2019 Balloon Launch

Last Reported Location: W8MV-10 W8MV-11

Lastest Update: Click here

Donations: Individuals in the chapter have donated $440 to defer cost of the launches. Doners were Roger Grey (W8VE), John Demuth (K8CQA), Pery Werstler Sr (N8VXQ), Dennis Moriarty (K8AGB), Don Wade (W8DEA), Tom Archer (KA8MNT), Norm VanCleve (N3PJA), Charles Emick (KB8PXM), Judy McCune (N8AIM), Vern (KE8VS) and Holly Sproat, Mel Vye (W8MV), Jim Grover (N8PZL), Tom Price (KP2E), and Harold (WA8NDB) and Alice (WA8NDC) Gutscher. Individuals not in the chapter have also donated $40 to defer the cost of the launches. These doners were Frank Tompkins (W8EZT), Dan Galehouse


Quantity Description Cost  Jim  Mel
1 LightAPRS Tracker $105.00 X
1 SkyTracker Kit $173.00 X
1 SBS-13 Ballon, 3’ W X 7.5’ L, 1 mil thick. $167.00 X
1  Hanger 9 Sealing Iron (for balloon neck) $24.54 X
10  Supercaps 3.3F -0% +100% at 3 V $24.54 X
10  PowerFilm Solar Panels MPT4-8-75 $36.15 X
1 SBS-13 Ballon, 3’ W X 7.5’ L, 1 mil thick. $167.00 X
1 Digital Scale, 0.01 g Resolution $16.25 X
-  Running Total $713.48 $363.23 $350.25

W8MV-10 Updates:

 Date  Comment
 6/18/2019  LightAPRS Tracker order from QRP Labs. Complete details can be found at qrp-labs.com/lightaprs.
 7/8/2019  The Hanger 9 Sealing Iron received at Jim's house.
 7/8/2019  The SBS-13 ballon was ordered and shipped from Scientific Balloon Solutions.
 7/10/2019  The ballon arrived at Mel's house.
 7/11/2019  The LightAPRS Tracker arrives at Jim's house from Turkey.
 7/15/2019  The solar panels and supercaps arrived at Jim's house
 8/2/2019  Tethered balloon launch with APRS Skytracker to check communication with igate. Call used on aprs.fi is W8MV-10. Communicated with APRS enabled HT but could not communicate with any local igate or digipeaters. Tracker would not communicate with igate in Kent, Ohio even when within eye sight of igate's antenna. We are persuading several possibilities trying to solve problem. Note the APRS Skytracker transmits at 20 milliwats.
 8/10/2019  Placed Skytracker within sight of N8MWS's antenna near Massilion, Ohio. On first transmission from Skytracker data was accepted by N8MWS's igate and displayed on aprs.fi as W8MV-10.
 8/16/2019  Weekend launch delayed to Monday after 7 AM due to weather. Plans are to launch from Mel's pontoon boat off on East Reservior. Launch will use SBS-13 ballon with hydrogen using Skytracker and not the Light APRS tracker. Estimated cruising altitude will be set to 42,000 feet (12.8 km).
 8/19/2019  Up, up, and away. The Skytracker W8MV-10 on a SBS-13 ballon with 10 gms of lift was launched from the surface of East Reservior at about 8:57 AM EDT (12:58 PM UTC). You can track using aprs.fi as W8MV-10.
 8/19/2019  Down ,down, and darn. The Skytracker W8MV-10 on a SBS-13 ballon with 10 gms of lift returned to the earth somewhere near Homewood Pennsylvania. In consultation with the balloon manufacture, we were told that based on the initial assent rate, the ballon was overfilled. We fell that we learned alot from the first launch and are planning a secound launch using a different tracker. We will use a Light APRS Tracker by QRP Labs with a new SBS-13 with hydrogen. We plan to launch early next week. For flight data use the links below. To download click hereor to view click here.

W8MV-11 Updates:

 Date  Comment
 8/25/2019  Solar panels, supercaps, and 50 cm vertical wipe added to LightAPRS Tracker. Tracker placed on stand on driveway in direct sun. Tracker hit digipeater several miles away. Tracker has 1 watt (30 dBm) transmitter verses 20 milliwatts (13 dBm) for SkyTracker.
8/26/2019  Up, up and away again. The LightAPRS tracker W8MV-11 on a SBS-13 balloon with 8 gms of lift reached a float altitude of about 44,250 feet. It is currently over the Pittsburgh area. This evening it will stop transmitting because not enough sun light will hit the solar panels. Also over the Atlanic, Indian and Pacific Oceans we will loss contact because there will be no ground stations in it footprint. At about 7 PM of the first day the balloon made it to Wilmington, Deleware before it went silent. With the heading (ESE) and speed (45 mph) of the last report, by 8 AM and enough sun, the balloon will be out over the Atlantic Ocean and too far from land for another report for the next few days.
 9/03/2019  9 days and counting. The balloon has made it across the Atlatic Ocean and the Mediterianian. At sunset of day 10 the balloon was over Eastern Turkey. To download flight dataclick here or to view click here
 9/05/2019  11 days and counting. The balloon has made it across the Eurasian Steppes and into China. Mel Vye is in Mongolia and you can track him by searching w8mv-5 on aprs.fi. See "Last Reported Location" near top of page for a quick link to the balloons.
 9/09/2019  15 days and counting. The balloon has made it over two oceans and two continents. It is now back over the US. It was last received over Oregon near Portland. Two observations are that the altitude is dropping slowly and the peak bus voltage has dropped from day one. The altitude drop could be diffussion through the balloon membraine or a very small leak. I don't know if the drop in bus voltage is solar panel degradation due to a long period at low temperatures or the position of the panel. Scientific Balloon Solution's Ron Meadows, K6RPT, stated - "The higher your latitude the lower the altitude, normal. No leak." To download current flight data click here or to view  click here.
 9/14/2019  20 days and counting. The balloon has made it over two oceans and two continents. It went north to Canada and languished In Western Canada for several days. Then it caught the wind and is now leaving North America via Nova Scotia. W8MV-11 did one circumnavigation. At last data point it was at 42,806 feet and does not appear to be losing hydrogen. To see a polar view of the first circumnavigation click here .
 9/17/2019  23 days and on second circumnavigation. The balloon has made it over the Atlatic Ocean for a second time and is hooking around the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco, Africa. It has drifted from the higher latitude of Central Canada (58.1195 N) with altitude of 41,843 feet (12,754 meters) to a lower latitude (27.0352 N) and an altidue of 44,425 feet (13,571 meters). Ron K6RPT (see 9/09/2019) appears to be right - "The higher your latitude the lower the altitude." To see data click here.
 9/28/2019  33 days and back in USA. The balloon has made it over the Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific Ocean for a second time and is headed toward the West Coast of the US or Baja California, Mexico. I hope it is not "Comin' into Los Angeles; Bringin' in a couple of keys; Don't touch my bags if you please, mister customs man" - Arlo Guthrie. It is still at 44 thousand plus feet. It looks like the balloon and tracker are in good shape.
 9/30/2019  Second circumnavigation completed. The balloon only took 42 1/2 hours to traverse the US. It crossed the west coast near San Diago, California and it went out to sea over the Atlantic Ocean near Portland, Maine.
 10/11/2019  47 days and on the ARPS.FI map. It took a while, but the balloon is traveling over Western Sahara and Morocco. The igate is on the Gran Canaria Island run by EA8BQD.
 10/21/2019  56 days and 3 circumnavigations. The balloon has done 3 complete circumnavigations and has started its fourth go around.
 10/31/2019  66 days and back in Britsh Columbia. The balloon is coming close to its fourth circumnaviogation. We have been informed that the balloon may soon go silent due to ultraviolet light damage to the solar panel. We can only keep our fingers crossed.
 11/08/2020  The last reported position for the ballon was on 2 June 2020 was off the coast of Nova Scotia. It has been over six months since last position report and the ballon is considered gone. It is not apparent with is was an electronic or physical failure that lead to its demise. May W8MV rest in peace.