EMDRC HAB Launch Prep Session 19/8/22

The EMDRC team got together on the 19th of August 2022 to work through launch preparation activities for the High Altitude Balloon Launch scheduled for the 28th of August 2022, with a backup launch scheduled for the 4th of September (weather, etc.).

The EMDRC (Eastern & Mountain District Radio Club – https://www.emdrc.com.au) High Altitude Balloon (HAB) group has been working towards it’s first launch here in Melbourne. The launch has been almost three years in the making, with COVID being unfortunately responsible for a lot of the delays. The EMDRC HAB group has obtained approval (also called instrument) from CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) including approval from the Ararat council for use of use of crown land for purposes of the launch.

The EMDRC HAB group met on the 19th of August 2022 on discord to work through launch preparation activities. The session was attended by –

  1. Rohan A / VK3TRO
  2. Mark / VK3IRV
  3. Brad Q / VK3BKQ
  4. Trevor W / VK3TWC
  5. Rory / VK3ASY
  6. Chris Gommersall (Soon to be christened VK3PLS)
  7. Trystan J

The team has shared responsibilities for many of the launch activities. Here’s a view of ownership of the various tasks –

  1. Rohan A / VK3TRO – Payload design & build + Part of the launch and recovery team
  2. Mark / VK3IRV – Design & build of Yagi antenna + Raspberry Pi to track Wenet and Sonde payload
  3. Brad Q / VK3BKQ – Design & build of Yagi antenna + Raspberry Pi to track Wenet and Sonde payload
  4. Trevor W / VK3TWC – Strategy, logistics, communications, media, etc. + Part of the launch and recovery team
  5. Rory / VK3ASY – Payload design & build + Part of the launch and recovery team
  6. Greg Boyles – Design & build of the filling apparatus + Part of the launch and recovery team
  7. Chris Gommersall (Soon to be christened VK3PLS) – Design & build of the filling apparatus + Part of the launch and recovery team
  8. Trystan J – Payload design & build + Part of the launch and recovery team
  9. Mark / VK2MD – Part of the launch and recovery team
  10. Jack B / VK3WWW – Part of the launch and recovery team

Key launch variables include –

  1. Scientific balloon – Hwoyee 500
  2. Parachute – 36 inch spherachute
  3. Gas – Pure helium gas
  4. Payload & radios – Styrofoam box with the following :
    1. Raspberry Pi Zero with a camera
    2. Lora board connected to the Pi Zero W for purposes of streaming images (over Wenet)
    3. 1/4th Ground plane antenna
    4. Re-flashed Bureau of Meteorology Radiosonde (RS41) with the HORUS binary
  5. Launch date – 28th of August 2022 with 4th of September 2022 as backup
  6. Launch location – Centenary Park Oval, Ararat
  7. Launch time – 0930 Hrs AEST with recovery to be performed soon after
  8. Frequencies in use –
    1. Wenet (image transmission) frequency : 441.200 Mhz
    2. HORUS (RS 41) frequency : 434.200 Mhz
Preparing for a High Altitude Balloon Launch

This post provides a summary of what was discussed –

  1. The team will get together on Wednesday the 24th of August 2022 to review where we have landed, go over the checklists for launch including confirming who’s bringing what to the launch.
  2. The team will get together on Saturday the 27th of August 2022 to review the weather for the launch morning and confirm Go/No-Go for the launch.
  3. Cars that will be heading to the launch site, then to the landing site – Trevor W / VK3TWC, Rory / VK3ASY, Brad / VK3BKQ
  4. Car that will be heading to the estimated landing zone – Mark / VK3MD, Jack / VK3WWW
  5. Mark / VK3IRV will not be part of the launch or recovery party but is intending to find a high enough spot where he can setup his Yagi and track the Wenet and HORUS transmission.
  6. Greg to bring along gas filling assembly to CoderDojo Altona North and hand over to Trevor / VK3TWC (Done)
  7. Trevor to send out a notification to EMDRC with a summary of what was discussed, launch details, including the frequencies being used for the HORUS and Wenet payload.
  8. Trevor / VK3TWC to work with CASA, submit notification for NOTAM and work with CASA on any corrections required before making the final NOTAM request on the 25th of August 2022. (Work in progress)
  9. Trevor / VK3TWC to perform modelling using the Balloon Burst Calculator and the Parachute Descent calculator and provide the group a view of the outcomes (Done)
  10. Trevor / VK3TWC to work with the Ararat Council and obtain the permissions required for the launch (Done).
  11. Trevor / VK3TWC to finalize all the details and send out notification to EMDRC (In Progress).
  12. Trevor / VK3TWC to work generate weather forecasts and landing predictions on a daily basis and send out to the group (In Progress).
  13. Trevor / VK3TWC to meetup with Chris G and hand over the filling assembly Greg has put together (Scheduled for 21/08).
  14. Rohan / VK3TRO is working on finalizing the payload build, will schedule a test on Sunday the 21st of August 2022 and notify the team so that they can test out the equipment in preparation for the launch.
  15. Rohan / VK3TRO to re-flash a BoM Radiosonde (RS41) with the right frequency and provide details to the group.
  16. Rohan / VK3TRO to finalize frequency for Wenet and provide details to the group.

Here’s a view of the Balloon Burst Estimator –

High Altitude Balloon (Hwoyee 500) Burst Estimator

Here’s a view of the Parachute Descent Estimator –

High Altitude Balloon – Descent Rate Calculator (Spherachute 36 Inches)

You are all invited to come, be part of the launch on the 28th of August 2022 at 0930 and then help us chase, recover the payload soon after. The launch site is at Ararat and we will be launching at the agreed time, so plan out your day and set out early if you intend to be there for the launch.

Software you need to track the High Altitude Balloon we are launching.

  1. Project HORUS Chasemapper – Plot your position on a map relative to the balloon using a Raspberry Pi and GPS
  2. Project Horus horusdemodlib – Plot a reprogrammed radiosonde used as a payload for Amateur High Altitude Balloons
  3. Project HORUS Horusgui – Windows software to track a reprogrammed radiosonde used as a payload for Amateur High Altitude Balloons
  4. See images being broadcasted in real-time from the balloon – https://ssdv.habhub.org/

Read more about High Altitude Ballooning and get started with your own High Altitude Balloon journey at https://hack2.live/high-altitude-ballooning/

Update 21/8: Rohan / VK3TRO, Mark / VK3IRV and Brad / VK3BKQ spent time outdoors testing out the HORUS and Wenet launch Payload including each of their Wenet and HORUS tracking setup. Rohan / VK3TRO was mostly at ground level while Mark / VK3IRV was located at higher ground in footscray and Brad / VK3BKQ was at his holiday home at Portarlington. Here’s some pictures taken at different times during the test run –

Mark / VK3IRV with his WENET tracking setup outdoors
HORUS payload data being monitored by Brad / VK3BKQ
Images being received by Brad / VK3BKQ over Wenet & Transmitted by Rohan VK3BKQ

Please write to me at trevor at hack2 dot live or hab at emdrc dot com dot au if you have any questions. I’ll do my best to respond.

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