Swarm pico-sat coms tests

We have been doing more tests on the Swarm pico-sat coms with a view to using their system in Iceland.

This graph shows the temperature measurements during 6 days – showing the solar panel charging. On average the modem used 52mA but the battery was providing more like 120mA due to the LEDs and feather board.

Swarm Sat-coms test over a week showing currents
The pass predictor showing the optimum periods for communcation

Range testing new systems

In our mountainsensing project we showed that fully standard communications could cover large areas. For that project we had to add an 868MHz transceiver to our designs. This year we are doing a lot of development with the Atmel SAMR30 based system-on-chip as it includes a sub-GHz radio and has good support in the RIOT-OS. One important thing to test was the typical range to make sure it was similar to our roughly 1km with the previous CC1120. Here is a photo of a quick test in the New Forest which achieved 1km with this set of antennas:

image of test node on trig-point

2019 expedition photos

Prof Jane Hart at Fjallsjökull
Prof. Kirk Martinez
the view over the glacier – near the centre you can see the gps rover
crop from the above photo showing the rover to be in good condition after its winter on the glacier. The normal route we took to get there was cut off so we didn’t visit it at this point.
We carried out an image survey of the area with our quadcopter to produce a 3D model. You can see our dGPS base station in the top right. The Mapir 3 camera uses its own GPS to tag photos – hence the taped on cable and antenna.
Frey controlling the imaging flights with the Tower App – we were lucky to have good weather for our copter-imaging
it takes careful planning of flight areas and a lot of battery changing (we used nine in total)
Fjallsárlón was impressive as usual with ice washed up from ice-falls
Updating a rover on Breida’ – the rovers were physically in good condition after a year on the ice
updating the base station at Breida’ – there are always firmware updates and new ideas to try. It survived the winter very well!
We used an Arctic Land Cruiser in 2019 which made driving close to the glaciers much easier

we moved rover1 higher up and across the glacier – it was very far down the ice after a couple of years.

luckily the equipment is quite light!
our second timelapse camera managed to capture the onset of winter.

Video of Fjallsjokull

We just edited some footage of the fjallsjokull margin

Here you can see the recently exposed foreland and its moraines.

(video taken with 3DR Solo and GoPro5 – without gimbal – hence the slight wobble)

October 2017 fieldwork

In October Kirk and Phil went for a quick trip to swap out the Rockblock units and reset the base station at Fjalls.

In October we swapped the Rockblocks to v3 and reset the base station’s fixed location.

View from Fjalls base station. The rover can be seen just above and to the left of the antenna.

Breida movement from the first point as detected in October. This shows the system is working well!

We installed a Brinno timelapse camera looking towards the glacier margin.



Fjallsjokull system deployed

Today we set up two dGPS units to measure the speed of some of Fjallsjökull glacier. We chose an area of ice which is clearly moving forward towards the lake.

Here is the dGPS system setup on Fjallsjokull, with Jane Hart and Frey

The photo above shows a “quadpod” supporting the GPS units – which are an adaptation of those made by Matthew Roberts of the Icelandic met-office. The idea is to be strong enough to cope with winter and cast few shadows (which cause ice to grow). The system is currently measuring its position every 3hrs to an accuracy of about 2cm – using signals from the base station to help it.

the dGPS base station installed on a moraine close to the Fjallsjokull glacier. We used speaker stands burried in rocks to support the GPS antenna (top) and hold its 2.4GHz radio antenna (white stick). Shortly after this photo I accidentally kicked sand into the laptop keyboard – so it was not so easy to use after that!

View of Fjallsjokull with our deployement being almost in the middle of this photo.