HABHub closure

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Sep 12, 2022, 1:12:53 PMSep 12
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The HABhub servers will be shut down toward end of this month*.  The HABhub predictor, tracker, SSDV, burst calculator, UKHAS wiki and habitat site will all be affected.

As alternatives I suggest folk use:

    Tracker: https://amateur.sondehub.org/

    Predictor: https://predict.sondehub.org/

    Burst Calculator: https://sondehub.org/calc/

Folk are actively working on alternative solutions for SSDV and the UKHAS wiki (watch this space).

The sondehub tracker does not support the UKHAS sentence interface – this means that dl-fldigi will not work with it.  Mark Jessop has been asking for help to develop a UKHAS sentence interface for SondeHub – so if this is something you feel you could do, then please step forward.  

Some limited support of UKHAS strings is included Horus-GUI decoder (which will also decode some formats of RTTY) – as far as I know this will be the only way to get legacy UKHAS RTTY strings shown on SondeHub. See: https://github.com/projecthorus/horusdemodlib/wiki/1.1-Horus-GUI-Reception-Guide-(Windows-Linux-OSX)

SondeHub has no equivalent of the hourly predictor for HAB flights, however there is something similar for radiosonde sites within the SondeHub radiosonde tracker https://tracker.sondehub.org.

amateur.sondehub.org imports Balloon flights from APRS in the same way as the HABhub tracker – so APRS balloon flights (and pico flights forwarded to APRS) will continue to be shown.
Dave Akerman has been beavering away on supporting sondehub on the PITS gateway, HAB Base, Explora and PADD apps.

Some work is underway on migrating TTNHABbridge to use Sondehub.

I'll take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to all that worked habhub tools over the years – the ones I remember are (apologies if I've forgotten you):

    Rossen Georgiev
    Adam Greig,
    Daniel Richman.
    Daniel Saul
    Priyesh Patel
    Mark Jessop
    Jon Sowman
    James Coxon
    Stelios Bounanos
    Philip Heron
    Matthew Brejza

and finally huge thanks to Anthony Stirk for hosting the servers for many years.

     Steve G8KHW / AJ4XE

*this was originally scheduled for the end of the year – but has been brought forward (mainly due to energy crisis).


David Akerman

Sep 12, 2022, 1:28:15 PMSep 12
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I'll echo the thanks to all of those guys who between them have made HAB a whole lot easier than it would have been.

Re dl-fldigi to sondehub, one option is to use my HAB Base program which supports a number of different sources one of which is a connection to the port that fldigi/dl-fldigi expose.  That port sends out decoded telemetry byte by byte, and HAB Base can parse that, display the telemetry, draw a map and upload the basic fields to sondehub.  I've not tried that combination yet but it should work.  I need to add a CRC/checksum check so probably best if you wait till I've done that.

On the subject of payload docs and parsing UKHAS strings, currently I assume the UKHAS sentence has payloadID,counter,time,lat,lon,alt in that order, so it grabs those fields and sends them to sondehub.  So all of your carefully crafted strings with sensor data will be ignored.  However, I plan to add to all of my tracker and receiver programs the ability to include a field list in the telemetry.  So the tracker states what fields it's sending, and the receiver will use that information to pick out the fields and send to sondehub, which will then display external_temperature etc.; so long as your field contains something I've thought of then it will be recognised.  I'll publish a list of standard field types when I've done the work, which I'll start next week (I'm away on site with a customer this week).


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Matt Taylor

Sep 12, 2022, 2:46:24 PMSep 12
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Really sad to hear this and grateful for everyone's time and effort over the years in building and maintaining these systems.

What's are the drivers for the closure? Cost to run? Availability of people to keep everything running? All of the above?

- Matt (M0XIN)



Sep 13, 2022, 2:23:30 AMSep 13
Sad to read that the HABhub servers will be shut down.
Many thanks to all for the effort and time they have put into this great project

Anthony Stirk

Sep 13, 2022, 4:24:51 AMSep 13
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Primary driver for the closure of the platform is its unmaintainability. The platform is sat on top of unsupported operating systems and pretty much everything is long out of long term support with the vendors. Unfortunately its not just a case of upgrading everything as its will need significant development input to make stuff work with the new versions and unfortunately the architects of the system have moved on/working no longer able to provide the development time this project needs. The only reason its still going is due to the professionalism and quality of the system design by the people who did it originally.

Whilst we've had many many kind offers to upgrade/host it all have run a mile when they actual delve into the technicalities it turns out to be such a significant rewrite that few can spare the time to do this. So rather than me having to disconnect it due to it being compromised with no notice I gave notice at the start of the year that I intended to cease its hosting by the end of 2022 (with the caveat should it be compromised that would be it). Also I felt this would give time for anyone interested to start work on a replacement or successor with the original system still being in place. As you can see people are working on replacements for the tracker and other parts of the system. Personally I'm going to continue to host the Wiki and I'm busy trying to make a very simple part of the HABhub infrastructure (DokuWiki) work on a modern platform with upto date software - and even this is proving tricky!

The secondary driver for this is hosting. I've hosted HABHub servers for about 14 years. Originally these shared our rack in the data centre (Metronet in Manchester followed by M247) , when this was retired a few years ago they came into our rack at the office on our 1Gb leased line. Now as everything is moving to cloud based hosting and with the removal of physical servers from our rack the only kit left in the rack is the HABHub server. This was supported by firewalls and switching equipment that is no longer required for anything else. 

For information the original switch in there was a 12 bay HP Chassis switch (4 x 1kW PSU) and a pair of Fortigate 100E firewalls in a HA. This lot just to support the HABHub server was going to be costing £6-£7k in electricity a year :) I removed the chassis switch and a firewall last weekend. 

Once the server is off I will still make it available for reference to anyone developing replacement tools but it will not be left on 24/7 or publicly accessible. 



Geoff Kendal

Sep 13, 2022, 8:17:48 AMSep 13
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Are there any details of the tech stack anywhere? Or is it open sourced?

Would be good to share details incase there are the right skills here to modernise?

Sent from my iPhone.

On 13 Sep 2022, at 09:24, Anthony Stirk <upu...@gmail.com> wrote:

Anthony Stirk

Sep 13, 2022, 10:25:54 AMSep 13
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Dan Bowen

Sep 19, 2022, 8:30:21 PMSep 19
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Thank you so much to everyone for these amazing tools, they have helped so many get into ballooning and flourish with ease.


David Akerman

Sep 23, 2022, 7:53:03 AMSep 23
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A progress update ....

LoRa Gateway

The LoRa Gateway can now upload listener position and payload telemetry to sondehub/amateur.  Update by logging in to the pi, change to the gateway folder, then run "git pull" followed by "make".  If you're uploading an old version then you will also need to install the Paho MQTT library - see the readme file for instructions.

You can then enable uploads to sondehub/amateur by adding the line EnableSondehub=Y to the gateway.txt file.

HAB Base

HAB Base has a new uploader for sondehub/amateur.  Update to the new version (just run the latest installer) then go into system settings and check the Sondehub box.  Again, it will upload listener information and payload telemetry.

HAB Explora and HAB PADD

I've made the changes for sondehub, and I'm working on the changes to support the latest versions of Android.


Once habhub is retired, all of the "DL" functionality in dl-fldigi will stop working, meaning no uploads to habhub, and no automatic setting of baud rate etc from flight/payload documents.  You will however be able to send received telemetry to sondehub/amateur, by using HAB Base as a conduit between fldigi or dl-fldigi and sondehub/amateur.  It's quite easy to set up and I've written a blog post on how to do that.

Payload Docs and Telemetry MetaData

Sondehub doesn't have payload docs, which means that you don't need to make any (woohoo) but that the Sondehub map and charts will only display the basic fields (boo) unless we do something.

That something is to add metadata to the tracker telemetry so that the tracker tells the receivers which field has what meaning.  Once that is done, the the Sondehub map and the fancy Grafana page can show temperatures, pressure, satellite count etc.

Both LoRa Gateway and HAB Base support this now, as do my PITS, FlexTrak/STM and ESP32 trackers.

For more details, including links to further documentation, see this blog post.


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