Date   
Re: Recommended Tracking Equipment for a HAB

Steve Aerospace
 

If your using a Raspberry Pi why not consider the Raspberry Pi  Pi-In-The-Sky APRS variant:

    https://store.uputronics.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=62&product_id=52

    Steve G8KHW



On 19/06/2018 17:31, Jason Unwin via Groups.Io wrote:

Our Civil Air Patrol unit in Oklahoma is trying to organize a high altitude balloon launch for its cadets. We are trying to accomplish the following goals for the equipment:

 

1. APRS position reporting with a back up.

2. Radio beacon with back up if the APRS fails.

3. Simple to operate and turn on so that there is not a lot of training involved to operate it.

4. Ideally, as low cost as possible so we can afford the helium. Hydrogen is out of the question.

 

Here are some possible equipment options we were thinking of using:

 

Sansonic APRS Tracker

 

MicroTrak 1000

 

Micro Fox 15

 

Tracksoar Ready To Fly

 

 

We also have access to a Raspberry PI kit with the following:

 

Raspberry Pi is a tiny computer that helps teach programming through a variety of practical projects. Included in the Civil Air Patrol STEM Kit:

 

    Raspberry Pi Core Kit

    Real Time clock breakout board kit

    Blue & White 16x2 LCD + Keypad kit

    GPS Breakout

    Touchscreen

    Sensor Pack

    Camera Board

 

Are there any other things we could use? I realize this is a little subjective but we are looking for simple, reliable, and ideally moderately priced equipment.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

--

 

 

Major Jason B. Unwin, CAP

Muskogee Composite Squadron,Professional Development Officer

Aerospace Education Officer

©918-616-0578

U.S. Air Force Auxiliary

gocivilairpatrol.com

http://www.okwgcap.org/25010

Website: http://www.okwgcap.org/161709_2

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MuskogeeCAP/?ref=br_rs


-- 
Steve Randall
Random Engineering Ltd
steve@...
+44 7802 242135

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Re: Recommended Tracking Equipment for a HAB

Bill Brown
 

Hi Jason,

  I always recommend the Trace unit from FindMeSpot. It is well worth the price and works from ground level directly to orbiting satellites. It won't give you a good track during flight since it is limited to about 40,000 feet or so and does not report altitude but I always fly one as a backup locator. Also once on the ground it will report a few times and then it will report its position every 24 hours in case someone picks up your payloads, you will be able to find where it went. I have been testing one for over a year now inside my house and it reports every day and after one year it has finally been sending out a low battery message but still is working.

 I have been flying my Skytracker pico balloon APRS tracker without the solar panels and instead using a 3-cell AAA lithium pack with great results for regular latex balloon flights. It weighs a couple of ounces when packaged up with styrofoam or bubble wrap. Although it is low power (25 milliwatts) the nature of short packet bursts via the APRS mode allows it to compete with much stronger transmitters. I've compared it against a 1-watt APRS transmitter and it never missed a report during several test flights. I've been offering them for $149 for those who would like to try one with the battery pack (no batteries inside since I can't ship lithium batteries) if you are interested. It transmits once every minute. It is a ready to fly unit complete with built-in GPS receiver and guitar string antenna wires. It also transmits on 144.340 MHz as well as the national frequency of 144.390 so it is easy to DF the 144.340 MHz frequency if not quite strong enough to decode the packets.

However, I would recommend flying two separate APRS trackers and one FindMeSpot Trace unit for best reliability.

- Bill WB8ELK




-----Original Message-----
From: Jason Unwin via Groups.Io <generalripper_1999@...>
To: GPSL <GPSL@groups.io>
Sent: Tue, Jun 19, 2018 11:31 am
Subject: [GPSL] Recommended Tracking Equipment for a HAB

Our Civil Air Patrol unit in Oklahoma is trying to organize a high altitude balloon launch for its cadets. We are trying to accomplish the following goals for the equipment:
 
1. APRS position reporting with a back up.
2. Radio beacon with back up if the APRS fails.
3. Simple to operate and turn on so that there is not a lot of training involved to operate it.
4. Ideally, as low cost as possible so we can afford the helium. Hydrogen is out of the question.
 
Here are some possible equipment options we were thinking of using:
 
Sansonic APRS Tracker
 
MicroTrak 1000
 
Micro Fox 15
 
Tracksoar Ready To Fly
 
 
We also have access to a Raspberry PI kit with the following:
 
Raspberry Pi is a tiny computer that helps teach programming through a variety of practical projects. Included in the Civil Air Patrol STEM Kit:
 
    Raspberry Pi Core Kit
    Real Time clock breakout board kit
    Blue & White 16x2 LCD + Keypad kit
    GPS Breakout
    Touchscreen
    Sensor Pack
    Camera Board
 
Are there any other things we could use? I realize this is a little subjective but we are looking for simple, reliable, and ideally moderately priced equipment.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
--
 
 
Major Jason B. Unwin, CAP
Muskogee Composite Squadron,Professional Development Officer
Aerospace Education Officer
©918-616-0578
U.S. Air Force Auxiliary
gocivilairpatrol.com

Re: Lesson Learned

Michael
 

GPSL 2016:

My intention was to be able to help a team in need in case they had a tree magnet payload or other issue to overcome. I had loaded my truck with everything but a canoe, and - well as luck would have it, we needed the canoe. :)

The main issue I faced from a support perspective was that feedback from the field was sketchy at best, and the teams that had trouble were in a dead zone for RF or other issues. It would have been nice to know who was in good shape and who was in trouble, and the only one I knew was really in trouble needed the canoe - which we used a day or two later without success... :)

After giving this some thought, I could have advertised my ability to help much better and asked for check ins periodically from those teams that might want assistance. To overcome the RF dead zone issues, perhaps setting up an 80 meter NVIS would help. 80 meters on an auto is already NVIS :) so I am thinking a "net control" person at HQ someplace with a real NVIS antenna could then better communicate to the field any needs. From a safety standpoint, I think this could be very beneficial.

I think the EOSS group utilize a "net control" type of communication. Perhaps they have input on their processes and experiences.

--Michael
K5NOT



On 6/18/2018 5:59 PM, Hank Riley via Groups.Io wrote:
better wording:

Could you please elaborate just a little on your experience in 2016?

What specifically were the main things that didn't work and why?   This will inform future hosts and organizers about what to expect and improved methods and strategies to try.
________________________________________________

Michael <mw@...> wrote:

I tried to improve this at GPSL 2016 by being "the one person". It did not work out so well.


-- 
Michael Willett
Mobile: 214-578-2400
mw@...
www.advancedsourcinginc.com

Video Clip at Balloon Burst

L. Paul Verhage KD4STH
 

I've uploaded a two minute clip to my YouTube channel of a balloon burst at 95,900 feet. This carry recorded a sign with Mr. Potato Head, NearSys, and GPSL 2018 logo.

Here's the link, https://youtu.be/3qnvTkefppg

--
Dr. L. Paul Verhage
Near Space Evangelist

Title Picture

L. Paul Verhage KD4STH
 

I think wveryone will like the title picture for my first flight at GPSL. It's at, http://nearsys.com/arhab/flightdata/2018/h/index.htm

Especially Jerry.

Re: Recommended Tracking Equipment for a HAB

Zack Clobes W0ZC
 

If you're interested in programming or custom development, I have the ArduinoTrack available.  It's an Arduino "Shield" that provides GPS, temperature, and pressure sensors, along with a transmitter module for 144.39MHz.  It's all programmed through a simple USB cable and a piece of software.




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.


On Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 11:31 AM Jason Unwin via Groups.Io <generalripper_1999=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

Our Civil Air Patrol unit in Oklahoma is trying to organize a high altitude balloon launch for its cadets. We are trying to accomplish the following goals for the equipment:

 

1. APRS position reporting with a back up.

2. Radio beacon with back up if the APRS fails.

3. Simple to operate and turn on so that there is not a lot of training involved to operate it.

4. Ideally, as low cost as possible so we can afford the helium. Hydrogen is out of the question.

 

Here are some possible equipment options we were thinking of using:

 

Sansonic APRS Tracker

 

MicroTrak 1000

 

Micro Fox 15

 

Tracksoar Ready To Fly

 

 

We also have access to a Raspberry PI kit with the following:

 

Raspberry Pi is a tiny computer that helps teach programming through a variety of practical projects. Included in the Civil Air Patrol STEM Kit:

 

    Raspberry Pi Core Kit

    Real Time clock breakout board kit

    Blue & White 16x2 LCD + Keypad kit

    GPS Breakout

    Touchscreen

    Sensor Pack

    Camera Board

 

Are there any other things we could use? I realize this is a little subjective but we are looking for simple, reliable, and ideally moderately priced equipment.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

--

 

 

Major Jason B. Unwin, CAP

Muskogee Composite Squadron,Professional Development Officer

Aerospace Education Officer

©918-616-0578

U.S. Air Force Auxiliary

gocivilairpatrol.com

http://www.okwgcap.org/25010

Website: http://www.okwgcap.org/161709_2

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MuskogeeCAP/?ref=br_rs

Missing Texas Address, sorry

L. Paul Verhage KD4STH
 

Hey, I've misplaced the address for the Texas group. I have your HT packed up and ready to go I just need to know the address. But I'll be darned if I can find that email. Thanks

July 1 flight video and still images

John Kovac KM6GKF
 

This was the payload that stayed on the ground at GPSL 2018.  It was very hazy in CA yesterday due to the fires, so the images are not that great.  We did attain our highest burst so far, 110,194 feet.

Thanks to Hank Riley and everyone else on this list who gave me input on flight line. 


Video link:




Stills link:





Re: July 1 flight video and still images

L. Paul Verhage KD4STH
 

That's quite good. Congrats. I am planning to launch from near the bay area over Labor Day weekend.


On Mon, Jul 2, 2018, 1:33 PM John Kovac KM6GKF <jkovac@...> wrote:
This was the payload that stayed on the ground at GPSL 2018.  It was very hazy in CA yesterday due to the fires, so the images are not that great.  We did attain our highest burst so far, 110,194 feet.

Thanks to Hank Riley and everyone else on this list who gave me input on flight line. 


Video link:




Stills link:





Re: July 1 flight video and still images

John Kovac KM6GKF
 

Yes let us know when you’ll be down here Paul.  We are happy to help with your flight.

On Jul 2, 2018, at 2:02 PM, L. Paul Verhage KD4STH <nearsys@...> wrote:

That's quite good. Congrats. I am planning to launch from near the bay area over Labor Day weekend.

On Mon, Jul 2, 2018, 1:33 PM John Kovac KM6GKF <jkovac@...> wrote:
This was the payload that stayed on the ground at GPSL 2018.  It was very hazy in CA yesterday due to the fires, so the images are not that great.  We did attain our highest burst so far, 110,194 feet.

Thanks to Hank Riley and everyone else on this list who gave me input on flight line. 


Video link:




Stills link:





Re: July 1 flight video and still images

L. Paul Verhage KD4STH
 

It will be Sunday the 2nd. I will contact Strato Fox for help.


On Mon, Jul 2, 2018, 2:36 PM John Kovac KM6GKF <jkovac@...> wrote:
Yes let us know when you’ll be down here Paul.  We are happy to help with your flight.

On Jul 2, 2018, at 2:02 PM, L. Paul Verhage KD4STH <nearsys@...> wrote:

That's quite good. Congrats. I am planning to launch from near the bay area over Labor Day weekend.

On Mon, Jul 2, 2018, 1:33 PM John Kovac KM6GKF <jkovac@...> wrote:
This was the payload that stayed on the ground at GPSL 2018.  It was very hazy in CA yesterday due to the fires, so the images are not that great.  We did attain our highest burst so far, 110,194 feet.

Thanks to Hank Riley and everyone else on this list who gave me input on flight line. 


Video link:




Stills link:





Foreground promo objects in view of the camera

Zack Clobes W0ZC
 

For those of you who have flown promotional items in the foreground of your cameras, do you have any tips or suggestions?  I have a cut-out cardboard figure to fly into space, and am just wondering what issues might arise from the camera, how far out people are mounting their promotionals, and what mechanisms people are using to hold them?

My camera is a Canon A570IS with the CHDK, taking stills.


Again, my flyboy is going to be a cardboard cut out roughly 6cm tall, although I could scale him down.

image.png



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.


Re: Foreground promo objects in view of the camera

L. Paul Verhage KD4STH
 

My items are mounted two feet from the camera on an acrylic plastic platform. Two carbon fiber rods hold the platform in place. The carbon rods are bolted to the bottom of the airframe using plastic wire clamps.

I haven't seen any problems or out of focus problems. 

On Mon, Jul 2, 2018, 6:54 PM Zack Clobes W0ZC <zclobes@...> wrote:
For those of you who have flown promotional items in the foreground of your cameras, do you have any tips or suggestions?  I have a cut-out cardboard figure to fly into space, and am just wondering what issues might arise from the camera, how far out people are mounting their promotionals, and what mechanisms people are using to hold them?

My camera is a Canon A570IS with the CHDK, taking stills.


Again, my flyboy is going to be a cardboard cut out roughly 6cm tall, although I could scale him down.

image.png



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.


Cheap tracker for possible one-way mission

Mark Conner N9XTN
 

Paul KD4STH and I are looking at doing a launch from the Nebraska Star Party on August 7 from south of Valentine, NE.  The region is fairly devoid of roads, and much more populated with cattle and rough terrain than people.  We are considering a recovery-optional mission for this flight - if it's too difficult to retrieve, we'll skip it.

I have not kept track of the lightweight and low-cost trackers that are out there, and some are probably still in beta.  Ideally I'd like something under $100 to keep our expense down should we choose not to recover it.  Any ideas?  Some of the lower-cost devices seem to have gone out of production.

Obviously it needs a GPS with ~120 kft altitude capability, but can be relatively low-power.  It can also be on 144.39 since the ground APRS infrastructure is nil, so no competition with other stations.  1 or 2 lithium AA batteries for power would be ok as it only has to last a few hours.  Telemetry is not a big deal for this flight either.  Pre-configuration is OK too, I don't think we'll need to fiddle with the setup.  We may have to work out timeslotting with the other flight if necessary, but I think we can do that in advance too.

Feel free to contact me off-list if you'd rather.

73 de Mark N9XTN

Re: Cheap tracker for possible one-way mission

Bruce Coates
 

Hi Mark

It's probably not feasible given the time frame but I'm working on an Arduino (Trackuino) based tracker for a floater.  It's definitely a DIY project as it's assembled from individual parts.  The assembled weight should be around 35-40 grams and will run for about 5 hours with a 1 minute beacon rate on a 150mah lipo and up to 2 days if the beacon rate is reduced.  I can post the details and code if anyone is interested.

The parts required are:
Arduino 3.3v 8Mhz
NEO6M GPS module
SR-FRS-1W radio by Sunrise Electronics
DS1820 temperature sensor(s) (Optional)
Solar cells and charge controller (Optional)
3 resistors, 3 capacitors (Some are optional)
150 mAh (or larger) Lipo pack

73, Bruce - VE5BNC

On 2018-07-05 2:59 PM, Mark Conner N9XTN wrote:
Paul KD4STH and I are looking at doing a launch from the Nebraska Star Party on August 7 from south of Valentine, NE.  The region is fairly devoid of roads, and much more populated with cattle and rough terrain than people.  We are considering a recovery-optional mission for this flight - if it's too difficult to retrieve, we'll skip it.

I have not kept track of the lightweight and low-cost trackers that are out there, and some are probably still in beta.  Ideally I'd like something under $100 to keep our expense down should we choose not to recover it.  Any ideas?  Some of the lower-cost devices seem to have gone out of production.

Obviously it needs a GPS with ~120 kft altitude capability, but can be relatively low-power.  It can also be on 144.39 since the ground APRS infrastructure is nil, so no competition with other stations.  1 or 2 lithium AA batteries for power would be ok as it only has to last a few hours.  Telemetry is not a big deal for this flight either.  Pre-configuration is OK too, I don't think we'll need to fiddle with the setup.  We may have to work out timeslotting with the other flight if necessary, but I think we can do that in advance too.

Feel free to contact me off-list if you'd rather.

73 de Mark N9XTN


Re: Cheap tracker for possible one-way mission

L. Paul Verhage KD4STH
 

To add to Mark's request...

If you find yourself in the Valentine area of Nebraska around August 9th, we could always use your help chasing after two balloons.

Thanks

On Thu, Jul 5, 2018, 6:03 PM Bruce Coates <bruce.coates@...> wrote:
Hi Mark

It's probably not feasible given the time frame but I'm working on an Arduino (Trackuino) based tracker for a floater.  It's definitely a DIY project as it's assembled from individual parts.  The assembled weight should be around 35-40 grams and will run for about 5 hours with a 1 minute beacon rate on a 150mah lipo and up to 2 days if the beacon rate is reduced.  I can post the details and code if anyone is interested.

The parts required are:
Arduino 3.3v 8Mhz
NEO6M GPS module
SR-FRS-1W radio by Sunrise Electronics
DS1820 temperature sensor(s) (Optional)
Solar cells and charge controller (Optional)
3 resistors, 3 capacitors (Some are optional)
150 mAh (or larger) Lipo pack

73, Bruce - VE5BNC

On 2018-07-05 2:59 PM, Mark Conner N9XTN wrote:
Paul KD4STH and I are looking at doing a launch from the Nebraska Star Party on August 7 from south of Valentine, NE.  The region is fairly devoid of roads, and much more populated with cattle and rough terrain than people.  We are considering a recovery-optional mission for this flight - if it's too difficult to retrieve, we'll skip it.

I have not kept track of the lightweight and low-cost trackers that are out there, and some are probably still in beta.  Ideally I'd like something under $100 to keep our expense down should we choose not to recover it.  Any ideas?  Some of the lower-cost devices seem to have gone out of production.

Obviously it needs a GPS with ~120 kft altitude capability, but can be relatively low-power.  It can also be on 144.39 since the ground APRS infrastructure is nil, so no competition with other stations.  1 or 2 lithium AA batteries for power would be ok as it only has to last a few hours.  Telemetry is not a big deal for this flight either.  Pre-configuration is OK too, I don't think we'll need to fiddle with the setup.  We may have to work out timeslotting with the other flight if necessary, but I think we can do that in advance too.

Feel free to contact me off-list if you'd rather.

73 de Mark N9XTN


What's this on the GPS antenna lead?

Bruce Coates
 

Hi

I'm building a tracker using a Ublox Neo 6m module from eBay (of course).  My module has an adhesive "thing" on the feedline about half way down. This "thing" is fine metal mesh and is connected to the shield of the feedline.  It seems to be common on the tiny ceramic antennas on eBay but many also don't have it. 

Any ideas?

Thanks

Bruce - VE5BNC

Re: What's this on the GPS antenna lead?

Hank Riley
 

Bruce,

I'm pretty sure that's a ground plane intended to be affixed to the underside of the supplied antenna to improve its performance.  One of the clues is the presence of the adhesive; another is the size of the mesh.  A nice touch for that to be included in the package.

Hope this solves the "Mystery of the Thing."

Hank
___________________________________

My module has an adhesive "thing" on the feedline about half way down. This "thing" is fine metal mesh and is connected to the shield of the feedline.  It seems to be common on the tiny ceramic antennas on eBay but many also don't have it. 

Re: What's this on the GPS antenna lead?

Bruce Coates
 

Hi Hank

Interesting. I was also wondering about it being some attempt at common mode decoupling, like a 1/4 wave stub.

73, Bruce


-------- Original message --------
From: "Hank Riley via Groups.Io" <n1ltv@...>
Date: 7/12/18 6:29 PM (GMT-06:00)
To: GPSL@groups.io
Subject: Re: [GPSL] What's this on the GPS antenna lead?

Bruce,

I'm pretty sure that's a ground plane intended to be affixed to the underside of the supplied antenna to improve its performance.  One of the clues is the presence of the adhesive; another is the size of the mesh.  A nice touch for that to be included in the package.

Hope this solves the "Mystery of the Thing."

Hank
___________________________________

My module has an adhesive "thing" on the feedline about half way down. This "thing" is fine metal mesh and is connected to the shield of the feedline.  It seems to be common on the tiny ceramic antennas on eBay but many also don't have it. 

Re: What's this on the GPS antenna lead?

Hank Riley
 

The decoupling idea did occur to me, but I did kind of slide over your wording concerning the coax shield.

A few more clue requests:

By "connected," do you really mean connected galvanically to the shield?   Or just folded around the coax tightly?  Can't tell by the photo for sure.  One picture I found looks as if there might be a sliver of shield exposed on the end of the mesh closest to the antenna.  If connected, please describe how that's done (one or two places; by solder?). 

Does the adhesive cover the central area of the mesh at all?

My thought was attaching the mesh to the coax was simply for product packaging purposes and was intended to be only temporary until applied to the antenna. 

Maybe the mesh does both functions.  I don't think the entire mesh area is needed for decoupling.

__________________________________________________________

Hi Hank

Interesting. I was also wondering about it being some attempt at common mode decoupling, like a 1/4 wave stub.

73, Bruce