Saskatoon Amateur Radio Club
High Altitude Balloon

Balloons and Field Day - A great combination.

June 28, 2009
08:00 Local (1400 UTC)
Saskatoon Field Day Site
Western Development Museum

Launched and recovered.

SABRE-6 Was launched as planned from the parking lot adjacent to the Field Day site.  We were fortunate enough to have two TV stations attend the launch and report the results on the Supper and evening newscasts.  We were also interviewed by CBC's Morning Edition radio program. It was great publicity for ballooning and ham radio.

SABRE-6 flew the newly designed VE5AA-11 combined tracker/camera/data logging module as well as our tried and true VE5AA-12 primary tracker module. We had hoped to fly an ATV transmitter again but Murphy stepped in at the last minute.

As we prepared to launch, neither of our trackers would acquire a satellite signal.  We suspected that the ATV transmitter was causing interference again but we weren't sure.  We turned the ATV transmitter off but that didn't seem to help.  After power cycling the VE5AA-12 tracker, it began to transmit beacons but VE5AA-11 still wasn't tracking.  We decided to launch anyway.  As we prepared to launch, we found that we have far less lift than we had expected.  Even after emptying the Helium tank, we only had enough lift to carry our tracking and imaging payload were forced to leave the ATV payload on the ground.  Later we found that the "balloon grade" Helium was contaminated, giving us much less lift than expected.  Due to the over inflation, the balloon only reached 76,000 feet.  For some reason, VE5AA-12 stopped tracking on decent so we were forced to use direction finding on the 50mW beacon to track its relative position.  As a result, the recovery took longer than expected.  As we neared the location, we found that the VE5AA-11 tracker had begun to work again, probably as a result of the impact of landing.

CBC Morning Edition Interview (6MB)

Payload Pictures



Balloon Burst