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2888Re: [GPSL] 2006 ARHAB Contest summary

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  • Mark Garrett
    Jan 1, 2007

      That was a wacky flight, one for sure for the new guys.  But it looks like Ralph's records are for 2006 only, not for all times.  Ralph will probably post an updated explanation of his notes.

      Mark, KA9SZX

      At 11:53 AM 1/1/2007, you wrote:

      Hi Ralph and the rest,, Happy New Year!

      I have a few questions and comments on the below E Mail.

      Ralph Wallio, W0RPK wrote:

      >Ref's comments below.
      >Highest Altitude
      >117,127 16Dec06 ANSR-32
      >113,074 07Jan06 VWS-3
      >108,323 23May06 LaACES-04
      >106,183 04Aug06 HABET L-98
      > 96,596 22Apr06 Explorer Post 632 2006A
      > 94,397 13May06 PRSGC-5
      >[1] Flight disqualified by 24-notice rule:
      >118,011 22Apr06 WV-4
      What does the 24-notice rule mean?

      >Longest Great Circle Distance
      >552.63 29Dec06 ANSR-33 (ES-OS ZP floater) [1]
      >178.79 04Mar06 WB8ELK HiBall-8
      >162.75 17Dec06 UTARC UX-9
      >155.20 23Dec06 WB8ELK HiBall-10
      And what does the below mean? 2-hour telemetry rule? And web page info rule?

      >[1] ANSR-33 limited from 775.31mi by 2-hour telemetry rule
      >[2] GPA SD flight disqualified by web page info rule
      >400.24 07Mar06 Solar Tetroon SD-9 (Grosse Pointe Academy)

      >Flight Time Launch-to-Landing
      Ok, Please explain the disqualification's below of this class.
      And This one we may have the record for. Yes it was before the days of
      GPS's remember we are one of the way back in the beginning old-timers.
      But there were many, MANY witnesses of the flight, many of you
      old-timers may even remember it! for many reasons. he he he. ugh!

      It was launched at sunrise on dec 6th,, what year I honestly don't
      remember but it was precisely at 7 am,
      The payload consisted of a in band and dual band 2 meter and 440
      repeater, two meters and 440 inputs and 2 meter output.
      And clock ossc beacons on EVERY band from 160 meters to 6 meters. so
      this baby had a signal coming out from it on EVERY band from 160 to 2
      each band had a full sized dipole, made from ribbon cable. so it was
      two packages, the upper had the two and70cm receiver, (scanner) and it
      fed the audio from the receiver along down the ribbon cable to the
      transmitter box 130 feet below! This proved to be a mistake as we found
      out later. so this whole flight train from top of balloon to end of the
      lower dipole was close to 300 feet what a incredible thing to launch! i
      was sure glad we had absolutely dead calm winds at launch time.

      Launch was un eventful. and soon people from all across the country were
      reporting the beacons. and making qso's through the repeater. This was
      before GPS's so positioning was purely by beam headings and
      triangulation. Launch site was from my home EN43xo

      All progressed well this was also before the internet too, so the 40
      meter net was up & running! we were getting reports from all over the

      The rate of climb seemed right on nominal parameters by the reception
      reports and the people gaining access to the repeaters. The chase teams
      were in their usual waiting positions, somewhere down range near
      Madison,WI of course. waiting for it to come down and go and get it.

      Position reports were coming in from locals as well as stations out on
      the fringes which of course were the most accurate. between all the
      stations reporting in those early days I bet we weren't too far off of
      the balloons location than we are now with the gps's. we just don't
      have altitude data.

      Anyway this thing suddenly kicks into over drive and starts zooming
      past madison on a southeast heading. the chase crews take chase, and by
      the time they reach the state line of Illinois the balloon was like out
      pacing them by a factor of two, so they gave up the chase.

      we got on the 40 meter net telling the people we have a runaway and to
      start organizing chase teams downrange. which many came out of the
      woodwork to give chase.

      Ok we are thinking what's happening here. this thing should be on the
      ground soon if not already, yet the signal is strong and steady, a old
      time tell tale that the balloon is still inflated. it's now 11 am and
      still very strong signals. and we are starting to get some weird
      interference. were are hearing some voices in the background on the two
      meter downlink!

      The two meter transmitter was locked on continuously, no cor board,
      anyway, the background voices are faint but clear. and getting
      stronger. what are they?

      Actually it sounds like two different conversations in the background.
      what in the world? They are getting stronger.

      position reports have the balloon over northeast suburbs of chicago,
      like 10 miles northwest of elgin. heading ESE.

      we ask people on the repeater to hold the traffic so we can hear the
      other voices and see if we can figure them out.

      They are getting up to about 25% deviation now and are quite easy to hear.

      WOW! I know what that is! It's both WGN and WBBM am 720 and 780,
      both are HUGE signal transmitters in the northwest suburbs of chicago.
      The LONG 130 foot un shielded audio cable between the receiver and mic
      input of the transmitter was picking up the signals I'm guessing
      somewhat like a old crystal radio set! Oh well live and learn,, next
      time a rf link between the two or at least shielded cable!

      Well at least we now knew the source of the mystery voices.

      Well it's now Noon, and well past the expected flight time. We keep
      notifying Chicago center about the flight and they say they still see
      the reflector fairly well. so that's good.

      conversations resume on the repeater. This is where we had an
      incredible QSO, the balloon was Over southeast Chicago, and a Station
      (who I do not recall or have a record of) but a station from Golden CO.
      called in, we made a QSO,, I thought WOW must be some duct or
      something that's over 900 miles from the balloon! thing is the best
      was yet to happen! about 15 minutes goes by and then a station from
      Virginia Beach VA. calls in! Holy Cow! over 700 miles away!

      Now the best part was now the Colorado station calls back in and makes a
      contact with the virginia Beach Station!!!!!! ok Direct from Golden
      to Va Beach is 1596 MILES!!!! if you take the real path co to va via
      the balloon that's 1643 MILES!!!!! How's that for a record!? Yes
      there is no proof other than our memories, is there anyone else out
      there that remembers these conversations please let us know.

      Anyway the balloon continues ese ward. And by all the position reports
      it is now crossing the IL and IN border. and continues on.

      up here in EN43 we are still hearing it but it is getting weak, and hard
      to hear we tell the 40 meter net to have someone take over for us out
      there. Someone in Michigan volunteers. and we keep tabs on the thing
      via the 40 meter net. The crazy think hugs the IN and MI border and
      almost makes it to OH, then, yes this is December,, but it starts
      coming back!

      It continues coming back, we start hearing it again from here and
      gratefully tank the MI station for taking over. we keep making
      contacts, and now WGN and WBBM start coming in again, and we expected
      this to happen again cuz it was getting close to them again.

      It's getting close to sundown, and position reports have it right over
      Elgin IL. A buddy of mine Stu WB9UNX Lived near Elgin at the time, Went
      outside to get a possible visual. And THERE IT was! almost directly
      above his head, he is also an astronomer like myself and went and got
      his telescope and tried to see it.

      Via the scope he could see the balloon,, but even through it it was
      still very small. he even took a picture of it through the scope. Then
      suddenly it vanished!

      And we saw the telltale signs of falling payload. all the flutter and
      all that.

      So the chase was on! We called Chicago center and told them it's on
      it's way, and they said they still see it, and it's going to be close.

      How close no one ever expected!

      Various FOX hunt crews from the chicago area got into the hunt. this
      runaway balloon was all the talk on 40 and from what I head on all the
      repeaters in the Chicago area. Its falling in a almost due east path.

      Many teams are in the waiting, finally up here in EN43 we loose signal
      at 6:30PM,, for us that's a 11 and half hour flight, reports have it
      landing about 20 minutes later so total flight duration 11 Hours 50
      Minutes missing the 12 hour mark by 10 minutes.

      The ground hunt was ON! problem was,, all of the triangulation reports
      were placing the downed payload inside this HUGE fenced in area, with no
      way in.

      Where was it? YIKES! it was inside OHARE! the busiest airport at the
      time in the country. We called Chicago Center and they said they saw it
      come all the ay down, and also figured that is was on the grounds. they
      made a call and had some security people meet one of the chase teams at
      agate and let only one of them in to retrieve the thing. They found it
      between two taxiways of American Airlines and Fed EX.

      they got it, and brought the wayfarer home.

      Like i said this was WAY before the internet , web pages, and GPS's,,
      but does this qualify for any records?

      And how many of you old timers remember this crazy flight?

      never did find out why it took so long for it to pop! but what a cool

      > [1]
      >8:24 29Dec06 ANSR-33 (ES-OS ZP floater) [1]
      >3:58 23Dec06 WB8ELK HiBall-10
      >3:04 04Mar06 WB8ELK HiBall-8
      >[1] ANSR-33 limited from 17:24 by 2-hour telemetry rule
      >[2] GPA SD flight disqualified by web page info rule
      >12:27 07Mar06 Solar Tetroon SD-9 (Grosse Pointe Academy)

      >Two-way QSO Distance
      >-- No entries --
      No proof other than memories, but if anyone else can also remember the
      above story will that qualify for this incredible record?

      Joe WB9SBD
      Near Space Sciences KB9KHO

      >TNX es 73 de Ralph Wallio, WØRPK
      >Hubbert's Peak - The Mother of all Perfect Storms

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