Near Space Return VehiclePayloadsGround StationTechnologyArizona Near Space ResearchContact

In the pioneering sprit of amateur radio and open source hardware and software, I've assembled a collection of information and engineering plans for a variety of amateur radio projects.  These projects cover a wide range of disciplines.  All the designs are released under the GNU General Public License for non-commercial usage.  Please contact me for commercial use licensing.

Most of the amateur radio designed shown here are high altitude balloon payloads or support systems.  The helium filled weather balloons reach a typical altitude of 90,000 to over 105,000 feet before bursting.  A parachute allows the payload to fall at a controlled speed to the ground.  The balloons take skyward a variety of small packages that contain a variety of electronics and experiments.  The electronics include APRS (Automatic Position Reporting System), cross-band voice repeaters, and ATV (Amateur Television).  APRS is a digital system that transmits position and altitude from a GPS receiver to a ground station.  A cross band repeater receives voice or data signals on one frequency and simultaneously transmits the same voice or data on a different frequency.  Because the balloon is at high altitude, it allows amateur radio operators to make contact over a long distance.  ATV is used to relay the pictures from a small camera on the payload to a ground receiver much the same way a television station broadcasts its signal

AM Tube Radio

Going Old School Retro with an AM Tube Radio using modern components. With the exception of some of the tubes, all the components are in-production and available through Mouser or Digikey. The design is based on the AA5 (All American Five). The AA5 was a mass-produced, superheterodyne radio with five vacuum tubes first designed and produced in the USA starting in the 1930s through the end of the vacuum tube era in the early 1970s.

Nixie Tube Clock

AM Tube Radio

Work in Progress

The following are the current active projects in order of priority.

Cross Band Repeater Controller A new cross band repeater controller is being designed to replace the aging cross band controller. The controller will utilize the same radio set and is based on the APRS Beacon controller project. The controller will feature a TTS (Text-To-Speech) engine to announce altitude and location information on a regular basis, as well as newer GPS engine, advanced sensors, lower power consumption, and smaller size.

High Altitude Attempt We will test fly a very small, light weight 904.950MHz beacon on the ANSR-42 flight. If this beacon performs as expected we will attempt a high altitude record later this year. There is some additional software to write as timer permits.

HD Promotion Video It is hard to believe the ANSR promotional video, that has aired many times on NASA TV, is now over four years old. I'm currently re-shooting the video in HD (High Definition). The video will include updated payload information as well as more focus on the student groups that are part of the NASA Space Grant program.


Please take some time to browse the various sections of the web site.

NSRV The NSRV - Near Space Return Vehicle is a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) glider that is lifted to altitude under a high altitude balloon.  After the balloon bursts, the glider flies back to the launch location of the balloon.  This allows easy for recovery of the electronics and systems in the rugged Arizona terrain. This project is on hold because of the FAA requirements to fly a UAV in controlled airspace.

Payloads A wide variety of payloads and systems have been designed and built for flight.

Ground Station The ground station includes projects that support ground based monitoring and tracking of the balloon payloads.

Technology The Technology section features information common to all projects, such as hardware vendors and helpful design and building techniques.

ANSR Arizona Near Space Research is a Phoenix, Arizona based non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that promotes science and education by exploring frontiers in amateur radio and high altitude balloons.

Contact Includes an e-mail address, as well as a form to send in your questions and comments, in addition to information on Amateur Radio and some good Public Service events.

Recent updates...

The latest changes to the web site.

April 9, 2008 Added ANSR-48 flight summary.

November 22, 2008 Added ANSR-47 flight summary.

November 12, 2008 Added ANSR-46 flight summary.

Update HistoryComplete update history in case you haven't visited recently. 

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