U3S

Live tracking
HabHub live tracking
Photos of the launch
The demise of flight S16
Transmitter photos
 

Like the former flights, this one also uses a special U3S firmware version on an Arduino Nano board.

Live tracking

The map below is updated automatically with the latest received position during the balloon's flight. During the balloon's night time the battery is quickly depleted, so from just after sunset there are no more reports until daylight.

Live HabHub tracking

The following HabHub map is done using a program that David SM0ULC wrote that extracts the data from WSPRnet and feeds it to HabHub. This is still under development!

The demise of flight S16

This image shows the path of S-16, which probably flew directly into that large white block of cloud during the first night of its flight, where it would have picked up ice moisture and been weighed down, and landed in the Atlantic ocean.

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.qrp-labs.com/flights/s16.html#sigFreeId9adebfbf26

Photos of the launch

Dave had some drama during the launch, as described in this launch photo. It was a successful launch in the end, though!

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.qrp-labs.com/flights/s16.html#sigFreeIdea03712f6a

Transmitter photos

This flight uses two hydrogen-filled balloons. WSPR and JT9 on 20 and 30m with telemetry on channel 4. Callsign is "VE3KCL". The GPS is a uBlox this time. The payload is 15.74gms including a 2 band antenna and the balloons will have about 6.25gms of free lift. The battery is very small and will not provide power after dark.

There are a few changes for this flight, including a new GPS module.. The new antenna is scaled in meters and may provide a better SWR.. see the "tripole" (antenna is for 20m and 30m) rigging loops on the bottom of the U3s. Dave says (see antenna close-up photos below):

"The idea is to try an keep some spacing (2cm) between the lower legs to improve the swr.

"On the bottom of the U3S, 2 loops are made of wire and the lower antenna wires are attached to the G pin of the output. The 38ga copper antenna wire is bonded with green contact cement to the 6# dyneema fishing line for strength. The length of dyneema is tied shorter than the copper wire so if there is a pull, the force will be on the dyneema first and no load on the copper antenna wire.

"At the end of the lower short leg of the antenna the wires are spaced by a piece of red tyvek tape (visible on the lower antenna roll) to try and keep the 2cm spacing... the longer leg extends down to 8.55 meters and just hangs there. On the upper leg of the antenna, the wire is soldered to the A pin and the wire is glued to the U3 with very fine bits of foam and contact cement to keep it in place.

"On the top loop that goes up to the balloon, as done in the bottom, the dyneema is tied shorter than the length of copper antenna wire so any force is taken up by the dyneema and not the copper wire.

"Who knows what happens in the jet stream to the leg spacing, but it does seem to be working better than a 30m dipole. The weight of this antenna is about 2.25grams... after the extra is cut off."

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.qrp-labs.com/flights/s16.html#sigFreeIda54e94c3c1