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Balloon Tracking Questions

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  • jrhobart
    I am new to APRSIS32, and I need to track a high altitude balloon launch, flight, and landing. How do I save and view the location and altitude data sent by
    Message 1 of 18 , Feb 21, 2014
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      I am new to APRSIS32, and I need to track a high altitude balloon launch, flight, and landing. 

      How do I save and view the location and altitude data sent by the balloon beacon?  I need to save data sent directly from the beacon and any data relayed through digital repeaters.  Saving location data from the two payload recovery vehicles would also be helpful. 

      I would appreciate any other suggestions for tracking the balloon. 

      Thanks, 
      Joe, W7LUX 
      Flagstaff, Arizona 
    • Dale Wegner
      On our first balloon launch we used a simple internet based aprs.fi to monitor and download our data for later analysis. We also ran an older Balloon Track
      Message 2 of 18 , Feb 21, 2014
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        On our first balloon launch we used a simple internet based aprs.fi to
        monitor and download our data for later analysis. We also ran an
        older Balloon Track stand along software package which had build in
        analysis charts and screens as a backup. For the second launch we
        have installed APRSCE32, but have not gotton very far in figuring out
        its workings.

        I know this may not answer your question directly, but thought you
        might like to know others are following the same APRSCE32 path you
        are.

        Dale
        KB3ZOX

        On 2/21/14, jrhobart@... <jrhobart@...> wrote:
        > I am new to APRSIS32, and I need to track a high altitude balloon launch,
        > flight, and landing.
        >
        > How do I save and view the location and altitude data sent by the balloon
        > beacon? I need to save data sent directly from the beacon and any data
        > relayed through digital repeaters. Saving location data from the two
        > payload recovery vehicles would also be helpful.
        >
        > I would appreciate any other suggestions for tracking the balloon.
        >
        > Thanks,
        > Joe, W7LUX
        > Flagstaff, Arizona
      • jrhobart
        Hi Dale, I usually use UI-View with Precision Mapping, but one of our members suggested APRSIS due to the easy access to maps. I have APRSIS32 working with
        Message 3 of 18 , Feb 21, 2014
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          Hi Dale,

          I usually use UI-View with Precision Mapping, but one of our members suggested APRSIS due to the easy access to maps.  I have APRSIS32 working with Internet maps and connected to a KPC-3.  I cannot find documentation about how to filter and save the incoming data.  That data will be important for later analysis.

          There is also something about a passcode.  I requested one several days ago, but I have heard nothing back.  Is a passcode needed to send RF via a TNC?

          Thanks,
          Joe, W7LUX
        • Mike Miller
          If your talking about the validation code for the APRS internet servers, it should be the same as UI-View if you are using the same call sign. Mike kc9doa
          Message 4 of 18 , Feb 21, 2014
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            If your talking about the validation code for the APRS internet
            servers, it should be the same as UI-View if you are using the
            same call sign.

            Mike kc9doa

            On 21 Feb 2014 at 8:01, jrhobart@... wrote:

            > Hi Dale,
            >
            > I usually use UI-View with Precision Mapping, but one of our
            > members suggested APRSIS due to the easy access to maps. I
            > have APRSIS32 working with Internet maps and connected to a
            > KPC-3. I cannot find documentation about how to filter and
            > save the incoming data. That data will be important for later
            > analysis.
            >
            > There is also something about a passcode. I requested one
            > several days ago, but I have heard nothing back. Is a passcode
            > needed to send RF via a TNC?
            >
            > Thanks,
            > Joe, W7LUX
          • Fred Hillhouse Jr
            Hi Joe, I just sent it. In looking back through the pass coded requests I had no record which means maybe it got lost. Mike did give you a valid answer as the
            Message 5 of 18 , Feb 21, 2014
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              Hi Joe,

               

              I just sent it. In looking back through the pass coded requests I had no record which means maybe it got lost.

               

              Mike did give you a valid answer as the pass code is to send data to APRS-IS (APRS Internet Server) as opposed to actually using the software. All clients sending data to APRS-IS will use the same pass code for a given call sign.

               

              Best regards,

              Fred N7FMH

               

               

               


              From: aprsisce@yahoogroups.com [mailto:aprsisce@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of jrhobart@...
              Sent: Friday, February 21, 2014 11:02 AM
              To: aprsisce@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [aprsisce] Balloon Tracking Questions

               

               

              Hi Dale,

              I usually use UI-View with Precision Mapping, but one of our members suggested APRSIS due to the easy access to maps.  I have APRSIS32 working with Internet maps and connected to a KPC-3.  I cannot find documentation about how to filter and save the incoming data.  That data will be important for later analysis.

              There is also something about a passcode.  I requested one several days ago, but I have heard nothing back.  Is a passcode needed to send RF via a TNC?

              Thanks,
              Joe, W7LUX

            • jrhobart
              Thanks Fred and Mike. We may need to put the balloon beacon on a frequency different from 144.39, which is busy. Can APRSIS forward packets received from the
              Message 6 of 18 , Feb 21, 2014
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                Thanks Fred and Mike. 

                We may need to put the balloon beacon on a frequency different from 144.39, which is busy.  Can APRSIS forward packets received from the balloon to findu? 

                And how do I filter, save, and later view the incoming packets? 

                The balloon launch is scheduled for March 14. 

                Thanks for all the help, 
                Joe, W7LUX
              • Fred Hillhouse Jr
                If APRSIS32 is connected to an internet connection and APRS-IS is enabled, then received packets will be sent. Findu and APRS.FI are web clients that gather
                Message 7 of 18 , Feb 21, 2014
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                  If APRSIS32 is connected to an internet connection and APRS-IS is enabled, then received packets will be sent.

                   

                  Findu and APRS.FI are web clients that gather data from APRS-IS. So if you get data to APRS-IS, then both web clients as well as other connected clients will see your data.

                   

                  Within APRSIS32, enable AutoSave GPX. I think you will have to be following the station.

                   

                  You can log the packets using the logging function. You will have to decide which item in the pull-down meets your needs. I would probably use “Buddies”. The balloon would need to be a buddy.

                   

                  I would read this:

                  http://aprsisce.wikidot.com/what-am-i-missing

                   

                  Flying a balloon and transmitting on the APRS frequency is actually okay. Just make sure the path is good. The footprint of the balloon covers a lot of area. There is no need to use WIDE1 or multiple hops except maybe when it is at lower altitudes. If your TNC can run different profiles then you can have two different paths, one for low altitude and one for high altitude. The cutoff is probably something like 1000 feet above average terrain. There are a lot of balloon people on the forum that could certainly help out.

                   

                   

                   

                  Best regards,

                  Fred N7FMH

                   

                   


                  From: aprsisce@yahoogroups.com [mailto:aprsisce@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of jrhobart@...
                  Sent: Friday, February 21, 2014 12:40 PM
                  To: aprsisce@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: RE: [aprsisce] Balloon Tracking Questions

                   

                   

                  Thanks Fred and Mike. 

                  We may need to put the balloon beacon on a frequency different from 144.39, which is busy.  Can APRSIS forward packets received from the balloon to findu? 

                  And how do I filter, save, and later view the incoming packets? 

                  The balloon launch is scheduled for March 14. 

                  Thanks for all the help, 
                  Joe, W7LUX

                • Lynn W Deffenbaugh (Mr)
                  ... APRSISCE/32, as Fred pointed out, is configured as an IGate out of the box when you configure an RF port and have an active Internet connection unless
                  Message 8 of 18 , Feb 21, 2014
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                    On 2/21/2014 12:40 PM, jrhobart@... wrote:

                    We may need to put the balloon beacon on a frequency different from 144.39, which is busy.  Can APRSIS forward packets received from the balloon to findu? 

                    APRSISCE/32, as Fred pointed out, is configured as an IGate "out of the box" when you configure an RF port and have an active Internet connection unless you've changed any of the default settings.  And there's a bunch of settings that have to be right for this to work.


                    And how do I filter, save, and later view the incoming packets? 

                    Fred mentioned the Save Track to GPX which also has the option to continue saving as the track updates.  This is good if you want a GPX file.

                    For packets received on RF, check Enables / Ports / Log All and you'll get a *.PKT file for each operating session containing all of the packets received via RF.

                    APRSISCE/32 does not yet have a way to replay packets, but only displays them from a live receive.


                    The balloon launch is scheduled for March 14. 


                    I'd encourage you to use APRSISCE/32 on the national frequency as much as possible between now and then.  Check the various logs and follow mobile stations recording GPX tracks.  Check out the *.PKT file(s).  Play with it and get familiar BEFORE you need to use it for real.

                    Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ - Author of APRSISCE for Windows Mobile and Win32

                  • jrhobart
                    My first reply did not seem to be accepted. Fred and Lynn, Thank you for the helpful suggestions. The working out of the box will be most appreciated by the
                    Message 9 of 18 , Feb 21, 2014
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                      My first reply did not seem to be accepted. 

                      Fred and Lynn, 

                      Thank you for the helpful suggestions.  The working "out of the box" will be most appreciated by the members of the local radio club who plan to help with the balloon launch.

                      By the way, Lynn, I had to select "View Source" to see your comments.  I use the FireFox browser.

                      Thanks again,
                      Joe, W7LUX
                    • James Ewen
                      On Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 8:15 AM, wrote: Oh boy, here we go again! :) Hey Gil, does this sound familiar? (Gil just went through this with
                      Message 10 of 18 , Feb 21, 2014
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                        On Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 8:15 AM, <jrhobart@...> wrote:

                        Oh boy, here we go again! :) Hey Gil, does this sound familiar? (Gil
                        just went through this with me about a month ago down in Phoenix,
                        launching and recovering balloon payloads with his daughter for a
                        science fair experiment)

                        > I am new to APRSIS32, and I need to track a high altitude
                        > balloon launch, flight, and landing.

                        Are you also new to HAB? (High Altitude Ballooning?)

                        > How do I save and view the location and altitude data sent by the balloon beacon?

                        As an alternate to Lynn's suggestion to save every packet you hear, I
                        prefer to save only the packets I am interested in. There's an easy
                        way to do this. When APRSISCE/32 is running, press CTRL-G (That's the
                        control key held down, and press G) You'll get a pop up box that says
                        Test Filter. Enter into that box "b/W7LUX-11" (but not the quotes,
                        just everything between), assuming that the balloon payload callsign
                        is W7LUX-11. If the balloon payload uses a different callsign, swap it
                        and W7LUX-11.

                        This will then create a log file with ONLY the packets that come from
                        your payload. You can add in the tracking vehicles if you want by
                        adding them to the filter parameters:

                        b/W7LUX-11/K6ABC/N7BOB-2

                        This will capture all packets heard from those stations. A window will
                        pop up, and you'll see the packets meeting the filter criteria
                        populating the window. You can press the copy button, and then paste
                        the information into a text document, email, word document, or
                        whatever you like.

                        Make sure you pay attention the the case of the callsigns... it is
                        case sensitive.

                        The filter parameters are here:

                        http://aprsisce.wikidot.com/aprs-is-filters


                        > I need to save data sent directly from the beacon and any data relayed
                        > through digital repeaters.

                        Any data you heard from the named stations whether directly, or
                        through digipeaters will get captured in the log. You will NOT be able
                        to capture data heard by every digipeater, only via those digipeaters
                        you can hear. A balloon at altitude can trigger hundreds of
                        digipeaters. Because of that, it is recommended that any HAB payload
                        should run a no hop path at altitude. The payload can transmit much
                        further than any ground based digipeater can, so asking for a hop is a
                        waste of time. Only when the payload is near the ground is a WIDE2-1
                        hop of much use. You can occasionally get a final packet heard via a
                        digipeater. On extremely rare occasions, you can hear the payload on
                        the ground via a digipeater.

                        If you have a quality payload tracker, you should be able to change
                        paths based on altitude. If you can't change paths, and feel you MUST
                        run a path asking for digipeats, ONLY run WIDE2-1. NEVER EVER run
                        WIDE1-1 from an airborne platform.


                        > Saving location data from the two payload recovery vehicles would also be helpful.

                        See the filters above!

                        > I would appreciate any other suggestions for tracking the balloon.

                        Have you been running predictions so you know where to chase down your
                        payload? You should be doing that to get a feel for what you'll be up
                        against.

                        http://predict.habhub.org

                        Are you running redundant trackers? If your only tracker fails,
                        finding your payload can be fun...

                        Do you have an RDF beacon just in case the APRS trackers fail?

                        Do you have an audible beeper to help find the payload in thick
                        brush/corn/sagebrush/drywashes...

                        Are you putting a "Harmless Amateur Radio Experiment. If found please
                        call XXX-XXX-XXXX" label on multiple sides of your payload?

                        Don't go trying to stay underneath the balloon the whole flight,
                        especially if it wanders around, or backtracks on itself. Head to the
                        predicted landing area. Get there as soon as you can. There's only one
                        thing better than watching your payload leave your hands headed to the
                        heavens, and that is watching your payload float down under parachute
                        and land at your feet, or better yet in your hands.

                        Don't forget to download the map tiles beforehand and turn off purging
                        if you don't have ubiquitous wireless internet coverage.

                        Have a look at what your neighbor to the south was up to last month...

                        https://surlee.com/

                        Have a look at what some crazy Canucks have been doing if you like.

                        http://bear.sbszoo.com

                        --
                        James
                        VE6SRV
                      • Bill Vodall
                        ... Has anybody tried saving the raw audio for later decoding? Balloon events are relatively short lived and with modern technology it s just a few gigabytes
                        Message 11 of 18 , Feb 24, 2014
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                          > > How do I save and view the location and altitude data sent by the balloon beacon?
                          >
                          > As an alternate to Lynn's suggestion to save every packet you hear,

                          Has anybody tried saving the raw audio for later decoding? Balloon
                          events are relatively short lived and with modern technology it's just
                          a few gigabytes of audio data.

                          I'm contemplating doing that locally for a history of the local RF channel..

                          Bill, WA7NWP
                        • Steve Daniels
                          The one option I can think of is recording audio on say a mp3 device and playing it back through a soundcard. APRSIS32 will interface with a number of sound
                          Message 12 of 18 , Feb 24, 2014
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                            The one option I can think of is recording audio on say a mp3 device and playing it back through a soundcard. APRSIS32 will interface with a number of sound modem systems.

                            Or setting up a general instance of aprsis32 and feeding that to another instance via the ability to pass through data, and filter the second instance to the balloon only and save gpx.

                             

                            Steve G6UIM

                             


                            From: aprsisce@yahoogroups.com [mailto:aprsisce@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Bill Vodall
                            Sent: 25 February 2014 01:08
                            To: aprsisce@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: Re: [aprsisce] Balloon Tracking Questions

                             

                             

                            > > How do I save and view the location and altitude data sent by the balloon beacon?

                            >
                            > As an alternate to Lynn 's
                            suggestion to save every packet you hear,

                            Has anybody tried saving the raw audio for later decoding? Balloon
                            events are relatively short lived and with modern technology it's just
                            a few gigabytes of audio data.

                            I'm contemplating doing that locally for a history of the local RF channel..

                            Bill, WA7NWP

                          • James Ewen
                            On Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 6:22 PM, Steve Daniels ... One issue I can see there is if APRSISCE/32 is connected to the internet, and you play back the audio
                            Message 13 of 18 , Feb 24, 2014
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                              On Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 6:22 PM, Steve Daniels
                              <steve@...> wrote:

                              > The one option I can think of is recording audio on say a mp3 device and
                              > playing it back through a soundcard. APRSIS32 will interface with a number
                              > of sound modem systems.

                              One issue I can see there is if APRSISCE/32 is connected to the
                              internet, and you play back the audio stream, APRSISCE/32 will
                              dutifully i-gate it to the APRS-IS.

                              If the original packets have timestamps, you'll be able to see the
                              time discrepancy between airtime and decode time.

                              You'll end up with "echoes" in time. This would be confusing to many
                              if you recorded the RF channel wholesale, and then played it back
                              later.

                              If I've learned anything from Star Trek, Dr. Who, and dozens of other
                              TV shows, playing with temporal distortions is fraught with peril...
                              play at your own risk.

                              --
                              James
                              VE6SRV
                            • James Ewen
                              On Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 6:22 PM, Steve Daniels wrote: Oh Steve, Did I mention that Bill Vodall WA7NWP is not only a potential
                              Message 14 of 18 , Feb 24, 2014
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                                On Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 6:22 PM, Steve Daniels
                                <steve@...> wrote:

                                Oh Steve,

                                Did I mention that Bill Vodall WA7NWP is not only a potential Time
                                Lord, but also one of the gurus playing with 9600/1200 multiple
                                networks from the WetNet end of the world. He'd be a good person to
                                ask about your new passion.

                                --
                                James
                                VE6SRV
                              • Bill Vodall
                                ... It s always something... I would hope there s a convenient button to turn off the iGate feature... ... Syncronizing a large number of packets from wrong
                                Message 15 of 18 , Feb 25, 2014
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                                  > > The one option I can think of is recording audio on say a mp3 device and
                                  > > playing it back through a soundcard. APRSIS32 will interface with a number
                                  > > of sound modem systems.
                                  >
                                  > One issue I can see there is if APRSISCE/32 is connected to the
                                  > internet, and you play back the audio stream, APRSISCE/32 will
                                  > dutifully i-gate it to the APRS-IS.

                                  It's always something... I would hope there's a convenient button to
                                  turn off the iGate feature...


                                  > If the original packets have timestamps, you'll be able to see the
                                  > time discrepancy between airtime and decode time.

                                  Syncronizing a large number of packets from wrong time to real time
                                  based on intermittent true timestamps is an interesting challenge.


                                  >
                                  > --
                                  > James
                                  > VE6SRV


                                  Bill
                                • Bill Vodall
                                  ... Everything is changing. We (with APRS) will be ready... :) ... Quick answer. 9k6 aprs works well IF you have Kenwood radios or a desire for
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Feb 25, 2014
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                                    > Did I mention that Bill Vodall WA7NWP is not only a potential Time Lord,

                                    Everything is changing. We (with APRS) will be ready... :)


                                    > but also one of the gurus playing with 9600/1200 multiple
                                    > networks from the WetNet end of the world. He'd be a good person to
                                    > ask about your new passion.

                                    Quick answer. 9k6 aprs works well IF you have Kenwood radios or a
                                    desire for complicated projects like setting up a 9k6 packet radio.
                                    Not sure how many years some of us here have been pretty much full
                                    time on 440 MHz 9k6 APRS.

                                    I'd suggest the big win is setting up an alternate frequency band
                                    (440, 50 MHz...) and not go with 9k6.

                                    1. 9k6 data is too fast for mobile displays. 1200 is enough data
                                    that the operator can see and follow the traffic. Busy 9600 makes it
                                    unreadable.

                                    2. Trackers generally use just 1200 baud - so if you set up an
                                    alternate channel and go 9600 - none of the trackers will be able to
                                    participate. Which is a shame as it's moving the trackers to the
                                    alternate channel that brings the most gain to a busy network.

                                    Bill, WA7NWP

                                    PS. Change may be sooner than expected with new technology like the
                                    UDRX, T3-9670, rumored TNC-PI96 and modern soundcard modems (Dire
                                    Wolf, UZ7HO) that do 9k6.
                                  • Lynn W Deffenbaugh (Mr)
                                    Configure / Ports / APRS-IS and uncheck the RFtoIS box. Or Configure / Ports / and uncheck the same box. They both must be checked for the IGate
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Feb 25, 2014
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                                      Configure / Ports / APRS-IS and uncheck the RFtoIS box. Or Configure /
                                      Ports / <YourRFPort> and uncheck the same box. They both must be checked
                                      for the IGate to function. The former (APRS-IS) turns off ALL RFtoIS
                                      IGating whereas the latter (<YourRFPort>) only controls IGating for
                                      packets received on that specific port.

                                      Convenient enough? Just remember to turn it/them back on when you want
                                      the IGate function to work!

                                      Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ - Author of APRSISCE for Windows Mobile and Win32

                                      On 2/25/2014 2:16 PM, Bill Vodall wrote:
                                      >>> The one option I can think of is recording audio on say a mp3 device and
                                      >>> playing it back through a soundcard. APRSIS32 will interface with a number
                                      >>> of sound modem systems.
                                      >> One issue I can see there is if APRSISCE/32 is connected to the
                                      >> internet, and you play back the audio stream, APRSISCE/32 will
                                      >> dutifully i-gate it to the APRS-IS.
                                      > It's always something... I would hope there's a convenient button to
                                      > turn off the iGate feature...
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >> If the original packets have timestamps, you'll be able to see the
                                      >> time discrepancy between airtime and decode time.
                                      > Syncronizing a large number of packets from wrong time to real time
                                      > based on intermittent true timestamps is an interesting challenge.
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >> --
                                      >> James
                                      >> VE6SRV
                                      >
                                      > Bill
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > ------------------------------------
                                      >
                                      > Yahoo Groups Links
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                    • Steve Daniels
                                      If I do 9k6 it will be in conjunction with 1k2 that is both on 70cm. probably on the same frequency It may or may not happen. An is only really going to be an
                                      Message 18 of 18 , Feb 25, 2014
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                                        If I do 9k6 it will be in conjunction with 1k2 that is both on 70cm. probably on the same frequency

                                        It may or may not happen. An is only really going to be an experiment at the moment.

                                        Cross band is designed to support RAYNET the local voice channel being 144.775HHz

                                        The TNC-Pi 9k6 is hopefully happening, I asked John who informed me it is being designed at the present.

                                         

                                        Will message Bill and get some advice

                                         

                                        Steve

                                        G6UIM

                                         


                                        From: aprsisce@yahoogroups.com [mailto:aprsisce@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Bill Vodall
                                        Sent: 25 February 2014 19:27
                                        To: aprsisce@yahoogroups.com
                                        Subject: Re: [aprsisce] Balloon Tracking Questions

                                         

                                         

                                        > Did I mention that Bill Vodall WA7NWP is not only a potential Time Lord,

                                        Everything is changing. We (with APRS) will be ready... :)

                                        > but also one of the gurus playing with 9600/1200 multiple
                                        > networks from the WetNet end of the world. He'd be a good person to
                                        > ask about your new passion.

                                        Quick answer. 9k6 aprs works well IF you have Kenwood radios or a
                                        desire for complicated projects like setting up a 9k6 packet radio.
                                        Not sure how many years some of us here have been pretty much full
                                        time on 440 MHz 9k6 APRS.

                                        I'd suggest the big win is setting up an alternate frequency band
                                        (440, 50 MHz...) and not go with 9k6.

                                        1. 9k6 data is too fast for mobile displays. 1200 is enough data
                                        that the operator can see and follow the traffic. Busy 9600 makes it
                                        unreadable.

                                        2. Trackers generally use just 1200 baud - so if you set up an
                                        alternate channel and go 9600 - none of the trackers will be able to
                                        participate. Which is a shame as it's moving the trackers to the
                                        alternate channel that brings the most gain to a busy network.

                                        Bill, WA7NWP

                                        PS. Change may be sooner than expected with new technology like the
                                        UDRX, T3-9670, rumored TNC-PI96 and modern soundcard modems (Dire
                                        Wolf, UZ7HO) that do 9k6.

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