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[aprssig] Balloon Launch Check-list

Art Hostmark ahostma at hostmark.org
Sun Sep 25 23:51:10 UTC 2005

Yes balloon chases are so much fun.  Since moving to Denver I have not
missed a launch by the EOSS group here.  You make a very good point, the
more information available the better the chances of recovering your
payloads.  Also the better your chances of interesting new members.  It
seems like the fun should be shared.

You have probably already seen the EOSS web site but for those who have
not and would be interested in it or learning more about ballooning.


Information on our next flight is located here.


We will soon have a special page for our upcoming 100th flight which
will also mark the groups 15th anniversary.  This flight is currently
planned for November 12th.


--- Plaigarized from the Net---
Your work, no matter how brilliant, becomes valuable to others only in
so far as you communicate it to them. 
Art Hostmark  KI4GYZ

On Sun, 2005-09-25 at 18:31 -0400, Robert Bruninga wrote:
> Here are some lessons-learned to be added to every
> Balloon Launch Check-list.  (the Maryland launch
> was a GREAT success!, but always there are some
> lessons learned)...
> 1) Pre-Launch WEB and announcements should include:
>     a) The DIGIpeater PATH planned W2-2 (to allay fears)
>     b) Local talk-in frequencies and/or repeaters
>        expected to be used along the predicted path
> 2) Balloon BEACON should include "BALLOON ALOFT"
>     And chase Frequencies.
> This weekends balloon crossed into the highest
> density APRS area in the world,  Yet from my vantage
> point, I saw no other APRS mobiles involved.  Finally
> I saw one mobile, and tracked him down to his home
> repeater only because I knew him.  Then I was able to
> get critical details.
> There were a dozen other mobiles within 30 miles 
> that I am sure would have liked to chase the balloon,
> but because there was nothing in the ballooon beacon
> obviously suggesting it was a balloon, when it flashed
> on their D7 or D700 displays, I'm sure it did not catch
> their eye.    If the 20 byte BEACON had included the
> words BALLOON ALOFT!, then I think more mobiles
> might have seen it.  As it is, all they see on their radio
> front panels are W3XYZ-11 with a /o icon and a simple
> course and speed.  Nothing to catch the eye.
> Remember, on a saturday morning, not many people 
> are just going to randomly see a tiny balloon icon on
> their PC's but there are many MOBILES out and about
> doing honey-dos that might see it on their radio front
> panel... and welcome a diversion!
> It was a great flight.  When I found Pat in the briar patch
> he was standing over a hula-hoop supporting at least
> 4 separate payloads.  Many had cameeras and two
> had APRS beacons.   It got to over 100K feet and I
> passed 14 miles straight up over where I was on a
> church camp.  I could see no-other stations apparently
> on APRS involved, so I drove to the top of a nearby
> mountain to see if I could find out what was going on.
> Then as I went from repeater to repeater in the area
> (there are over 100 repeaters I can hit from that 
> mountian), I saw the payload exceed 100 MPH and
> figured It would be too far away for me to play in the
> recovery.  But then it slowed to a standstill.   Then I 
> finally noticed the altitude dropping by 10k feet with
> every packet!
> I decided to chase it.  But it took me 1.3 hours to go
> 30 miles because of the mountainous roads and
> blocked interstate..  My last posit was at 14k feet
> but Pat N8PK had a position just 300' off a road.
> I finally got through all the briars but he was there
> first.  But both of us HAMS were there well before
> the student teams found it.
> It is very rare to get a balloon chase on the east
> coast.  I was glad to be in the right place at
> the right time...briars and all...
> Bob, WB4APR

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