[aprssig] Tracker failed on balloon flight this morning, beacon might be alive

Robert Rochte rochte at gmail.com
Thu Mar 15 14:21:31 EDT 2007

The main tracker on our balloon somehow failed shortly after launch this
morning.  Packets were heard but could not be decoded.  It is also carrying
a 10m CW beacon, however, and it might still be alive.  The balloon was
launched in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan at approximately 9:30am and was
expected to reach Newfoundland by nightfall.

Assuming that it is still aloft - and further assuming that the experimental
timed ballasting device that it is carrying works as planned this evening
(all things considered, doubtful) - HYSPLIT predicts an overflight of
Ireland by early Friday evening....

Details on the beacon follow this message - if anyone copies it, please let
me know.

Robert KC8UCH

The payload package includes:

   - An 8-bit microcontroller (PIC 16C715)
   - A barometric altimeter (MPX100A/LM358M)
   - An outside temperature sensor (DS1721S)
   - An insolation sensor (CdS cell in a ping-pong ball diffuser)
   - Battery voltage monitor
   - CW Beacon on 28.636 MHz (crystal oscillator)
   - Vertically polarized 10m dipole antenna
   - Eight AA Li-Fe batteries for 12V @ 2500 mAh


*Telemetry format* (sent every 2 minutes) :

DE KA2QPG BLN GPA/SD2 UP 14H34M A 033 T NEG 55C L 204 B 8.7V

UP = flight time in hours and minutes
a = altimeter (absolute pressure [higher # = lower alt], 0 - 255)
T = outside temperature (-99 - 99 degrees C)
L = light level (0 - 255, uncalibrated)
B = battery voltage (0.0 - 9.9 volts)

The remaining time in the 2-minute cycle will have a Morse "dit" and a beep
of the piezo sounder every 4 seconds.
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