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Don't miss the picture-gallery !!!
...and picture-gallery, part 2,
...and picture-gallery, part 3.
After quite a long break, we did it again... the 5th launch of DLØART/am was on 18-May-1997. The main issue about this flight was the transponder (mode B), which worked quite nice, and many hams took the chance to use it.
Launch: # 5 Launch date: 18-May-1997 Launch time: 12:14 UTC Launch site: Nienberge near Muenster, NW Germany, JO32SA Payload DLØART/am: QRG/mod.: (1) Telemetry beacon: 145.200 MHz F2D & F2A (2) 2nd beacon: 144.991 MHz F1A (call & info text) (3) Transponder (J3E and A1A) Uplink: 432.570 MHz \ Downlink: 144.470 MHz / +/- 20 kHz + beacon at 144.470 MHz (A1A) (4) RX for remote control on 70 cm and 10 m (not used) Power: (1) 2 W (2) 100 mW (3) 2.5 W Antennas: (1) groundplane (2) turnstile (3) big wheels for 2 m and 70 cm (4) 70 cm: groundplane / 10 m: lambda/4 vertical Power supply: (1) & (4): 5 D cells LiSO2 in series (=14.4 V, 6 Ah) (2) 1 D cell LiSO2 (3 V) and step-up to 9 V Diameter ballon: ca. 8.5 ft Gas: hydrogen Parachute: ca. 8 ft Weight: about 4700 g (over all) Lift rate: The balloon has a gaz valve which can be opened to reduce the lift rate or start the touchdown procedure. Schematic of balloon Balloon Team Members: Ground Control: Armin (DF1QE) + Fritz (DF9XE) DF Control: Joachim (DL3YBQ) + Ralph (DG3YEI) DF Teams: Norbert (DL1YBR) + Oliver (DL9QJ) Wilhelm (DG5YGF) + Kurt (DD3QQ) Talk back of DF teams via repeater Osnabrueck, DBØCO (R 75). (UTC) 10:30 Meeting of the team 11:15 Arrival at launch site (Muenster-Nienberge, JO32SA) 11:30 Phone call to air control Düsseldorf: launch permitted 11:40 Filling the balloon 11:50 Payload attached 12:03 Additional filling, lift rate was not sufficient 12:05 Transponder tested -> Go 12:07 Telemetry beacon switched on -> Go 12:10 Phone call to air control Düsseldorf to announce the launch 12:14 LAUNCH 12:16 Altitude already 3,065 ft 12:35 Problems ocurred on decoding the telemetry; data obviously invalid (...) 13:55 Balloon bursted; telemetry data seem valid again 14:00 TOUCHDOWN (crash...) As we found out later, the balloon hit the roof of a farm house nr the city of Greven (JO32TC) and broke a tile (was already fixed when we came to the house... but the place could still be recognized by the red color left by the balloon). The owner was a bit surprised (only a bit, it is a Muensterland farmer...!) and, since he read something about "explosives" on the package, called the police. The officers (almost correctly) recognized it as a weather balloon and took it to the Greven police station (was it arrested now?!). From there, they called Armin, DF1QE, on his cellular phone, since his number was written on the boxes. Shortly after that, we were able "recover" the equipment... and the beacons and transponder were transmitting when we arrived at the police station. Tochdown site: nr Greven (JO32TC) Touchdown distance: 7 miles
|Launch||14:35 h||15:55 h||Touchdown||Minimum||Maximum|
|Altitude||280 ft||12,125 ft||12,700 ft||(885 ft)|
|Outside Temperature||74 deg F||22 deg F||- 5 deg F||46 deg F|
|Inside Temperature||90 deg F||82 deg F||23 deg F||22 deg F|
|Battery Voltage||14.177 V||14.311 V||14.218 V||14.059 V|
The transponder was a big success and worked better than expected, even though we got a report (after the flight) that we were still causing some intermodulation on the 2 m band. But the device had never been tested under "real" conditions. We already were afraid that the transponder hardly would be used, since during our final test, we did not find any stations that were able to help us testing (seems not very many people have allmode equipment for 2 m and 70 cm). But we were wrong, the transponder was very busy, sometimes the QSOs sounded almost like in a contest... Among others, stations from all over Germany, from Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Great Britain were able to use it.
Here is the logbook of DL9QJ/m's transponder QSOs:
(SSB; using an Icom IC-820H w/ 30 watts and mag mount vertical antennas)
UTC Call RST QTH Name ----------------------------------------------------- 1250 DD7LP 59 Bohmstedt JO44MN Christian 1252 DK6OO 59 Hildesheim JO42XE Hermann 1255 DG5AAE 1255 DL3KBH Uwe 1310 DGØODA Thüringen Daniel 1313 DK1QJ Dieter 1315 ON6UG Freddy 1320 DB7EK 59 Kleve JO31BS Daniel 1318 DG9BHV 59 Borgholzhausen JO42DC Ulrich 1325 DK1KR 1340 HB9RDE 59 Glashütten JN37LI Rolf 1342 DK3WG 58 Frankfurt/Oder JO72GI Jürgen
The balloon hulk was causing the main problem this time. I think we got a very old piece, and because of that and some not very professional handling during launch preparations, we were not able to open the gaz valve the get to balloon to land, but it bursted instead.
The time between DFing had been increased to 15 minutes (was: 10 minutes), which gave the DF teams better chances "to make more miles". But sometimes, the 15 minutes periods still were a bit short.
Our 2nd beacon (144.987 MHz) obviously again (like during our second flight) had problems with frequency stability. Its deviation caused problems on FM repeaters on R0 (input on 145.000 MHz) and kept them open (concerned: DBØUH). Again, the reason seems to be the flight conditions (see above) - we had the same weather during our second flight when the same problem ocurred. Of course, we regret any inconvenience caused by that fault!
If you heard our sigs, pse send QSL via PR / Internet / buro - all will be answered with our DLØART/am QSL cards! Any suggestion or response is always welcome!
The DLØART/am team hopes that all of youn enjoyed this experiment, as well as our previous flights. We regret that we have to terminate the project now. This is due to a substantial lack of man power (the same 2 or 3 people were always doing all the work...) and - which is the main reason - financial resources (e. g. insurance is DM 500.00 / USD 300.00 p. a.). We are just a small local amateur radio group (subdivision of DARC) and no longer able to put our money into this project.
Maybe, you will here of DLØART/am again inspite of this - he, we have a working transponder now! Possibly we will launch a captive balloon during our annual fieldday (okay, a few hundred feet is much less than what we had on this flight, but North Germany is quite flat, and it would provide a chance for some nice QSOs). An alternative would be the flight of a manned hot air balloon, on which the transponder could be a piggyback.
Anyway, we enjoyed this project and wish give our thanks to everybody who participated.
Best 73, Oliver
[Oliver Welp, DL9QJ, N3NSF Gustav-Freytag-Str.11 / D-48161 Muenster / GERMANY Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com PR: DL9QJ@DBØEA.#NRW.DEU.EU Tel./Fax: +49-2533-7312]
See Reception Reports
See picture-gallery, part 1,
picture-gallery, part 2,
picture-gallery, part 3
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