[aprssig] Path for low(er) altitude balloon

William McKeehan mckeehan at mckeehan.homeip.net
Mon May 16 09:00:01 EDT 2005

I would say don't fly a balloon without doing some research of the digi
coverage in the area where you expect the balloon to fly. Drive the route you
expect to have the balloon take (don't forget to plan for Mr Murphy) - see
what digi's you hear. For the chase team, those are the digi's that you want
to digi your packets, then follow-up and see what settings those digi's
respond to and setup your tracker accordingly.

The UT ARC balloon that flew this past weekend (http://balloon.utarc.org) used
a path that the local digi's did not respond to (most of our local digi's are
still RELAY,WIDE digi's, but that's another story), so the trackers on the
ground, when out of range of the balloon, had no idea where it was. We had a
few guys that were watching it on the internet (it was hitting digi's out of
our area that were then relaying it to IGates) that were able to direct us to
the balloon's location.

I am recommending that the next UT ARC balloon uses a path of WIDE,WIDE and a
path of WIDE2-2 and alternates between them.

In general, the low power was not a problem, but once on the ground, it would
have been nice to have some more power - we were withing 1200 feet of the
balloon at one point and did not hear it beacon; that could have been a
problem with the way they had it set to beacon, it's transmitter may have
shutdown, or a poor power setting.

Just my 2 cents.

On Mon, May 16, 2005 7:41 am, Jason Winningham said:
> It depends on your digi coverage, especially in the landing area, and
> on how close you can get to the balloon when it's about to land.  If
> you have the ability to switch configs based on altitude, use WIDE2-2
> lower (say, less than 5k or 10k) and WIDE2-1 higher.
> Don't worry about the low power.  Local guys routinely fly balloons
> with 340mW Alincos, and there is no problem.  I think Saturday's flight
> by the UT ARC use a pocket tracker, and the digis around here heard it
> just fine (that's Knoxville to Huntsville, ~200 miles as the packet
> flies).
> -Jason
> kg4wsv
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William McKeehan
Internet: mckeehan at mckeehan.homeip.net

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