hab.education: Promoting STEAM to Youth with High Altitude Ballooning

Finally, something to get my mind of this crazy election.

I met this guy at Dayton one year, and totally forgot about it.

Dustin (@BalloonEDU) is a clone of mine, or perhaps I’m a clone of his..basically our mindsets align strangely closely regarding ham radio, education, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art/design, math…which used to be STEM now Art/design gets a mention) promotion and high altitude ballooning. I met him at Venture Cafe in St Louis, which is a place where young professionals (aka yuppies) meet to find people to collaborate, kickstart, and invest in their ideas.

In my case, I went the first time for free beer. Little did I know I would find a ham.

Dustin, KE0BVB, is a leader of hab.education – a volunteer-based educational program that promotes STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design and Math) by having school kids build and launch high altitude balloons.

It was just last month when I started up my Echoloon project.

He and I met after some of my college friends started texting me.

“COME NOW. VENTURE CAFE. HAM RADIO GUY. HE DOES HIGH ALTITUDE BALLOONING. COME NOWWWW.”

I bolted to the car, sped my way there, and signed in, skipping the line for free beer. I got to the conference room they were in a bit late, just after his talk, meanwhile a man from Stofiel Aerospace was giving a talk on his balloon-launched orbital rocket company…that’s pretty cool! Turns out Mr. Stofiel was turning towards Dustin for his expertise on high altitude balloon tracking.

This was all too awesome. With my Echoloon idea, and my work with FaradayRF, now hab.education…this was all coming to a head.

We talked for only a few minutes and unearthed the single most detrimental issue in ham radio high altitude ballooning – fragmentation. Like I mentioned in my Echoloon post, hardware and software development in high altitude ballooning and ham radio in general is all over the place! It’s fragmented. There’s the California Near Space Project, K6RPT, there’s Bill Brown WB8ELK, there’s ARHAB, and UKHAS…and dozens more! Those are just the biggest names. They even have made their own freakin’ Balloon Open Hardware License!

They’re all over the place, and I don’t think there’s been a lot of cross-talk between them, and some are choosing to develop their trackers and payloads in closed-source secrecy, and man, that’s a bummer. We could really rule the skies and help STEAM education a lot with a standard platform specification. That’s my side-goal for Project Echoloon.

I really want to bring everyone together. I wonder if anyone’s started a High Altitude Balloon consortium or annual conference……

http://www.stratoballooning.org/conference

lol. Just missed it. 🙁

So yeah. I got so excited about this encounter that I called Neil Rapp in excitement to get it off my chest during his HamTalkLive! call-in show. I come in around 24:20. Haha.

 

I’m starting a podcast

http://phasinglinepodcast.com

Marty Sullaway KC1CWF (aka Chicken With Fries) and I are starting a ham radio podcast. We’re kinda winging it, so we’ll see how it goes. No schedule, no topic, no ads (yet.) Just Marty and I having a conversation, two guys and a mic style. We just hope to make something different and entertaining to younger people in the hobby. 

A promo ep is available on iTunes and Stitcher, and the RSS feed for your favorite podcasting app is at http://www.phasinglinepodcast.libsyn.com/rss. Just search Phasing Line Podcast and you’ll find it. 👍

Ham Radio on my favorite non-Ham Radio podcast (Stuff You Should Know) 

Wow ham radio is getting an alarming amount of mainstream attention lately. We got on LinusTechTips, we got a spot on National Geographic, and now it’s hitting close to home on a podcast I listen to every week. 

Stuff You Should Know: Ham Radio and the Hams Who Use Them 

Give that a listen. I strongly recommend their other episodes for a quick tidbit of new information you should know, every day. 

Subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, or overcast

Overcast link to be updated.