Our First Launch

Oh Boy, what can I say. After one of our youngest members, Noah KD9RDT informed us that he just learned in school that the wind is fierce off the beach, we discounted that and prepared anyway, what do kids really know?

After our first meeting and planning all summer we were running out of time to plan our first launch. Months with an “R” that meant our first launch was September 25th. While we were still planning on designing and building our own board, we decided to go with the ZachTek commercially available board.

With the tent set up in the park, and our committees working on building the antenna, soldering and filling the balloon. After 2 hours, we walked down to the beach and launched. And there it was, transmitter spinning like a helicopter and the end to our launch. Kids!

What we learned after this launch was we needed a Turnbuckle or Fishing Line Swivel to allow the balloon to turn with the wind but keep the antenna and tracker stable. First launch, and room for improvement.

Some just look at failures as learning experiences, I tend to look at the gifts we happen to receive on the way. The evening before the launch, I was invited to watch on APRS.fi the launch for the Adler Planetarium to capture and record light pollution around Indianapolis, Indiana. Unlike a Pico Balloon, this balloon growing as large as a house, used a full tank of Helium with it’s 10 pound payload and thousands of dollars in equipment, they had a launch committee and a recovery committee, and the gift we are about to receive.

John, KD9THB was a member of the Adler launch committee, a new Technician licensed Ham and the new addition to our team. John was able to join us at our 2nd launch. We went back to the drawing board, made a few phone calls to the more experienced Pico group and planned our next launch, one week later

This is from Casey KV3T and his Drone footage of our Launch and Preparation for Launch

Our camp site at Glencoe Beach, preparing the package

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