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Info from WB8ELK

Bill Brown
 

Hi Paul,

WB8ELK FIRST FLIGHT

My first flight was from Findlay, Ohio on August 15, 1987 on my birthday
(August 15th is also the birthday of fellow balloonatics Chuck Crist W9IH of
WindTrax and also Joe Mayenschein WB9SBD from Wisconsin..there must be
something about that birthdate!!). It was carrying an ATV transmitter on
439.25 MHz and a 50 milliwatt 2m transmitter on 144.34 MHz. I ran out of
helium and ended up with 2 ounces of positive lift. It was a windy day and
the payload barely lifted off the ground and travelled the entire length of a
field (almost snagging on the corn several times) before finally taking to
the air. It landed 25 miles to the northwest three hours later. The batteries
had died in mid-flight and we relied on the oldest form of foxhunting....A
REWARD sign. It was found 6 weeks later by a farmer as he was harvesting his
soybeans.

KD0FW Flight at GPSL:

I basically just helped Mike Bogard KD0FW and Jackie Bogard launch their
balloon (and chased it).....Although I have a garage filled with balloon
payloads, I didn't bring one with me. I figured it wasn't a good idea to
check baggage onto the airlines containing strange electronic components and
lithium batteries. Perhaps next year, we can arrange a place to mail payloads
for those of us who are flying to the launch? I thought about flying to GPSL
on a balloon-powered lawn chair but getting those winds to cooperate is a
problem.

KD0FW Flight:

We inflated a 22-year old Kaysam balloon first (the ugly one with a clear
bulge in it). A short while after inflation it burst as I was holding
it....we were able to obtain a spare Totex TA1200 balloon (I don't remember
who gave us the spare balloon as it happened pretty fast - <hopefully they'll
let us know on the list>).
Mike Bogard KD0FW and Jackie Bogard (callsign?) of Independence, MO flew
the DF'ed payload. At launch I was holding the balloon and Mike was holding
the payload....we were standing next to Paul's balloon.
The KD0FW payload consisted of ATV on 434 MHz and a simplex repeater on
147.585 MHz. Mike has flown 3 previous flights and chased many others and
also enjoys tracking down radiosondes on 1680 MHz (+/- 10 MHz drift). He has
found quite a few and it's good practice for balloon chasing (the
opportunities are twice daily)...in fact it's quite a challenge since they
drift wildly in frequency during flight. I've used a small Quagi on 1680 MHz
that Mike built for me years ago and found several myself (I use an AOR3000A
for the receiver in WFM mode).
Mike's simplex repeater's power connector came apart on landing so it was
DF'ed solely on the ATV carrier. It was in the middle of a cow pasture about
3 miles southeast of where 3 of the other payloads had landed. The
landowner's relatives came out to let us onto the property and one of them
worked as a computer instructor at the local school. She was very excited
about doing a balloon flight for her school and was interested in attending
next year's GPSL. Bobette Doerrie N5IS of "Reach for Space" was going to
email her particulars about the flight (Bobette has her class in Texas build
small payloads and flies them as a school project).
We all had a great time tromping into the cow pasture and finding the
payload (although a few hungry chiggers found me in the process - ouch). I
did the final DF using my ears and following the Sonalert beeper. Mike and
Jackie got drenched (Jackie got the worst of it) as a thunderstorm decided to
hit just as we all were getting back to our cars. I very nearly got stuck in
the mud as we were driving out....chunks of mud were periodically falling off
the underside of my rental car all the way back to the airport in KC the next
day.


- Bill Brown WB8ELK

PS...I'm going to upload my photos to my website over the weekend.

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