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Archive for May 17th, 2009

Lessons learned from chasing balloons

May 17, 2009 @ 20:49 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio

IMG_9076 Last weekend, I headed out with Darin (VE3OIJ) to help chase a pair of weather balloons that were being launched from Perth by the Lanark Space Agency (LASA). One of the balloons, VE3LCA-11, had a payload with a GPS, camera, temperature sensor and an APRS beacon. It’s goal was to take pictures over the course of its flight for the Grades 5 and 6 students from St. John’s School it was being launched for.

The launch was well-attended by students, parents, visitors to the farmers’ market and many of the chase teams. After the obligatory group photo with the students and the balloon, they did a count down and released the balloon and its payload. It disappeared into the clouds about 4500’ AGL, so we watched its progress on the display they had set up for people to watch.

Meanwhile, the second balloon, VE3REX-11 (aka LASA 4), was prepped for launch. It’s goal was to set an altitude record for amateur weather balloons. It’s payload consisted solely of a small GPS and an APRS beacon, which weighed less than the first balloon. It was launched off in due order, so we headed off, stopping only to buy some homemade cookies from the farmers’ market.

We decided to chase VE3LCA-11 since its payload needed to be retrieved more than VE3REX-11’s. IMG_9062