Tracking Sky-Eye II - Flight
Dave Putman - KG4KZZ and I started out from his house, near Leesburg, at
about 0645 heading for our assigned spotting location west of Gerrardstown,
West Virginia. We stopped for a quick breakfast at the "golden arches" in
Winchester then took I-81 north to our exit. Reaching our location, we discovered
that there was extreme QRM from the power lines which virtually blinded the
2 meter band so we went looking for another appropriate point to track the
We ended up about 5 miles north of our planned location and settled on the
parking/picnic area of the Arden, WV Methodist Church. We assembled our
equipment, took a few pictures, set up the charting and compasses, mapped
and reported our coordinates and also checked in on the 40 meter SSB link.
We were "ready for action" by about 0830.
Almost immediately after launch we were able to acquire the balloon, which was sending out a very strong signal (Way to go, Tom!). We tracked the balloon as it ascended and traveled first North then East until it rose to the burst point and descended drifting West.
Dave and I were taking independent observations using our DF antennas, our
newly constructed "fox-box" attenuators and independent
After the balloon was reported "Down" we were released from our fixed position
and followed WV Route 45 west, back into Virginia, taking and reporting bearings
along the way until we got back into the Winchester area.
By then the balloon's location had been pretty much determined to be in the
Shawnee Land area west of Winchester and we joined the rest of the "chasers"
searching that area until the final location was ascertained and then gathered
with the "cheering section" while the more hardy souls among us effected
the extraction of the payloads from the tree and brought them back out to
the road to the acclaim of the crowd.
Tired, happy and sunburned, we returned home after the club photo op on the
roadside with the rest of the participants. Thanks to the club and notably
John Rehwinkel - KG4L and Tom Dawson - WB3AKD for their fine work on the
balloon payloads and providing the focus and drive to get the project through