Topics

Recovery mystery

John Kovac KM6GKF
 

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

James Ewen VE6SRV
 

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

Jeff Ducklow
 

Feedback on why you might not hear from it:

Not knowing the geography there, are there any water features it could have hit, such as a water filled farm ditch?  A submerged SPOT would explain why you have not heard from it.  

Or it could have landed with the SPOT upright on first contact and then the landing energy caused it to roll on its side or upside down.  As you might know, the SPOT is very orientation sensitive for connecting with satellites. It must have its logo facing up to be reliable and will fail often if it is on its side or upside down. 

Too solve this issue you can make a gimbal out of different sized embroidery bamboo loops (lightweight and cheap) to keep it facing up regardless of how the payload box lands.






Jeff
N0NQN
Merryberry Galactic


On Feb 21, 2020, at 12:58 PM, James Ewen VE6SRV <ve6srv@...> wrote:

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




James Ewen VE6SRV
 

Based on the APRS track, guessing that KM6GKF-11 was the payload, I'd say the payload is in this field.


It would be easy to spot if the field still looks like this, but there may be some type of crop growing there now, which allows the payload to hide between the rows of plants.

There is one long narrow water hazard that might have beckoned to the payload... https://goo.gl/maps/Ep7VqbHwE5fUmJ8x8 


James
VE6SRV


On Fri, Feb 21, 2020 at 2:32 PM Jeff Ducklow <jeffducklow@...> wrote:
Feedback on why you might not hear from it:

Not knowing the geography there, are there any water features it could have hit, such as a water filled farm ditch?  A submerged SPOT would explain why you have not heard from it.  

Or it could have landed with the SPOT upright on first contact and then the landing energy caused it to roll on its side or upside down.  As you might know, the SPOT is very orientation sensitive for connecting with satellites. It must have its logo facing up to be reliable and will fail often if it is on its side or upside down. 

Too solve this issue you can make a gimbal out of different sized embroidery bamboo loops (lightweight and cheap) to keep it facing up regardless of how the payload box lands.






Jeff
N0NQN
Merryberry Galactic


On Feb 21, 2020, at 12:58 PM, James Ewen VE6SRV <ve6srv@...> wrote:

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




Richard Babington
 

Or void your SPOT warranty by taking it apart and jazzing up your gimbal with a bit of 3D printing ;-)






On Friday, 21 February 2020, 21:31:42 GMT, Jeff Ducklow <jeffducklow@...> wrote:


Feedback on why you might not hear from it:

Not knowing the geography there, are there any water features it could have hit, such as a water filled farm ditch?  A submerged SPOT would explain why you have not heard from it.  

Or it could have landed with the SPOT upright on first contact and then the landing energy caused it to roll on its side or upside down.  As you might know, the SPOT is very orientation sensitive for connecting with satellites. It must have its logo facing up to be reliable and will fail often if it is on its side or upside down. 

Too solve this issue you can make a gimbal out of different sized embroidery bamboo loops (lightweight and cheap) to keep it facing up regardless of how the payload box lands.






Jeff
N0NQN
Merryberry Galactic


On Feb 21, 2020, at 12:58 PM, James Ewen VE6SRV <ve6srv@...> wrote:

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




Hank Riley
 

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




Hank Riley
 

[completed first sentence from last message]

Sometimes a reasoned best estimate of the landing spot can mean the difference between the success or failure of missing balloon recovery efforts.

Dale Wegner
 

The NOAA archived wind data for 2/18/20 21Z had a layer of wind below
5,000' coming out of the SSE before resuming its W wind direction
below 2,000' in the Chowchilla area. Attached is wind file.
https://ready.arl.noaa.gov/READYcmet.php

I ran the wind data thru an oldy but goody BALTRK, exported the kml
prediction file for the final landing approach starting at the last
reported aprs position and merged the kml file with the aprs actual
track. KML combined file is attached also. It has a landing only 60
yards NE of its last reported position. This should have been an easy
find.

We have had farmers pickup the payload before the chase team arrives,
and drive off to another field to work. But the aprs tracker
eventually gets a signal out leading the chase team to the farmer. We
have used Spots in the passed with out any problems.

Thanks for this exercise to help sharpen my software skills for our
high school's spring time launch.

On 2/21/20, Hank Riley via Groups.Io <n1ltv=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
[completed first sentence from last message]
Sometimes a reasoned best estimate of the landing spot can mean the
difference between the success or failure of missing balloon recovery
efforts.



John Kovac KM6GKF
 

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@...> 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




John Kovac KM6GKF
 

Thanks Dale, greatly appreciate your reply and the info.


On Friday, February 21, 2020, 08:08:32 PM PST, Dale Wegner <dalewegner@...> wrote:


The NOAA archived wind data for 2/18/20 21Z had a layer of wind below
5,000' coming out of the SSE before resuming its W wind direction
below 2,000' in the Chowchilla area.  Attached is wind file.
https://ready.arl.noaa.gov/READYcmet.php

I ran the wind data thru an oldy but goody BALTRK, exported the kml
prediction file for the final landing approach starting at the last
reported aprs position and merged the kml file with the aprs actual
track.  KML combined file is attached also.  It has a landing only 60
yards NE of its last reported position.  This should have been an easy
find.

We have had farmers pickup the payload before the chase team arrives,
and drive off to another field to work.  But the aprs tracker
eventually gets a signal out leading the chase team to the farmer. We
have used Spots in the passed with out any problems.

Thanks for this exercise to help sharpen my software skills for our
high school's spring time launch.

On 2/21/20, Hank Riley via Groups.Io <n1ltv=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
>  [completed first sentence from last message]
> Sometimes a reasoned best estimate of the landing spot can mean the
> difference between the success or failure of missing balloon recovery
> efforts.
>
>
>
>



dampguy
 

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...

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...

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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