Possible Youth Amateur Radio Project – Near-Space Balloon with APRS

Nashua Area Radio Society Topics In All Forums Youth Forum Possible Youth Amateur Radio Project – Near-Space Balloon with APRS

This topic contains 8 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Fred Kemmerer Fred Kemmerer 1 year, 4 months ago.

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  • #6866
    Fred Kemmerer
    Fred Kemmerer
    Keymaster

    Brian, Jamey, Anita and I have been thinking about an Amateur Radio oriented project that we could do in conjunction with some of the local STEM-centric charter schools. The idea of a high altitude ballon carrying amateur radio came up.

    I did a little research and found a project that I think would accomplish our goals. Here’s a link with some information about it –

    Near-Space Balloon Cam with Arduino and APRS Radio

    The project would involve building an APRS transmitter and marrying it with an Arduino controller. The Balloon would also carry a camera to take video and photographs. This would be a relatively short, near-space flight.

    Brian, Jamey, Anita, others; what do you think? We’d need to put together a team to build this including a plan to get local school kids involved.

    73,

     

    - Fred (AB1OC)
    President, Nashua Area Radio Society

    ab1oc@arrl.net
    Visit us on the web at - https://www.n1fd.org

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    #6869
    Jamey Finchum
    Jamey Finchum
    Participant

    Fred,

    This looks like such a fun project and a great youth (and older) activity! I would love to help out on this project!

    Jamey (AC1DC)

    #6870

    That is an excellent link! I think there are a lot of interesting facets to explore in this project as well as many potential spin-offs. Follow-up activities using APRS (perhaps to supplement any foxhunting), Arduino building, … , all fun things but I suppose I am getting ahead of myself.

    I think at least the four of us (and hopefully any other interested parties) should begin to talk about how to map this out. There is a fair amount of planning that is going to need to happen; and it seems we will have to spread this over several weekends. Because of this, we are obviously going to want to minimize any attrition.

    I am definitely gung-ho about this! It’s exciting, blends together electronics, modeling and sim, actual hands-on building, learning to call the local FAA office to provide the correct information, etc. SO MUCH fun stuff for kids to get involved in…I kind of want to do it myself 😉

    We’re going to need a plan of attack for this. It might be useful to conference call at some point and discuss next steps. Items on the to-do list for sure are to approach the school, Fred, you and John went to. Additionally, we could talk to Balu (Kailas’ dad) and get him in on the idea which could be used as an entry point to have us talk at his son’s charter school.

    And to think I was already in a good mood after enjoying my hot cup of coffee! Thanks to you and Anita for investigating this further. I can imagine Connor and Abby are probably in.

    #6872
    Fred Kemmerer
    Fred Kemmerer
    Keymaster

    FB Jamey and Brian. We’ll count both of you in. Looks like there will be several aspects to this project – putting the Balloon together, building the controller/APRS, the camera, getting kids in the local schools to help us, etc. Lets see if we can get some other folks in the club interested as well. If you are interested, please post a response to this thread.

    73,.

    - Fred (AB1OC)
    President, Nashua Area Radio Society

    ab1oc@arrl.net
    Visit us on the web at - https://www.n1fd.org

    #6873
    Fred Kemmerer
    Fred Kemmerer
    Keymaster

    P.S. If we get this together, maybe we could do a launch at Field Day as well?

    - Fred (AB1OC)
    President, Nashua Area Radio Society

    ab1oc@arrl.net
    Visit us on the web at - https://www.n1fd.org

    #6949
    Aron Insinga
    Aron Insinga
    Participant

    I’m interested!

    - Aron, W1AKI

    #7014
    Fred Kemmerer
    Fred Kemmerer
    Keymaster

    Thanks Brian, Jamey and Aron – seems like we have a core team to do this project. Here’s a diagram that shows how the balloon system is put together –


    1) Weather balloon
    2) Parachute
    3) Duct-taped foam capsule
    4) Buzzer
    5) Hand warmer packet
    6) GPS antenna
    7) Lithium AA battery pack
    8) Canon point-and-shoot camera, hacked with CDHK firmware upgrade
    9) Arduino Uno microcontroller with Trackuino radio transmitter shield
    10) External temperature sensor
    11) Coat-hanger radio antenna

    I think that it might be a good idea to split this project up into several parts and have each of us take on one or more of them. We also need to include things like steps to get young people to help us and budget/fund raising. I don’t have an estimate yet of what this will cost but I am guessing that it may be such that we’ll want to get some folks to make a donation to support it. In any case, here’s a starting point for the sub-projects:

    1. Design and Build APRS/Camera Electronics and Tracking System
    2. Balloon Design, Materials/Gas and Flight Path Modeling
    3. Capsule Design and Recovery System (includes pre-test planning)
    4. Launch Site Selection, Safety Plan and FAA Notification
    5. Budget and Financing Leader, Overall Project Plan, Schedule and Management
    6. Youth liaison/PR (person to create interest and help us to get young people involved in the other parts of the project)

    I would like to sign up for #1. Maybe we could get Anita or Wayne W. to sign up for #5? What do you all think of this approach?

     

     

    - Fred (AB1OC)
    President, Nashua Area Radio Society

    ab1oc@arrl.net
    Visit us on the web at - https://www.n1fd.org

    Attachments:
    #7108
    Fred Kemmerer
    Fred Kemmerer
    Keymaster

    Did a little more research on the balloon project today. There will be some engineering involved here I think. The following website has some good information on what is involved. They may also be a source for low temperature capable electronics for the payload as well as for the necessary high altitude balloon and related equipment. Check out the website here.

    - Fred (AB1OC)
    President, Nashua Area Radio Society

    ab1oc@arrl.net
    Visit us on the web at - https://www.n1fd.org

    #7110
    Fred Kemmerer
    Fred Kemmerer
    Keymaster

    Here is some more good information (FAQs).

    - Fred (AB1OC)
    President, Nashua Area Radio Society

    ab1oc@arrl.net
    Visit us on the web at - https://www.n1fd.org

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