[amsat-bb] Re: Balloon Found (and OOps!)

Stefan Wagener wageners at gmail.com
Sat May 3 15:26:27 PDT 2014

Great story!

There is a reason why the SPOT is one of the best "balloon assurance"
systems out there. Doesn't do much during flight but great on the ground :-)

BTW, thanks so much for the BS2 code. Will try to make it work here.

73, Stefan VE4NSA

On Sat, May 3, 2014 at 2:50 PM, Robert Bruninga <bruninga at usna.edu> wrote:

> Crowded Air space today over PA!
> Saturday morning, launched the Naval Academy Balloon (W3ADO-11) from
> Harpers FY and noticed two other balloons launched about the same time
> (W3EAX-9 and 11) about 40 miles north.  All was going fine until...
> Our sincere apologies to MD, VA, PA, DE and NJ!  At about 3000' our balloon
> Arduino processor got stuck in a reset-loop and switched from 1 minute rate
> to one packet as fast as it could re-boot.  Less than every 2 seconds!
> Fortunately they were direct only and at 100 millliwatts.
> Fortunately, we could still see some packets from the W3EAX balloons, and
> APRS.FI seems to have copied them all.
> Then ours went nuts! and appears to have come down very fast, and we raced
> to towards the impact point (20 miles away), but then 20m later, we got one
> packet at 38,000 feet 20 miles farther east.  Then another race though
> Amish country and to our horror, the last position report was within 0.1
> mile of the river and still at 2000 feet and heading right out to the
> middle!
> We were about to give up the search (no more packets heard and river
> current pretty swift) when our back up system (SPOT system?) gave another
> report about 60 feet from the water.  Low an behold, there it was, 60 feet
> from waters edge after having flown almost 100 miles.
> Everything intact includeing HDTV video camera!
> Apparently the students used a non-high-altitide GPS and it went squirrely
> until it got back below 38,000 feet.  But you should see the track
> (W3ADO-11)
> Bob, Wb4APR
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