Category Archives: On The Air

Articles and other information related to On The Air Operations, Special Events, Activations, DXxpeditions, Portable and Mobile On The Air Activities, Nets, etc.

HAB-2 Launch This Saturday – How To Track Our High-Altitude Balloon

We are planning the second launch of our High-Altitude Balloon (HAB-2) this Saturday, October 28th at approximately 11 am ET.

You can view the story of our first launch here on our website and you can view the video from our first High-Altitude Balloon launch above.

High-Altitude Balloon Launch Site and Weather

The weather and Jetstream conditions look good for our HAB-2 launch!

High-Altitude Balloon 2 Launch Site in Winchester NH
HAB-2 Launch Site in Winchester NH

We will be launching from the school in Winchester, NH at around 11 am ET. Nashua Area Radio Society members and friends are invited to join us for our launch.

High-Altitude Balloon 1 Launch!
HAB-1 Launch!

We have been working with the STEM club at Bishop-Guertin HS here in Nashua, NH. The students will handle HAB-2 launch preparations and the launch. Launch preparations will begin on site at 9:30 am ET.

WInchester NH Weather Forecast for Launch
Winchester NH Weather Forecast for Launch

The weather forecast looks great for our launch on Saturday with clear skies and moderate winds. These conditions should enable us to capture some spectacular video from HAB-2 during its flight!

Tracking HAB-2

I wanted to share some information about tracking our HAB-2 as it flies. Our balloon will carry’s a GPS receiver and a 2m APRS Transmitter.

High-Altitude Balloon Flight Platform
HAB Flight Platform

The onboard APRS transmitter will operate on the Amateur Radio standard terrestrial APRS frequency of 144.390 MHz and will transmit our HAB’s position, heading, speed, altitude and other telemetry data every minute during HAB-2’s flight. The transmitter is battery-powered and generates a 250 mW signal into a dipole antenna suspended from HAB’-2s flight platform. HAB-2 will use N1FD-11 as its call sign.

High-Altitude Balloon On Aprs.fi
HAB-2 On Aprs.fi

HAB-2’s APRS packets will be picked up by ground-based Digipeaters and iGates and will be relayed to aprs.fi where the HAB’s current location and flight path can be tracked.  You can click on the link in the previous line to see HAB-2’s current location and flight track.

High-Altitude Balloon 2 Flight Path Projection
HAB-2 Flight Path Projection

Based upon online HAB flight prediction calculators that we have been using, we expect the HAB’s flight to last a little more than 2 1/2 hours. The HAB should reach an altitude of over 105,000 ft before the balloon bursts and the parachute on the flight platform brings HAB-2 back to the ground at a safe speed. The above predictions will likely somewhat different from HAB-2’s actual flight path. Based upon the predictions, HAB-2 will be traveling approximately 100 km between its takeoff point and landing near Maine.

High-Altitude Balloon APRS Packet Information
HAB APRS Packet Information

Aprs.fi will store and display a copy of all of the APRS AX.25 packets transmitted by HAB-2 during its flight. Of particular interest to the STEM element of the flight will be the Balloon’s data on atmospheric temperature and pressure conditions at different altitudes.

All you need to track HAB-2 during its flight is Internet access and a web browser. Just click on one of the aprs.fi links here to see HAB-2’s current location and altitude. If you have an APRS ground station, you may also be able to receive HAB-2’s telemetry directly during the flight.

We will post updates on launch plans and the flight in the Youth Forum on our website.

T minus 1 day and counting until HAB-2 launches….

We have launched! Your can Track HAB-2 on apris.fi using the call sign N1FD-11.

 

Fred, AB1OC

Communications Interoperability Training with Amateur Radio Community

Elements of the US Department of Defense (DOD) will conduct a communications interoperability training exercise November 4-6, once again simulating a “very bad day” scenario. Amateur Radio and MARS organizations will take part.

This exercise will begin with a national massive coronal mass ejection event which will impact the national power grid as well as all forms of traditional communication, including landline telephone, cell phone, satellite, and Internet connectivity,” Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, WD8DBY, explained in an announcement.

During the exercise, a designated DOD Headquarters entity will request county-by-county status reports for the 3,143 US counties and county equivalents, in order to gain situational awareness and to determine the extent of the impact of the scenario. Army and Air Force MARS organizations will work in conjunction with the Amateur Radio community, primarily on the 60-meter interoperability channels as well as on HF NVIS frequencies and local VHF and UHF, non-Internet linked Amateur Radio Repeaters.

Again this year, a military station on the east coast and the Fort Huachuca, Arizona, HF station will conduct a high-power broadcast on 60-meter channel 1 (5330.5 kHz) on Saturday from 0300 to 0315 UTC. New this year will be an informational broadcast on Sunday, on 13,483.5 kHz USB from 1600 to 1615 UTC. Amateur Radio operators should monitor these broadcasts for more information about the exercise and how they can participate in this communications exercise, English said.

“We want to continue building on the outstanding cooperative working relationship with the ARRL and the Amateur Radio community,” English said. “We want to expand the use of the 60-meter interop channels between the military and amateur community for emergency communications, and we hope the Amateur Radio community will give us some good feedback on the use of both the 5-MHz interop and the new 13-MHz broadcast channels as a means of information dissemination during a very bad day scenario.

Contact English for more information or questions about this exercise.

Reblogged from the ARRL website by Matt, N1ZGN

Orionid Meteor Shower: Friday Night Brings Excellent Conditions In Eastern US

One of the best meteor showers of the fall, the Orionid Meteor Shower, will peak on Friday night with over a dozen meteors streaking across the night sky every hour.

Source: Orionid meteor shower: Friday night to bring excellent viewing conditions in the Eastern US.

It looks like this weekend is going to be a good time to work Meteor Scatter contacts on 6m! The Orionid’s peak tonight (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) night, October 20th and 21st. We’ll be operating using WSJT-X MSK144 mode on 6m. We are planning to use our Remote Operating setup to take advantage of our SDR’s receiver capabilities and the connected 500w amplifier.

Fred, AB1OC

Amazing DX Opening on the 12m Band

Today proved out some simple, tried and true advice for me – it pays to take some time and tune through the bands. I just got a Maestro Remote Control Device for our FlexRadio SDR and I took a break around lunchtime to tune through the higher HF bands to see what I could hear. We use a Flex SDR as a Remote Operating Gateway into our station and the Maestro allows me to run our station over our home network with going down to the shack.

I am not sure why but I decided to give the 12m band a look today. When I did, I was stunned! It is about noon time and the 12m band is wide open between Africa and the US!

12m DX - XT2AW Burkina Faso
12m DX – XT2AW Burkina Faso

I worked two DX stations on 12m SSB. The first was XT2AW, Harald in Burkina Faso. Harald was working split and was not real loud but I had no trouble completing the contact with him. Excited, I tuned across 12m some more and found an old friend – Theo, ZS6TVB in South Africa. I had a very nice QSO with him. We both marveled over the propagation on the 12m band that we were experiencing. He was 57-58 here in New Hampshire!

The sunspot conditions are pretty weak (SFI 85, SN 26) to create such a good opening on 12m. I believe that we may be experiencing Transequatorial Propagation (TEP) which can provide a significant propagation enhancement on paths with traverse the equator. Anita and I experienced similar TEP propagation on 10m when we were on Bora Bora Island early in 2012 with similar solar conditions.

It just goes to show that it pays to tune the upper HF bands. Especially on days when “they are not open”. Also, 10m also appears to be open to Africa right now – I am hearing a station in Mauritania

Fred, AB1OC