Tag Archives: VHF/UHF

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

New Satellite Coming Soon and Good Deal on Satellite Book

The next of AMSAT-NA’s FM repeater satellites, RadFxSat (aka “Fox-1b” is expected to be launched November 10 VERY early in the morning.  Keep an eye out on amsat.org for the launch results and when it is released to the public.  In the meantime, I just discovered this nice deal (on the AMSAT Facebook page):

As part of the preparations for the launch of RadFxSat on November 10th, AMSAT is making our “Getting Started With Amateur Satellites” book available for a limited time as a download with any paid new or renewal membership purchased via the AMSAT Store. This offer is only available with purchases completed online, and for only a limited time. A perennial favorite, Getting Started is updated every year with the latest amateur satellite information, and is the premier primer of satellite operation. The 182 page book is presented in PDF format, in full color, and covers all aspects of making your first contacts on a ham radio satellite.

Please take advantage of this offer today by visiting the AMSAT store at https://www.amsat.org/shop/ and selecting any membership option. While there, check out our other items, including the M2 LEOpack antenna system, Arrow antennas, AMSAT shirts, and other swag. Be sure to view your cart before going to checkout. If you add a membership and then go directly to checkout, you’ll never see an option to add your free gift.

Thank you, and see you soon on RadFxSat!

Getting Started with Satellites Book
Getting Started with Satellites Book

I am a member of AMSAT, as I know a number of you are, but if you are interested in ham radio satellites and have not joined, I hope you will consider supporting the US group that builds them!

Burns, W2BFJ