connected to ground.)
5. The second wire is the 5 volt
signal from the RM- 60. This wire
is connected to a BASIC Stamp
3. Carefully strip about
1/2” of insulation from
each of the four wires
inside the cable. (This is
a very small gauge
6. The third wire is the 5 volt
supply to the RM- 60. This wire
is connected to the 5 volt output from the BASIC Stamp.
Even in high radiation environments, its current draw does not
exceed 20 mA — well within the
capability of the Stamp’s built-in
Figure 3. RM- 60 pinouts.
Figure 2. The RM- 60 Geiger counter.
from the cut end of the phone
cable. (Be careful not to damage
the insulation around the wires inside
4. Bring the two outer wires together
and solder them together. (They are
The diagram in Figure 3 is
looking into the open socket of the
RM- 60. I have accidentally crossed
my wires without ill effect to the
The OnSet Prize
NUTS & VOLTS
The OnSet Computer Corporation
( http://onsetcomp.com) has generously
agreed to sponsor a prize for the highest
altitude amateur near space flight during
the 2004 calendar year. This is the largest
sponsorship to amateur near space
exploration to date. By achieving the
highest altitude flight this year, you will win
the following OnSet products:
• A four channel, eight-bit HOBO Data
Logger that measures relative humidity,
temperature, light intensity, and one external voltage of your choice.
• Boxcar Pro 4 software for programming
the HOBO, downloading data collected by
the HOBO, graphing and analyzing data, and
exporting the results to other file formats.
• An external temperature sensor (on a six
foot cable) for the HOBO Data Logger.
This award is a miniature weather station for your near spacecraft and would be
a part of an awesome science fair project.
With the OnSet Prize, you can measure the
internal temperature of your near spacecraft, the outside air temperature, the relative humidity of the air, and the Sun’s inten-
sity during flight. With these measurements,
you can determine the height of the stratosphere and how it varies over the course of
the year. You can also determine the rotation
rate of your near spacecraft. It’s very difficult
to get this kind of data from a near space
mission at the extremely low weight of the
HOBO Data Logger and its sensors.
To be eligible for the OnSet Prize, you
must accomplish the following:
1. Announce your flight at least a week prior
to launch (the general launch location, callsign
of the near spacecraft, and its frequency).
2. Use a GPS receiver and APRS to
transmit position data during the mission.
3. Transmit APRS data such that other amateur radio operators can record the data.
4. Obey FAR 101 requirements.
5. Recover the near spacecraft.
6. Announce the results of the flight
(include several packets or posits around
the peak altitude).
I monitor several amateur near space
group Email lists. I recommend making your
announcement either on the EOSS Balloon
Launch Announcement list, the KNSP Email
list, or the GPSL Email list. All these groups
are available to the public from Yahoo
If at all possible, please transmit your
flight related packets or posits to a gateway
and to the Findu website. In this way,
everyone can monitor the flight.
Be sure to get my attention when you
announce your peak altitude. I’ll Email a
reply to all announcements.
In December or once no other near
space groups announce that they will
launch a mission before the end of the year,
I will announce the winner. Since I’m a high
school teacher and take road trips during
Christmas break, I will try to present the
award personally. If that can’t be arranged, I
will send the award through the mail.
I’d like to thank OnSet Computer
Corporation for sponsoring this prize.
You’ll find their products in the NASA
Space Grant Consortium’s BalloonSat
Program. Be sure to check out the OnSet
website and get a look at the great
products they offer. You’ll find a lot of
justifications for launching near space missions with OnSet Computing Corporation.