Apple in the sky

apple in space

Apple in the sky… Odd Box is back. Read more…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Payload lost at see… Now found

Back in May we reported of a school HAB flight that was lost at sea.

https://balloonnews.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/payload-lost-at-sea/

The Payload of the balloon launched by the Friends School, Lisburn, was finally lost at sea. This came after the payload landed in the Irish sea between the mull of Galloway and Strangford Loch. The SPOT tracker used by the group transmitted from 13:00 on 1st May to 13:00 on 2nd May then turned off.

Stephen, project leader concludes the story. “You are not going to believe this but our payload has turned up in Scotland on the Mull of Galloway. A family found it in an isolated cove looking for drift wood!

lis6

We are pleased with the footage and are now in the process of editing the video which we think may take a while – not the balloon footage but the story before and after!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SPOT Gen 3 Reviewed

Yesterday I tested the new SPOT Gen 3 on a HAB high altitude balloon flight.

payload box

payload box

Preparation of payload : Like many people I stick my SPOT on the underside of the payload box lid. While the new SPOT case design is great for hikers, there is no advantage for sticking it to polystyrene lids. The new design SPOT buttons are better than those on the messenger but this wasn’t a big leap forward in my eyes.

l1

Tracking : I opted to maintain the 10 minute position update package. The cost of having the 2 1/2 minute update made the whole package far to expensive. Up to the landing stage, the Gen 3 performed the same as my SPOT messengers. I got 4/5 location reports on the ascent and a similar number on descent; with a period of ‘silence’ when the tracker goes above the COCOM limits placed on the device.

Last Gen 3 location report at location 10

Last Gen 3 location report at location 10

The Gen 3 did, however, let me down on landing. The SPOT Gen 3 did report it’s location approximately  2 minutes prior to landing but then I had no further update from the tracker. I have no explanation for this. The payload box was bottom down and so the SPOT was facing up, but at an angle of about 45 degrees to the horizon. Ironically the SPOT messenger I also put in the payload was still reporting it’s location.

So the failure of this SPOT Gen 3 on it’s maiden flight could have been due to the antenna not facing straight up but it was not far from pointing up. And in this case it was out performed by my SPOT messenger.

It is hard to jump to conclusions based on only one flight, but there were no new features on the device that really made it stand out from the SPOT Messenger. I will test the tracker some more and I am very interested to know how far of the vertical the Gen 3 needs to be to no longer transmit it’s location. So the jury is still out on whether the Gen 3 out performs SPOT Messenger on similar functions for the HAB’ist.

flight details

Date 16th August 2013

Launch site: Buttington, Powys, Wales. Landing site: Tutbury, Staffs, England.

Payload 1100gm Photography project, SPOT Gen 3, SPOT Messenger, CATTRAQ.

Balloon 1000gm PAWAN Weather balloon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Balloon Fiesta 2013

Take off will be 16th August 11am-12am from the Green Dragon pub, Buttongton, Welshpool 🙂 All are welcome to come and watch the balloons being filled and launched.

To find the Green Dragon pub use this Google map link

https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ll=52.672591,-3.110287&spn=0.00088,0.002642&t=h&z=19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SPOT GEN 3 now available for hire at Web Store

The long awaited SPOT Gen 3 is now available for hire at the web store.

spot-3rd-gen

Rates

1 week hire £30

2 week hire £40

4 week hire £60

Deposit £150

Contact me at chrishillcox1@hotmail.com for more details. SPOT GEN 3 is suitable for HAB weather balloon projects, hikers, light aircraft pilots, biking, and inland boating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HABduino ‘Off the shelf’ radio tracker completes test flight

The Habduino Project is an open source shield and code for Arduino™ designed to transmit the current location via a radio transmitter. Its features include :

  • Compatible with Duemilanovo, Uno and Leonardo boards.
  • On board step up to permit operation from 2 x AA batteries.
  • Ublox MAX6/7 GPS designed for high altitude use.
  • 70cms frequency agile TCXO equipped transmitter for RTTY.
  • Optional 300mW 2 meter transmitter for APRS.
  • Interupt driven simultaneous APRS and RTTY transmission.
  • On board temperature sensor.

It is designed as an ‘off the shelf’ radio tracker for users with limited technical expertise. This would offer the amateur tracking ‘on the fly’ with automatic landing site update. It offers all the features of DIy built radio trackers for HAB. Today, 11th August 2013, the tracker completed it’s first test flight in Spain.

source spacenear.us

source spacenear.us

Anthony, a member of the project said, “Although the hardware is pretty much done I need to document it all and price it up. The board uses a slight more expensive LMT2 transmitter which has a TCXO so is extremely stable and is also frequency agile. A step up regulator is implemented so you can run the board from a pair of AA batteries, I plan to sell it with an active GPS antenna, battery clip and RG174 pigtail for end user to make an antenna. Price will be about £100 (need to work out exactly how much).

It transmits standard UKHAS protocol on 70cms and if you fit the optional HX1 to the bottom it can also transmit (where legal and where operator is licensed) APRS simultaneously. “
For more information go to http://www.habduino.org/ or follow them on Twitter at @HabduinoProject

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radiosonde and weather balloon sparks bomb squad alert

Source http://www.wvec.com/news/local/Package-discovered-neighborhood-turns-out-to-be-weather-balloon-217677901.html

crash

NORFOLK–Something odd fell from the sky and landed in a Norfolk neighborhood.

robot

The Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Engine-17, the bomb squad and Norfolk firefighters responded to the 2900 block of Somerset Lane in Ocean View just after 6:00 p.m. Tuesday.

The bomb squad used a robot to get a closer look at the square Styrofoam box package in the street. The box had a balloon attached to it and one person told authorities it was making a strange noise.

As a precaution, people living close to the item were evacuated.

Around 8:40 p.m., after looking at photos taken by the robot, firefighters determined the package was likely a weather balloon possibly from NASA’s Wallops Island on the Eastern Shore.

Authorities are investigating how it came down in the neighborhood. Police say they’ll try to return the box to its owner.

The fire department stresses if you do see a strange item, do not investigate on your own. Just call the authorities.

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So to all you HABists out there, keep on writing ‘harmless’ on your payload boxes! – Chris – BN

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