Launch Time: 18:08 UTC
Launch Location: Grand Island, NE
Max. Altitude: 89,164 feet
Max. Speed: 58 mph
Avg. Speed: 25 mph
Avg. Ascent Rate: 1263 ft/min
Avg. Descent Rate: 1800 ft/min
Flight Duration: 1 hr, 52 min.
Distance (Great Circle): 32 miles
This was our first flight in almost four years. I decided to get back in the ARHAB game and launch a balloon as part of Amateur Radio Field Day festivities. These were all new payloads, except for the old trusty CW beacon. The payloads consisted of two APRS trackers, a Canon A560 running the CHDK firmware, and an Aiptek Standard Def. video camera. We launched from south of Grand Island, just off of East Wildwood Drive. We had plenty of help at the launch site. I appreciate the new faces that came out to help.
The balloon was released at 13:08 CDT. We had a catastrophic failure of one of the trackers, apparently before it ever left the ground. I believe it was a poor antenna connection, but I need to investigate. My wife, Arlene KC0ZWX, Aaron KD0ENX, and I were the tracking and recovery team. Stan N0YXV joined us for the chase in his vehicle. The ascent rate was a little ‘hot’. I have a tendency to go overboard on additional helium. Instead of the nominal 1000 ft/min we were averaging about 1200.
This made for a quicker burst which occurred at 89,164 feet, and a little bit shorter track than predicted.
Landing was southwest of York, NE in a cornfield. We spent quite a bit of time finding the landowner to get permission to retrieve our goods. After talking to neighbors and leaving several messages, the landowner called me back and gave me permission. I hiked in with GPS coordinates and retrieved the payloads along with several additional pounds of the farmer’s mud.
|Last prediction before launch|
|seconds before balloon burst|
|Chase and recovery team - Aaron KD0ENX, Rog KC0MWM, and Arlene KC0ZWX|