year’s HAB flight can be viewed from the Gopher Space web site at http://gopherspace.pbworks.com. On January 11th the Seven Oaks board awarded the Garden City team $2500 to fund their HAB projects and the offer was extended to “the Net Force” HAB team at Maples Collegiate. Garden City Collegiate is fully funding their student’s tuition in WARC’s basic qualification course starting in February.


Fort Richmond Collegiate - FRC

The FRC team led by teacher Jennifer Piasecki (VE4JPI) received a $1500 prize from Samsung Canada for their first round win in the “Solve for Tomorrow” Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education contest. The FRC team has advanced to the semi-final round of the competition. If they win in the final, all Canada round, their WiFi HAB project will be fully funded and then some. Info here: http://pages.samsung.com/ca/solvefortomorrow/English/ . Otherwise, student hams at FRC are using their hand held radios daily at school as they work on their HAB project. A stripped down router is to go up on a balloon in their wide area network experiment. 73 FRC


January 2016


More on the Receive Preamp Failures


"You don't have to look too closely to see the white crusting on the circuit board, and the green all over the metal parts. That's water damage! Once corrosion starts, especially on the relays, it's nearly impossible to stop. Even if I take the tiny relays apart and clean them, they will not last. I hate to say this, but they are trashed. Any repairs would be short lived and highly unreliable. Components that fail can be easily and reliably replaced, but this is much more than that unfortunately.


Bottom line, these are not repairable to a reliable point, and need to be replaced. When replacements arrive, regardless of manufacturer, they should be housed in a an enclosure that protects them from exposure to moisture. The enclosures don't have to be elaborate or expensive at all, just functional as a rain guard."



Both 2-metre preamps were similarly affected. Two 70 cm preamps are still on the towers. All four preamps were purchased in late 2013 and they are just off warranty.


Another photo of the traces on the back side can be viewed here. Another photo of the preamp on the tower (summer).


Januarry 8, 2016


Shaftesbury Students Making Satellite Contacts


Students have been taking advantage of the recent lunch hour availability of satellite AO-85 to make QSO’s with people around North America. At this point, members have logged 10 (unconfirmed) satellite contacts.  Below are some of the call signs contacted by Shaftesbury students and staff. The team is really excited to send out their first round of QSL cards. After having observed a number of tracking sessions, many students are now excited to make their first satellite contacts.


Shaftesbury Callsign


Distance from Winnipeg




Amarillo,Tx (1680 km)

December  8, 2015



Amarillo, Tx (1680 km)

Livingston Mt (1100 km)

December  8, 2015



Amarillo, Tx

Livingston, Mt

Washington, DC (2100 km)

Roswell, Ga (2100 km)

Vermillion, Oh (1500 km)

Collierville, Tn (1700 km)

December 3 - 8, 2015



Picture Captions:


  1. VE4JRB making contact via AO-85 (AMSAT-NA's FOX-1A FM cubesat)
  2.  Crew displaying QSL cards that will be sent to HAMs contacted


Story by Tara Towns (VE4TET)


The Fox-1 series of satellites are designed and built by the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT).


December 9, 2015


"Third Time's the Charm"

After two previously unsuccessful attempts to contact astronaut Kjell Lindgren on the ISS, the students and staff at Dragonskolan where successful today. Congratulations to the ARISS team, telebridge operator Adrian Sinclair in Argentina, moderator Eskil van Loosdrecht, Lars Ivarsson at the school and all the students for their perseverance.


Contact Audio


December 4, 2015


Preamplifier Failures

Testing in the station today revealed that both receive preamplifiers (primary and backup systems) have failed. This seems to have been a gradual/intermittent problem that did not reveal itself until the attempted ARISS contact on the morning of November 25th. It may not be coincidental that winter arrived here just days before with high winds and sleet turning to snow. The secondary preamp was intermittent today but then completely failed after about 5 minutes. We are confident that the problem was entirely with our preamps and not with the Ericsson on the ISS.


It will be some time before we are able to retrieve the preamps from the towers and examine them directly.


Needless to say, we deeply regret what has happened and we look forward to a successful contact for Nanasawa Kibounooka  Elementary School on December 2nd.




November 27, 2015


ARISS Contact for Dragonskolan

The Shaftesbury team regrets that the contact scheduled for November 25th was not successful. The cause is under investigation and an informed report will be made as soon as possible.


Thank you for your patience.


November 26, 2015


Space Station Contact Scheduled for the Shaftesbury ARISS Telebridge


     Manitoba as Seen from the International Space Station Last Year


Shaftesbury students are preparing for an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact. The contact was confirmed by Kenneth Ransom (N5VHO) at the Johnson Space Center Monday afternoon. The Shaftesbury ARISS Telebridge station, will connect Dragonskolan in Umeå, Sweden with the ISS at 09:42:47 UTC on November 25th. The students in Sweden will talk to American astronaut Kjell Lindgren (Pronounced: CHELL LEND-grin) for about 10 minutes. The Shaftesbury student radio operators are excited by the prospect of talking briefly to an astronaut in the middle of the night and being excused from their morning classes on the following day. The previously scheduled contact for two Italian schools has been changed. The Palermo Italy schools will now connect via Australian telebridge station VK4KHZ on Monday, November 23rd at 9:21 UTC.


ARISS: Amateur Radio on the International Space Station



Dragonskolan has an enrollment of over 1800 students, ages 16 to 19. In contrast, Shaftesbury's enrollment is about 600, ages 14 to 18. While the contact will occur at 10:44 local time in Sweden, in Winnipeg it will be 3:44 AM. The weather in Winnipeg will likely be a bit cooler than Umeå on November 25th.


Swedish School Link: DRAGONSKOLAN


The radio amateur and teacher in charge at Dragonskolan will be Lars Ivarsson (SA2CER). The school mentor and moderator will be Eskil van Loosdrecht (SM5SRR). Eskil is an airline pilot and will play his role as moderator while on a layover, hundreds of kilometres from Umeå in southern Sweden. The telebridge operator at Shaftesbury on this occasion will be Dylan Fijal (VA4DFJ). Dylan is a grade 12 student and previously made radio contact with astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti last May. Dylan will be ably assisted by grade 11 student Bryce Jenkins (VA4VBC) who will be operating the sound mixer.


ISS Live Tracker 


IRLP Reflector 9010 Discovery


ARISS Contact Notice (taken from the AMSAT Bulletin Board)

An International Space Station school contact has been planned with participants at Dragonskolan, Umeå, Sweden on 25 Nov. The event is scheduled to begin at approximately 09:44 UTC. It is recommended that you start listening approximately 10 minutes before this time. The duration of the contact is approximately 9 minutes and 30 seconds. The contact will be a telebridge between NA1SS and Shaftesbury High School. The contact should be audible over portions of Canada and adjacent areas. Interested parties are invited to listen in on the 145.80 MHz downlink. The contact is expected to be conducted in English.






Fort Richmond Collegiate HAB Project

Students at Fort Richmond Collegiate continue work outdoors on their high altitude balloon project despite the cooler November temperatures and darkening skies. The weather was great on November 6th when this tethered test was conducted using a small 350 gram balloon loaned by SHARP. Best wishes (73) from Shaftesbury!



November 17, 2015



World Space Week 2015 & 2m Antenna Assembly - October 2015


SHARP made its second test of a rockoon or rocket launched from a balloon on October 5th in celebration of World Space Week.


Some of the photos of the event can be seen here.


SHARP's Rockoon II launches itself from a high altitude balloon


SHARP students were assembling a new 2m ARISS backup antenna on October 22nd (photo below). The M2 Antenna Systems kit (with polarity switch and boom) was all purchased through a grant received from the Radio Amateurs of Canada (see summer 2015 report below). ARISS telebridge stations are required to have two complete and independant satellite communications systems.


Grade 11 students Tara, Bryce and Ari assemble the 10 foot directional antenna in the satellite tracking station.



Summer SHARP || SATS News Headlines


  • Dick Maguire (VE4HK), representing the Winnipeg Amateur Radio Club, dropped by the school to present "Worked All Winnipeg" certificates to some of the team on Thursday, October 1st. Thank you WARC!



  • SHARP students met on Thursday, Sept. 10th to unbox their Global Space Balloon Challange prizes which included five education electronics boards from Texas Instruments, one inflator, three 350g balloons, and three 1m parachutes from High Altitude Science. The photo below shows VE4TET (Tara Towns) modelling the TI microcontroller "Launch Pad" education kit while VA4DFJ (Dylan Fijal) models his Oxford University hoodie. Thanks to GSBC and the sponsors who made our prizes possible.












The photo below show's RAC President Geoff Bawden presenting the cheque to students Dylan Fijal, Diljot Garcha and Navjot Garcha in the SATS ground station.




  • Shaftesbury completes final ARISS commissioning with test contact on Canada Day. Video of contact between cosmonaut Gennady Pedalka (RN3DT) on the ISS and Tulsa Community College.


  • Student Dylan Fijal (VA4DFJ) is representing SHARP at an international science fair in England. I'll be posting his reports and photos as they arrive.


Report 1 - July 2: 


"Hello! I'm not in Cornwall yet. Just left London today, and staying overnight in Oxford. Tomorrow we're touring Oxford, seeing Stonehenge, and then arriving in Cornwall and meeting our hosts tomorrow evening.


So far this has been absolutely AMAZING. London was absolutely beautiful. We've seen tons of cool things like the British Museum, Natural History Museum, Camden Lock, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Downing Street, we went on the London Eye, Covent Garden Market, saw a play (Matilda) in a theatre, Buckingham Palace (and the Queen was home, the guards had machine guns), and the National Gallery. And just seeing London itself was amazing. The city is so compact, and the architecture is beautiful.


Well, I have to go off to bed soon, and I want to talk to a few friends before I do, so for me good night, and for you good evening.


Dylan Fijal"


Report 2 - July 4: 


Dylan has arrived in Camborne and has some photos for us.


"Hello! I  arrived in Cornwall last night, and today I've got a chance to upload some photos and send them to people (thanks to my host Connor). Enjoy the pictures (with descriptions)!"


Report 3 - July 9:


Dylan's last report.


"I've been having a fantastic time here in Cornwall. I've done tons of cool stuff. I've gone to St. Michael's Mount, Land's End, the Minack Theatre (a gorgeous outdoor theatre), seen the town of Falmouth and its Maritime Museum, went to a Cider farm to see the process of how it's made, and went into an old mine and blew off some dynamite. Boy that was one heck of an explosion. And all that was just the stuff I've done with CSIA.


My host family has taken me to see the coast town of St. Ives (gorgeous little town where I was introduced to pasties, delicious things), Cornwall's only city, Truro, where I saw the big cathedral they have there, and Hell's Mouth, a sheer drop cliff into the ocean.

Today at CSIA I worked together with students from Cornwall, South Korea, and China to do an experiment related to green roofs. We studied the effects different materials have on water retention on green roofs, testing the water flow with soil, gravel, and normal concrete roofs. Tomorrow we'll be presenting our findings. In the end, the presentation I made (re. SATS and SHARP) isn't needed at all.


In terms of amateur radio, it's been dead silent. I think amateur radio might not be as popular here. London only has like 5 repeaters, and Cornwall only has one, and it's out of range of Camborne. I've tried the Intl Simplex a few times, but I haven't gotten anything. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be making a contact in the UK, which is a bit disappointing, but it really doesn't matter that much with all the amazing stuff I've seen and done.

I'll be coming back to Canada on Saturday. My day will start with a 6 hour train ride to London, then a 6+ hour flight to Toronto, then a 2+ hour flight to Winnipeg. It'll be a whole, long day of travelling home.


See you soon, and 73,
Dylan Fijal"


A Beautiful Voice Was Heard Coming from Space


Shaftesbury students conducted their first radio contact with an astronaut on the international space station (ISS) this morning between 6:29 and 6:40AM (orbit 94419). Several students, Dylan VA4DFJ, Bryce VA4VBC, Navjot VE4NSD, Jordan VE4JRB, Kendra VA4MCT, Tara VE4TET, and Victoria Deakin VA4VRD who are certified radio amateurs spoke with Samantha Cristoforetti asking her about her life aboard the ISS using Shaftesbury's amateur radio satellite tracking station. No press were able to attend the event but our students made video recordings. This was the first check of our station's ability to perform ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space  Station) contacts that will link schools and students around the world to an astronaut on the ISS via the Shaftesbury station. The students performed very well today and made us very proud.


The signal from the ISS was generally good and Samantha gave us a glowing reception report as did Dave Taylor (W8AAS) representing ARISS in Baltimore Maryland. We expect that ARISS will certify Shaftesbury High School  ready to conduct regular school contacts soon. Today's contact was a big step forward in what has been a two year long process of building the station and developing the skills needed to make it all work. Needless to say, our students and the staff were very excited by the whole experience.



The audio received from Samantha on the ISS is not great in the following video clip. The GoPro camera used to record the contact is sitting on top of the TS2000 and the speaker is on the shelf above. Next time...


First ISS contact (revised) video clip. Thanks Bryce!


Happy faces in the ground station and on the speaker phone in the school.


Samantha's return to Earth has been delayed by a recent failure of a Progress M-27M resupply vehicle. Samantha will likely return to Earth on June 11th.


May 23rd, 2015


Five Winnipeg High Schools Launched High Altitude Balloons from Morden -

Four Payloads Recovered So Far


April 24th was a very exciting day for students and staff from five Winnipeg high schools. The five Global Space Balloon Challenge teams arrived at Morden Collegiate in Morden Manitoba and set up on the playing field. The high altitude balloon launches were delayed by gusting winds and an accidental loss of one balloon (but not its payload). The loss of the balloon was quickly rectified. Shaftesbury, Fort Richmond, St. James, Garden City and Maples HABs were all in the air by 11:35 AM and the chase began. Over the course of the afternoon and evening all but the St. James Collegiate HAB payload had been recovered. We expect that the Jimmie's payload will eventually return to its owners. It's most likely location is on a field near Morris. Please see the Google Earth link below. 


Update: The Jimmies have recovered their payload! St. James Collegiate physics teacher, Heidi Werner reported Wednesday, May 20th that the payload was found on a farm north-east of Morris. The seeding season is now over. Much thanks to the farmer (name is unknown) who picked up the payload which included data logger and video cameras. The St. James Collegiate students will no doubt be very pleased.




SHARP's SOAR-1 payload captured these photos of the Morden HAB launch pads. The top photo shows Gopher Space and Net Force hanging onto their balloons in strong gusts watching as SHARP's balloon lifts off. St. James and Fort Richmond have already launched. Photo 2 is from SOAR-1's downward pointing camera moments later. Tarps mark the team's launch sites. We could not all launch at once because of the high winds and therefore the HAB constellation was not tight. A much more precise method of filling the balloons will be needed for future constellation and networking experiments. The link below is to the Google Earth (.kmz) file showing the track of the Maples team's balloon and payload as well as the landing sites of all four payloads recovered so far. It may be useful to anyone searching for the St. James payload. The Maples HAB burst as expected at 32009 metres or 15,016 feet. SOAR-1 executed a programmed payload release at 103 000 feet. It appears from the video evidence that SOAR-1 took a longer track that was both farther south and east on the ascent and farther north and east on the descent compared to Maples. 


SHARP member Bowen LeMay flew a SHARP RC aircraft equipped with a video camera over the launch sites to capture this image of the five HABs before launch. SOAR-1 is at the far end of the field. Bowen is at the extreme right of the picture.



The audio recorded by the payload cameras suggests that the repeater was in considerable distress after operating for roughly an hour. Because of the wind related activity and the launch delay of about 35 minutes, the SOAR-1 video cameras did not catch the payload cut down or landing portion of the flight. All video ends at roughly 90,000 feet. Call signs recorded by the team will be listed here soon. I immediately recall VE4KAZ (Richard Kazuk - Winnipeg), VE4EDJ (Eric Johnson - Winnipeg), VE4BJZ (Robert Bond - Steinbach), K0EKL (Dave Quick - Cook, Minnesota). Cook is about 400 km southeast of Winnipeg. These lucky folks and many others will receive SOAR-1 QSL cards (eventually).


E-mail from Dave Quick (E0EKL) in Minnesota


Google Earth Track (Team Net Force - Maples Collegiate)


SOAR-1's SPOT Satellite Messenger Track


Video Clip from SOAR-1 cross band repeater, an early QSO - VE4SHS mobile in Morden (446.100 MHz) with VE4KAZ mobile (146.520 MHz) near Carmen.

VE4BJZ and VE4EDJ contact video


Photo of Companion HAB (Fort Richmond Collegiate's FREE?)

Crescent Moon Photo


Time Lapse Launch Videos - Bryce Jenkins (VA4VBC)

Video 1 - Five schools launch high altitude balloons from behind Morden Collegiate.

Video 2 - This time lapse shows the SOAR-1 launch preparations.


Internal Temperature Graph There was concern that the repeater might over heat. The high was 20C (on the ground) and the low -7C at the tropopause.


Prediction vs. Experience


The HAB Landing Sites


Cancer Care Fundraiser - "Brave the Shave" - For the cause, Dylan (VA4DFJ) gets shaved by Kendra (VA4KMT).


Winnipeg GSBC Web Sites:


Garden City Collegiate - Gopher Space

St. James Collegiate - The Jimmies




April 25th, 2015

  The SOAR-1 Repeater Team


The cross band amateur radio repeater is nearly ready for flight (Friday, April 24). Below is a photo of some of the SHARP team with their Global Space Balloon Challenge payload box. The internal temperature sensor and flight termination circuitry are still to go inside. The SOAR-1 flight is part of a larger Shaftesbury High School campaign to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society and raise awareness for the challenges of our loved ones who are currently fighting breast cancer. The photo below was taken in the SHARP satellite tracking station on Friday, April 17th.


SHARP is working with staff and students from five other Winnipeg high schools to fly a total of five 1200 gram high altitude balloons with student built payloads. The coordinating teachers are all members of the Manitoba Association of Physics Teachers (MAPT). All the high altitude balloons will be tracked and recovered using the amateur radio system known as APRS for Automatic Packet Reporting System. On April 24th you will be able to follow all the flights in real time beginning at 11AM online at aprs.fi. The call signs for the school HABs are VE4SHS-9, Shaftesbury High School (SHARP SOAR-1 Repeater), VE4SHS-5, Maples Collegiate (The Net Force), VE4SHS-6, St. James Collegiate (The Jimmies), VE4SHS-15, Garden City Collegiate (Gopher Space), and VE4JPI, Fort Richmond Collegiate (F.R.E.E.). Miles MacDonell Collegiate will also be represented. We hope to get some dramatic photos and videos of the launch from the air.


Radio amateurs wishing to use the SOAR-1 simplex repeater and speak with a student in a chase car while the SOAR-1 HAB is airborne should call on 146.520 MHz between 16:00 and 18:00 UTC (11AM and 1PM in Manitoba)












































Call signs from ccw from lower left: VE4TET, VA4VBC, VA4AMD, VE4NSG, VE4JRB, VE4DSG, VE4SHS, VA4DFJ, VE4ANG, VA4MCT.


Flight Path Predictions for April 24th:


1) Made April 17th - Launch Site = Sanford, Landing Site = just west of Brunkild

2) Made April 18th - Launch Site = Sanford, Landing Site = just west of Morris

3) Made April 19th - Launch Site = Elie, Landing Site = between Carmen and Morris

4) Made April 20th - Launch Site = Elie, Landing Site = South of Morris

5) Made April 21st - Launch Site = Carmen, Landing Site = Near Sanford

6) Made April 22nd - Launch Site = Morden, Landing Site = Near Morris

7) Made April 23rd - Launch Site = Morden, Landing Site = Just West of Morris


Launch of the Manitoba HAB constellation including Shaftesbury High School's SOAR-1 is confirmed for 16:00 UTC from Morden Collegiate. The Puxing PX-UV973 repeater will be active from about 16:00 to 17:40. Very distant stations should call between 17:20 and 17:45 at high power. Vertically polarized, directional antennas should be pointed just above the horizon at southern Manitoba.




Updated April 23, 2015


SOAR-1 and the Global Space Balloon Challenge


Shaftesbury Overhead Amateur Repeater #1 (SOAR-1) is SHARP's entry in the Global Space Balloon Challenge. The key component in the payload is the Puxing PX-UV973 hand held transceiver which will be setup as a cross band amateur radio repeater. The VHF frequency will be 146.520 MHz and the UHF frequency will be 446.100 MHz. The repeater will receive on either frequency and retransmit on the other frequency. At an altitude of about 105000 feet (32 km) the line of sight range will be close to 700 kilometres giving a potential radio footprint of something approaching 1400 kilometres in diameter. The power output will be limited to 4 watts. Cities within this footprint include Regina, Moose Jaw, Thompson, Pinawa, Thunder Bay, Fargo and Minneapolis. Students at the SHARP/SATS ground station will attempt to run a HAB net and record QSOs and QTHs to evaluate the performance of their very high altitude repeater from the reports of the stations that are able to receive its signal.


SHARP will be assisting five other Winnipeg high schools with their first high altitude balloons and GSBC entries. The schools we are working with include Fort Richmond Collegiate (F.R.E.E.), St. James Collegiate (Jimmies), Garden City Collegiate (Gopher Space), Maples Collegiate (Net Force) and Miles Macdonell Collegiate (MMC-HAB). We are the Winnipeg six. So far there are 257 teams in 46 countries entered in this year's GSBC.


SOAR-1 will likely leave the ground at 11AM on April 24th from a site still to be determined but it will likely be from a school in western Manitoba. The average daytime high temperature for April 24th is about +10 C. The SHARP team for the SOAR-1 mission are listed here.

The flight of SOAR-1 is dedicated to the bravery of all who struggle with breast cancer.    


SOAR-1 Payload



Mass (g)

APRS transmitter/antenna + GPS + 12V Battery


SPOT GPS Messenger


Payload Box




Cross Band Repeater (Puxing 973)


Payload Release Circuit - Arduino/GPS/Battery


2, 808 #16 Keychain Camera/LiPo Battery




Additional Components


Canon A1200 with CHDK


GoPro Video Camera/Battery Pack


1 USB Temp Sensor (internal)


Arduino/SD Logger Shield and Sensors


Additional Mass



If the results from SOAR-1 warrant, we hope to repeat the process in the fall of 2015 with SOAR-2 riding a 3000 gram balloon. SOAR-2 may set a SHARP altitude record of over 130000 feet. The possible footprint for SOAR-2 is shown below. Will our 4W transmitter reach Minneapolis? We plan to find out. 



HAB crossband repeater links:


Edge of Space Science

Lockheed Martin ARC

Arizona Near Space


March 2015


"Close but no cigar. This time."


Elon Musk



The video of the attempt by SpaceX to soft land a Falcon 9 first-stage on a barge.


January 10, 2015



December Visits


Representatives from Prairie Mobile Communications and JVC - Kenwood Canada visited the Shaftesbury ARISS Telebridge Station. Prairie Mobile and Kenwood each donated a Kenwood TS-2000 transceiver to the SATS project. Members of SHARP visited Ecole Dieppe and spoke to grade 6 science classes who are studying flight. SHARP members also attended the Winnipeg Amateur Radio Club's annual Christmas party. CJOB's Nighthawk (Geoff Currier) chatted on air with Mr. Deakin (VA4AMD), Kendra McTavish (VA4MCT) and Dylan Fijal (VE4DFJ) about SHARP, SATS and the appeal of amateur radio. (17 MB mp3).


Photos from left to right below: 1) Prairie Mobile and Kenwood Canada representatives visiting the Shaftesbury ARISS Telebridge Station. Without the amazing generosity of both Prairie Mobile and Kenwood Canada, SATS would not have been possible. Thank you Mr. Wiebe (Shaftesbury's principal) for the photo which shows some of our most dedicated students seated in the front row. 2) Shaftesbury's  presentation on high altitude balloons and other SHARP activities at Ecole Dieppe. A mock ARISS contact was performed by the students using their hand held transceivers. Dieppe students questioned the "astronaut" (Mr. Deakin) who was orbiting in the hallways. 3) The last photo shows Geoff Currier with Dylan and Kendra in the CJOB studio. We met Mr. Currier at the CJOB booth on Portage Avenue during the Santa Claus Parade last month. Thank you Mr. Currier for your interest in our students and in amateur radio.




December 2014



SHARP Radio Operators At Santa Claus Parade


Shaftesbury radio operators assisted ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) and WARC (Winnipeg Amateur Radio Club) with communications at this year's Santa Claus parade. Students Angie Liu (VE4ANG), Jordan Bowley (VE4JRB) and Bryce Jenkins (VA4VBC) worked the radios on Portage Avenue across from the University of Winnipeg. A couple of Shaftesbury alumni appeared in the parade including mayor Brian Bowman and world champion curler (and olympic gold medalist) Kaitlyn Lawes. Mr. Grier and family made a surprise appearance in the crowd.


To see more Santa Claus parade photos visit SHARP - ARES on Flickr.





November 15, 2014


October Skies


  • SHARP participated in the fall WARC flea market again this year. Coordinator Dick Maguire (VE4HK) thanked the crew for helping with the break-down of the tables.
  • Five more Shaftesbury students successfully completed the WARC amateur radio course held at Shaftesbury. SATS now has at least 10 students to draw on to conduct ARISS radio contacts with astronauts on the International Space Station.
  • SHARP students celebrated World Space Week this year with a rocket-camera launch (photos below). Video clip of the rocket flight here (7MB).
  • Mr. Wagener, Mr. Deakin and Mr. Striemer attended an AMSAT conference in Baltimore. Here are the links to their Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at Shaftesbury paper and the presentation. The teachers also met many members of the ARISS operations group. (photos from the Udvar-Hazy Centre: OSCAR 1 and Discovery)
  • Students used the SATS ground station to listen in on an ARISS contact between astronaut Alexander Gerst (KF5ONO), the Italian ARISS Telebridge station operated by Claudio Ariotti (IK1SLD) and Indiana Junior High School, Indiana, PA. Bryce and Dylan handled the phones and computers and recorded the contact from start to finish. (Contact recorded October 17, 2014 - 20 MB mp3 file!) 
  • SHARP students made a presentation to the Winnipeg Amateur Radio Club (WARC) proposing a joint high altitude balloon amateur radio repeater mission (WHARP) to fly in April 2015.




October 2014


UK HAB Circumnavigates Earth

The solar powered "floater" B-64, launched by radio amateur Leo Bodnar (M0XER), has passed over the UK on its record breaking journey around the northern hemisphere. Mr. Bodnar launched the balloon from Silverstone on July 12th. After reaching an altitude of 12500 metres, the balloon became neutrally buoyant. It traveled east across Europe, Asia, the Pacific and the Americas (crossed central Manitoba on July 26th) and is now back over Europe. B-64 crossed Russia's Kola peninsula heading north-east towards Novaya Zemlya. Its last known position was over the Barrents Sea on August 2nd. Will we hear from B-64 again? Yes we did. On August 21st, B64 passed almost directly over its launch site near Silverstone. Its now on its third "orbit".


B-64 has an 11 gram payload. Its beacons can be heard by radio amateurs on 70 cm at 434.075 MHz and on regional APRS frequencies. Small solar panels recharge a LiPo battery for night operation. Battery and solar panel voltage and temperature telemetry can be viewed via the previous aprs.fi link. Temperatures have ranged from sub -40 C to +20 C. Will B-64 catch a southerly breeze and reveal its position to radio amateurs? 


A second Leo Bodnar balloon, B-63, has just completed its first lap around the world and as of August 5th is over the western Mediterranean Sea and still going strong. 


A third Bodnar floater, B-66, has safely reached North America. Welcome B-66! On Sunday evening, B-66 was over the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state moving at a good clip. It passed directly over the Trident missile submarine base at Bangor then over the Boeing final assembly building in Everett before moving into British Columbia. By Monday, August 4th, B-66 had passed by Calgary and this afternoon it passed through southwestern Manitoba and into North Dakota. SHARP sent greetings via APRS packet; to which Mr. Bodnar replied, "Thanks for the msg!" Leo.


HAB Tracking with dl-fldigi


Spacenear.us Tracker

Tracker for Leo Bonar's long duration HABs


M0XER-6 Western N. America Tour in Google Earth


August 2014

University of Manitoba Space Camp 2014


Three SHARP students (Tara, Dylan and Jordan) attended this years' space camp (pictures below). Students toured engineering labs and built and flew rockets. They learned about unmanned aerial vehicles or drones and first person view technology. They engaged in some radio direction finding, soldered up some cool circuits and built even cooler circuits controlled by Arduinos. A huge thanks is extended to the Space Camp crew in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the U of M who made it all happen. The last photo below shows the complete layout of the SATS satellite tracking antennas.


An ARISS radio contact is planned with ESA's Space Camp at Rossall School in Fleetwood, UK. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, July 29 at 14:01:13 UT (9 AM local time) . It will be a telebridge contact operated by W6SRJ (W6ISS) in Santa Rosa, California. A video from the event will be webcast at http://www.batc.tv/streams/arissuk/ (click the ISS channel button and select "ARISS School Contacts streaming").




Below are the beam and HAMTV antennas of the Shaftesbury ARISS Telebridge Station on top of the school library. On the left are the 2m and 70cm antennas for satellite communication and on the right is a 1.5 m dish for HamTV (2.4GHz) reception.




July 2014


SATS on Amateur Radio Field Day


The Winnipeg Amateur Radio Club (WARC) and the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) right next door to Shaftesbury High School, hosted field day on June 28th and 29th. The QSOs were fast and furious while the weather featured thunder showers (see Storm begins to swirl near Winnipeg, Canada).


NASA astronaut, Reid Wiseman (astro-reid on Twitter) was active on the ISS and took calls from ham radio operators across North America. Our colleague, Stefan Wagener (VE4NSA) made contact from his station at Dorothy lake. The rest of the SATS team in Winnipeg, monitored from the Shaftesbury tracking station. SATS tracked the international space station on two passes Saturday afternoon.


Earlier Saturday morning some of us monitored a high altitude balloon flight (Armstrong mission) launched by Project Horizon of Queen Mary's Grammar School (Walsal) in England. Armstrong reached an impressive altitude of 38.915 kilometres. QMGS's Project Horizon represents a very impressive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiative. We hope for a speedy location and the return of Armstrong. We also look forward to their next HAB flight (Hadfield) next weekend. Yet another UK STEM initiavive to check out is the MARSBalloon project.



WARC Sets Up HF Antenna and Astronaut Reid Wiseman Takes Calls on the ISS During Field Day 2014 (photo courtesy NASA)


June 28th, 2014


Shaftesbury ARISS Telebridge Station Completed


We are in the process of testing various rotor and antenna configurations and are optimizing the system. Consequently the ground station, once again, looks more like a workshop than a mission control centre. Therefore, it is with deep regret that SATS decided to not be accessible to outside participants during WARC Field Day which was hosted at the Canadian Mennonite University just across the street. Minor issues aside we are ready for ARISS operations.


Stefan's report follows; "...testing shows that the rotor is under full control, software is working and the radios play well. The antennas work nice and a quick talk with NX9B (Jeff in Tennessee) on FO-29 (satellite) showed that we have a clear and strong signal on the satellites. Will do some more testing on different frequencies."


In other news, a Dnepr rocket (reconfigured Soviet era SS-18 heavy ICBM) hauled the largest number of spacecraft (37) ever launched at once into Earth orbit on June 19th. The launch included some Canadian satellites as well as amateur radio satellites.


June 23rd, 2014

Recovered RC Aircraft Flies Again


After falling 35 km from the stratosphere and gliding 35 km east crossing the Red River, the SHARP 3.1 micro Stryker landed on the Crystal Springs Colony. It spent the winter buried in snow. It was found on May 22nd and returned to the school.


After replacing the LiPo battery and after a few adjustments the Stryker was powered up and today it was flown behind the school. Bowen, our Stryker pilot, reported that it flew as well as last time (November 6th, 2013), just before leaving the Earth on the SHARP 3.1 high altitude balloon.


More photos on the SHARP 3.1 Flickr Album


June 5th, 2014



Shaftesbury ARISS Telebridge Service (SATS) Update


The SATS ground station successfully tracked its first satellite (SO-50) Sunday afternoon (May 25th). A considerable amount of work still needs to be done to complete the project but we are getting closer to our goal. Students also engaged in an amateur radio direction finding (ARDF) activity. Using directional antennas attached to hand held radios, students searched the area for a radio beacon called a fox (VE4SHS-5). The students were fox hunting! (No animals were harmed during the...)


There are some good opportunities to see the International Space Station early in June. Here are some dates and times (link below). AOS stands for Acquisition of Signal (space station is appearing on the horizon), MAX stands for maximum elevation in degrees (90 is directly overhead) and LOS stands for Loss of Signal (space station is again on the horizon and disappearing). The azimuth is the direction of the ISS (0/360 = north, 90 = east, 180 = south and 270 = west) (grade 9 science). For our students with a hand held amateur radio and a directional antenna, the voice communication downlink and uplink frequencies for the ISS are 145.800 and 144.490 MHz. In satellite telecommunication, a downlink is the radio signal from a satellite down to one or more ground stations or receivers, and an uplink is the radio signal from a ground station up to a satellite. Tune your radio to 145.800 and point your directional antenna at the space station (after dark its the bright moving "star" in the sky). The downlink frequency will vary due to Doppler shift but it should be correct when the ISS is at maximum elevation. Do not transmit on 145.800. If the ISS is not operating in voice communication short bursts of APRS packets may be heard on 145.825 MHz.


Mac Doppler ISS predictions for Winnipeg May and June 2014


May 27th, 2014

Lost Stryker Found!


On November 6th, 2013 the SHARP 3.1 high altitude balloon was launched from Treherne. Due to a failure of the GPS cutdown system (probable loss of satellite lock) the radio controlled aircraft (a micro Stryker) did not release from the payload until the balloon exploded at an altitude of 35.7 kilometres. Today we received a phone call from Daniel at the Crystal Springs Colony near Otterburne, explaining the discovery of our lost Stryker beside an abandoned farm house. Fantastic! The small RC aircraft fell from a height of 35 kilometres and made a 35 kilometre glide over highway 75 and the Red River to land near the Crystal Springs Colony. This is a not very impressive glide ratio but of course for most of the drop, there was no air to glide on. The plane is intact and will likely fly again!



SHARP 3.1 Photos


May 22, 2014

Magellan Aerospace to Build Advanced Satellite Integration Facility in Winnipeg


In a press release today, Magellan Aerospace announced that, in partnership with the University of Manitoba and assisted by Western Economic Diversification ($2.4 million), an advanced satellite integration facility (ASIF) will be established in Winnipeg. The facility will be shared and jointly operated by Magellan and the University of Manitoba. It will be a unique and innovative hub that will bring together industry and academia in the research, development, and the construction and testing of satellite buses and components.


Magellan will be home to the ASIF. The facility will be large enough to accommodate the simultaneous assembly, integration and testing (AIT) of three satellite buses.  Magellan will invest more than $2 million in the project that will contribute to the construction of the facility, multi-year program funding, and the establishment of an Industrial Research Chair in the area of satellite development within the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Manitoba. This facility and the new Chair will enhance the training opportunities available to engineering students at the University of Manitoba.


Magellan Winnipeg is manufacturing the three satellite buses for phase 1 of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM). MacDonald Dettwiler (MDA) of Richmond B.C. is the prime contractor for the RCM. 


U of M Announcement


May 20, 2014 

Alpha Technologies Outreach


Alan Castell and the team from Alpha Technologies visited SHARP on Friday, May 9th. As you can see from the photos below, Alan explained the workings of their radio controlled fixed and rotary winged photography/videography platforms. Alan demonstrated first person view or FPV technology while flying his aircraft in the classroom and outside the school. Multiple students wearing FPV goggles had a pilot's eye view which includes telemetry thanks to the radio transmissions from the aircraft. The camera, radio transmitters and antennas may be small but the video is crisp and clear. The aerial photographs we saw of Winnipeg landmarks such as the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and Investors Group Field were spectacular. Alan explained that the UHF system on their low flying radio controlled aircraft worked at distances of over 20 kilometres.  


Alan Castell emphasized the safety features built into the system as well as Alpha Technologies safe work procedures.


SHARP would like to use FPV technology on its RCs, drones and high altitude balloons (HABs). Our goal is to work with Alpha Technologies to develop methods for training FPV pilots and work this exciting technology into future SHARP projects. 


Thank you Alan and the team from Alpha Technologies and Alpha Flying Circus for a very informative presentation and a very exciting afternoon of flying!



Related video links: Penguin, David Windestal, Dave againJohn, CBC TV - The Rise of Drones.


May 9th, 2014

Shaftesbury's Top Ten


Shaftesbury High School has ten certified radio operators ready to provide ARISS contacts between schools world wide and astronauts on the International Space Station. Our top ten operators are from left to right Jacob Booth (VE4RED), Mr. Deakin (VA4AMD), Jordan Bowley (VE4JRB), Mr. Striemer (VE4SHS), Tara Towns (VE4TET), Daniel Gervais (VA4PRR), Kendra McTavish (VA4MCT), Tushar Upreti (VE4FUN), Bryce Jenkins (VA4VBC), and Alex Poersch (VA4ELF). Some of us have yet to have their chosen call signs confirmed by Industry Canada.


Special congratulations are due our three grade 9 students (Tara, Jordan and Bryce) who certified with honors (marks of 80% or more) thus receiving full spectrum privaleges. This was not an easy task. The many hours of study time is starting to pay off.



May 2, 2014


SATS || SHARP Outreach Event at Laidlaw School


Students from the SATS || SHARP presentation team visited Laidlaw school on April 29th. Presentations were made to grades 5 and 6 and grades 7 and 8 classes explaining our projects. The Laidlaw students had many interesting questions for our team. 


Thanks to the students and staff (Mr. Dunlop and Ms. Lankester) of Laidlaw school for inviting us and for being such good hosts. Hopefully we will be able to facilitate ARISS contacts with PTSD schools in the near future including Laidlaw.


April 29th, 2014

Manitoba Schools Science Symposium (MSSS) Gold Medalists


At the Manitoba Schools Science Symposium this weekend, three Shaftesbury students showcased their hard work and are the proud recipients of many awards. Grade 12 students Alexandre Poersch and Jacob Booth entered their SHARP Arduino system work and each won gold medals. The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba (APEGM) awarded them $125 each. They also each received a plaque and cheque for $500 for the Best Overall Senior Group Project in this year's science fair.


Grade 9 student Haroon Rashid (also a member of SHARP) did a project titled "Higher Expression of Toll-like Receptors and HIV-target Cell Chemoattractants in Endocervical Mucosa".  Dr. Blake Ball of the University of Manitoba (and a Shaftesbury graduate) mentored Haroon. Haroon won a gold medal, the Women's Health Research Foundation of Canada award for $100 as well as a plaque for the Best Individual Intermediate health project in the science fair.



Congratulations to Alex, Jake and Haroon!


Mrs. Stovel

April 27, 2014


SATS Satellite Tracking Antennas Go Up


The Shaftesbury ARISS Telebridge Service (SATS) primary antenna system was placed atop its tower on the library roof April 11th by a crew from Prairie Mobile Communications. The backup antenna system and HamTV dish antenna went up on April 16th. The twenty foot long directional antennas are an impressive addition to the Shaftesbury High School library. Work also continues inside the SATS ground station. The first photo shows the two primary satellite tracking antennas to the right with the secondary antennas and HamTV dish antenna to the left. The second photo shows some of the SATS team at the recent Winnipeg Amateur Radio Club flea market including VE4NSA, VE4TET and VE4FUN. VE4SHS took the photo ;) Aside from visiting with Manitoba radio amateurs and promoting SHARP and SATS at Shaftesbury High School, the team sold surplus hardware and T-shirts raising $180 for the programs. For more SATS tracking station photos please use the Flickr link below left.



More Photos


April 16, 2014


SATS || SHARP Presentation Season Begins


SATS || SHARP made its first presentation to the Pembina Trails School Division board of trustees on March 27th. Students and staff gave an overview of the recent SHARP 3.1 high altitude balloon flight over southern Manitoba as well as an update on the Shaftesbury ARISS Telebridge Service (SATS). Despite the long winter and the volume of snow still on the library roof, we are confident the ARISS telebridge station will be completed by early May. Upcoming events include the NASA Space Apps Challenge (April 12th at the U of M), the Winnipeg Amateur Radio Club (WARC) flea market (April 13th) and of course more presentations to feeder schools in April and May. WARC's Basic Short Course finishes on Saturday April 12th. Good luck to all our students who will be writing the Industry Canada radio exam.



April 8, 2014

U of M Holds Dream Big Event


SATS || SHARP participated in the University of Manitoba's Dream Big event on Wednesday, March 12th. Four students and two teachers attended the Space Trade Fair that included, Magellan, Solara, SHAW, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), Marsville, UMSATS, the Canadian Space Society (CSS) and others. Tomorrow we look forward to events featuring noted astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson. The photo below shows the team standing in front of the SATS || SHARP booth located in the Engineering and Information Technology Centre atrium. Suspended below the 100 gram balloon is an Arduino microcontroller and a very small video camera. It was great to visit with several SHARP alumni now studying in the faculty of engineering.


see our DREAM BIG photos on Flickr.



March 12th, 2014

Renovations to the SATS Ground Station Near Completion


The photo below shows the Shaftesbury satellite tracking station after painting and with new workstations where the amateur radio transceivers and associated computers will be installed. This is where Shaftesbury students will make radio contacts with astronauts on the ISS and conduct other amateur radio and satellite communication operations. Work on SHARP high altitude balloon payloads will be done on the opposite west wall of the ground station. The crew at work on Saturday, March 1st included Jordan and Bryce pictured here showing off the 2013-14 edition SATS || SHARP T-shirt. Shirts can be purchased from Mr. Grier for $20. Proceeds support SHARP and SATS.  




SATS || SHARP Banner


March 2014


ARISS Satellite Dish Antenna Assembly


The crew was at work on Saturday, February 8th stripping the cabinets and lockers from the old ground station and assembling the 1.5 metre dish antenna for the ARISS HAM TV downlink.


February 2014

January Work on the Satellite Tracking Station


The photos below show two new twenty foot long antennas. The 2 metre and a 70 centimetre antennas are now fully assembled and mounted with rotor. Testing and adjustments to follow. Cupboards have been removed from the walls. Two eight foot towers to support the primary and backup antennas have been moved to the library roof.



January 2014 

SATS Receives Grant/Donation from RAC and WARC


The Shaftesbury ARISS Telebridge Service (SATS) received two cheques just in time for Christmas. The first photo below shows the presentation of a $500 cheque to grade 12 student Jake Booth (VE4RED) by Radio Amateurs of Canada president Geoff Bawden (VE4BAW). RAC is supporting SATS through a community grant. The second photo shows Derek Hay (VE4HAY) presenting grade 12 student Alex Poersch (VA4ELF) with a $500 cheque from the Winnipeg Amateur Radio Club for the purchase of two receive preamplifiers that will soon be installed in the Shaftesbury satellite tracking station. A plaque commemorating WARC's preamp donations will be placed in the ground station on a later date. We expect that Jake and Alex will be the first Shaftesbury students to make an International Space Station (ISS) contact. Both students will be starting engineering programs in September. 



January 2014


 ArduSat-1/X  Successfully Deployed from the ISS


FUNcube Education Satellite in Orbit


FUNcube is an AMSAT-UK cube satellite that provides scientific data directly from the satellite to schools. The FUNcube team has developed a low cost "ground station" requiring a small antenna and USB dongle receiver and Windows Dashboard software available for school use from FUNcube. FUNcube-1 was launched on November 21, 2013 by a Russian Dnepr rocket. FUNcube's current location can be seen online here. The FUNcube website is at http://warehouse.funcube.org.uk/.  


December 2013


Shaftesbury ARISS Telebridge Service (SATS)

We are over halfway to our goal of raising $15000 to fund the building of the Shaftesbury ARISS Telebridge Station. Preliminary work began on Saturday, December 2nd and will continue into 2014. For more information on how we plan to connect students around the world to the International Space Station and other satellites, please visit the ARISS page.


Shaftesbury's ARISS Telebridge Station Takes Shape.

New 8 foot GlenMartin antenna towers in the background with M2 Systems 70 cm antenna in the foreground.


December 17, 2013 


SHARP 3.1 - We launched from Treherne. It soared to over 35 km. Many measurements were made. The payload was recovered.


The flight plan received final approval by Transport Canada and NavCanada on November 5th.

SHARP 3.1 launched on the November 6th.




The above photos are frames from the SHARP 3.1 "balloon cam" video. They were taken at an altitude of 35.75 km (117300 feet).

The balloon in the first image is about 43 feet in diameter and about 40 feet above the camera.

Thanks Treherne Collegiate Institute for hosting us. We had a great day.


SHARP 3.1 launched from behind Treherne Collegiate at 12 PM, reached maximum altitude around 2 PM then landed about 10 km southwest of St. Agathe around 2:30 (see ARISS the Google Earth flight map). The SHARP 3.1 balloon burst at about 35800 m about 1000 m lower than the programmed cut down. To view more photos please visit the SHARP 3.1 Flickr page. An edit of the burst video is here.


Special Flight Operations Certificate Application.pdf 


Early Data (unprocessed) from SHARP 3.1 Mission


  • APRS data (position, speed, altitude).
  • Acceleration and geomagnetic field in three dimensions, total B-field, payload, internal temperature, luminosity, barometric pressure and pressure altimeter data logged using an Arduino as a text file. 
  • Stratospheric Heating Experiment graph showing the difference in temperature recorded by two like sensors. One sensor covered by black electrical tape and the other by aluminum foil. Radiant heat produced a 10 degree temperature difference high in the stratosphere.


November 7, 2013

Watch SHARP in the news.

The Shaftesbury High School ARISS Telebridge Project 


The Shaftesbury High Altitude Robotics Project (SHARP) is an award winning Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curricular approach to teaching science. Volunteer students adopt portfolios to engineer solutions in response to a big question. Since 2009, SHARP has been investigating atmospheric science by launching high altitude balloons (HABs) and payloads equipped with sensors and scientific experiments into near space, achieving altitudes in excess of 120,000 feet.


This year the SHARP initiative is expanding to include space science.  With the construction of Canada's first and only permanent telebridge station at Shaftesbury High School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, our community is inviting members of the local, national, and international communities, as well as stakeholder members of the public and private sectors to participate in this one of a kind initiative to engage and inspire students, and to educate our future scientists, engineers, and astronauts.  Read more about the SHS ARISS Telebridge funding campaign. 

The Shaftesbury High School ARISS Telebridge Project




ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) is a cooperative venture of NASA, ESA, CSA, AMSAT, RAC and other international space agencies and amateur radio organizations. They regularly schedule voice contacts via amateur radio between astronauts/cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and classrooms and communities around the globe.

Since 2003, over 800 schools worldwide have been talking to the crews on the ISS. In Winnipeg, we already had three contacts, one of them was organized locally where we supplied the radio, antennas etc. and the two others used an ARISS telebridge station. Right now, ARISS has around 15 telebridge stations available, which are located all over the world, but none in Canada. They are operated by hams and are at a fixed location feeding the ISS signal which they receive and transmit via Internet or phone line to the schools around the globe.

Based on recent communications with ARISS, AMSAT and RAC, there is a considerable interest in having a Canadian telebridge station and Winnipeg is a very desirable location based on the ISS passes and our latitude/longitude location. One of the local schools, Shaftesbury High School (SHS) has the unique opportunity to become one of rare international telebridge stations and therefore the first and only one in Canada.

If established, Winnipeg students, teachers and our local amateur radio community will facilitate these contacts for other schools and groups around the world, offering not only a unique service, but bringing space science, radio communication, physics and engineering right into the classrooms.

In order to proceed with this ambitious plan we have secured the go-ahead from ARISS and RAC. However, we will have to meet stringent station and operational requirements. Although SHS has some amateur radio satellite equipment available, the station will need to be upgraded. We are planning on using a city-wide fundraising campaign to secure the necessary funds within the next few months. If successful, we are planning on setting up the station at SHS and developing the operational parameters, protocols. After that, we will go through a test cycle (contacting the ISS etc.) before hopefully becoming fully operational by the end of this year.


The Shaftesbury ARISS Telebridge Project Steering Committee


·  Dr. Stefan Wagener (VE4NSA) (AMSAT-CA delegate to ARISS) 

·  Robert Striemer (VE4SHS) (Teacher at Shaftesbury High School)

·  Adrian Deakin (Head of Science at Shaftesbury High School)

·  Stan Wiebe (Principal at Shaftesbury High School)

·  Derek Boutang (Director of Information Technology for the Pembina Trails School Division)


For more information on ARISS: http://ariss.rac.ca/oindex.htm


ARISS at Shaftesbury High School Presentation Monday, June 24th.


Shaftesbury ARISS Telebridge Project Website





ARISS Telebridge Project Donations


For tax receiptable donations to the Shaftesbury High School ARISS Telebridge Project, please make cheque payable to the Pembina Trails Educational Support Fund and write on the memo line "Shaftesbury ARISS Account".


The Pembina Trails School Division

181 Henlow Bay
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3Y 1M7
Phone: (204) 488-1757
Fax: (204) 488-2095


For More Information on The Shaftesbury ARISS Telebridge Project

Email: Robert Striemer at  rstriemer@pembinatrails.ca


SHARP Donations


For tax receiptable donations to the Shaftesbury High Altitude Robotics Project, please make cheque payable to the Pembina Trails Educational Support Fund and write on the memo line "SHARP Account".


The Pembina Trails School Division

181 Henlow Bay
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3Y 1M7
Phone: (204) 488-1757
Fax: (204) 488-2095


For More Information on The Shaftesbury High Altitude Robotics Project, navigate through this site using the side bar or

Email: Robert Striemer at  rstriemer@pembinatrails.ca



September 2013


Manitoba Education Letter of Support for Shaftesbury's ARISS Telebridge Project


Unfortunately MB Education is unable to provide financial support for the project at this time.


October 2013


SHARP Celebrates World Space Week!


Sputnik 1, the first artificial Earth satellite was placed in orbit 56 years ago today. The launch of Sputnik on October 4th, 1957 ushered in many new technological and scientific developments. To commemorate this historic milestone and honor World Space Week, SHARP conducted a test of a GPS/Arduino controlled circuit to launch a rocket from behind the school.




Sputnik Day found the SHARP students testing the Arduino/GPS cutdown circuit. A SHARP "rocket sled" is shown on the left. Alex is towing the sled and the GPS/Arduino "autolaunch" circuit.


On October 9th, 2013 SHARP students conducted a successful automatic Arduino/GPS controlled rockoon (rocket on a balloon) launch. Pictures of the test are on SHARP's Flickr site here and on the World Space Week Flickr site.


October 10, 2013 

"An international celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition."


Event Name: 

SHARP Space-Time

Event Description: 

An altitude test of SHARP's GPS/Arduino trigger circuit will be conducted behind the school over the lunch hour. A photo/video record will be made of the test. The trigger will launch a model rocket, a rockoon or drop an RC aircraft from a helium filled balloon.


September 2013



Ardusat Arduino Based CubeSat Satellite to be Deployed by the ISS


Our favorite open source Arduino microcontroller is aboard the ISS awaiting deployment.


October 2013 


Manitoba Space Adventure Camp 2013


Nine of the thirty-nine participants in this years Manitoba Space Adventure Camp were students attending Shaftesbury High School. The annual space engineering summer camp was held at the University of Manitoba (Engineering Information and Technology Complex) between August 19th and 23rd. MSAC activities included soldering and robot building, rocket building, "fox" hunting or amateur radio direction finding  (ARDF), building with composite materials, an introduction to orbital mechanics using STKSAE competitions at the U of M, and a presentation on the history of the Shaftesbury High Altitude Robotics Project, SHARP to name a few. 


  Matt can guzzle coffee like an engineer but can he assemble a functioning solar powered robot?  


Ham TV is Aboard the ISS


Installation of the ARISS television system should be completed by the fall of 2013.


ARISS Ham TV Antenna to go on ISS 


Arduino's in Space?


You already know that Arduino's are inexpensive open source microcontrollers used on SHARP high altitude balloon flights to log data from sensors, operate motors and release payloads at programmed locations. But, did you know that the Arduino will soon be in Earth orbit? ArduSat-1 is on the international space station and is to deployed this fall. Now consider this. You will be able to upload your space experiment sketch to the ArduSat! Space is going open source thanks to Arduino enthusiasts!  

Massimo Banzi on Open-sourcing Imagination


August 2013 



SHARP GPS/Arduino Controlled Cutdown Circuit Test - May 23, 2013


SHARP students Alex Poersch (VA4ELF) and Jake Booth (VE4RED) prepare to raise a small helium filled weather balloon behind the school. The payload hanging below the balloon contains Alex’s cut-down circuit which will be used on future SHARP high altitude balloon flights to release payloads including radio controlled aircraft. The device is a smart circuit that can release payloads according to the vertical position (altitude), geographic location (a “box” of latitude and longitude), or time. The circuit is controlled using a tiny GPS receiver and a programmable Arduino microcontroller. The circuit, when activated by the microcontroller, sends electric current to a nichrome wire which gets red hot and cuts through the kite line supporting the payload or high visibility flag for test purposes. The altitude test on May 23rd was successful. The flag was released when the balloon reached a height of about 150 metres and roughly 200 metres from the anchor point. SHARP students Tushar Upreti, Kendra McTavish, Gavin Nielsen, Ryan Dennis, Liam Wigle, Dan Gervais and Matthew Kraljevic assisted with the test. The winds were light from the north-east but downdrafts slowed the ascent.


The Shaftesbury High Altitude Robotics Project (SHARP) plans to launch a 3000 gram balloon (SHARP 3.1) next fall. SHARP would like to thank Dr. Craig Martin (Canadian Mennonite University), Dario Schor (Faculty of Engineering, University of Manitoba) and Dr. Stefan Wagener (National Microbiology Laboratory) for taking the time to visit the students on the 23rd



Link to view pictures of the recent flight test of the new cutdown circuit. 


May 2013



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