Balloon Committee of the Loudoun Amateur Radio Group flew its seventh payload
on August 7, 2004 over the Shenandoah Valley of Northern Virginia. This
was the third flight with an amateur radio television camera and transmitter.
launch took place northwest of Winchester off Route 522 with Bill Tincher
- WB4ACC as Launch Chief; Bill's long experience with the National Weather
Service proved invaluable as the first 1000-gram balloon ruptured on release
but a second was flawless. Three tracking teams led by Dave Putman - KG4KZZ,
Norm Styer - AI2C and Denny Boehler - KF4TJI followed the flight and reported
15-minute bearings through NCS - K4LRG operated by Ray Houff - K4AJA on
the WA4TSC Repeater to our Central Monitoring Station established by Tom
Dawson - WB3AKD near Sky Meadows.
Flight 2004A carried HABCAT-3, a high altitude amateur radio color television
camera with integrated ID and GPS data and transmitter operating on 433.25
MHZ that permitted signals to be received on cable channel 59 across northern
flown was the "tried and true 3AKD Hotchips" CW telemetry package
that each minute reported a serial number, altitude, inside and outside
temperatures and battery voltage; this unit operated on 145.650 MHz and
was reported on a 80-Meter HF Coordinating Net run by Charlie Preston -
K4LJH as being good copy in Bedford, VA. This CW signal was used for tracking,
search and recovery.
was almost a perfect flight with the telemetry unit reported reaching 112,000
feet. Flight 2004A's video and telemetry signals were monitored
and recorded by Tom Dawson; however, the flight spent a lot of time over
Sky Meadows and caused some data loss because of payload antenna nulls.
Steve Tedesco - KB2CEV and Steve - K4UEK also recorded data from their homes
and provided valuable fills.
and recovery teams spent 6 hours looking for the downed payloads. But later,
after analysis of data, it was determined that the last recorded GPS data
was 10-minute short of touchdown and at touchdown south of Marshall something
failed on the beacon signal; thus, recovery was not possible.
still a possibility that high winds may restart the beacon which has up
to four hours of battery life; contingency plans are in place. Or, some
farmer, horseback rider or hunter may discover the units and return them.
In the meantime, the Balloon Committee will move on to new and exciting
payloads and flights. It was nice riding with you all. Best Regards, Norm
Styer - AI2C.
Evan Alford - KQ4CI
Carol Boehler - KF4TJJ
Denny Boehler - KF4TJI
Red Davidson - K0RAJ
Jacob Dawson - KF4VLQ
Tom Dawson - WB3AKD
Ian Fadyen - W4/G4JMM
Bill Frisbie - W3EMH
Ray Houff - K4AJA
Mark Johnson - W3ZI
Morales - WP4BQV
Charlie Preston - K4LJH
Dave Putman - KG4KZZ
Kurt Reber - KI4FWB
Stan Stancer - K4UEK
Norm Styer - AI2C
Steve Tedesco - KB2CEV
Bill Tincher - WB4ACC
When All Else Fails - Look Up !!
Tom Dawson - WB3AKD At Sky Meadows