Date   

Ready-to-fly Tracker that's affordable and immediately available

Christoph
 

Hello everyone,

I'll have a balloon launch next week that I unfortunately can't postpone and I'm desperately looking for tracker kit that's ready-to-fly, doesn't cost hundreds of dollars and is easy to get online in the US within a few days.
It should work in the US (where GSM networks are quite unreliable) .

Although I did a lot of research and do have some experience with electronics, the topic is still quite new and a bit confusing to me.

I would really appreciate any tip or recommendation on that.

Kind Regards,
Chris



GPSL Attendees and Flights

Zack Clobes W0ZC
 

We got the GPSL website moved over to its new home and everyone's DNS should have updated by now.  The attendee list has been updated as of tonight, and I've also included your paid status on the attendee list now, just in case you wanted additional confirmation that I received your payment.  (If I missed someone, please email me!)



It looks like the flight registration has pretty well stabilized.  If I'm missing anything or if anyone needs a slot, please let me know ASAP as I need to get that finalized and the gas ordered.  Going, going, going.......



Tomorrow I should have the alternate launch site confirmed and I'll get that announced.  

If I'm missing anything, please let me know!



Zack Clobes, W0ZC
Project: Traveler
www.projecttraveler.org

Join us on Facebook for the latest information:



Project: Traveler is a research project of Custom Digital Services, LLC.


Eclipse Ballooning Project

Tim C KC8ZNJ
 

Has anyone been following this or involved with it??




Timothy Cathcart
RM&S Engineer
Mojave, CA


GPSL Website Update

Zack Clobes W0ZC
 

I have been continuing to update the GPSL website, however we are having some problems with an update on the current hosting provider, so we are in the middle of switching.  That should be completed this week, and you'll find a few new updates to the website.

The main thing that I wanted to communicate is that I have received payments from almost everyone (THANK YOU!) and for the few that I haven't, I sent reminders tonight.  I know at least some of those have indicated that they're still waiting on work/family schedules, etc.  And that's fine.


I have the current gas orders in and paid for:

Dwayne Love - Paid
Mike Hojnowski - Paid
BASE DePauw - Paid
EOSS (300 + 200) - Paid
HAB Education - NOT PAID
MOHAB (200 + 200) - Paid
NearSys - Paid
NSTAR - Paid
WB8ELK Balloons - Paid


I'll be working with the presenters this week to get presentations finalized.  If you can PLEASE try to have a PowerPoint ready for me by the end of this month so I can get it loaded onto the laptop and tested.


I think that's it for tonight.  Looking forward to seeing everyone in a few weeks!



Zack Clobes, W0ZC
Project: Traveler
www.projecttraveler.org

Join us on Facebook for the latest information:



Project: Traveler is a research project of Custom Digital Services, LLC.


HAB Groups in Europe

L. Paul Verhage KD4STH
 

Is there a central place to find near space groups in Europe or is the ARHAB website in the US complete enough?

Thanks


S3Research Flight Predictor Update

Jerry
 

I have put out a out an update to my flight prediction tool.  It is at http://s3research.com/tools/flightpredictor/
If you liked the old one it is available here http://s3research.com/tools/flightpredictor-old/

There are 3 major changes. 

  • All times are now UTC (GMT).  The localtime was just too confusing for me.  It relied on the timezone set on the PC and that is not always correct.  In addition if you were in a different time zone than the launch it got even more complicated.  UTC is just more "universal".
  • In order to improve accuracy I added an interpolation between the forecast just before and after the current flight time.  This is in addition to the tri-linear interpolation of the 8 points around the current balloon location.  This now more closely matches the habhub algorithm.  There will be some differences in the results because of other differences in the tool.  I use the 0.5x0.5 degree forecast vs. Habhub using 1.0x1.0 forecast.  Also the update rate is different.  I calculate a new point every 15 seconds vs their 50 second cycle time.
NOTE: This requires more weather data to be downloaded so it does slow down the first prediction.
  • I added additional entry boxes for up to 3 each burst, ascent, & descent values.  This makes it easier to run multiple prediction to create a landing zone window. You could always run multiple predictions without reloading weather data but you had to enter them one at a time.
NOTE: If you enter data in all 9 of the entry boxes it will result in 27 (3x3x3) predictions.  It works but the map and table will not be very responsive with that many predictions.
A few other changes are listed below but these are the main ones.

If you try it let me know what you think or if you have any issues.  I am still trying to decide if this is worth continuing to develop.

Hope to see you at the Hutchinson GPSL next month.

CHANGES
  • All times are now UTC. Local times use time zones set on client and could result in incorrect times being used.

  • Better forecast interpolation. Interpolation between forecast times is also used in addition to tri-linear interpolation of the 8 points around the balloon. .
Note: This requires more weather forecast data to be downloaded and may slow down the tool.
  • Multiple burst, ascent, and descent rates can be entered for multiple forecast variations without re-downloading forecast data.
Note: The data in the first column will be used for overlay and saved predictions.
  • Habhub.org predictions (csv) can be loaded for comparison.

  • Flight data can be extracted from an aprs.fi or findu.com flight to make running a post flight correlation easier
 
Jerry Gable
Balloon Flight Prediction tools
http://www.s3research.com


Re: Cannon Powershot A560

goldsmith@...
 

Joe,

I looked back in my CHDK scripts, and I used the command

set_focus 99999

to set the focus at infinity, while the exposure is still on automatic.

I am attaching the script file that I use.  You can read it in notepad.  It takes all of the sensor data from the camera (temps, voltages, time, etc) and logs them onto the camera SD card for later retrieval, in addition to taking the timed photos. 

Good luck....
Chuck / KG5CA
StratoCasters


Cannon Powershot A560

Joe WB9SBD
 

In the days before the Go-Pro's came to be, The Cannon Powershot Series of Cameras were the Cadillac of balloon flight cameras.

With the easily programmable memory card system it was perfect.

I have here the A560 model still. And was wondering, if anyone knows how to make it stay at infinite focus, yet still be automatic in exposure.

Joe WB9SBD
--

The Original Rolling Ball Clock
Idle Tyme
Idle-Tyme.com
http://www.idle-tyme.com


Updated rosters

Zack Clobes W0ZC
 

Many, many of you have already pre-paid for your GPSL registration, and I thank you all very much.  I have the attendee list updated on the website, and for those who have pre-paid, I'll be sending out reminders here soon.  It is an option to pay at the door, or to send a check or money order.  Contact me directly if you'd like to make other arrangements.


I have 42 registered at this point, which is about normal given that we still have over a month to go.  I'm anticipating roughly 50-60 in the symposium Friday!



Regarding balloon flights, I think I have everyone's flight information updated based on what they've sent me.  Please review your flights and update me so that we can properly coordinate frequencies and slots.



Zack Clobes, W0ZC
Project: Traveler
www.projecttraveler.org

Join us on Facebook for the latest information:



Project: Traveler is a research project of Custom Digital Services, LLC.


NSTAR 17-A flight completed today

Mark Conner N9XTN
 

After three different cancellations (including two for events) due to unfavorable landings or surface conditions, NSTAR 17-A finally got off the ground this morning from my QTH in Valley.  We got to a bit over 104,000 ft today and recovered everything very easily near Talmage, NE.  

The N9XTN-12 GPS started giving us "NO FIX" around 55,000 ft and regained lock below 35,000 ft on descent.  A uBlox-based GPS was received today and will be ready for GPSL.  

We tried out a MateCam 808 attached to the balloon neck to see if that video would be more stable than those in the payloads.  It was much more stable after initial release, but there was still quite a bit of rotation and swing at altitude, almost as much as the payload cameras.  

The attached GoPro video capture shows a bunch of latex shards shooting below the payloads right after burst.  I don't recall seeing this much latex go below the payloads before.  

I have several photos posted to my Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/N9XTN.  Also working on uploading more videos to http://youtube.com/n9xtn.

73 de Mark N9XTN


Which GoPro camera models are different balloon groups flying and how much battery life?

Bill Brown
 

I have the older models with a backpack battery and usually get around 3 hours record time. I was curious what the experience has been with anyone flying the newer Model 4 and 5 GoPro series and the Session model as to the battery life and record times possible.
 
- Bill WB8ELK


Re: Balloon Ascent Rate and Rising and Falling Air

BASE
 

The atmosphere is very dynamic.  Winds do not merely move horizontally.  A prime example is found on flights in which pre-burst chaos is observed.  One interesting phenomena, sudden stratopheric warmings, is discussed in this link:




These dynamic effects are more easily seen when data is collected much more frequently that the APRS beacon rate.  Flying a three-axis accelerometer with three-axis magnetometer, can provide some fascinating data.

Howard, KC9QBN





On Thursday, May 4, 2017 5:06 PM, "Jerry Gable jerrygable@... [GPSL]" wrote:


 
Now that I reread your question you said ascent, not descent.

My first reason probably doesn't have much affect on ascent.  My second does but I think it will show up as a step function.  A few readings will be off while they go through a station that has a bad timestamp.

If you look at the paper associated with the ASTRA prediction site they describe the stuff that sets the ascent rate.  It is back to drag calculations and Reynolds numbers. If you plot their ascent rate predictions against Time it is not as linear as the other prediction tools.  From my brief looks at these they tend to be less linear than actual balloon flights.

All of the simulations rely on the drag calculations that use Reynolds numbers based on spheres.  I have seen a lot of balloons that are a long way from a sphere at launch.

I guess I should give up and say that while vertical wind does have an affect, it is probably not the only reason it exists.

Jerry Gable
Balloon Flights from APRS-IS
http://www.s3research.com



From: "Jerry Gable jerrygable@... [GPSL]"
To: "GPSL@..."
Sent: Thursday, May 4, 2017 1:51 PM
Subject: Re: [GPSL] Balloon Ascent Rate and Rising and Falling Air

 
My guess is it is mostly GPS and report time errors.  Mark Conner can probably give a more definitive answer but from what I have seen the vertical wind component is relatively small except in storm conditions.  Of course we have all experienced clear air turbulence in planes so it does exist.

My bet would be variations come from a couple of things related to reporting.

1. From what I have seen, at high altitudes the payload tends to toss and turn a lot. My guess is this affects the GPS fix and increases the vertical error in the reading.

2. The timestamps you see in APRS-IS can be pretty large.  I have seen > 30 seconds of variance in timestamps.  When you see altitude plotted against this time it will appear that the descent speed is varying greatly.

Or I could be completely wrong:)

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



From: "'L. Paul Verhage' nearsys@... [GPSL]"
To: GPSL@...
Sent: Thursday, May 4, 2017 12:12 PM
Subject: [GPSL] Balloon Ascent Rate and Rising and Falling Air

 
I see small and frequent variations in a balloon's ascent rate. I thought the variation was due to GPS errors.
But now I wonder how much might be due to air rising and falling. In the first example, if air streams collide and compress the air, does the air rise or fall in response (I can see that it will speed up or slow down). In the second case, can an air parcel be significantly cooler or warmer than the surrounding air and then fall or rise in response?
Is there another reason why air might rise or fall? Can any of these impact the ascend rate of a balloon enough to show up in the APRS data?







Re: Balloon Ascent Rate and Rising and Falling Air

Jerry
 

Now that I reread your question you said ascent, not descent.

My first reason probably doesn't have much affect on ascent.  My second does but I think it will show up as a step function.  A few readings will be off while they go through a station that has a bad timestamp.

If you look at the paper associated with the ASTRA prediction site they describe the stuff that sets the ascent rate.  It is back to drag calculations and Reynolds numbers. If you plot their ascent rate predictions against Time it is not as linear as the other prediction tools.  From my brief looks at these they tend to be less linear than actual balloon flights.

All of the simulations rely on the drag calculations that use Reynolds numbers based on spheres.  I have seen a lot of balloons that are a long way from a sphere at launch.

I guess I should give up and say that while vertical wind does have an affect, it is probably not the only reason it exists.

Jerry Gable
Balloon Flights from APRS-IS
http://www.s3research.com



From: "Jerry Gable jerrygable@... [GPSL]"
To: "GPSL@..."
Sent: Thursday, May 4, 2017 1:51 PM
Subject: Re: [GPSL] Balloon Ascent Rate and Rising and Falling Air

 
My guess is it is mostly GPS and report time errors.  Mark Conner can probably give a more definitive answer but from what I have seen the vertical wind component is relatively small except in storm conditions.  Of course we have all experienced clear air turbulence in planes so it does exist.

My bet would be variations come from a couple of things related to reporting.

1. From what I have seen, at high altitudes the payload tends to toss and turn a lot. My guess is this affects the GPS fix and increases the vertical error in the reading.

2. The timestamps you see in APRS-IS can be pretty large.  I have seen > 30 seconds of variance in timestamps.  When you see altitude plotted against this time it will appear that the descent speed is varying greatly.

Or I could be completely wrong:)

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



From: "'L. Paul Verhage' nearsys@... [GPSL]"
To: GPSL@...
Sent: Thursday, May 4, 2017 12:12 PM
Subject: [GPSL] Balloon Ascent Rate and Rising and Falling Air

 
I see small and frequent variations in a balloon's ascent rate. I thought the variation was due to GPS errors.
But now I wonder how much might be due to air rising and falling. In the first example, if air streams collide and compress the air, does the air rise or fall in response (I can see that it will speed up or slow down). In the second case, can an air parcel be significantly cooler or warmer than the surrounding air and then fall or rise in response?
Is there another reason why air might rise or fall? Can any of these impact the ascend rate of a balloon enough to show up in the APRS data?





Re: Balloon Ascent Rate and Rising and Falling Air

Jerry
 

My guess is it is mostly GPS and report time errors.  Mark Conner can probably give a more definitive answer but from what I have seen the vertical wind component is relatively small except in storm conditions.  Of course we have all experienced clear air turbulence in planes so it does exist.

My bet would be variations come from a couple of things related to reporting.

1. From what I have seen, at high altitudes the payload tends to toss and turn a lot. My guess is this affects the GPS fix and increases the vertical error in the reading.

2. The timestamps you see in APRS-IS can be pretty large.  I have seen > 30 seconds of variance in timestamps.  When you see altitude plotted against this time it will appear that the descent speed is varying greatly.

Or I could be completely wrong:)

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



From: "'L. Paul Verhage' nearsys@... [GPSL]"
To: GPSL@...
Sent: Thursday, May 4, 2017 12:12 PM
Subject: [GPSL] Balloon Ascent Rate and Rising and Falling Air

 
I see small and frequent variations in a balloon's ascent rate. I thought the variation was due to GPS errors.
But now I wonder how much might be due to air rising and falling. In the first example, if air streams collide and compress the air, does the air rise or fall in response (I can see that it will speed up or slow down). In the second case, can an air parcel be significantly cooler or warmer than the surrounding air and then fall or rise in response?
Is there another reason why air might rise or fall? Can any of these impact the ascend rate of a balloon enough to show up in the APRS data?



Balloon Ascent Rate and Rising and Falling Air

L. Paul Verhage KD4STH
 

I see small and frequent variations in a balloon's ascent rate. I thought the variation was due to GPS errors.

But now I wonder how much might be due to air rising and falling. In the first example, if air streams collide and compress the air, does the air rise or fall in response (I can see that it will speed up or slow down). In the second case, can an air parcel be significantly cooler or warmer than the surrounding air and then fall or rise in response?

Is there another reason why air might rise or fall? Can any of these impact the ascend rate of a balloon enough to show up in the APRS data?


Re: High Altitude Balloon Speaker in SF Area?

Ted
 

Interesting. I live in Oakland, so very close to these folks. And I've launched a few balloons as the focus of a class I teach at UC Davis.  If you don't have any takers yet, I can help.  

Ted
K5KZ

On 2 May 2017, at 7:58 PM, WA0TJT wa0tjt@... [GPSL] <GPSL-noreply@...> wrote:

Guys? Any takers?

Begin forwarded message:

From: Nathaniel Frissell <hamsci@...>
Subject: High Altitude Ba lloon Speaker in SF Area?
Date: May 2, 2017 at 8:03:38 PM CDT
To: Steve Kaeppler <steve.kaeppler@...>, Fleet <kj4zwa@...>, Keith Kaiser <kcscouter@...>
Cc: Martin <dcmk1mr2@...>

Hi, Steve, Fleet, and Keith. I received this e-mail asking if I knew someone who could talk about High Altitude Ham Radio balloons in the San Francisco area. All of you are either involved in balloons, or involved in science in the SF area. Do you have any suggestions for Martin?

Thanks and 73,
Nathaniel W2NAF

Begin forwarded message:

From: Martin <dcmk1mr2@...>
Subject: No JT-65/9 & PSK-Reporter or WSPRnet?
Date: May 1, 2017 at 6:34:09 PM EDT

Hello hamSCI,

I have been learning how to participate as a ham for the eclipse and your materials are really helpful.  
I am puzzled why you are not using these modes.  They already have a large following and reverse beacon networks.

So far I have built the EclipseMob's LF antenna and receiver.  I look forward to the Android software for it.

I am new to radio astronomy so the ProjectJOVE is a little overwhelming but it looks worth the effort. 

My ham club - East Bay Amateur Radio Club is hosting a meeting to prepare for the eclipse May 26.  We may do a high altitude balloon flight .  Would you have anyone in the SF east bay that could present on the topic?

Keep up the good work & 73,

Martin Rothfield W6MRR




High Altitude Balloon Speaker in SF Area?

Keith Kaiser, WA0̷TJT
 

Guys? Any takers?

Begin forwarded message:

From: Nathaniel Frissell <hamsci@...>
Subject: High Altitude Balloon Speaker in SF Area?
Date: May 2, 2017 at 8:03:38 PM CDT
To: Steve Kaeppler <steve.kaeppler@...>, Fleet <kj4zwa@...>, Keith Kaiser <kcscouter@...>
Cc: Martin <dcmk1mr2@...>

Hi, Steve, Fleet, and Keith. I received this e-mail asking if I knew someone who could talk about High Altitude Ham Radio balloons in the San Francisco area. All of you are either involved in balloons, or involved in science in the SF area. Do you have any suggestions for Martin?

Thanks and 73,
Nathaniel W2NAF

Begin forwarded message:

From: Martin <dcmk1mr2@...>
Subject: No JT-65/9 & PSK-Reporter or WSPRnet?
Date: May 1, 2017 at 6:34:09 PM EDT

Hello hamSCI,

I have been learning how to participate as a ham for the eclipse and your materials are really helpful.  
I am puzzled why you are not using these modes.  They already have a large following and reverse beacon networks.

So far I have built the EclipseMob's LF antenna and receiver.  I look forward to the Android software for it.

I am new to radio astronomy so the ProjectJOVE is a little overwhelming but it looks worth the effort. 

My ham club - East Bay Amateur Radio Club is hosting a meeting to prepare for the eclipse May 26.  We may do a high altitude balloon flight .  Would you have anyone in the SF east bay that could present on the topic?

Keep up the good work & 73,

Martin Rothfield W6MRR




Re: Helium Article in Chemistry World

Joe WB9SBD
 

save LOTS of money!
H2 here costs 10% of what HE costs.

Joe WB9SBD

The Original Rolling Ball Clock
Idle Tyme
Idle-Tyme.com
http://www.idle-tyme.com

On 5/1/2017 11:16 AM, 'L. Paul Verhage' nearsys@... [GPSL] wrote:
It's good to use hydrogen. We get an extra 8% more lift, save money, and conserve helium.



Helium Article in Chemistry World

L. Paul Verhage KD4STH
 

It's good to use hydrogen. We get an extra 8% more lift, save money, and conserve helium.


Balloon to Balloon Cross Band Repeater

AE5IB (Kip)
 

A number of us in Texas will not make it this year. :(


But we would like to participate. We are wondering if anyone would be interested in a balloon-to-balloon relay/crossband repeater?


The idea is to launch a balloon in Texas at the same time as one at GPSL. And both have equipment to transmit and relay messages between them. 


The details are fuzzy at the moment, but we can work it out. 


I know our 1W balloon APRS packets have been picked up by stations in Kansas City, according to aprs.fi so it might be fun to see if we can relay voice through two balloons. 

Anyone up for it?


Kip

AE5IB

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