Date   

Re: COVID-19 and GPSL

Jerry
 

I have been planning on doing a balloon this year but if I have to do it here in Phoenix I don't think that will happen.  110+ is just too hot to hike around the desert.

I'm still hoping that things will be settled by July and I can get out of here for a while :)


Jerry Gable
Balloon Flight Prediction tools
http://www.s3research.com




Re: COVID-19 and GPSL

Keith Kaiser, WA0̷TJT
 

HamSCI is in the middle of a Zoom workshop right now. Its working great and I think we should make GPSL 2020 a virtual set of presentations with a coordinated launch on Saturday.

Keith, WA0̷TJT




Re: COVID-19 and GPSL

Bill Brown
 

I just proposed that same concept to the Dayton Hamvention folks. If it comes to that, we can use Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams or any other teleconferencing software to accomplish that. We could even do balloons launches at the same time but at our own locations and link the launch videos by a single site...Facebook Live?

- Bill WB8ELK




-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Conner N9XTN <mconner1@...>
To: GPSL <GPSL@groups.io>
Sent: Thu, Mar 19, 2020 12:01 pm
Subject: Re: [GPSL] COVID-19 and GPSL

Should we be somewhat limited in being able to have in-person attendance in July, I'd like to float (pun intended) the idea of a virtual GPSL, with online live presentations on Friday and a simultaneous launch on Saturday (each site's wx permitting).

73 de Mark N9XTN


On Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 9:19 PM Mark Conner <mconner1@...> wrote:
I've had a couple of emails asking about GPSL 2020 in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.  

So far, there is nothing that would prevent us from going forward.  However, I have indirectly heard that the University of Nebraska system is doing some (contingency?) planning for teaching summer classes online only.  Our Friday session is planned to be at Nebraska's Omaha campus - if that is closed, we'd have to relocate.

Of course, at this date, it's hard to say whether various travel and gathering restrictions will be lifted in the next four months - I'm sure we all hope so.

I'm not sure how far in advance attendees will have to make commitments that will be hard to get out of.  I assume we'd have to fish or cut bait by around June 1st.  If your group would need an earlier decision, let me know.

73 de Mark N9XTN


Re: COVID-19 and GPSL

Mark Conner N9XTN
 

Should we be somewhat limited in being able to have in-person attendance in July, I'd like to float (pun intended) the idea of a virtual GPSL, with online live presentations on Friday and a simultaneous launch on Saturday (each site's wx permitting).

73 de Mark N9XTN


On Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 9:19 PM Mark Conner <mconner1@...> wrote:
I've had a couple of emails asking about GPSL 2020 in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.  

So far, there is nothing that would prevent us from going forward.  However, I have indirectly heard that the University of Nebraska system is doing some (contingency?) planning for teaching summer classes online only.  Our Friday session is planned to be at Nebraska's Omaha campus - if that is closed, we'd have to relocate.

Of course, at this date, it's hard to say whether various travel and gathering restrictions will be lifted in the next four months - I'm sure we all hope so.

I'm not sure how far in advance attendees will have to make commitments that will be hard to get out of.  I assume we'd have to fish or cut bait by around June 1st.  If your group would need an earlier decision, let me know.

73 de Mark N9XTN


Re: High altitude floater

Alan Adamson
 

Thanks for the kind words.  I got sucked into the world of satellites (professionally) and haven’t had a chance to play much with balloons.

 

But a few comments.  The original author’s intent sounded like something very different from mine, and something that I actually haven’t heard of.

 

My balloon that flew for over 2 years and finally broke the record that NASA held with the ghost balloon program, was extremely light.

 

The payload was custom built and weighed ~9grams

Ron’s company made the balloon (envelope) and it was made from a special material that was used in the food industry for wrapping sushi 😊

My balloon flew on H2, not HE

As a result for 767 days it was  at approx. 46000 ft and was considered a Super Pressure balloon (fully sealed envelope)

 

The primary tricks are  - you have to float at above 41000 to stay away from airplanes

You have to use a material that won’t *leak* your lifting gas

Your payload has to be extremely light

And in my case I flew a solar only balloon, it didn’t have a heavy battery instead it used a super capacitor and solar panels

For radio(s) you have to use something that can be tracked world wide (APRS isn’t that btw).

So my balloon used *both* APRS for when it was in coverage, and WSPR (yes on 20mtrs) for full world coverage (it has 2 antennas a ½ wave on 2mtrs and a ½ wave on 20mts

Of the first 2 years, it was heard and tracked via telemetry every day but 3.  There was a gap at the end as over time it developed an intermittent problem.

 

Here is the last version of a Presentation that used with a few local Ham Radio clubs before I left Atlanta and moved to Utah.

 

I do have some plans upcoming for a few more launches and the second board that is referenced in that presentation will likely be available after further testing (the company I work for hired the developer – but we’ve been completely consumed working on low cost, commercial satellites 😊 )…

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/gnchy5tqw2g4gy0/HAB%20-%202019.pdf?dl=0

 

I can answer questions, but my responses will likely be delayed so bear with me,

Alan Adamson

W7QO

Ps. The balloon flew under the call of K4JCW, because my call was on a sister balloon that was still up when we launched the record setting one.

 

From: GPSL@groups.io <GPSL@groups.io> On Behalf Of Jerry via Groups.Io
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2020 9:29 AM
To: GPSL@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GPSL] High altitude floater

 

As Howard pointed out, Alan holds the record.  The last account I have seen is HIRF-6 was up for 767 days and 35 laps.  I'm sure it went farther than that.  You can see some of the info here: http://www.scientificballoonsolutions.com/news/

 

This is Ron Meadows company.  He made the balloons Alan used.

 

Jerry Gable
Balloon Flight Prediction tools
http://www.s3research.com

 

 

On Thursday, March 19, 2020, 8:23:26 AM MST, BASE_DePauw <hlbrooks@...> wrote:

 

 

Stan,

 

Alan Adamson has had multiple long duration flights. I believe his e-mail is:   adamson_alan@...

 

Bill Brown wb8elk@... is experienced in all types of balloon flights including extended duration floaters

 

Ron Meadows K6RPT is someone who has flown extended flights and manufactured balloon envelopes.  See www.cnsp-inc.com

 

Howard,

KC9QBN,  BASE_DePauw

 

On Thu, Mar 19, 2020 at 11:05 AM stan siems <ssiems@...> wrote:

I am working on launching several long term floaters with hopefully multiple passes around the earth I have several persons saying this has been done with up to 7 passes although I have not found data to support this. If any one would have information on any of these flights I would appreciate receiving the information on those flights. I will be using a APRS LIGHT W  tracker with  a usb battery and solar panel to charge it on the first flight with the possibility of adding a cross band repeater Later if I can prove  that we can keep them up for sufficient period of time. The electronics is the easy part the Balloon is the difficult part. I am looking at making my own balloon using stratofilm 430 ,If any one has done this I would appreciate any information they have and what there experience was. I would also appreciate any anyone offering information on a project of this type.
Thanks Stan Siems WB0EMJ


 

--

Howard L. Brooks
Professor of Physics and Astronomy
241 Julian Science and Mathematics Center
DePauw University
2 E. Hanna Street
Greencastle, IN 46135
hlbrooks@...
Office: (765) 658-4653
FAX: (765) 658-4732


Re: High altitude floater

Jim Reed
 

Let me know when you guys have a floater up. We are now teaching from home and I teach introduction to programming. I think using a floater or two in my curriculum would be a nice discussion point. Please let us know when you are up and flying!! Thanks!!


On Thu, Mar 19, 2020 at 10:05 AM stan siems <ssiems@...> wrote:
I am working on launching several long term floaters with hopefully multiple passes around the earth I have several persons saying this has been done with up to 7 passes although I have not found data to support this. If any one would have information on any of these flights I would appreciate receiving the information on those flights. I will be using a APRS LIGHT W  tracker with  a usb battery and solar panel to charge it on the first flight with the possibility of adding a cross band repeater Later if I can prove  that we can keep them up for sufficient period of time. The electronics is the easy part the Balloon is the difficult part. I am looking at making my own balloon using stratofilm 430 ,If any one has done this I would appreciate any information they have and what there experience was. I would also appreciate any anyone offering information on a project of this type.
Thanks Stan Siems WB0EMJ


Re: High altitude floater

Jerry
 

As Howard pointed out, Alan holds the record.  The last account I have seen is HIRF-6 was up for 767 days and 35 laps.  I'm sure it went farther than that.  You can see some of the info here: http://www.scientificballoonsolutions.com/news/

This is Ron Meadows company.  He made the balloons Alan used.

Jerry Gable
Balloon Flight Prediction tools
http://www.s3research.com


On Thursday, March 19, 2020, 8:23:26 AM MST, BASE_DePauw <hlbrooks@...> wrote:


Stan,

Alan Adamson has had multiple long duration flights. I believe his e-mail is:   adamson_alan@...

Bill Brown wb8elk@... is experienced in all types of balloon flights including extended duration floaters

Ron Meadows K6RPT is someone who has flown extended flights and manufactured balloon envelopes.  See www.cnsp-inc.com

Howard,
KC9QBN,  BASE_DePauw

On Thu, Mar 19, 2020 at 11:05 AM stan siems <ssiems@...> wrote:
I am working on launching several long term floaters with hopefully multiple passes around the earth I have several persons saying this has been done with up to 7 passes although I have not found data to support this. If any one would have information on any of these flights I would appreciate receiving the information on those flights. I will be using a APRS LIGHT W  tracker with  a usb battery and solar panel to charge it on the first flight with the possibility of adding a cross band repeater Later if I can prove  that we can keep them up for sufficient period of time. The electronics is the easy part the Balloon is the difficult part. I am looking at making my own balloon using stratofilm 430 ,If any one has done this I would appreciate any information they have and what there experience was. I would also appreciate any anyone offering information on a project of this type.
Thanks Stan Siems WB0EMJ



--
Howard L. Brooks
Professor of Physics and Astronomy
241 Julian Science and Mathematics Center
DePauw University
2 E. Hanna Street
Greencastle, IN 46135
hlbrooks@...
Office: (765) 658-4653
FAX: (765) 658-4732


Re: COVID-19 and GPSL

BASE_DePauw
 

Mark,

June 1 will be fine for me.  I am still waiting to see if I am allowed to do any summer research with students.  I was hoping to have a multi-person team this year.

Howard

On Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 10:19 PM Mark Conner N9XTN <mconner1@...> wrote:
I've had a couple of emails asking about GPSL 2020 in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.  

So far, there is nothing that would prevent us from going forward.  However, I have indirectly heard that the University of Nebraska system is doing some (contingency?) planning for teaching summer classes online only.  Our Friday session is planned to be at Nebraska's Omaha campus - if that is closed, we'd have to relocate.

Of course, at this date, it's hard to say whether various travel and gathering restrictions will be lifted in the next four months - I'm sure we all hope so.

I'm not sure how far in advance attendees will have to make commitments that will be hard to get out of.  I assume we'd have to fish or cut bait by around June 1st.  If your group would need an earlier decision, let me know.

73 de Mark N9XTN



--
Howard L. Brooks
Professor of Physics and Astronomy
241 Julian Science and Mathematics Center
DePauw University
2 E. Hanna Street
Greencastle, IN 46135
hlbrooks@...
Office: (765) 658-4653
FAX: (765) 658-4732


Re: High altitude floater

BASE_DePauw
 

Stan,

Alan Adamson has had multiple long duration flights. I believe his e-mail is:   adamson_alan@...

Bill Brown wb8elk@... is experienced in all types of balloon flights including extended duration floaters

Ron Meadows K6RPT is someone who has flown extended flights and manufactured balloon envelopes.  See www.cnsp-inc.com

Howard,
KC9QBN,  BASE_DePauw

On Thu, Mar 19, 2020 at 11:05 AM stan siems <ssiems@...> wrote:
I am working on launching several long term floaters with hopefully multiple passes around the earth I have several persons saying this has been done with up to 7 passes although I have not found data to support this. If any one would have information on any of these flights I would appreciate receiving the information on those flights. I will be using a APRS LIGHT W  tracker with  a usb battery and solar panel to charge it on the first flight with the possibility of adding a cross band repeater Later if I can prove  that we can keep them up for sufficient period of time. The electronics is the easy part the Balloon is the difficult part. I am looking at making my own balloon using stratofilm 430 ,If any one has done this I would appreciate any information they have and what there experience was. I would also appreciate any anyone offering information on a project of this type.
Thanks Stan Siems WB0EMJ



--
Howard L. Brooks
Professor of Physics and Astronomy
241 Julian Science and Mathematics Center
DePauw University
2 E. Hanna Street
Greencastle, IN 46135
hlbrooks@...
Office: (765) 658-4653
FAX: (765) 658-4732


High altitude floater

stan siems
 

I am working on launching several long term floaters with hopefully multiple passes around the earth I have several persons saying this has been done with up to 7 passes although I have not found data to support this. If any one would have information on any of these flights I would appreciate receiving the information on those flights. I will be using a APRS LIGHT W  tracker with  a usb battery and solar panel to charge it on the first flight with the possibility of adding a cross band repeater Later if I can prove  that we can keep them up for sufficient period of time. The electronics is the easy part the Balloon is the difficult part. I am looking at making my own balloon using stratofilm 430 ,If any one has done this I would appreciate any information they have and what there experience was. I would also appreciate any anyone offering information on a project of this type.
Thanks Stan Siems WB0EMJ


COVID-19 and GPSL

Mark Conner N9XTN
 

I've had a couple of emails asking about GPSL 2020 in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.  

So far, there is nothing that would prevent us from going forward.  However, I have indirectly heard that the University of Nebraska system is doing some (contingency?) planning for teaching summer classes online only.  Our Friday session is planned to be at Nebraska's Omaha campus - if that is closed, we'd have to relocate.

Of course, at this date, it's hard to say whether various travel and gathering restrictions will be lifted in the next four months - I'm sure we all hope so.

I'm not sure how far in advance attendees will have to make commitments that will be hard to get out of.  I assume we'd have to fish or cut bait by around June 1st.  If your group would need an earlier decision, let me know.

73 de Mark N9XTN


Re: Recovery mystery

Marty Griffin
 

Jeff,

This is brilliant!  Might send the trackers across the road to pick it up!

- Marty

 

From: GPSL@groups.io <GPSL@groups.io> On Behalf Of Jeff Deaton via Groups.Io
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 10:27 PM
To: GPSL@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GPSL] Recovery mystery

 

Hey John (KM6GKF),

 

I grabbed the packets from your flight off of findu.com and manually put them into the EOSS (Edge of Space Sciences) tracker software to see where it would plot a landing prediction.  This is what came out for coords:  37.09720, -120.30523.  This looks to be just short of a km East of the last position.  

 

Some screen shots:







There is some error here as I had to perform some “shenanigans” to get the system to process packets without a timestamp.



Granted, at this point it might be too little too late.  Sorry you lost ‘er.  :(



Thanks,

Jeff



Jeff Deaton

N6BA







On Feb 26, 2020, at 12:12 PM, Bill Brown via Groups.Io <wb8elk@...> wrote:



I always fly a SPOT Trace unit (and often fly two Trace units for redundancy) on my larger latex flights as a backup recovery unit. I recommend shaking it right before liftoff to make sure it starts up. I also highly recommend setting it up for the 24 hour status update which includes its current location coordinates. I have had one sitting on my desk for almost a whole year doing nothing but the 24 hour status transmission and the batteries are still good. The bad news for the SPOT units is that the altitude is not very accurate, if it is displayed at all, and the unit generally doesn't work above 40,000 feet but usually comes back to life below that altitude on the way back down. Not recommend for a primary or standalone tracker but it sure is a great backup recovery unit. 

 

On earlier models of the SPOT unit I have had them turn off by bouncing around inside a payload and hitting the buttons. I solved that by removing the rubber button assembly and just pushing on the metal snap button on the PC board before flight but so far have not seen the vacuum problem pulling in the button on the Trace unit. It is possible that on a very hard landing that the impact caused your Trace unit to reset and stop working.

 

I typically fly two APRS trackers, one Iridium tracker (my own design which has an onboard uBlox GPS and sensor) and one or two SPOT Trace units on a big flight particularly if there is a lot of expensive camera equipment onboard. The Iridium tracker sends an email with its location every 5 minutes and gives altitude and positions throughout the entire flight. I wrote a Python program to grab the data from the email and post it to APRS.FI to show up on the tracking maps. You can also send commands via email up to the Iridium tracker to turn things on/off or do a cutdown. 

 

The main message is to have triple or quadruple tracker redundancy to ensure recovery with a mix of ham radio and satellite modem trackers (Iridium or GlobalStar (SPOT)).

 

As to the GoPro camera, Make sure you have a large enough memory card to make it through a 3-hour mission. The Backup battery or an external power source is advised as well.  The recording mode makes a big difference too. If you are using 4K mode, you may not have enough memory card space or battery capacity to make it through a full mission and could also overheat.I have had good luck mounting the GoPro body through the styrofoam wall of a payload with a thin foamcore faceplate glued in place with holes for the button, light sensor and camera lens which are exposed to the elements. I haven't had one overheat in that arrangement.

 

- Bill WB8ELK

 

 

 

 



-----Original Message-----
From: James Ewen VE6SRV <ve6srv@...>
To: GPSL <GPSL@groups.io>
Sent: Fri, Feb 21, 2020 12:58 pm
Subject: Re: [GPSL] Recovery mystery

I have not used the Spot Trace device, just relaying information that I have heard. No expectation of accuracy is to be assumed.

 

One of the first stories I read about using the Spot device talked about getting a good lat/long fix from the device, but upon arrival, there was no payload to be found. This baffled the recovery team until they noticed a cellular tower not too far away.

 

Their supposition was that the Spot device was giving them a location based on the tower, not an actual GPS reading from the device. There was also an instance where the Spot device stopped working on the way down. When they opened the battery case, there was a good suction "pop", and the unit began working. The device was assumed to have depressurized on the way up, but held the vacuum on the rapid descent. The membrane over the soft press buttons got pushed in by the higher external pressure, and the multiple button presses confused the device.

 

I'm pretty sure this was the same launch/recovery where these two stories came from. They fixed the vacuum issue by drilling a small hole in the case to allow it to vent. I can't recall how they managed to locate the package.

 

If the Spot device ends up upside down, I hear it might not get a GPS position as well.

 

Now, what about the APRS tracking you had on board? Did you listen for the transmissions on RF? You should have been able to hear them. From 4900 feet, the horizontal drift wouldn't be much. I would expect to find the payload north of Avenue 24, and south of Avenue 24 1/2. east of road 13, and west of road 14. Even if the GPS on the APRS payload couldn't get a fix, you should be able to track the payload transmitter using RDF techniques. Unless of course you have the payload configured to only transmit with a valid GPS lock.

 

Find someone with a drone, and have them fly over the suspected landing area with a camera on board. 

 

Whats' the last Spot location?


James
VE6SRV

 

 

On Fri, Feb 21, 2020 at 8:09 AM John Kovac KM6GKF <jkovac@...> wrote:

We did a flight Tuesday in Northern California.   Followed it in flight and arrived at the landing location indicated by Spot Trace within a few minutes of landing.   But it wasn’t there.   Last APRS ping was at about 4900 ft and confirms same general landing area.

The Spot Trace has always led us directly to the exact landing site for all previous flights.  At this point we have searched a large area around the apparent landing site to no avail.   It is open farmland with few structures or people.   

As of right now, a few days post flight, there has been no ping from the Trace since the landing ping.   So that seems to indicate that no one has moved or taken it.  I stupidly did not set it up in advance to do a daily check in ping, so we are not going to get another ping until someone moves it unless the batteries die first, which Trace support guesses will be a few months.  And if that ping is in the same location we’ll still be baffled.

Any input greatly appreciated.

Best,

John Kovac


Re: Recovery mystery

John Kovac KM6GKF
 

Thanks Jeff, greatly appreciated. Looks like this one turned out to be a payload theft. I will probably start a new thread to discuss ways to prevent that.

On Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 09:27:06 PM PST, Jeff Deaton via Groups.Io <deatojef@...> wrote:


Hey John (KM6GKF),

I grabbed the packets from your flight off of findu.com and manually put them into the EOSS (Edge of Space Sciences) tracker software to see where it would plot a landing prediction.  This is what came out for coords:  37.09720, -120.30523.  This looks to be just short of a km East of the last position.  

Some screen shots:



There is some error here as I had to perform some “shenanigans” to get the system to process packets without a timestamp.

Granted, at this point it might be too little too late.  Sorry you lost ‘er.  :(

Thanks,
Jeff

Jeff Deaton
N6BA
deatojef@...



On Feb 26, 2020, at 12:12 PM, Bill Brown via Groups.Io <wb8elk@...> wrote:


I always fly a SPOT Trace unit (and often fly two Trace units for redundancy) on my larger latex flights as a backup recovery unit. I recommend shaking it right before liftoff to make sure it starts up. I also highly recommend setting it up for the 24 hour status update which includes its current location coordinates. I have had one sitting on my desk for almost a whole year doing nothing but the 24 hour status transmission and the batteries are still good. The bad news for the SPOT units is that the altitude is not very accurate, if it is displayed at all, and the unit generally doesn't work above 40,000 feet but usually comes back to life below that altitude on the way back down. Not recommend for a primary or standalone tracker but it sure is a great backup recovery unit. 

On earlier models of the SPOT unit I have had them turn off by bouncing around inside a payload and hitting the buttons. I solved that by removing the rubber button assembly and just pushing on the metal snap button on the PC board before flight but so far have not seen the vacuum problem pulling in the button on the Trace unit. It is possible that on a very hard landing that the impact caused your Trace unit to reset and stop working.

I typically fly two APRS trackers, one Iridium tracker (my own design which has an onboard uBlox GPS and sensor) and one or two SPOT Trace units on a big flight particularly if there is a lot of expensive camera equipment onboard. The Iridium tracker sends an email with its location every 5 minutes and gives altitude and positions throughout the entire flight. I wrote a Python program to grab the data from the email and post it to APRS.FI to show up on the tracking maps. You can also send commands via email up to the Iridium tracker to turn things on/off or do a cutdown. 

The main message is to have triple or quadruple tracker redundancy to ensure recovery with a mix of ham radio and satellite modem trackers (Iridium or GlobalStar (SPOT)).

As to the GoPro camera, Make sure you have a large enough memory card to make it through a 3-hour mission. The Backup battery or an external power source is advised as well.  The recording mode makes a big difference too. If you are using 4K mode, you may not have enough memory card space or battery capacity to make it through a full mission and could also overheat.I have had good luck mounting the GoPro body through the styrofoam wall of a payload with a thin foamcore faceplate glued in place with holes for the button, light sensor and camera lens which are exposed to the elements. I haven't had one overheat in that arrangement.

- Bill WB8ELK







-----Original Message-----
From: James Ewen VE6SRV <ve6srv@...>
To: GPSL <GPSL@groups.io>
Sent: Fri, Feb 21, 2020 12:58 pm
Subject: Re: [GPSL] Recovery mystery

I have not used the Spot Trace device, just relaying information that I have heard. No expectation of accuracy is to be assumed.

One of the first stories I read about using the Spot device talked about getting a good lat/long fix from the device, but upon arrival, there was no payload to be found. This baffled the recovery team until they noticed a cellular tower not too far away.

Their supposition was that the Spot device was giving them a location based on the tower, not an actual GPS reading from the device. There was also an instance where the Spot device stopped working on the way down. When they opened the battery case, there was a good suction "pop", and the unit began working. The device was assumed to have depressurized on the way up, but held the vacuum on the rapid descent. The membrane over the soft press buttons got pushed in by the higher external pressure, and the multiple button presses confused the device.

I'm pretty sure this was the same launch/recovery where these two stories came from. They fixed the vacuum issue by drilling a small hole in the case to allow it to vent. I can't recall how they managed to locate the package.

If the Spot device ends up upside down, I hear it might not get a GPS position as well.

Now, what about the APRS tracking you had on board? Did you listen for the transmissions on RF? You should have been able to hear them. From 4900 feet, the horizontal drift wouldn't be much. I would expect to find the payload north of Avenue 24, and south of Avenue 24 1/2. east of road 13, and west of road 14. Even if the GPS on the APRS payload couldn't get a fix, you should be able to track the payload transmitter using RDF techniques. Unless of course you have the payload configured to only transmit with a valid GPS lock.

Find someone with a drone, and have them fly over the suspected landing area with a camera on board. 

Whats' the last Spot location?

James
VE6SRV


On Fri, Feb 21, 2020 at 8:09 AM John Kovac KM6GKF <jkovac@...> wrote:
We did a flight Tuesday in Northern California.   Followed it in flight and arrived at the landing location indicated by Spot Trace within a few minutes of landing.   But it wasn’t there.   Last APRS ping was at about 4900 ft and confirms same general landing area.

The Spot Trace has always led us directly to the exact landing site for all previous flights.  At this point we have searched a large area around the apparent landing site to no avail.   It is open farmland with few structures or people.   

As of right now, a few days post flight, there has been no ping from the Trace since the landing ping.   So that seems to indicate that no one has moved or taken it.  I stupidly did not set it up in advance to do a daily check in ping, so we are not going to get another ping until someone moves it unless the batteries die first, which Trace support guesses will be a few months.  And if that ping is in the same location we’ll still be baffled.

Any input greatly appreciated.

Best,

John Kovac


Re: Recovery mystery

John Kovac KM6GKF
 

Thank you for the reply, Bill. Very useful information. I wish I had learned about setting the SPOT daily update before I flew this one.

On Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 11:12:46 AM PST, Bill Brown via Groups.Io <wb8elk@...> wrote:


I always fly a SPOT Trace unit (and often fly two Trace units for redundancy) on my larger latex flights as a backup recovery unit. I recommend shaking it right before liftoff to make sure it starts up. I also highly recommend setting it up for the 24 hour status update which includes its current location coordinates. I have had one sitting on my desk for almost a whole year doing nothing but the 24 hour status transmission and the batteries are still good. The bad news for the SPOT units is that the altitude is not very accurate, if it is displayed at all, and the unit generally doesn't work above 40,000 feet but usually comes back to life below that altitude on the way back down. Not recommend for a primary or standalone tracker but it sure is a great backup recovery unit. 

On earlier models of the SPOT unit I have had them turn off by bouncing around inside a payload and hitting the buttons. I solved that by removing the rubber button assembly and just pushing on the metal snap button on the PC board before flight but so far have not seen the vacuum problem pulling in the button on the Trace unit. It is possible that on a very hard landing that the impact caused your Trace unit to reset and stop working.

I typically fly two APRS trackers, one Iridium tracker (my own design which has an onboard uBlox GPS and sensor) and one or two SPOT Trace units on a big flight particularly if there is a lot of expensive camera equipment onboard. The Iridium tracker sends an email with its location every 5 minutes and gives altitude and positions throughout the entire flight. I wrote a Python program to grab the data from the email and post it to APRS.FI to show up on the tracking maps. You can also send commands via email up to the Iridium tracker to turn things on/off or do a cutdown. 

The main message is to have triple or quadruple tracker redundancy to ensure recovery with a mix of ham radio and satellite modem trackers (Iridium or GlobalStar (SPOT)).

As to the GoPro camera, Make sure you have a large enough memory card to make it through a 3-hour mission. The Backup battery or an external power source is advised as well.  The recording mode makes a big difference too. If you are using 4K mode, you may not have enough memory card space or battery capacity to make it through a full mission and could also overheat.I have had good luck mounting the GoPro body through the styrofoam wall of a payload with a thin foamcore faceplate glued in place with holes for the button, light sensor and camera lens which are exposed to the elements. I haven't had one overheat in that arrangement.

- Bill WB8ELK







-----Original Message-----
From: James Ewen VE6SRV <ve6srv@...>
To: GPSL <GPSL@groups.io>
Sent: Fri, Feb 21, 2020 12:58 pm
Subject: Re: [GPSL] Recovery mystery

I have not used the Spot Trace device, just relaying information that I have heard. No expectation of accuracy is to be assumed.

One of the first stories I read about using the Spot device talked about getting a good lat/long fix from the device, but upon arrival, there was no payload to be found. This baffled the recovery team until they noticed a cellular tower not too far away.

Their supposition was that the Spot device was giving them a location based on the tower, not an actual GPS reading from the device. There was also an instance where the Spot device stopped working on the way down. When they opened the battery case, there was a good suction "pop", and the unit began working. The device was assumed to have depressurized on the way up, but held the vacuum on the rapid descent. The membrane over the soft press buttons got pushed in by the higher external pressure, and the multiple button presses confused the device.

I'm pretty sure this was the same launch/recovery where these two stories came from. They fixed the vacuum issue by drilling a small hole in the case to allow it to vent. I can't recall how they managed to locate the package.

If the Spot device ends up upside down, I hear it might not get a GPS position as well.

Now, what about the APRS tracking you had on board? Did you listen for the transmissions on RF? You should have been able to hear them. From 4900 feet, the horizontal drift wouldn't be much. I would expect to find the payload north of Avenue 24, and south of Avenue 24 1/2. east of road 13, and west of road 14. Even if the GPS on the APRS payload couldn't get a fix, you should be able to track the payload transmitter using RDF techniques. Unless of course you have the payload configured to only transmit with a valid GPS lock.

Find someone with a drone, and have them fly over the suspected landing area with a camera on board. 

Whats' the last Spot location?

James
VE6SRV


On Fri, Feb 21, 2020 at 8:09 AM John Kovac KM6GKF <jkovac@...> wrote:
We did a flight Tuesday in Northern California.   Followed it in flight and arrived at the landing location indicated by Spot Trace within a few minutes of landing.   But it wasn’t there.   Last APRS ping was at about 4900 ft and confirms same general landing area.

The Spot Trace has always led us directly to the exact landing site for all previous flights.  At this point we have searched a large area around the apparent landing site to no avail.   It is open farmland with few structures or people.   

As of right now, a few days post flight, there has been no ping from the Trace since the landing ping.   So that seems to indicate that no one has moved or taken it.  I stupidly did not set it up in advance to do a daily check in ping, so we are not going to get another ping until someone moves it unless the batteries die first, which Trace support guesses will be a few months.  And if that ping is in the same location we’ll still be baffled.

Any input greatly appreciated.

Best,

John Kovac


Re: Recovery mystery

Jeff Deaton
 

Hey John (KM6GKF),

I grabbed the packets from your flight off of findu.com and manually put them into the EOSS (Edge of Space Sciences) tracker software to see where it would plot a landing prediction.  This is what came out for coords:  37.09720, -120.30523.  This looks to be just short of a km East of the last position.  

Some screen shots:



There is some error here as I had to perform some “shenanigans” to get the system to process packets without a timestamp.

Granted, at this point it might be too little too late.  Sorry you lost ‘er.  :(

Thanks,
Jeff

Jeff Deaton
N6BA
deatojef@...



On Feb 26, 2020, at 12:12 PM, Bill Brown via Groups.Io <wb8elk@...> wrote:


I always fly a SPOT Trace unit (and often fly two Trace units for redundancy) on my larger latex flights as a backup recovery unit. I recommend shaking it right before liftoff to make sure it starts up. I also highly recommend setting it up for the 24 hour status update which includes its current location coordinates. I have had one sitting on my desk for almost a whole year doing nothing but the 24 hour status transmission and the batteries are still good. The bad news for the SPOT units is that the altitude is not very accurate, if it is displayed at all, and the unit generally doesn't work above 40,000 feet but usually comes back to life below that altitude on the way back down. Not recommend for a primary or standalone tracker but it sure is a great backup recovery unit. 

On earlier models of the SPOT unit I have had them turn off by bouncing around inside a payload and hitting the buttons. I solved that by removing the rubber button assembly and just pushing on the metal snap button on the PC board before flight but so far have not seen the vacuum problem pulling in the button on the Trace unit. It is possible that on a very hard landing that the impact caused your Trace unit to reset and stop working.

I typically fly two APRS trackers, one Iridium tracker (my own design which has an onboard uBlox GPS and sensor) and one or two SPOT Trace units on a big flight particularly if there is a lot of expensive camera equipment onboard. The Iridium tracker sends an email with its location every 5 minutes and gives altitude and positions throughout the entire flight. I wrote a Python program to grab the data from the email and post it to APRS.FI to show up on the tracking maps. You can also send commands via email up to the Iridium tracker to turn things on/off or do a cutdown. 

The main message is to have triple or quadruple tracker redundancy to ensure recovery with a mix of ham radio and satellite modem trackers (Iridium or GlobalStar (SPOT)).

As to the GoPro camera, Make sure you have a large enough memory card to make it through a 3-hour mission. The Backup battery or an external power source is advised as well.  The recording mode makes a big difference too. If you are using 4K mode, you may not have enough memory card space or battery capacity to make it through a full mission and could also overheat.I have had good luck mounting the GoPro body through the styrofoam wall of a payload with a thin foamcore faceplate glued in place with holes for the button, light sensor and camera lens which are exposed to the elements. I haven't had one overheat in that arrangement.

- Bill WB8ELK







-----Original Message-----
From: James Ewen VE6SRV <ve6srv@...>
To: GPSL <GPSL@groups.io>
Sent: Fri, Feb 21, 2020 12:58 pm
Subject: Re: [GPSL] Recovery mystery

I have not used the Spot Trace device, just relaying information that I have heard. No expectation of accuracy is to be assumed.

One of the first stories I read about using the Spot device talked about getting a good lat/long fix from the device, but upon arrival, there was no payload to be found. This baffled the recovery team until they noticed a cellular tower not too far away.

Their supposition was that the Spot device was giving them a location based on the tower, not an actual GPS reading from the device. There was also an instance where the Spot device stopped working on the way down. When they opened the battery case, there was a good suction "pop", and the unit began working. The device was assumed to have depressurized on the way up, but held the vacuum on the rapid descent. The membrane over the soft press buttons got pushed in by the higher external pressure, and the multiple button presses confused the device.

I'm pretty sure this was the same launch/recovery where these two stories came from. They fixed the vacuum issue by drilling a small hole in the case to allow it to vent. I can't recall how they managed to locate the package.

If the Spot device ends up upside down, I hear it might not get a GPS position as well.

Now, what about the APRS tracking you had on board? Did you listen for the transmissions on RF? You should have been able to hear them. From 4900 feet, the horizontal drift wouldn't be much. I would expect to find the payload north of Avenue 24, and south of Avenue 24 1/2. east of road 13, and west of road 14. Even if the GPS on the APRS payload couldn't get a fix, you should be able to track the payload transmitter using RDF techniques. Unless of course you have the payload configured to only transmit with a valid GPS lock.

Find someone with a drone, and have them fly over the suspected landing area with a camera on board. 

Whats' the last Spot location?

James
VE6SRV


On Fri, Feb 21, 2020 at 8:09 AM John Kovac KM6GKF <jkovac@...> wrote:
We did a flight Tuesday in Northern California.   Followed it in flight and arrived at the landing location indicated by Spot Trace within a few minutes of landing.   But it wasn’t there.   Last APRS ping was at about 4900 ft and confirms same general landing area.

The Spot Trace has always led us directly to the exact landing site for all previous flights.  At this point we have searched a large area around the apparent landing site to no avail.   It is open farmland with few structures or people.   

As of right now, a few days post flight, there has been no ping from the Trace since the landing ping.   So that seems to indicate that no one has moved or taken it.  I stupidly did not set it up in advance to do a daily check in ping, so we are not going to get another ping until someone moves it unless the batteries die first, which Trace support guesses will be a few months.  And if that ping is in the same location we’ll still be baffled.

Any input greatly appreciated.

Best,

John Kovac


Re: Recovery mystery

Bill Brown
 

I always fly a SPOT Trace unit (and often fly two Trace units for redundancy) on my larger latex flights as a backup recovery unit. I recommend shaking it right before liftoff to make sure it starts up. I also highly recommend setting it up for the 24 hour status update which includes its current location coordinates. I have had one sitting on my desk for almost a whole year doing nothing but the 24 hour status transmission and the batteries are still good. The bad news for the SPOT units is that the altitude is not very accurate, if it is displayed at all, and the unit generally doesn't work above 40,000 feet but usually comes back to life below that altitude on the way back down. Not recommend for a primary or standalone tracker but it sure is a great backup recovery unit. 

On earlier models of the SPOT unit I have had them turn off by bouncing around inside a payload and hitting the buttons. I solved that by removing the rubber button assembly and just pushing on the metal snap button on the PC board before flight but so far have not seen the vacuum problem pulling in the button on the Trace unit. It is possible that on a very hard landing that the impact caused your Trace unit to reset and stop working.

I typically fly two APRS trackers, one Iridium tracker (my own design which has an onboard uBlox GPS and sensor) and one or two SPOT Trace units on a big flight particularly if there is a lot of expensive camera equipment onboard. The Iridium tracker sends an email with its location every 5 minutes and gives altitude and positions throughout the entire flight. I wrote a Python program to grab the data from the email and post it to APRS.FI to show up on the tracking maps. You can also send commands via email up to the Iridium tracker to turn things on/off or do a cutdown. 

The main message is to have triple or quadruple tracker redundancy to ensure recovery with a mix of ham radio and satellite modem trackers (Iridium or GlobalStar (SPOT)).

As to the GoPro camera, Make sure you have a large enough memory card to make it through a 3-hour mission. The Backup battery or an external power source is advised as well.  The recording mode makes a big difference too. If you are using 4K mode, you may not have enough memory card space or battery capacity to make it through a full mission and could also overheat.I have had good luck mounting the GoPro body through the styrofoam wall of a payload with a thin foamcore faceplate glued in place with holes for the button, light sensor and camera lens which are exposed to the elements. I haven't had one overheat in that arrangement.

- Bill WB8ELK







-----Original Message-----
From: James Ewen VE6SRV <ve6srv@...>
To: GPSL <GPSL@groups.io>
Sent: Fri, Feb 21, 2020 12:58 pm
Subject: Re: [GPSL] Recovery mystery

I have not used the Spot Trace device, just relaying information that I have heard. No expectation of accuracy is to be assumed.

One of the first stories I read about using the Spot device talked about getting a good lat/long fix from the device, but upon arrival, there was no payload to be found. This baffled the recovery team until they noticed a cellular tower not too far away.

Their supposition was that the Spot device was giving them a location based on the tower, not an actual GPS reading from the device. There was also an instance where the Spot device stopped working on the way down. When they opened the battery case, there was a good suction "pop", and the unit began working. The device was assumed to have depressurized on the way up, but held the vacuum on the rapid descent. The membrane over the soft press buttons got pushed in by the higher external pressure, and the multiple button presses confused the device.

I'm pretty sure this was the same launch/recovery where these two stories came from. They fixed the vacuum issue by drilling a small hole in the case to allow it to vent. I can't recall how they managed to locate the package.

If the Spot device ends up upside down, I hear it might not get a GPS position as well.

Now, what about the APRS tracking you had on board? Did you listen for the transmissions on RF? You should have been able to hear them. From 4900 feet, the horizontal drift wouldn't be much. I would expect to find the payload north of Avenue 24, and south of Avenue 24 1/2. east of road 13, and west of road 14. Even if the GPS on the APRS payload couldn't get a fix, you should be able to track the payload transmitter using RDF techniques. Unless of course you have the payload configured to only transmit with a valid GPS lock.

Find someone with a drone, and have them fly over the suspected landing area with a camera on board. 

Whats' the last Spot location?

James
VE6SRV


On Fri, Feb 21, 2020 at 8:09 AM John Kovac KM6GKF <jkovac@...> wrote:
We did a flight Tuesday in Northern California.   Followed it in flight and arrived at the landing location indicated by Spot Trace within a few minutes of landing.   But it wasn’t there.   Last APRS ping was at about 4900 ft and confirms same general landing area.

The Spot Trace has always led us directly to the exact landing site for all previous flights.  At this point we have searched a large area around the apparent landing site to no avail.   It is open farmland with few structures or people.   

As of right now, a few days post flight, there has been no ping from the Trace since the landing ping.   So that seems to indicate that no one has moved or taken it.  I stupidly did not set it up in advance to do a daily check in ping, so we are not going to get another ping until someone moves it unless the batteries die first, which Trace support guesses will be a few months.  And if that ping is in the same location we’ll still be baffled.

Any input greatly appreciated.

Best,

John Kovac


Re: Recovery mystery

John Kovac KM6GKF
 

Yes I think overheating GoPros might be a problem.  I don’t use them in cases but they are still wedged into styrofoam.  I cut some chunks out of the inside of the container around them this time.  Not sure if it helped.

I don’t use the hand warmers.  The last flight I had a temp probe inside the container and the temp dropped just below 32F inside at the lowest point, although that is just the air where the probe is.  The GoPros could still have been overheating, I think.

On Feb 23, 2020, at 8:38 AM, James Ewen VE6SRV <ve6srv@...> wrote:


Make sure you’re not overheating your go pros. Many people worry about freezing the payload, but go pro cameras in their plastic case at altitude get hot. There’s no convective cooling available, and the cameras can overheat and shut down. 

I know people that put the carbon hand warmers in the payload to try and keep it warm. At altitude there’s little oxygen to burn in the hand warmers, but down low they make the payload initial state warmer than usual, and retain some thermal mass to keep temperatures up even when there’s not enough oxygen to support combustion. 

Just something to think about. I can’t say your go pros are shutting down due to heat or not. We have seen overtemp shut downs. 


On Sun, Feb 23, 2020 at 9:31 AM John Kovac KM6GKF <jkovac@...> wrote:
Hi Dennis,

Yes, I’m using Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries for the devices that use AA and AAA.  They have worked great.

I wish I could say the same for GoPro batteries.   They have died in both GoPros just short of burst for every flight I’ve done.
I use GoPro BacPacs and tried using an external power pack once as well.  Didn’t seem to make any difference.

Canon DSLR batteries are, by comparison, amazing.  We had one payload labs in a tee and it took hours to get it down.   The camera continued to take a photo every 10 seconds until the card in the camera was full.

--
James
VE6SRV


Re: Recovery mystery

James Ewen VE6SRV
 

Make sure you’re not overheating your go pros. Many people worry about freezing the payload, but go pro cameras in their plastic case at altitude get hot. There’s no convective cooling available, and the cameras can overheat and shut down. 

I know people that put the carbon hand warmers in the payload to try and keep it warm. At altitude there’s little oxygen to burn in the hand warmers, but down low they make the payload initial state warmer than usual, and retain some thermal mass to keep temperatures up even when there’s not enough oxygen to support combustion. 

Just something to think about. I can’t say your go pros are shutting down due to heat or not. We have seen overtemp shut downs. 


On Sun, Feb 23, 2020 at 9:31 AM John Kovac KM6GKF <jkovac@...> wrote:
Hi Dennis,

Yes, I’m using Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries for the devices that use AA and AAA.  They have worked great.

I wish I could say the same for GoPro batteries.   They have died in both GoPros just short of burst for every flight I’ve done.
I use GoPro BacPacs and tried using an external power pack once as well.  Didn’t seem to make any difference.

Canon DSLR batteries are, by comparison, amazing.  We had one payload labs in a tee and it took hours to get it down.   The camera continued to take a photo every 10 seconds until the card in the camera was full.

--
James
VE6SRV


Re: Recovery mystery

John Kovac KM6GKF
 

Sorry, that should be “land in a tree” not “labs in a tee.”

On Feb 23, 2020, at 8:30 AM, John Kovac KM6GKF <jkovac@...> wrote:

Hi Dennis,

Yes, I’m using Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries for the devices that use AA and AAA.  They have worked great.

I wish I could say the same for GoPro batteries.   They have died in both GoPros just short of burst for every flight I’ve done.
I use GoPro BacPacs and tried using an external power pack once as well.  Didn’t seem to make any difference.

Canon DSLR batteries are, by comparison, amazing.  We had one payload labs in a tee and it took hours to get it down.   The camera continued to take a photo every 10 seconds until the card in the camera was full.


Re: Recovery mystery

John Kovac KM6GKF
 

Hi Dennis,

Yes, I’m using Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries for the devices that use AA and AAA.  They have worked great.

I wish I could say the same for GoPro batteries.   They have died in both GoPros just short of burst for every flight I’ve done.
I use GoPro BacPacs and tried using an external power pack once as well.  Didn’t seem to make any difference.

Canon DSLR batteries are, by comparison, amazing.  We had one payload labs in a tee and it took hours to get it down.   The camera continued to take a photo every 10 seconds until the card in the camera was full.