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NTX Balloon Project to Fly Aug. 30th

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  • Frank Krizan
    NORTH TEXAS BALLOON PROJECT ANNOUNCES PROJECT # 10, THE FLIGHT OF EL FENIX AMATEUR RADIO GROUP TO FLY HIGH FROM HILLSBORO AIRPORT On August 30, 2003, Hillsboro
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 18, 2003
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      NORTH TEXAS BALLOON PROJECT ANNOUNCES
      PROJECT # 10, THE FLIGHT OF EL FENIX

      AMATEUR RADIO GROUP TO FLY HIGH FROM HILLSBORO AIRPORT

      On August 30, 2003, Hillsboro Municipal Airport will be the location for
      the 10th mission of the North Texas Balloon Project (NTBP). In case of bad
      weather/Presidential Delay will launch the next week on September 6, 2003.

      Two payload packages constructed of Styrofoam and housing communication devices will be
      attached to a weather balloon and lifted aloft to an expected altitude of
      100,000 feet. NTBP officials will begin preparations at 7:30 a.m. and
      launch the balloon at approximately 9:30 a.m. NTBP's Doug Howard said,
      "This is being done mostly for fun. But, this exercise will support the
      President's call for Homeland Security and give an opportunity for us to
      practice our skills. It involves many different facets of amateur radio and
      thus a project that many types of amateur radio operators can enjoy
      together. There is also an educational component utilized by scouting
      groups, because it can be counted towards several different merit badges,
      as well as by teachers for science experiments."

      Funding Sources - Generally, The Lockheed Martin Amateur Radio Club members
      provide all of the funding for the launches. However, it is worth noting
      that NTBP has not done a launch in about 5 years and many of in the
      organization thought it would never launch again. NTBP decided to dub this mission El
      Fenix, after the Beautiful Bird that rises from the ashes, and have received
      permission from the restaurant chain to use their logo and name, as a sponsorship
      decoration on the side of our package (and anywhere else we like) in association with
      this activity. So we have a bit of sponsorship/advertising support from El
      Fenix restaurants.

      The equipment used normally has a communications range of about 25 miles,
      but that range will be increased to about 500 miles when at altitude. Radio
      operators from all over Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and  Kansas will be able
      to communicate with each other using the equipment. An onboard GPS receiver
      will beacon its position once a minute. A television transmitter will show
      video from two cameras, one pointed up at the balloon and the other pointed back at
      the earth, to observe the ride to altitude. From that altitude, the curvature of the
      earth is visible.
       
      A 35mm camera will also take photographs every four minutes throughout the
      flight. Two other devices will provide for two-way communications for ham
      radio operators. After reaching approximately 100,000 feet in about 90
      minutes, the balloon will expand to its maximum volume and finally burst,
      free falling back to Earth in about 25 minutes riding on a pre-deployed
      parachute. Mobile recovery teams will use position reports from the
      onboard GPS and radio direction finding techniques to recover the payloads.

      NTBP is a group of amateur (HAM) radio operators from Fort Worth, based at
      the Lockheed Martin Amateur Radio Club and since 1991 has also launched
      balloons from Cleburne and Clifton Municipal Airports. The public is
      invited to come out to the Hillsboro Municipal Airport, located at Exit 3
      on Interstate Highway 35W, to watch the launch. For more information
      contact Mr. Dave Heald with the Hillsboro Municipal Airport at (254) 582-
      3731.

      Communications:

      Crossband FM repeater Uplink 445.800 MHz - Downlink 147.56 MHz
      GPS Data Downlink 144.39 MHz (KG5OA-11)
      Simplex Parrot Repeater 146.500 MHz
      FM ATV 1255 MHz

      There will also be a 35mm still camera with a timer taking pictures
      about once every 3.5 minutes

      HF Launch Net 7.230 MHz

      Doug Howard - KG5OA
      2517 Coldstream Drive
      Fort Worth, TX 76123-1239


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