[aprssig] Balloon Found (and RANT)

Steve Noskowicz noskosteve at yahoo.com
Sun May 4 18:38:14 CDT 2014

Oh well.
73, Steve, K9DCI
For those of you who studied Thermodynamics...
know that sea of entropy we were going to drown in?  Well, upon closer
examination, it turns out to be stupidity.  S. Noskowicz 1987  
 From: Robert Bruninga <bruninga at usna.edu>
To: TAPR APRS Mailing List <aprssig at tapr.org>; "APRS at yahoogroups.com" <aprs at yahoogroups.com>; Robert Bruninga <bruninga at usna.edu> 
Sent: Sunday, May 4, 2014 4:40 PM
Subject: Re: [aprssig] Balloon Found (and RANT)

I expected to be pilorized for our software glitch that resulted in a 2 second rate for over an hour, (while there were two other balloons in range too).  But I never saw a single active APRS mobile anywhere near their launch or recovery sites that I could contact!

It AMAZES me how a university launching 2 balloons does not 
have a single APRS mobile showing on the map for the launch or the chase.  Or do they 
just launch them as throw-aways?  I saw not one single APRS mobile 
converging on their two balloon impact points (which unfortunately) was 
in dense trees on a mountain.

If they had anyone on 
APRS, I could have sent a message and asked if they needed any search 
help (after we found ours).  But no, just like those confounded 
transmit-only trackers, we now have balloon events with the launch and 
recovery teams not making themselves available at-all to the 
surrounding radio community.

Nor doing the simple thing of posting APRS BULLETINS live on the air about that is going on...  That is one of the main valus of APRS, tactical real-time distribution of info to everyone in the area.

And making themselves "seen" so they can be contacted..

Remember, the FREQ field was added to APRS a decade ago so that people can not only see 
where you are, but how to contact you.  And both Kenwood and Yaesu have 
responded with radios that do that.  But half of the hams with those radios don't even 
bother turning on the feature. 

You can drive right buy these guys who are blasting away on the amateur radio band, but giving no clue where they are listening.

Also, we have had Voice Alert now for over a decade so that ANY APRS mobile operator can be contacted by VOICE on the APRS 
channel, but again, the majority of APRS operators ignore this very 
fundamental and powerful aspect of APRS.

See http://aprs.org/VoiceAlert3.html

RANT off.


On Sat, May 3, 2014 at 3:50 PM, Robert Bruninga <bruninga at usna.edu> wrote:

Crowded Air space today over PA!
>Saturday morning, launched the Naval Academy Balloon (W3ADO-11) from Harpers FY and noticed two other balloons launched about the same time (W3EAX-9 and 11) about 40 miles north.  All was going fine until...
>Our sincere apologies to MD, VA, PA, DE and NJ!  At about 3000' our balloon Arduino processor got stuck in a reset-loop and switched from 1 minute rate to one packet as fast as it could re-boot.  Less than every 2 seconds!  Fortunately they were direct only and at 100 millliwatts.
>Fortunately, we could still see some packets from the W3EAX balloons, and APRS.FI seems to have copied them all. 
>Then ours went nuts! and appears to have come down very fast, and we raced to towards the impact point (20 miles away), but then 20m later, we got one packet at 38,000 feet 20 miles farther east.  Then another race though Amish country and to our horror, the last position report was within 0.1 mile of the river and still at 2000 feet and heading right out to the middle!
>We were about to give up the search (no more packets heard and river current pretty swift) when our back up system (SPOT system?) gave another report about 60 feet from the water.  Low an behold, there it was, 60 feet from waters edge after having flown almost 100 miles.
>Everything intact includeing HDTV video camera!
>Apparently the students used a non-high-altitide GPS and it went squirrely until it got back below 38,000 feet.  But you should see the track (W3ADO-11)
>Bob, Wb4APR

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