EMDRC High Altitude Balloon – Launch Approach & Timelines

The EMDRC High Altitude Balloon team got together on the 18th of September 2022 at 2100 on discord to work through launch preparation activities for the High Altitude Balloon Launch scheduled for the 6th of November 2022, with a backup launch scheduled for the 13th of November (weather, etc.).

The EMDRC (Eastern & Mountain District Radio Club – https://www.emdrc.com.au) High Altitude Balloon (HAB) have conducted their first High Altitude Balloon launch on the 4th of September, from Ararat, Victoria. For a detailed launch report please visit – <EMDRC High Altitude Balloon Launch Report – 4th September 2022>. The EMDRC High Altitude Balloon group have obtained approval (also called instrument) from CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) for the launch but will need to obtain approval from the Ararat council for use of use of crown land for purposes of the launch.

The team working through the items on discord

The EMDRC HAB Launch prep session held on the 18th of September 2022 was attended by –

  1. Rohan VK3TRO
  2. Mark VK3MD (Wasn’t able to attend)
  3. Mark VK3IRV
  4. Brad VK3BKQ
  5. John VK3PZ
  6. Mark VK5QI
  7. Trevor VK3TWC
  8. Trystan J
  9. Rory VK3ASY (Wasn’t able to attend)
  10. Andrew Buttery (Wasn’t able to attend)
  11. Chris VK3PLS (Wasn’t able to attend)
  12. Greg Boyles (Wasn’t able to attend)
  13. Andrew VK3BQ (Wasn’t able to attend)
  14. John VK3WWW (Wasn’t able to attend)

Minutes of the discussion provided below –

  1. The primary payload for the upcoming launch will include a re-programmed RS41 sonde along with a Raspberry Pi Zero / LoRA module running the WENET software.
  2. The data logging capability for the upcoming launch is being built by the kids at Coderdojo Altona North.
  3. Three teams of kids at CodeDojo Altona North are building their own Raspberry Pi Pico based Data logger. Expecting at-least two data logger modules to be sent up with the High Altitude Balloon.
  4. Trevor along with his group of volunteers at CoderDojo Altona North will work with the kids to build the data logger payload. Greg to help transfer the breadboard projects onto a protoboard.
  5. We’ve agreed to go with a custom box made of Poly Styrene, ditch the stryrofoam box used for the first launch.
  6. John VK3PZ will work with the EMDRC team to build a cutting rig which the High Altitude Balloon team can use to cut the poly styrene required to build boxes to secure the payload during the flight.
  7. Trevor VK3TWC will arrange to pick up the payload from Rohan VK3TRO and hand it over to Trystan for purposes of testing, preparing the WENET setup for the next launch.
  8. Rohan VK3TRO and Trystan to own building of the Polystyrene boxes which will be used to secure our payloads for the upcoming launches.
  9. Trevor to work on finalizing the Bill of Material, confirm what can be purchased through the existing grant. Here’s a list of items that were discussed during the session –
    1. 2 x hwoyee 600 Balloon
    2. 2 x hwoyee 1000 Balloon
    3. 1 x module lora board (Mark VK5QI to send through to Trystan)
    4. 1 x Parachute 24 inch spherachute
    5. 1 x Parachute 42 inch sperachute
    6. 1 x Pi zero + Pi camera x 1 (medium size cable with camera from core)
    7. Energizer batteries x 2 (pack of 4)
    8. Sandisk high endurance SD card 32GB x 4
    9. Scotch extreme strapping tape (officeworks) x 1
    10. Poly Styrene (Clark rubber) sheet 1 inch x 1
    11. Bare double sided general purpose tape x 1 (Bunnings)
    12. 1 bottle of helium (Chris VK3PLS to help procure)
    13. Foam cutter x 1 (John VK3PZ to help build)
  10. Trevor VK3TWC will work with the Ararat council to obtain approval for the primary, backup launch windows.
  11. Trevor VK3TWC will notify CASA of the timelines for the next flight.

You are invited to join the EMDRC HAB group and help out with the launch prep activities. You are welcome to drive down, be part of the launch prep activities on the 6th of November 2022 and then join us for the chase, payload recovery soon after. The launch site is at Ararat which is a ~2.5 hr drive from the heart of Melbourne and we intend to launch at the agreed time of 1000 Hrs, so plan out your day and set out early if you intend to be there for the launch. Details to be confirmed closer to the launch.

If you would rather stay home or rather grab a coffee and track the payload remotely then that’s great too. Here’s links to the software you need to track the High Altitude Balloon and payload 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/
  5. Link to track the Horus payload in real time – Sondehub

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

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