Saskatoon Amateur Radio Club
High Altitude Balloon

Mmmmmm.  Cherries.
Bruno Cherry Festival

May 8, 2010
14:02 UTC, 08:02 local
SARC Home Station
Alvin Buckwold School
715 East Drive

After 2 seasons of successful flights, we turn our attention to new and interesting things to do on our flights.  What can we try?  What would be really interesting?  We hope to answer these and other questions this season.

New Members

Last year we had three new faces join the group.  Mike, VE5MMG has been helping with the ATV ground station work and is getting more involved.  Sean, VA5LF co-piloted some of the chase aircraft that we used last year and wants to get his hands dirty.  Gord, (no call sign but we're pressuring him to get his license.) helped with the last two launches and chases and has some ideas for this year.  We're hoping that our new members will help to keep things interesting and will add some new, great ideas for future flights.

Planned changes for SABRE-9

New GPS and tracking module for VE5AA-11
VE5AA-12 will fly as a separate module
New still and video cameras
Addition of a 433.9 MHz beacon for RDF and telemetry
Simplex VHF voice repeater
Saskatoon Amateur Radio Club will sponsor a contest for contacts made via the balloon
Sample Certificate

Voice Repeater Operation
Well, the response to the voice repeater experiment was outstanding to say the least.  Over and over again we heard pile-ups as people tried to get through. We also learned the night before that we had chosen the same frequency as an unpublished echolink node in Edmonton. As a result, we heard some pretty strange calls once we reached about 40,000 feet.  It was a great experiment which we'll likely try again on some future flight. Thanks to everyone who participated.  We hope to have a copy of the recorded audio on the web page soon.

As usual, we had our share of problems. On liftoff, VE5AA-11 refused to lock.  Since VE5AA-12 was working so well, we decided to lift off anyway.  VE5AA-12 worked flawlessly until just after burst when it went completely silent.  With VE5AA-11 beaconing with no positions, we went to plan B and began to DF the mini beacons.  VE5AA-11 was still sending telemetry and we were able to use the external temperature to estimate the altitude.  Gus homed in on the 220 beacon while homed in on the 434 beacon.  At about 20,000 feet, I was able to receive the 434 beacon but I couldn't get a bearing on it.  It was then that Gord yelled, "I see it!".  Sure enough it was directly overhead.  We repositioned ourselves all the while with Gord keeping a watchful eye on the parachute.  It ended up passing over the road about 200 metres south of us at which time we received one more position report from VE5AA-12.  Why VE5AA-11 refused to lock is still a mystery but the VE5AA-12 failure was immediately evident.  It seems that the antenna radiator was torn completely off during post burst chaos.  With VE5AA-11 unable to provide GPS data to the cameras, they ran on the fail safe settings which depleted the video camera battery about 15 minutes prior to burst.  We still ended up with 1000 still pictures and almost 1.5 hours of video. We wound up the chase at the Five and Two restaurant at the intersection of highways 5 and 2.  Total flight time was a bit over 2 hours with a maximum reported altitude of about 77,350 feet.

Predicted Track

Actual Track

Google Earth Wall Track

Google Earth Air Track

Payload and Recovery Pictures

Audio Clip 1

Audio Clip 2

Audio Clip 3

Audio Clip 4

Audio Clip 5

Audio Clip 6