Tag Archives: NARS Event

HAB-2 Sets Altitude Record!

We flew our High-Altitude Balloon for the second time this past weekend. Our second High-Altitude Balloon Flight (HAB-2) was part of a STEM learning project that we did with STEM club students at Bishop-Guertin High School in Nashua, NH. The students did all of the flight prep and launched HAB-2 at approximately 11 am ET from a school in Winchester, NH. Parents, teachers and local students joined us for the launch as did several members of our HAB team.

High-Altitude Balloon 2 Actual Flight Path
High-Altitude Balloon 2 Actual Flight Path

Our students and many Hams were able to track HAB-2 during its flight via APRS. HAB-2’s actual flight path prediction matched our modeling quite well.

High-Altitude Balloon 2 Predicted Flight Path
High-Altitude Balloon 2 Predicted Flight Path

The direction and shape of the path were almost the same as what our model predicted but the flight took longer and went higher than we expected.

High-Altitude Balloon Altitude Record
High-Altitude Balloon 2’s Balloon Burst Altitude

We broke our previous altitude record by A LOT! The balloon burst west of Rochester, NH at just short of 118,000 ft! HAB-2’s final altitude was about 400 ft higher than the last APRS burst shown above. This is more the 25,000 ft higher than our last flight!

HAB-2 Water Landing in Maine
HAB-2 Water Landing in Maine

HAB-2 landed in a pond in Maine. Our floatation system worked well – it kept most of the electronics dry and prevented HAB-2 from sinking.

HAB-2's Water Recovery in Maine
HAB-2’s Water Recovery in Maine

Fortunately, Jamey, KC1ENX and Curtis, N1CMD had Jamey’s kayak and were able to retrieve HAB-2. The equipment was wet but appears to be in good working condition. We have all of the telemetry data from HAB-2’s flight.

Due to a glitch at launch, the platform flew on its side for the entire flight and the cameras shut off early due to some unusually cold conditions (-70° F) that HAB-2 encountered during its flight. We did get some video from the first 50 minutes of the flight. More pictures and video to come later.

Our students will be getting together later this week to analyze the data from HAB-2’s flight. We are also planning an Amateur Radio open house for them on Sunday, Nov. 12th at our QTH.

Congratulations to our students and to our HAB Team for another successful flight!

 Fred, AB1OC

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

Fall 2017 License Classes Have Begun

We have started our fall 2017 license classes with the Technician License Class being held this weekend – September 30 – October 1 at Dartmouth Hitchcock in Nashua.  We have a large class – a total of 16 students!

Abby, AB1BY teaching the Tech Students

License Class Instructors

We have a new instructor to add to the team, Abby, AB1BY.  The other instructors are Jamey, KC1ENX,  Aron, W1AKI, Wayne, AG1A, Brian, AB1ZO, and Fred, AB1OC.  Thanks to all instructors for the time and effort they put into this Club Activity.

Satellite Station 2.0
Satellite Station 2.0

License Class Demos

In addition to reviewing every question in the technician class pool, we provide many demos to show students what they can do with their technician class license.  We have a satellite station, an HF station and a UHF/VHF go kit set up for demos.

Class Demos
Class Demos
Fred, AB1OC demonstrates a Satellite Contact
Fred, AB1OC demonstrates a Satellite Contact

Next Classes

Our next classes will be the General Class, which will be held on November 4-5 and the Extra Class, which will be held on December 1-3.  More information on our classes can be found on our website.  Club members are invited to stop by and see what we are doing.

SOTA Activation on Mt. Wachusett

Antenna Farm on Mt. Wachusett
Antenna Farm on Mt. Wachusett

On Saturday September 24, we held our last SOTA activation of this season at Mt. Wachusett in Massachusetts.   We had great weather, great scenery, and a great time operating from the summit.

Getting to the Summit

Brian, W1BP and son hiked to the summit
Brian, W1BP and son hiked to the summit

Fred, AB1OC, Anita, AB1QB and Jamey, KC1ENX took the mountain road to the summit, while Brian, W1BP hiked to the top.

6 meter beam
6 meter beam

Operating from the Summit

Fred and Anita brought their 6m beam and portable station.  This time we were set up for digital operation and made SSB as well as FT4 QSOs.  We made a total of 24 QSOs and were heard on FT8 as far away as Nova Scotia and North Carolina.

PSK Reporter map shows where we were heard on 6m FT8
PSK Reporter map shows where we were heard on 6m FT8
Jamey works Europe with his new KX2
Jamey works Europe with his new KX2

Jamey brought his new KX2 and worked many countries in Europe QRP on 20m with his Buddipole vertical.

Fred, AB1OC working 6m FT8 using Solar Power
Fred, AB1OC working 6m FT8 using Solar Power

We had a warm sunny day – perfect for the first weekend of Fall.  We had plenty of solar power to run both Fred’s and Brian’s stations.