Altitude Balloon Carrying Amateur Television - 3
general, the success of the search and recovery operation depends
on knowing where you should go and an ability to listen for and locate
the beacon signal. Sometimes, we get lucky and we have good GPS coordinates
and we just drive up to the touchdown. But most often, as with the
LARG Flight 2004A, we needed to rely on our bearing data, the rate
of decent, the nature of the signal at 'Loss of Signal,' and the
lay of the terrain in the projected touchdown area. Sometimes going
to high ground will reveal the beacon signal; sometime driving all
roads in a grid fashion will work, and sometimes, just 'dumb luck'
will 'smoke out' the beacon. Once detected, we report telemetry data
on condition of the battery which tells us how much time we have
before it shuts down, and we keep a 'radio watch' on it until others
can be contacted, moved into the area and acquire the signal. Then
it is just a matter of walking in on the beacon with portable direction
finding gear and trusty attenuators.
The 1600 Hour Conference - So Where Haven't We Looked?
After another round of passes on the most likely routes, we decided to meet at 1600 hours near Route 55 and I-66 to confer in person on 'what's up.' Ian Fadyen, Dave Putman and Kurt Reber met further east near Marshall for an 'Eye-Ball QSO.' Mark Johnson, Tom, Denny, Carol and Norm picked some more likely areas. Norm went further east toward Route 15 and Haymarket and searched areas between I-66 and Route 29 south toward Warrenton. Tom decided to go up on the Blue Ridge and listen for a weak signal.
Carol Boehler - KF4TJJ - A Trusty Side-Kick !!!
teams continued in the area until around 1800 hours; each concluded
they had done their best. Tom Dawson heard nothing from the Blue
Ridge and others began to fade and closed for home. By 1930 hours
all had closed.
Norm Styer - AI2C put 300 plus miles on his Ford F-150
Dave Putman - KG4KZZ reported 200 plus miles
It's Still Stubby Pencil Time When Raw Data Rolls In !!
Sunday night, Tom Dawson - WB3AKD reported on the LARG Sunday Night
2-Meter Net that analysis of the launch video showed that there was
an apparent intermittent in the telemetry package. In the rush of launching
with the second balloon it appeared that the Telemetry Package was
not working until it was accidentally dropped during launch and it
reactivated. Tom believes that something happen on the initial try,
overlooked during the second launch and was accidentally and most likely
temporally fixed when dropped. He further concluded the the intermittent
reoccurred upon touchdown. Thus shutting down the beacon. Thus we most
likely searched in vain.
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