Date   
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.

Re: Recovery mystery

Dennis Klipa - N8ERF
 

John,

I don't know anything about your tracker, but you mentioned a single AA battery.  Are you using an alkaline battery or a lithium battery?  I made the mistake of using an alkaline 9V battery on our CW transmitter.  When I tested it on the ground days before the flight the battery lasted much longer than the projected flight and recovery time, but not during the the flight. It stopped just before landing but we didn't have a good fix. And our APRS unit failed right after lift off.

The problem turns out that the voltage drops significantly with temperature and it gets really cold up there.  The transmitter still drew almost as much power and with a lower voltage, that means more current and shorter battery life.  The lithium batteries have a better temperature profile.

To test the hypothesis, I put the transmitter in a styrofoam box with dry ice and ran it.  Indeed, much shorter alkaline battery life.  I only use lithium batteries now.

Five months later, I got a call from a farmer who found the payload in his field.  That was an emotional phone call and the students were amazed that we got everything back in working order, including the photos.

Best Regards,
Dennis, N8ERF


On Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 7:35 PM John Kovac KM6GKF <jkovac@...> wrote:
Yes, unfortunately it looks like a goner.  And too bad we lost this one.  It was a beautiful clear day, and we launched from an ocean beach just before sunrise.  I would gladly let someone keep the DSLR ,2 GO Pros, and the rest of the stuff they would never be able to use if I could just get the memory cards from the cameras back.

We drove around the area the next two days and passed out multi-language flyers with a photo of the payload, and an offer of a reward if returned.  We indicated it was "lost" to give someone who might have taken it an "out" to return it by saying they'd found it. 

The Spot was inside a tape-sealed Styrofoam container, tightly velcroed in place. I agree,  I don't see how anyone could have opened the container and removed it without triggering a movement ping.  We used a metal detector in the grass all around the landing site in case someone tossed it there and took the rest of the payload.  If it had been there by itself, I think we'd have found it.

I did not have a way to hear the APRS signal on the ground.  I need to learn more about tracking a radio signal on the ground before I fly again.  I am not nearly as experienced or knowledgeable as most of the people on this forum.  I am using an out-of-the-box device, Stratotrack, a tiny transmitter powered by one AA battery.  That and the Spot constitute my entire tracking system setup.  

On Saturday, February 22, 2020, 01:41:14 PM PST, James Ewen VE6SRV <ve6srv@...> wrote:


Well, I’m at the same place you are. Someone found the payload and took it away. Everything you have provided places the payload where you were looking.

Why the tracking systems all stopped is a mystery. It looks like there’s not much for APRS infrastructure around there. It might have still been working, but no one to hear the packets. Was the Spot visible and accessible? You would think that if it was inside the payload container, someone not familiar with it would have spent enough time fiddling with it to have a position report to out. 

We’ve had batteries knocked loose on landing ending our transmissions, but the payload was sitting where it landed. 

This is a mystery, but the payload loss is probably due to human intervention. 

On Sat, Feb 22, 2020 at 2:35 PM Hank Riley via Groups.Io <n1ltv=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I'm looking for that very type of information myself.  Would like the frequency of Spot reporting (just in the last 10 minutes before landing if it varies), and the time of the last Spot and the associated lat/lon, altitude, and speed and bearing too if available (doubt that but asking anyway).



On Saturday, February 22, 2020, 04:14:26 PM EST, James Ewen VE6SRV <ve6srv@...> wrote:

Do you have a time stamp to match to the Spot location? Does Spot send locations in real time, or delayed?

Looking to determine what the altitude was when the Spot last reported. Was it well up in the air, or down on the ground, or somewhere between?

--
James
VE6SRV

Re: Recovery mystery

John Kovac KM6GKF
 

The landing crew - the entire crew - was myself, my girlfriend, and my 14 year old son on this one.  My adult year old daughter joins us sometimes but couldn't make this one.  

We launched from the ocean south of Pescadero, CA  and landed in (and disappeared from) farmland near Chowchilla, CA, about 160 miles away.  Involved mountains and roads that wander.  We got there 13 minutes after it landed.  

On Saturday, February 22, 2020, 05:49:51 PM PST, James Ewen VE6SRV <ve6srv@...> wrote:


How long after landing were your recovery crews in the area? 

Where I live, it’s pretty flat with a road grid that is virtually uninterrupted. Highways tend to go the same direction as our prevailing flight path. There’s only one major river, and it parallels our flight path.  On a three hour flight, we can usually pack up our launch equipment, chat with those who were hanging around the launch site, and then head out on recovery. 

If we don’t get into the jet stream, we can usually stop for a snack and have a look to see if we can watch the balloon burst. Then it’s off to the landing area, and quite often we watch the payload drop the last 10,000 feet or so. 

I did have one where we drove like mad to try and keep up because the winds aloft had the payload moving up to 150 mph. 

Mountains and roads that wander around can make it tough to get to the landing area before the payload. 

On Sat, Feb 22, 2020 at 6:36 PM John Kovac KM6GKF <jkovac@...> wrote:
Yes, could have been something like that, although we never saw any stryofoam debris.  I could speculate endlessly - I have, actually - but some combination of the Spot failing or being obscured, combined with humans taking the payload, seems most likely at this point.

On Saturday, February 22, 2020, 05:00:36 PM PST, Hank Riley via Groups.Io <n1ltv=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:


John,

The story is interesting and with each of your discosures it becomes more interesting and sometimes prompts more questions from us listening to all this.

You answered one question about why the metal detector was used like it was a needle in a haystack type search (humans throwing away the spot and taking all the rest of the gear scenario).

Last, I think you have to let go of this line of thinking; much stranger things have happened with machines and technology.  Just because you always got good SPOT results before doesn't mean it will work that way forever:  

                              I don't see how anyone could have opened the container and removed
                              it without triggering a movement ping.  

Almost 100% sure (never say never) that humans took all the stuff away.  Could have been in the middle of the road when they came by.  They could have run it over first and onlt then then come back to see what it was!  That would explain the absence of any further SPOT transmissions.  Spot never knew what hit it.   Heck, could have been a big commercial or agricultural truck.  Crunch goes the SPOT.

Hank

--
James
VE6SRV

Re: Recovery mystery

James Ewen VE6SRV
 

How long after landing were your recovery crews in the area? 

Where I live, it’s pretty flat with a road grid that is virtually uninterrupted. Highways tend to go the same direction as our prevailing flight path. There’s only one major river, and it parallels our flight path.  On a three hour flight, we can usually pack up our launch equipment, chat with those who were hanging around the launch site, and then head out on recovery. 

If we don’t get into the jet stream, we can usually stop for a snack and have a look to see if we can watch the balloon burst. Then it’s off to the landing area, and quite often we watch the payload drop the last 10,000 feet or so. 

I did have one where we drove like mad to try and keep up because the winds aloft had the payload moving up to 150 mph. 

Mountains and roads that wander around can make it tough to get to the landing area before the payload. 

On Sat, Feb 22, 2020 at 6:36 PM John Kovac KM6GKF <jkovac@...> wrote:
Yes, could have been something like that, although we never saw any stryofoam debris.  I could speculate endlessly - I have, actually - but some combination of the Spot failing or being obscured, combined with humans taking the payload, seems most likely at this point.

On Saturday, February 22, 2020, 05:00:36 PM PST, Hank Riley via Groups.Io <n1ltv=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:


John,

The story is interesting and with each of your discosures it becomes more interesting and sometimes prompts more questions from us listening to all this.

You answered one question about why the metal detector was used like it was a needle in a haystack type search (humans throwing away the spot and taking all the rest of the gear scenario).

Last, I think you have to let go of this line of thinking; much stranger things have happened with machines and technology.  Just because you always got good SPOT results before doesn't mean it will work that way forever:  

                              I don't see how anyone could have opened the container and removed
                              it without triggering a movement ping.  

Almost 100% sure (never say never) that humans took all the stuff away.  Could have been in the middle of the road when they came by.  They could have run it over first and onlt then then come back to see what it was!  That would explain the absence of any further SPOT transmissions.  Spot never knew what hit it.   Heck, could have been a big commercial or agricultural truck.  Crunch goes the SPOT.

Hank

--
James
VE6SRV

Re: Recovery mystery

John Kovac KM6GKF
 

Yes, could have been something like that, although we never saw any stryofoam debris.  I could speculate endlessly - I have, actually - but some combination of the Spot failing or being obscured, combined with humans taking the payload, seems most likely at this point.

On Saturday, February 22, 2020, 05:00:36 PM PST, Hank Riley via Groups.Io <n1ltv@...> wrote:


John,

The story is interesting and with each of your discosures it becomes more interesting and sometimes prompts more questions from us listening to all this.

You answered one question about why the metal detector was used like it was a needle in a haystack type search (humans throwing away the spot and taking all the rest of the gear scenario).

Last, I think you have to let go of this line of thinking; much stranger things have happened with machines and technology.  Just because you always got good SPOT results before doesn't mean it will work that way forever:  

                              I don't see how anyone could have opened the container and removed
                              it without triggering a movement ping.  

Almost 100% sure (never say never) that humans took all the stuff away.  Could have been in the middle of the road when they came by.  They could have run it over first and onlt then then come back to see what it was!  That would explain the absence of any further SPOT transmissions.  Spot never knew what hit it.   Heck, could have been a big commercial or agricultural truck.  Crunch goes the SPOT.

Hank

Re: Recovery mystery

Hank Riley
 

John,

The story is interesting and with each of your discosures it becomes more interesting and sometimes prompts more questions from us listening to all this.

You answered one question about why the metal detector was used like it was a needle in a haystack type search (humans throwing away the spot and taking all the rest of the gear scenario).

Last, I think you have to let go of this line of thinking; much stranger things have happened with machines and technology.  Just because you always got good SPOT results before doesn't mean it will work that way forever:  

                              I don't see how anyone could have opened the container and removed
                              it without triggering a movement ping.  

Almost 100% sure (never say never) that humans took all the stuff away.  Could have been in the middle of the road when they came by.  They could have run it over first and onlt then then come back to see what it was!  That would explain the absence of any further SPOT transmissions.  Spot never knew what hit it.   Heck, could have been a big commercial or agricultural truck.  Crunch goes the SPOT.

Hank

Re: Recovery mystery

John Kovac KM6GKF
 

Yes, unfortunately it looks like a goner.  And too bad we lost this one.  It was a beautiful clear day, and we launched from an ocean beach just before sunrise.  I would gladly let someone keep the DSLR ,2 GO Pros, and the rest of the stuff they would never be able to use if I could just get the memory cards from the cameras back.

We drove around the area the next two days and passed out multi-language flyers with a photo of the payload, and an offer of a reward if returned.  We indicated it was "lost" to give someone who might have taken it an "out" to return it by saying they'd found it. 

The Spot was inside a tape-sealed Styrofoam container, tightly velcroed in place. I agree,  I don't see how anyone could have opened the container and removed it without triggering a movement ping.  We used a metal detector in the grass all around the landing site in case someone tossed it there and took the rest of the payload.  If it had been there by itself, I think we'd have found it.

I did not have a way to hear the APRS signal on the ground.  I need to learn more about tracking a radio signal on the ground before I fly again.  I am not nearly as experienced or knowledgeable as most of the people on this forum.  I am using an out-of-the-box device, Stratotrack, a tiny transmitter powered by one AA battery.  That and the Spot constitute my entire tracking system setup.  

On Saturday, February 22, 2020, 01:41:14 PM PST, James Ewen VE6SRV <ve6srv@...> wrote:


Well, I’m at the same place you are. Someone found the payload and took it away. Everything you have provided places the payload where you were looking.

Why the tracking systems all stopped is a mystery. It looks like there’s not much for APRS infrastructure around there. It might have still been working, but no one to hear the packets. Was the Spot visible and accessible? You would think that if it was inside the payload container, someone not familiar with it would have spent enough time fiddling with it to have a position report to out. 

We’ve had batteries knocked loose on landing ending our transmissions, but the payload was sitting where it landed. 

This is a mystery, but the payload loss is probably due to human intervention. 

On Sat, Feb 22, 2020 at 2:35 PM Hank Riley via Groups.Io <n1ltv=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I'm looking for that very type of information myself.  Would like the frequency of Spot reporting (just in the last 10 minutes before landing if it varies), and the time of the last Spot and the associated lat/lon, altitude, and speed and bearing too if available (doubt that but asking anyway).



On Saturday, February 22, 2020, 04:14:26 PM EST, James Ewen VE6SRV <ve6srv@...> wrote:

Do you have a time stamp to match to the Spot location? Does Spot send locations in real time, or delayed?

Looking to determine what the altitude was when the Spot last reported. Was it well up in the air, or down on the ground, or somewhere between?

--
James
VE6SRV

Re: Recovery mystery

James Ewen VE6SRV
 

Well, I’m at the same place you are. Someone found the payload and took it away. Everything you have provided places the payload where you were looking.

Why the tracking systems all stopped is a mystery. It looks like there’s not much for APRS infrastructure around there. It might have still been working, but no one to hear the packets. Was the Spot visible and accessible? You would think that if it was inside the payload container, someone not familiar with it would have spent enough time fiddling with it to have a position report to out. 

We’ve had batteries knocked loose on landing ending our transmissions, but the payload was sitting where it landed. 

This is a mystery, but the payload loss is probably due to human intervention. 

On Sat, Feb 22, 2020 at 2:35 PM Hank Riley via Groups.Io <n1ltv=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I'm looking for that very type of information myself.  Would like the frequency of Spot reporting (just in the last 10 minutes before landing if it varies), and the time of the last Spot and the associated lat/lon, altitude, and speed and bearing too if available (doubt that but asking anyway).



On Saturday, February 22, 2020, 04:14:26 PM EST, James Ewen VE6SRV <ve6srv@...> wrote:

Do you have a time stamp to match to the Spot location? Does Spot send locations in real time, or delayed?

Looking to determine what the altitude was when the Spot last reported. Was it well up in the air, or down on the ground, or somewhere between?

--
James
VE6SRV

Re: Recovery mystery

Hank Riley
 

I'm looking for that very type of information myself.  Would like the frequency of Spot reporting (just in the last 10 minutes before landing if it varies), and the time of the last Spot and the associated lat/lon, altitude, and speed and bearing too if available (doubt that but asking anyway).



On Saturday, February 22, 2020, 04:14:26 PM EST, James Ewen VE6SRV <ve6srv@...> wrote:

Do you have a time stamp to match to the Spot location? Does Spot send locations in real time, or delayed?

Looking to determine what the altitude was when the Spot last reported. Was it well up in the air, or down on the ground, or somewhere between?

Re: Recovery mystery

John Kovac KM6GKF
 

Hi James,

Spot reports the stop ping, indicating no movement for two minutes, at 10:20 am local/18:20 Zulu, right at the expected location, on the ground. The Spot reports every five minutes until it stops moving.

It is fairly certain to me that the payload landed where the Spot said it did, and was taken by someone before we got there.  The only thing I don’t get is why there was never any movement ping when someone took it.   Even if they knew what the Spot was, and tossed it before taking the rest of the payload, that would have created a motion ping.  If they took off with it in a car, we should have been able to track that too.

On Feb 22, 2020, at 1:14 PM, James Ewen VE6SRV <ve6srv@...> wrote:


Do you have a time stamp to match to the Spot location? Does Spot send locations in real time, or delayed?

Looking to determine what the altitude was when the Spot last reported. Was it well up in the air, or down on the ground, or somewhere between?

On Fri, Feb 21, 2020 at 9:21 PM John Kovac KM6GKF <jkovac@...> wrote:
Thanks to all of you for the detailed replies.  Greatly appreciated.  We just spent the third day in a row searching, without success.

The Spot Trace indicated the final stop in the exact same area:


37.098920, -120.313110

It's a few hundred feet north from the point Hank shows below, and directly across the street from the field James noted.

We scoured the area for about a mile in every direction, and used a metal detector in the low grass for about 500 feet in every direction from the point above to reduce the unlikely possibility that the Spot had come out of the sealed container and was no longer with the payload.  All of the irrigation ditches were not deep enough to conceal a payload under water, so we know it didn't go in water anywhere near there.

At this point our best guess is that in the ten or so minutes between when our payload landed and we got there, a car took the payload.  In testing the Spot I've found it is pretty good at giving a last "motion detected" ping even if you throw it in your car upside down, so I'm not sure why it would have failed in this case.  And there was maybe one car every 15 minutes while we were there, not a busy area.  This was I think the sixth time this Spot had been over 100K, so it certainly could have just worn out from the abuse, but it appeared to be working perfectly through landing.

We had the container well-marked with phone number and a request to contact us, but at this point I'm not holding out much hope.  

Thanks again for all of the info and suggestions. 


On Friday, February 21, 2020, 04:23:22 PM PST, Hank Riley via Groups.Io <n1ltv=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:


Sometimes a reasoned best estimate of the landing spot can mean the difference

Here's mine ( both imbedded and attached).  I've annotated the graphic with the last APRS (from aprs.fi) reported altitudes and speeds.  Above sea level elevation of the farmland is around 210 feet so a very small contributor to the simple arithmetic employed to give a landing spot and the larger circular zone that should enclose the real landing spot given uncertainties.

Essentially the last segment labelled X marks a drop of 3.3 k feet.  To drop the remaining 4.9 k feet I've shown a 1.5 X translation almost straight to the east. Actually the average bearing the payload was heading over the last few postions.

As James asked, it would be nice to know the last Spot position.  The more data, the better.  How was road traffic when you were on the way?  Non-existent?

Was the payload marked on the outside with prominent recovery info?  Also the inside?

I realize many people would not go inside a payload, but I think it's a good idea anyway.


<1582331028222blob.jpg>





--
James
VE6SRV

Re: Recovery mystery

James Ewen VE6SRV
 

Do you have a time stamp to match to the Spot location? Does Spot send locations in real time, or delayed?

Looking to determine what the altitude was when the Spot last reported. Was it well up in the air, or down on the ground, or somewhere between?

On Fri, Feb 21, 2020 at 9:21 PM John Kovac KM6GKF <jkovac@...> wrote:
Thanks to all of you for the detailed replies.  Greatly appreciated.  We just spent the third day in a row searching, without success.

The Spot Trace indicated the final stop in the exact same area:


37.098920, -120.313110

It's a few hundred feet north from the point Hank shows below, and directly across the street from the field James noted.

We scoured the area for about a mile in every direction, and used a metal detector in the low grass for about 500 feet in every direction from the point above to reduce the unlikely possibility that the Spot had come out of the sealed container and was no longer with the payload.  All of the irrigation ditches were not deep enough to conceal a payload under water, so we know it didn't go in water anywhere near there.

At this point our best guess is that in the ten or so minutes between when our payload landed and we got there, a car took the payload.  In testing the Spot I've found it is pretty good at giving a last "motion detected" ping even if you throw it in your car upside down, so I'm not sure why it would have failed in this case.  And there was maybe one car every 15 minutes while we were there, not a busy area.  This was I think the sixth time this Spot had been over 100K, so it certainly could have just worn out from the abuse, but it appeared to be working perfectly through landing.

We had the container well-marked with phone number and a request to contact us, but at this point I'm not holding out much hope.  

Thanks again for all of the info and suggestions. 


On Friday, February 21, 2020, 04:23:22 PM PST, Hank Riley via Groups.Io <n1ltv=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:


Sometimes a reasoned best estimate of the landing spot can mean the difference

Here's mine ( both imbedded and attached).  I've annotated the graphic with the last APRS (from aprs.fi) reported altitudes and speeds.  Above sea level elevation of the farmland is around 210 feet so a very small contributor to the simple arithmetic employed to give a landing spot and the larger circular zone that should enclose the real landing spot given uncertainties.

Essentially the last segment labelled X marks a drop of 3.3 k feet.  To drop the remaining 4.9 k feet I've shown a 1.5 X translation almost straight to the east. Actually the average bearing the payload was heading over the last few postions.

As James asked, it would be nice to know the last Spot position.  The more data, the better.  How was road traffic when you were on the way?  Non-existent?

Was the payload marked on the outside with prominent recovery info?  Also the inside?

I realize many people would not go inside a payload, but I think it's a good idea anyway.


Inline image




--
James
VE6SRV

Re: Recovery mystery

Dennis Klipa - N8ERF
 

Also, from experience, we use two APRS units, (ArduinoTracker from W0CZ and a Homebrew unit by team member K8VFO).  We also fly a Byonics MicroFox CW beacon for RDF and finally an audio beacon designed and built by a student using a 556 dual timer to generate an annoying high pitched signal to drive an 85 dB buzzer and turn it on for 0.25 seconds every four seconds.  The latter has been helpful when the payload lands in tall grass or bushes.

Best Regards,
Dennis, N8ERF

On Sat, Feb 22, 2020, 10:05 AM dampguy <biggoldensun@...> wrote:
After 2 disasters, we always fly with two redundant tracking system. Our main is a weather probe that has been modified for 70mm radio. The backup is a GSM tracker...