Date   
My floating balloon plans

Jared Smith
 

Thanks for joining this list. The intent is to provide us a place to
discuss high altitude ballooning.

I'm making plans to launch at least two floating balloons later this
summer. These will be inexpensive, VERY small and lightweight payloads
(around .7 ounce total) with a 20 meter HF WSPR transmitter.
Everything will be controlled via a tiny Arduino micro-controller.
It's solar powered only (batteries are too heavy), so daylight
transmissions only. My goal is to get it to float as far as possible.

My general design is pretty similar to that of HIRFW-6 which has been
floating since September and has circled the globe 20+ times. You can
track it on APRS.fi or at
https://tracker.habhub.org/#!mt=roadmap&mz=3&qm=All&mc=20.52799,-20.29664&q=hirfw-6

My plans and a schematic are outlined at
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Es1rbg2a9rPM2AEG23-Rvfko8uyDNknSzF_th0O7MnU/edit?usp=sharing

I'd be happy to hear your feedback, ideas, warnings, suggestions, etc.
I'm not much of a hardware person, so would love to have you
scrutinize this for flaws or help build it out. I have most of the
hardware already and am starting a prototype now. I'll let you know
how development progresses, and please let me know if you have any
questions.

Thanks,

Jared

PS - I believe the USU GAS team is planning a launch for this
Saturday. I'll send more details if/when I get them. They likely will
want some help with tracking and recovery.

Re: My floating balloon plans

Josh Jensen
 

Are you planning to release the source code as well for public scrutiny?

Re: My floating balloon plans

Jared Smith
 

Josh Jensenwrote:
Are you planning to release the source code as well for public scrutiny?
I'm happy to share with you guys initially. I'd *LOVE* the feedback.
My programming is not real strong (which is one of the reasons I'm
doing this).

If it all works, I'll certainly share publicly on GitHub or elsewhere.
I'm piecing together code from a lot of different sources - I've yet
to find a public repository with code that does everything I need.

I plugged in the Arduino last night and got my temperature sensor
working, so that's a good start. :-) Tonight I'm going to build and
test the WSPR transmitter. Then the GPS, followed by the solar cells
and power management system. Then I'll test A LOT to make sure it
actually all works in various conditions.

One thing I have learned already (the hard way) is to not go with
clone microcontrollers. The clone/knockoff I bought is printed on a
thicker PCB and weighs almost twice as much as the official Arduino
version I have.

Jared

Re: My floating balloon plans

ag1t@...
 

Jared,
 
  If you don't mind, I would like to clone your efforts.  If you would let me know where you purchase your equipment from, I will duplicate your setup and try working the code with you.  That way we can swap notes, etc.
 
  I hope to better my coding skills as well.  Plus, I could use my set of hardware to do temperature testing etc. against when you feel we are ready for it.
 
  Gary

Re: My floating balloon plans

Jared Smith
 

Gary -

I'd be happy to have you duplicate (or, better yet, improve upon) what I'm doing. If others are interested, it would make sense to combine orders to save on shipping. I'd be happy to coordinate this if others want to give it a go.

Most of the links to what I've purchased are in my Notes document - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Es1rbg2a9rPM2AEG23-Rvfko8uyDNknSzF_th0O7MnU/edit?usp=sharing

You'd need to purchase the following:
  • Arduino Pro Mini ($10 - be sure to get the Arduino version, not a clone)
  • FTDI breakout module ($10 - only need 1 for programming)
  • Si5351A Clock Generator with TCXO ($15 plus $4 for their SMA End Launch Connectors)
  • GPS (~$25 plus shipping from the UK)
  • Supercapacitors ($4.81 each - need 2 per flight)
I have extras of most everything else you'd need and am happy to share:
  • Solar panels - I bought a pack of 100. They are tiny, thin, and very delicate. We'll need 8-10 per flight.
  • Solar panel tabbing wire (for soldering the panels in series)
  • 36 AWG magnet wire for antenna. The minimum I could buy is 3193 feet!
  • Fishing line for tether
  • TMP36 Temp sensors
  • Schottke Diodes (they came in a pack of 50. I bought SMT chips - I'm not sure if/how I'll wire them yet)
  • SMA Dummy load for testing
You'll also need basic Arduino programming/wiring components (micro USB cable, breadboard, jumpers, wire, etc.). And SMA adapters (mated to whatever End Launch Connectors you get) to plug into a 20m antenna for testing. I also bought a cheap high accuracy scale - http://a.co/8fD1Fnu

I'm still not sure how I'm going to put everything together on the payload. My current thinking is to mount on a small sheet of coroplast or styrofoam. I just need to balance it so the panels face up.

I'd hate for you to get too far along on this if my plan isn't a solid one, but I should know in a week or so if it's going to work. If you want, you could do an APRS version instead of, or in addition to, WSPR. You could also do JT9 or JT65 by changing just a couple variables.

Jared


On Tue, Jun 6, 2017 at 7:46 PM, <ag1t@...> wrote:
Jared,
 
  If you don't mind, I would like to clone your efforts.  If you would let me know where you purchase your equipment from, I will duplicate your setup and try working the code with you.  That way we can swap notes, etc.
 
  I hope to better my coding skills as well.  Plus, I could use my set of hardware to do temperature testing etc. against when you feel we are ready for it.
 
  Gary


Re: My floating balloon plans

Josh Jensen
 

Jared,

Just a couple things. You mentioned that you need a micro USB cable for programming. I don't know if they've changed the FTDI breakout board or not, but the one I have has a mini USB.

I mentioned earlier that I would take one of my pro minis into work and weigh it. It looks like the one I have left has some screw terminals soldered onto it. So I won't be able to weigh it. But you can probably handle that yourself now that you have parts in hand.

Speaking of my pro mini with screw terminals, how are you prototyping? Connecting the pro mini to the breadboard, or using an uno? You could borrow mine if you want for prototyping. It is a 5V version though. 

Depending on where you come in for weight, you might want to consider pulling unnecessary components off the arduino. You can get by without the reset button and the LED along with its resistor. It won't be a lot of weight savings, but when you're talking grams it can all add up. I couldn't remember if I mentioned it or not. 

Josh

On Jun 6, 2017 10:29 PM, "Jared Smith" <jared@...> wrote:
Gary -

I'd be happy to have you duplicate (or, better yet, improve upon) what I'm doing. If others are interested, it would make sense to combine orders to save on shipping. I'd be happy to coordinate this if others want to give it a go.

Most of the links to what I've purchased are in my Notes document - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Es1rbg2a9rPM2AEG23-Rvfko8uyDNknSzF_th0O7MnU/edit?usp=sharing

You'd need to purchase the following:
  • Arduino Pro Mini ($10 - be sure to get the Arduino version, not a clone)
  • FTDI breakout module ($10 - only need 1 for programming)
  • Si5351A Clock Generator with TCXO ($15 plus $4 for their SMA End Launch Connectors)
  • GPS (~$25 plus shipping from the UK)
  • Supercapacitors ($4.81 each - need 2 per flight)
I have extras of most everything else you'd need and am happy to share:
  • Solar panels - I bought a pack of 100. They are tiny, thin, and very delicate. We'll need 8-10 per flight.
  • Solar panel tabbing wire (for soldering the panels in series)
  • 36 AWG magnet wire for antenna. The minimum I could buy is 3193 feet!
  • Fishing line for tether
  • TMP36 Temp sensors
  • Schottke Diodes (they came in a pack of 50. I bought SMT chips - I'm not sure if/how I'll wire them yet)
  • SMA Dummy load for testing
You'll also need basic Arduino programming/wiring components (micro USB cable, breadboard, jumpers, wire, etc.). And SMA adapters (mated to whatever End Launch Connectors you get) to plug into a 20m antenna for testing. I also bought a cheap high accuracy scale - http://a.co/8fD1Fnu

I'm still not sure how I'm going to put everything together on the payload. My current thinking is to mount on a small sheet of coroplast or styrofoam. I just need to balance it so the panels face up.

I'd hate for you to get too far along on this if my plan isn't a solid one, but I should know in a week or so if it's going to work. If you want, you could do an APRS version instead of, or in addition to, WSPR. You could also do JT9 or JT65 by changing just a couple variables.

Jared


On Tue, Jun 6, 2017 at 7:46 PM, <ag1t@...> wrote:
Jared,
 
  If you don't mind, I would like to clone your efforts.  If you would let me know where you purchase your equipment from, I will duplicate your setup and try working the code with you.  That way we can swap notes, etc.
 
  I hope to better my coding skills as well.  Plus, I could use my set of hardware to do temperature testing etc. against when you feel we are ready for it.
 
  Gary


Re: My floating balloon plans

Jared Smith
 

You mentioned that you need a micro USB cable for programming. I don't know if they've changed the FTDI breakout board or not, but the one I have has a mini USB.

The one I got from Amazon is micro USB. It also has a jumper to change voltage between 5v and 3.3v. Sparkfun has a mini USB version (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9873) and a micro USB version (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13263).
 
Speaking of my pro mini with screw terminals, how are you prototyping? Connecting the pro mini to the breadboard, or using an uno? You could borrow mine if you want for prototyping. It is a 5V version though. 

I'm using a breadboard for prototyping. I also have an Uno, but the voltage difference would complicate things.
 
Depending on where you come in for weight, you might want to consider pulling unnecessary components off the arduino. You can get by without the reset button and the LED along with its resistor. It won't be a lot of weight savings, but when you're talking grams it can all add up. I couldn't remember if I mentioned it or not. 

Yes, I may do this. I'm using the onboard LED to indicate status (lit if there's a GPS lock and flashing while transmitting), but that won't be necessary at 40,000 feet. :-)

The biggest weight savings would be in going with smaller supercapacitors. Going from 5F to 3.3F would save 1.2 grams. But having two in series to make 5.4 volts also cuts the capacitance in half. I'm going to test a lot to see how much of a difference it makes, but think I'll probably go with the smaller ones.

The Si5351A Clock Generator board is also rather heavy - I think ~4 grams. It has voltage switching/regulation and 2 extra outputs that aren't necessary. I'm going to look into another option or maybe trying to design a small custom breakout board with only one output. That would save around 2 grams.

Thanks!

Jared

 

Transmitter update

Jared Smith
 

I have a basic prototype up and running with the WSPR transmitter. A photo is attached.

It puts out only 10 milliwatts (much less than that by the time it gets to my antenna) and was heard in several places across the US tonight on 20 meter band well after sunset. I track reception reports using WSPRnet.org. A screen shot of those hearing me is attached.

The furthest was W0PAS in Eastern Ohio. That comes out to 155,590 miles per watt!!! Not bad for a radio the size of a matchbook.

Thanks Gary for helping me test it out.

The GPS receivers came today, so that's my next project. I've learned my programming skills leave a lot to be desired! I programmed up the telemetry module yesterday. It converts NMEA lat/lon to grid square, and encodes the altitude and temperature into the telemetry format.

Jared

Re: Transmitter update

Kevin Reeve
 

I think your selling yourself short on the programming skills. If you have that much working as of last night, you have made great progress and accomplished much, especially converting lat and long to grid square.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Jared Smith <jared@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 11:29 PM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I have a basic prototype up and running with the WSPR transmitter. A photo is attached.

It puts out only 10 milliwatts (much less than that by the time it gets to my antenna) and was heard in several places across the US tonight on 20 meter band well after sunset. I track reception reports using WSPRnet.org. A screen shot of those hearing me is attached.

The furthest was W0PAS in Eastern Ohio. That comes out to 155,590 miles per watt!!! Not bad for a radio the size of a matchbook.

Thanks Gary for helping me test it out.

The GPS receivers came today, so that's my next project. I've learned my programming skills leave a lot to be desired! I programmed up the telemetry module yesterday. It converts NMEA lat/lon to grid square, and encodes the altitude and temperature into the telemetry format.

Jared

Re: Transmitter update

Kevin Reeve
 

And I think the whole Wisper thing is cool because it is on a worldwide recognized freq, and has a great chance of being heard even when across the ocean.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Main <kevin.reeve@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Friday, June 9, 2017 at 9:09 AM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I think your selling yourself short on the programming skills. If you have that much working as of last night, you have made great progress and accomplished much, especially converting lat and long to grid square.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Jared Smith <jared@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 11:29 PM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I have a basic prototype up and running with the WSPR transmitter. A photo is attached.

It puts out only 10 milliwatts (much less than that by the time it gets to my antenna) and was heard in several places across the US tonight on 20 meter band well after sunset. I track reception reports using WSPRnet.org. A screen shot of those hearing me is attached.

The furthest was W0PAS in Eastern Ohio. That comes out to 155,590 miles per watt!!! Not bad for a radio the size of a matchbook.

Thanks Gary for helping me test it out.

The GPS receivers came today, so that's my next project. I've learned my programming skills leave a lot to be desired! I programmed up the telemetry module yesterday. It converts NMEA lat/lon to grid square, and encodes the altitude and temperature into the telemetry format.

Jared

Re: Transmitter update

Tyler Griffiths
 

So does it need to change  frequencies like a VHF or UHF  beacon. Or does HF work on a single frequency ?

Tyler

On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 9:17 AM Kevin Reeve <kevin.reeve@...> wrote:
And I think the whole Wisper thing is cool because it is on a worldwide recognized freq, and has a great chance of being heard even when across the ocean.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Main <kevin.reeve@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Friday, June 9, 2017 at 9:09 AM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I think your selling yourself short on the programming skills. If you have that much working as of last night, you have made great progress and accomplished much, especially converting lat and long to grid square.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Jared Smith <jared@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 11:29 PM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I have a basic prototype up and running with the WSPR transmitter. A photo is attached.

It puts out only 10 milliwatts (much less than that by the time it gets to my antenna) and was heard in several places across the US tonight on 20 meter band well after sunset. I track reception reports using WSPRnet.org. A screen shot of those hearing me is attached.

The furthest was W0PAS in Eastern Ohio. That comes out to 155,590 miles per watt!!! Not bad for a radio the size of a matchbook.

Thanks Gary for helping me test it out.

The GPS receivers came today, so that's my next project. I've learned my programming skills leave a lot to be desired! I programmed up the telemetry module yesterday. It converts NMEA lat/lon to grid square, and encodes the altitude and temperature into the telemetry format.

Jared

--
Tyler, Sent from Gmail Mobile

Re: Transmitter update

Tyler Griffiths
 

 I should say as it circles the earth. 


On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 3:40 PM Tyler Griffiths <tyler.griffiths@...> wrote:
So does it need to change  frequencies like a VHF or UHF  beacon. Or does HF work on a single frequency ?

Tyler
On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 9:17 AM Kevin Reeve <kevin.reeve@...> wrote:
And I think the whole Wisper thing is cool because it is on a worldwide recognized freq, and has a great chance of being heard even when across the ocean.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Main <kevin.reeve@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Friday, June 9, 2017 at 9:09 AM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I think your selling yourself short on the programming skills. If you have that much working as of last night, you have made great progress and accomplished much, especially converting lat and long to grid square.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Jared Smith <jared@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 11:29 PM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I have a basic prototype up and running with the WSPR transmitter. A photo is attached.

It puts out only 10 milliwatts (much less than that by the time it gets to my antenna) and was heard in several places across the US tonight on 20 meter band well after sunset. I track reception reports using WSPRnet.org. A screen shot of those hearing me is attached.

The furthest was W0PAS in Eastern Ohio. That comes out to 155,590 miles per watt!!! Not bad for a radio the size of a matchbook.

Thanks Gary for helping me test it out.

The GPS receivers came today, so that's my next project. I've learned my programming skills leave a lot to be desired! I programmed up the telemetry module yesterday. It converts NMEA lat/lon to grid square, and encodes the altitude and temperature into the telemetry format.

Jared

--
Tyler, Sent from Gmail Mobile

--
Tyler, Sent from Gmail Mobile

No GAS team HAB flight tomorrow

Kevin Reeve
 

USU GAS team is not flying tomorrow.

Lauch site would be 2.5 hours away they tell me. They are hoping for better patterns next Sat.  

Kevin


Re: Transmitter update

Jared Smith
 

Tyler -

It's a single defined frequency per band - so no need to change based on regions like you have to with APRS or other VHF/UHF modes.

I do, however, have to add some logic so it won't transmit over certain countries where airborne transmissions are illegal. I'm not sure yet whether to do this geofencing based on lat/lon or grid square.

Mine will do 20 meters WSPR only. So it can be locked on the defined 20 meter frequency with a tuned dipole. The signal generator makes the slight changes in tones (4 of them total) to encode the almost 2-minute long WSPR transmission.

Some balloons are using 20 and 30 meter WSPR, but this makes the antenna configuration a bit more complex. And some are also using APRS with a separate transmitter. I may add APRS depending on what the weight comes to.

Jared


On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 3:41 PM, Tyler Griffiths <tyler.griffiths@...> wrote:
 I should say as it circles the earth. 


On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 3:40 PM Tyler Griffiths <tyler.griffiths@...> wrote:
So does it need to change  frequencies like a VHF or UHF  beacon. Or does HF work on a single frequency ?

Tyler
On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 9:17 AM Kevin Reeve <kevin.reeve@...> wrote:
And I think the whole Wisper thing is cool because it is on a worldwide recognized freq, and has a great chance of being heard even when across the ocean.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Main <kevin.reeve@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Friday, June 9, 2017 at 9:09 AM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I think your selling yourself short on the programming skills. If you have that much working as of last night, you have made great progress and accomplished much, especially converting lat and long to grid square.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Jared Smith <jared@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 11:29 PM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I have a basic prototype up and running with the WSPR transmitter. A photo is attached.

It puts out only 10 milliwatts (much less than that by the time it gets to my antenna) and was heard in several places across the US tonight on 20 meter band well after sunset. I track reception reports using WSPRnet.org. A screen shot of those hearing me is attached.

The furthest was W0PAS in Eastern Ohio. That comes out to 155,590 miles per watt!!! Not bad for a radio the size of a matchbook.

Thanks Gary for helping me test it out.

The GPS receivers came today, so that's my next project. I've learned my programming skills leave a lot to be desired! I programmed up the telemetry module yesterday. It converts NMEA lat/lon to grid square, and encodes the altitude and temperature into the telemetry format.

Jared

--
Tyler, Sent from Gmail Mobile

--
Tyler, Sent from Gmail Mobile


Re: Transmitter update

Josh Jensen
 

Jared,

I was just thinking. If you want to give your payload an airborne test before you launch it, we could take it up suspended from my hexacopter. I made some good progress today, and could possibly take it on its first flight soon. 

Now I just need to work on some ham payloads. Probably my first will be a camera and transmitter, then a small digi to pick up APRS beacons from lost payloads, or relaying Bear 100 runner data.

Josh

On Jun 9, 2017 5:25 PM, "Jared Smith" <jared@...> wrote:
Tyler -

It's a single defined frequency per band - so no need to change based on regions like you have to with APRS or other VHF/UHF modes.

I do, however, have to add some logic so it won't transmit over certain countries where airborne transmissions are illegal. I'm not sure yet whether to do this geofencing based on lat/lon or grid square.

Mine will do 20 meters WSPR only. So it can be locked on the defined 20 meter frequency with a tuned dipole. The signal generator makes the slight changes in tones (4 of them total) to encode the almost 2-minute long WSPR transmission.

Some balloons are using 20 and 30 meter WSPR, but this makes the antenna configuration a bit more complex. And some are also using APRS with a separate transmitter. I may add APRS depending on what the weight comes to.

Jared


On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 3:41 PM, Tyler Griffiths <tyler.griffiths@...> wrote:
 I should say as it circles the earth. 


On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 3:40 PM Tyler Griffiths <tyler.griffiths@...> wrote:
So does it need to change  frequencies like a VHF or UHF  beacon. Or does HF work on a single frequency ?

Tyler
On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 9:17 AM Kevin Reeve <kevin.reeve@...> wrote:
And I think the whole Wisper thing is cool because it is on a worldwide recognized freq, and has a great chance of being heard even when across the ocean.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Main <kevin.reeve@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Friday, June 9, 2017 at 9:09 AM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I think your selling yourself short on the programming skills. If you have that much working as of last night, you have made great progress and accomplished much, especially converting lat and long to grid square.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Jared Smith <jared@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 11:29 PM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I have a basic prototype up and running with the WSPR transmitter. A photo is attached.

It puts out only 10 milliwatts (much less than that by the time it gets to my antenna) and was heard in several places across the US tonight on 20 meter band well after sunset. I track reception reports using WSPRnet.org. A screen shot of those hearing me is attached.

The furthest was W0PAS in Eastern Ohio. That comes out to 155,590 miles per watt!!! Not bad for a radio the size of a matchbook.

Thanks Gary for helping me test it out.

The GPS receivers came today, so that's my next project. I've learned my programming skills leave a lot to be desired! I programmed up the telemetry module yesterday. It converts NMEA lat/lon to grid square, and encodes the altitude and temperature into the telemetry format.

Jared

--
Tyler, Sent from Gmail Mobile

--
Tyler, Sent from Gmail Mobile


Re: Transmitter update

Jared Smith
 

Josh -

That would be cool! And I want to check out the drone anyway. I will need to do some testing to see how the antenna is going to work. It's VERY thin (like hair thin), 36 gauge magnet wire and I need to make sure it's not going to coil back onto itself - especially in turbulent conditions. The antenna's almost 35' long with the payload attached in the middle.

I now have all of the individual components working (except the solar stuff), so am now working on programming them all together. There are some interesting complexities in getting the sequencing and timing all right - and ensuring it's entirely autonomous. I'm planning on lots of testing, and an airborne test from your drone would be wonderful. I'm probably several weeks out from being to that point. 

We'll want to consider whether I should do a transmission test while hanging from your drone. I suspect not - I think the RF will likely interfere with your flight system.

Thanks,

Jared


On Sat, Jun 10, 2017 at 11:06 PM, Josh Jensen <kd7wrc@...> wrote:
Jared,

I was just thinking. If you want to give your payload an airborne test before you launch it, we could take it up suspended from my hexacopter. I made some good progress today, and could possibly take it on its first flight soon. 

Now I just need to work on some ham payloads. Probably my first will be a camera and transmitter, then a small digi to pick up APRS beacons from lost payloads, or relaying Bear 100 runner data.

Josh

On Jun 9, 2017 5:25 PM, "Jared Smith" <jared@...> wrote:
Tyler -

It's a single defined frequency per band - so no need to change based on regions like you have to with APRS or other VHF/UHF modes.

I do, however, have to add some logic so it won't transmit over certain countries where airborne transmissions are illegal. I'm not sure yet whether to do this geofencing based on lat/lon or grid square.

Mine will do 20 meters WSPR only. So it can be locked on the defined 20 meter frequency with a tuned dipole. The signal generator makes the slight changes in tones (4 of them total) to encode the almost 2-minute long WSPR transmission.

Some balloons are using 20 and 30 meter WSPR, but this makes the antenna configuration a bit more complex. And some are also using APRS with a separate transmitter. I may add APRS depending on what the weight comes to.

Jared


On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 3:41 PM, Tyler Griffiths <tyler.griffiths@...> wrote:
 I should say as it circles the earth. 


On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 3:40 PM Tyler Griffiths <tyler.griffiths@...> wrote:
So does it need to change  frequencies like a VHF or UHF  beacon. Or does HF work on a single frequency ?

Tyler
On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 9:17 AM Kevin Reeve <kevin.reeve@...> wrote:
And I think the whole Wisper thing is cool because it is on a worldwide recognized freq, and has a great chance of being heard even when across the ocean.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Main <kevin.reeve@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Friday, June 9, 2017 at 9:09 AM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I think your selling yourself short on the programming skills. If you have that much working as of last night, you have made great progress and accomplished much, especially converting lat and long to grid square.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Jared Smith <jared@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 11:29 PM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I have a basic prototype up and running with the WSPR transmitter. A photo is attached.

It puts out only 10 milliwatts (much less than that by the time it gets to my antenna) and was heard in several places across the US tonight on 20 meter band well after sunset. I track reception reports using WSPRnet.org. A screen shot of those hearing me is attached.

The furthest was W0PAS in Eastern Ohio. That comes out to 155,590 miles per watt!!! Not bad for a radio the size of a matchbook.

Thanks Gary for helping me test it out.

The GPS receivers came today, so that's my next project. I've learned my programming skills leave a lot to be desired! I programmed up the telemetry module yesterday. It converts NMEA lat/lon to grid square, and encodes the altitude and temperature into the telemetry format.

Jared

--
Tyler, Sent from Gmail Mobile

--
Tyler, Sent from Gmail Mobile



Re: Transmitter update

Josh Jensen
 

Jared,

I don't think you transmitting will be any problem at all. I think my biggest concern would be the GPS reception, but I don't think it interferes with your GPS, so it should be fine with mine. By the time my drone is finished, I'll have more, higher power transmitters on it directly. I would think it wouldn't even notice yours. 

If you're still concerned about interference, I can work in an autonomous flight plan, and have it take off, and fly up to altitude on its own. Have it hover at altitudes for a while, then come down and hover at 20 feet off the ground while you power down your stuff, then I take manual control for final landing. I'll need to see what I have for battery life. 

Josh

On Jun 10, 2017 11:49 PM, "Jared Smith" <jared@...> wrote:
Josh -

That would be cool! And I want to check out the drone anyway. I will need to do some testing to see how the antenna is going to work. It's VERY thin (like hair thin), 36 gauge magnet wire and I need to make sure it's not going to coil back onto itself - especially in turbulent conditions. The antenna's almost 35' long with the payload attached in the middle.

I now have all of the individual components working (except the solar stuff), so am now working on programming them all together. There are some interesting complexities in getting the sequencing and timing all right - and ensuring it's entirely autonomous. I'm planning on lots of testing, and an airborne test from your drone would be wonderful. I'm probably several weeks out from being to that point. 

We'll want to consider whether I should do a transmission test while hanging from your drone. I suspect not - I think the RF will likely interfere with your flight system.

Thanks,

Jared


On Sat, Jun 10, 2017 at 11:06 PM, Josh Jensen <kd7wrc@...> wrote:
Jared,

I was just thinking. If you want to give your payload an airborne test before you launch it, we could take it up suspended from my hexacopter. I made some good progress today, and could possibly take it on its first flight soon. 

Now I just need to work on some ham payloads. Probably my first will be a camera and transmitter, then a small digi to pick up APRS beacons from lost payloads, or relaying Bear 100 runner data.

Josh

On Jun 9, 2017 5:25 PM, "Jared Smith" <jared@...> wrote:
Tyler -

It's a single defined frequency per band - so no need to change based on regions like you have to with APRS or other VHF/UHF modes.

I do, however, have to add some logic so it won't transmit over certain countries where airborne transmissions are illegal. I'm not sure yet whether to do this geofencing based on lat/lon or grid square.

Mine will do 20 meters WSPR only. So it can be locked on the defined 20 meter frequency with a tuned dipole. The signal generator makes the slight changes in tones (4 of them total) to encode the almost 2-minute long WSPR transmission.

Some balloons are using 20 and 30 meter WSPR, but this makes the antenna configuration a bit more complex. And some are also using APRS with a separate transmitter. I may add APRS depending on what the weight comes to.

Jared


On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 3:41 PM, Tyler Griffiths <tyler.griffiths@...> wrote:
 I should say as it circles the earth. 


On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 3:40 PM Tyler Griffiths <tyler.griffiths@...> wrote:
So does it need to change  frequencies like a VHF or UHF  beacon. Or does HF work on a single frequency ?

Tyler
On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 9:17 AM Kevin Reeve <kevin.reeve@...> wrote:
And I think the whole Wisper thing is cool because it is on a worldwide recognized freq, and has a great chance of being heard even when across the ocean.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Main <kevin.reeve@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Friday, June 9, 2017 at 9:09 AM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I think your selling yourself short on the programming skills. If you have that much working as of last night, you have made great progress and accomplished much, especially converting lat and long to grid square.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Jared Smith <jared@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 11:29 PM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I have a basic prototype up and running with the WSPR transmitter. A photo is attached.

It puts out only 10 milliwatts (much less than that by the time it gets to my antenna) and was heard in several places across the US tonight on 20 meter band well after sunset. I track reception reports using WSPRnet.org. A screen shot of those hearing me is attached.

The furthest was W0PAS in Eastern Ohio. That comes out to 155,590 miles per watt!!! Not bad for a radio the size of a matchbook.

Thanks Gary for helping me test it out.

The GPS receivers came today, so that's my next project. I've learned my programming skills leave a lot to be desired! I programmed up the telemetry module yesterday. It converts NMEA lat/lon to grid square, and encodes the altitude and temperature into the telemetry format.

Jared

--
Tyler, Sent from Gmail Mobile

--
Tyler, Sent from Gmail Mobile



Re: Transmitter update

Kevin Reeve
 

We can also work towards flying it on a HAB of the GAS team.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Josh Jensen <kd7wrc@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Sunday, June 11, 2017 at 9:34 AM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

Jared,

I don't think you transmitting will be any problem at all. I think my biggest concern would be the GPS reception, but I don't think it interferes with your GPS, so it should be fine with mine. By the time my drone is finished, I'll have more, higher power transmitters on it directly. I would think it wouldn't even notice yours. 

If you're still concerned about interference, I can work in an autonomous flight plan, and have it take off, and fly up to altitude on its own. Have it hover at altitudes for a while, then come down and hover at 20 feet off the ground while you power down your stuff, then I take manual control for final landing. I'll need to see what I have for battery life. 

Josh

On Jun 10, 2017 11:49 PM, "Jared Smith" <jared@...> wrote:
Josh -

That would be cool! And I want to check out the drone anyway. I will need to do some testing to see how the antenna is going to work. It's VERY thin (like hair thin), 36 gauge magnet wire and I need to make sure it's not going to coil back onto itself - especially in turbulent conditions. The antenna's almost 35' long with the payload attached in the middle.

I now have all of the individual components working (except the solar stuff), so am now working on programming them all together. There are some interesting complexities in getting the sequencing and timing all right - and ensuring it's entirely autonomous. I'm planning on lots of testing, and an airborne test from your drone would be wonderful. I'm probably several weeks out from being to that point. 

We'll want to consider whether I should do a transmission test while hanging from your drone. I suspect not - I think the RF will likely interfere with your flight system.

Thanks,

Jared


On Sat, Jun 10, 2017 at 11:06 PM, Josh Jensen <kd7wrc@...> wrote:
Jared,

I was just thinking. If you want to give your payload an airborne test before you launch it, we could take it up suspended from my hexacopter. I made some good progress today, and could possibly take it on its first flight soon. 

Now I just need to work on some ham payloads. Probably my first will be a camera and transmitter, then a small digi to pick up APRS beacons from lost payloads, or relaying Bear 100 runner data.

Josh

On Jun 9, 2017 5:25 PM, "Jared Smith" <jared@...> wrote:
Tyler -

It's a single defined frequency per band - so no need to change based on regions like you have to with APRS or other VHF/UHF modes.

I do, however, have to add some logic so it won't transmit over certain countries where airborne transmissions are illegal. I'm not sure yet whether to do this geofencing based on lat/lon or grid square.

Mine will do 20 meters WSPR only. So it can be locked on the defined 20 meter frequency with a tuned dipole. The signal generator makes the slight changes in tones (4 of them total) to encode the almost 2-minute long WSPR transmission.

Some balloons are using 20 and 30 meter WSPR, but this makes the antenna configuration a bit more complex. And some are also using APRS with a separate transmitter. I may add APRS depending on what the weight comes to.

Jared


On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 3:41 PM, Tyler Griffiths <tyler.griffiths@...> wrote:
 I should say as it circles the earth. 


On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 3:40 PM Tyler Griffiths <tyler.griffiths@...> wrote:
So does it need to change  frequencies like a VHF or UHF  beacon. Or does HF work on a single frequency ?

Tyler
On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 9:17 AM Kevin Reeve <kevin.reeve@...> wrote:
And I think the whole Wisper thing is cool because it is on a worldwide recognized freq, and has a great chance of being heard even when across the ocean.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Main <kevin.reeve@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Friday, June 9, 2017 at 9:09 AM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I think your selling yourself short on the programming skills. If you have that much working as of last night, you have made great progress and accomplished much, especially converting lat and long to grid square.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Jared Smith <jared@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 11:29 PM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I have a basic prototype up and running with the WSPR transmitter. A photo is attached.

It puts out only 10 milliwatts (much less than that by the time it gets to my antenna) and was heard in several places across the US tonight on 20 meter band well after sunset. I track reception reports using WSPRnet.org. A screen shot of those hearing me is attached.

The furthest was W0PAS in Eastern Ohio. That comes out to 155,590 miles per watt!!! Not bad for a radio the size of a matchbook.

Thanks Gary for helping me test it out.

The GPS receivers came today, so that's my next project. I've learned my programming skills leave a lot to be desired! I programmed up the telemetry module yesterday. It converts NMEA lat/lon to grid square, and encodes the altitude and temperature into the telemetry format.

Jared

--
Tyler, Sent from Gmail Mobile

--
Tyler, Sent from Gmail Mobile



Re: Transmitter update

Stanley James Wellard
 

Jared,
How do you arrange the 35' magnetic wire for transmission?
Stan

Sent from my iPhone

On Jun 10, 2017, at 11:49 PM, Jared Smith <jared@...> wrote:

Josh -

That would be cool! And I want to check out the drone anyway. I will need to do some testing to see how the antenna is going to work. It's VERY thin (like hair thin), 36 gauge magnet wire and I need to make sure it's not going to coil back onto itself - especially in turbulent conditions. The antenna's almost 35' long with the payload attached in the middle.

I now have all of the individual components working (except the solar stuff), so am now working on programming them all together. There are some interesting complexities in getting the sequencing and timing all right - and ensuring it's entirely autonomous. I'm planning on lots of testing, and an airborne test from your drone would be wonderful. I'm probably several weeks out from being to that point. 

We'll want to consider whether I should do a transmission test while hanging from your drone. I suspect not - I think the RF will likely interfere with your flight system.

Thanks,

Jared


On Sat, Jun 10, 2017 at 11:06 PM, Josh Jensen <kd7wrc@...> wrote:
Jared,

I was just thinking. If you want to give your payload an airborne test before you launch it, we could take it up suspended from my hexacopter. I made some good progress today, and could possibly take it on its first flight soon. 

Now I just need to work on some ham payloads. Probably my first will be a camera and transmitter, then a small digi to pick up APRS beacons from lost payloads, or relaying Bear 100 runner data.

Josh

On Jun 9, 2017 5:25 PM, "Jared Smith" <jared@...> wrote:
Tyler -

It's a single defined frequency per band - so no need to change based on regions like you have to with APRS or other VHF/UHF modes.

I do, however, have to add some logic so it won't transmit over certain countries where airborne transmissions are illegal. I'm not sure yet whether to do this geofencing based on lat/lon or grid square.

Mine will do 20 meters WSPR only. So it can be locked on the defined 20 meter frequency with a tuned dipole. The signal generator makes the slight changes in tones (4 of them total) to encode the almost 2-minute long WSPR transmission.

Some balloons are using 20 and 30 meter WSPR, but this makes the antenna configuration a bit more complex. And some are also using APRS with a separate transmitter. I may add APRS depending on what the weight comes to.

Jared


On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 3:41 PM, Tyler Griffiths <tyler.griffiths@...> wrote:
 I should say as it circles the earth. 


On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 3:40 PM Tyler Griffiths <tyler.griffiths@...> wrote:
So does it need to change  frequencies like a VHF or UHF  beacon. Or does HF work on a single frequency ?

Tyler
On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 9:17 AM Kevin Reeve <kevin.reeve@...> wrote:
And I think the whole Wisper thing is cool because it is on a worldwide recognized freq, and has a great chance of being heard even when across the ocean.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Main <kevin.reeve@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Friday, June 9, 2017 at 9:09 AM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I think your selling yourself short on the programming skills. If you have that much working as of last night, you have made great progress and accomplished much, especially converting lat and long to grid square.

Kevin



From: <BARC-HAB@groups.io> on behalf of Jared Smith <jared@...>
Reply-To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Date: Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 11:29 PM
To: "BARC-HAB@groups.io" <BARC-HAB@groups.io>
Subject: [BARC-HAB] Transmitter update

I have a basic prototype up and running with the WSPR transmitter. A photo is attached.

It puts out only 10 milliwatts (much less than that by the time it gets to my antenna) and was heard in several places across the US tonight on 20 meter band well after sunset. I track reception reports using WSPRnet.org. A screen shot of those hearing me is attached.

The furthest was W0PAS in Eastern Ohio. That comes out to 155,590 miles per watt!!! Not bad for a radio the size of a matchbook.

Thanks Gary for helping me test it out.

The GPS receivers came today, so that's my next project. I've learned my programming skills leave a lot to be desired! I programmed up the telemetry module yesterday. It converts NMEA lat/lon to grid square, and encodes the altitude and temperature into the telemetry format.

Jared

--
Tyler, Sent from Gmail Mobile

--
Tyler, Sent from Gmail Mobile



My hexacopter for HAB support

Josh Jensen
 

Here are some pictures, and a video of the hexacopter I'm building.  Yesterday (Saturday, June 10) I finally powered up the entire craft.  The ESC's were giving me an error, that's what the beeping and the yellow lights are in the video.

There's a picture of it sitting on the living room floor, waiting for it's first flight.  Also, a picture of it hovering in the back yard.  

I'm hoping to be able to use it as an airbourne digipeater to help try and pick up beacons from wayward balloons that can't quite reach the land based digis.  There is also talk of using it for some altitude payload tests.  I would love any other thoughts on how it can be used.

I'll try and get some more pictures of it in the air as soon as my battery finishes charging.

Josh