Who’s behind the FUNcube Dongle?


FUNcube Dongles are the ground receiver for the FUNcube Satellite project, and you can read much more about the whole FUNcube project as a whole here.

The FUNcube project was initially made possible by AMSAT-UK and the Radio Communications Foundation (RCF), both not-for-profit organisations.

Launching and building a satellite to exacting standards isn’t cheap, and to fund this, the FUNcube project welcomes donations. We’re also lucky enough to have support from both AMSAT-UK and the RCF and, of course, a proportion of the sale price of FUNcube Dongles also helps to fund the project.

Now let me introduce myself: I’m Howard Long, and hold the amateur radio callsign G6LVB. There are several other team members on the FUNcube project, but it was me who ended up with the ground receiver project, now known as the FUNcube Dongle. One day they’ll let me play with the cool space hardware, but until that time my feet are well and truly nailed to the ground. When the FUNcube Dongle was first developed back at the end of 2010, we anticipated selling maybe a couple of hundred in total, but really we had no idea. Because of this, there was some risk involved in the manufacturing of FUNcube Dongles, and I didn’t feel it was fair to risk taking seed funding from non-profits like AMSAT-UK, the RCF, or indeed anyone else for that matter.

In my other life as a freelance consultant, I have a limited liability company that has been about since 1991, and we’ve used that to fund the FUNcube Dongles and take on any risk associated with that part of the project. There are other benefits associated with this, such as when it comes to setting up accounts with suppliers. Probably more useful is that it also means that we can fund various parts of the FUNcube Satellite a little more tax-efficiently, although it’s always fun explaining to the accountant what a stage-payment on a satellite launch is.

Now my company is called Hanlincrest Ltd, and it was purchased off-the-shelf all those years ago and I never bothered to change the name of it. So when you purchase a FUNcube Dongle directly from me, you’ll see the payment going to my company.

All this allows me to sneak in the legal bit required in the UK: Hanlincrest Ltd. is registered in the United Kingdom at Companies House, registration number 2652912. VAT registration GB611331202.

Many thanks, Howard

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