The EMDRC (Eastern & Mountain District Radio Club – https://www.emdrc.com.au) High Altitude Balloon team last got together on the 18th of September 2022 at 2100 on discord to work through timelines and approach for the upcoming launch. The EMDRC High Altitude Balloon team have locked in the 6th of November 2022 for our next launch, 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 and have reached out to the Ararat council to obtain permission for use of use of crown land for purposes of the launch. VK3TWC is chasing up the latter with the Ararat council.
Over these last few weeks torrential rains have cause widespread flooding across Victoria which is a matter of concern and is being monitored closely by the High Altitude Balloon team. We are hopeful that the situation will improve in the coming weeks so that we can proceed with the launch. So, as always, we’ll keep monitoring the situation, get together as a group, review the data and make a call at the Go/No-Go meeting.
Key Dates – So here are the key dates for the upcoming EMDRC High Altitude Balloon Launch.
- 23rd of Oct 22 – HAB barbecue and payload build at EMDRC clubhouse (1100 – 1300 Hrs)
- 28th Oct 22 – Launch Prep session at 2100 Hrs (on Discord)
- 5th Nov – Launch Go/No-Go at 2100 Hrs (on Discord)
- 6th Nov – Launch from Centenary Park, Ararat at 1000 Hrs
Who’s Who in the Zoo – The EMDRC High Altitude Launch team includes includes :
- Rohan VK3TRO
- Mark VK3MD
- Mark VK3IRV
- Brad VK3BKQ
- John VK3PZ
- Mark VK5QI
- Trevor VK3TWC
- Trystan J
- Rory VK3ASY
- Chris VK3PLS
- Greg Boyles
- Andrew Lee
- Andrew VK3BQ
- John VK3WWW
We are always looking to take on capable individuals to support design, build, launch of the payload. Please drop us a note if you are interested and we’ll help you get started.
Payload design & Build – Here’s an update on the approach, design and build of the payload for the upcoming launch.
- The primary payload for the upcoming launch will include a re-programmed RS41 sonde running the HORUS binary.
- The primary payload will also include a Raspberry Pi Zero / LoRA module running the WENET software.
- As per plan, Trevor VK3TWC had ordered a new Raspberry Pi Zero board along with a Pi Camera from Core Electronics both of which arrived a few weeks ago.
- Both the Pi Zero board, along with the Pi Camera and the payload bag has been handed over to Greg Boyles. Trystan will be picking up the items from Greg, testing things out in preparation for the upcoming launch on the 6th of November.
- Trystan will be running a few tests based on the learning from the last launch to test out our hypothesis. Based on the outcome of the testing changes might need to be made to the structure of the payload box, outcomes yet to be confirmed.
- The kids at Coderdojo Altona North are building a Data Logger based on the Raspberry Pi Pico and a PiicoDev BME280 sensor from Core Electronics.
- Two teams of kids at CodeDojo Altona North are working feverishly on building their own Raspberry Pi Pico based Data logger.
- Two of these data logger modules are to be sent up with the High Altitude Balloon.
- This launch is funded as a science experiment through a grant from the Hobsons Bay City Council.
- The kids have tested out their code for the Raspberry Pi Pico and the PiicoDev BME280 on a breadboard. The code is designed to poll the PiicoDev BME280 for temperature, humidity, pressure data and log all of that information to a file every 10 seconds.
- Greg Boyles who also happens to be a volunteer at CoderDojo Altona North, has helped build two protoboards with the Pi Pico and the PiicoDev BME280 mounted on it.
- Trevor along with his group of volunteers at CoderDojo Altona North are supporting the kids with the build of the data logger payload. Expecting the board, software to be finalized by the 22nd of Oct 2022.
Bill Of Material – Here’s the Bill of Material that we agreed to invest in at the last session, procurement status for each of the items on the list.
- 1 x hwoyee 600 Balloon – Ordered from Random Engineering UK, items have landed last week.
- 1 x hwoyee 1000 Balloon – Ordered from from Random Engineering UK, items have landed last week.
- 1 x Parachute 24 inch spherachute – Ordered from from Random Engineering UK, items have landed last week.
- 1 x Parachute 42 inch spherachute – Ordered from from Random Engineering UK, items have landed last week.
- 1 x E Type Helium Gas Bottle – Chris VK3PLS has helped procure a gas bottle for the launch.
- Foam cutter x 1 – John VK3PZ has worked with the committee to purchase this item, it’s now stocked at the EMDRC club house.
- 1 x module LORA board – Mark VK5QI has sent through to Trystan (Thanks a ton Mark!!!!!)
- 1 x Pi zero + Pi camera x 1 (medium size cable with camera) – Items were ordered from Core Electronics, have landed and been handed over to Greg Boyles (Trystan to pickup).
- Energizer batteries x 2 (pack of 4) – Has been purchased.
- Sandisk high endurance SD card 32GB x 4 – Yet to be purchased.
- Scotch extreme strapping tape (officeworks) x 1 – Yet to be purchased.
- Poly Styrene (Clark rubber) sheet 1 inch x 1 – Yet to be purchased.
- Bare double sided general purpose tape x 1 (Bunnings) – Yet to be purchased.
Key launch variables include –
- Scientific balloon – Hwoyee 1000
- Parachute – 42 inch spherachute
- Gas – Pure helium gas
- Weight of payload – Assuming ~700 gm, to be confirmed [Previous flight >> 500 gm || 350gm for Styrofoam box with pi, batteries, camera + 95gm for reprogrammed RS 41 radio sonde + 55gm parachute]
- Ascent rate – 5.5 m/s
- Descent rate – 3.51 m/s
- Burst Altitude – ~30Km
- Payload & radios – Styrofoam box with the following :
- Raspberry Pi Zero with a camera
- Lora board connected to the Pi Zero W for purposes of streaming images (over Wenet)
- 1/4th Ground plane antenna
- Re-flashed Bureau of Meteorology Radiosonde (RS41) with the HORUS binary
- 2 x Data Logger Modules : Raspberry Pi Pico with PiicoDev BME280 sensors
- Launch date – 6th of November with 13th of November 2022 as backup
- Launch location – Centenary Park Oval, Ararat
- Launch time – 1000 Hrs AEST with recovery to be performed soon after
- Frequencies in use –
- Wenet (image transmission) frequency : 441.200 Mhz
- HORUS (RS 41) frequency : 434.200 Mhz
- Simplex for comms – 146.525 Mhz
- Frequencies for monitoring (NO TRANSMISSION ALLOWED)-
- YARA (Ararat Aerodrome) CTAF for monitoring prior to release of balloon – 126.7 Mhz
- YARA (Ararat Aerodrome) Melbourne FSS (Melbourne Center) for monitoring prior to release of balloon – 126.8 Mhz
Roles & Responsibilities – The team has shared responsibilities for many of the launch activities. Here’s a view of ownership of the various tasks –
- Rohan VK3TRO – Payload design & build + Part of the launch and recovery team
- Rory VK3ASY – Payload design & build + Part of the launch and recovery team
- Trystan J – Payload design & build + Part of the launch and recovery team
- Mark VK3IRV – Design & build of Yagi antenna and Raspberry Pi setup to track Wenet and Sonde payload + Part of the launch and recovery team
- Brad VK3BKQ – Design & build of Yagi antenna and Raspberry Pi setup ro track Wenet and Sonde payload+ Part of the launch and recovery team
- Greg Boyles – Design & build of the filling apparatus + Part of the launch and recovery team
- Chris VK3PLS – Design & build of the filling apparatus + Part of the launch and recovery team
- Andrew B – Part of the launch and recovery team
- Andrew Lee – Official EMDRC HAB Photographer + Part of the launch and recovery team
- Mark VK3MD – Part of the launch and recovery team
- John VK3PZ – Part of the launch and recovery team
- Jack B VK3WWW – Part of the launch and recovery team
- Andrew VK3BQ + VK3EEK + VK3DNS – Part of the launch and recovery team
- Mark VK5QI – Mentor & Guide
- Trevor VK3TWC – Strategy, logistics, communications, media, etc. + Part of the launch and recovery team
Come Join the Party – You are invited to join the EMDRC High Altitude Balloon group and help out with the launch prep activities. You are welcome to drive down, be part of the launch activities on the 6th of November 2022 at Ararat 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.
- Project HORUS Chasemapper – Plot your position on a map relative to the balloon using a Raspberry Pi and GPS
- Project Horus horusdemodlib – Plot a reprogrammed radiosonde used as a payload for Amateur High Altitude Balloons
- Project HORUS Horusgui – Windows software to track a reprogrammed radiosonde used as a payload for Amateur High Altitude Balloons
- See images being broadcasted in real-time from the balloon – https://ssdv.habhub.org/
- 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/. Drop us a note at trevor at hack2 dot live if you have any questions, suggestions or comments.