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WB8ELK balloon payload has been located but is still up in a tree

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  • wb8elk@aol.com
    Today s flight went up over 92,034 feet (highest good telemetry frame). The GPS received up to 11 satellites during the flight but would sometimes seem to
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2009
      Today's flight went up over 92,034 feet (highest good telemetry frame). The GPS received up to 11 satellites during the flight but would sometimes seem to repeat a position lat/lon every once in awhile even though 11 satellites were shown to be tracking.....other than that, good signals were received by line-of-sight ground wave as far as Ohio, NC, GA and AL....Skip conditions on 20m was quite long and the only DX reception report came from Jack W7JLC who copied quite a number of good reports on RTTY and CW from the Phoenix, AZ area over 1800 miles away.
       
      The payload was a 1-watt transmitter with an onboard Inventek GPS receiver with active patch. It ran on 6 AA lithium batteries at around 9 volts and weighed 12 ounces total with a dipole wire antenna (22 gauge wire).
       
      When the signal got weak here just as it was landing, the DominoEX modes really came through with perfect copy even though nothing was being heard on RTTY, Hellscreiber or CW....even the high speed DominoEX22 worked great on weak signals.
       
      The payload landed about 5 miles southeast of Chatsworth GA and has been located by Shane N4XWC, Ron KC7RW and Chris KC4GNX. Since Shane had no HF equipment along with him, he first DFed the ozonesonde 403.2 MHz payload to a ravine south of Fort Mountain GA. After hiking in the wilderness down a steep slope in the middle of the night he turned back and met up with Ron and Chris who managed to decode the actual landing position on the HF telemetry from their mobile rig. It turned out Shane was only 200 feet from the payload in his first DF attempt.
       
      They managed to pull the parachute and balloon shards from the tree but the ozonesonde and the HF payload still are up in the tree.
       
      For those of you who want to try to hear it on 14.077 MHz, it will probably still be transmitting until about noon on Sunday.
       
      Here's some info on the flight and landing site maps:
       
       
      Landing coordinates:
       
      34d 43.808  84d 42.019m
       
      - Bill WB8ELK
       
       
       
       
       
       


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