July 31st 2022, KD9TPM & KD9UQB

We launched two balloons on Saturday July 30th from Willow Hill Golf Course in Northbrook, Illinois. We were waiting to see any life of our balloons and feared they were lost. On Sunday July 31st we heard from KD9TPM at 6:42 am CDT over Canada at Grid EN88LL near Agate, Ontario, Cananda moving slowly north, will be heading east and then south to join the faster Jetstream over the Atlantic. KD9TPM, altitute is about 32,000 feet.

Below are graphics on where KD9TPM is heading, and down a little further is information from yesterday’s launch.

We’ll be monitoring this launch for KD9TPM and KD9UQB

KD9TPM is showing nice movement now in Grid EN98LL near Preston, Ontario Canada at 8:22 am CDT

Saturday July 30th 2022

Many different parts came together for today’s launch. Michael Seedman, AA6DY has been working for months on redesigning our tracker. Our Technical Team has been working on reducing the size and weight of our package. We rely on the support of our larger Pico Balloon community to share information and help in problem solving. We’re very grateful for all the assistance from our many supporters.

We’re meeting at Willow Hill Golf Course in Northbrook, Illinois for the launch of two Pico Balloons, KD9TPM for Doug Mulley and KD9UQB for Jim Janiak. In preparation for this launch, Jim Janiak, KD9UQB designed and built the solar panel packages we’re using for today’s launch. We started using the Polycrystalline Solar Panels used by Tom Medlin, W5KUB. Tom is currently flying W5KUB-112 coming on 49 days in flight. You can follow his flights at W5KUB

Below is the preparation of the balloons, tracker and solar panels for this flight

  • 7 Polycrystalline SOlar Panels and the Tracker on piece of Styrofoam aproximately 4" square
  • Wiring of the Solar Panel Package on the backside, wired in series from positive to negative and 4 lb. fishing line for support to connect to the balloon
  • Solar Panel package wired on a gram scale, showing weight of 7 grams
  • July 30th Launch weights, Tracker and Solar panel package 7 grams, 33 ft. antenna 1.6 grams, tape .6 grams, total 9.2 grams plus 6.5 grams excess lift. Balloon will be filled to at least 15.7 grams of gas
  • 1st Balloon is filled with Hydrogen weighed using a grams scale showing 16.13 grams of total lift lift
  • 2nd Balloon is filled with Hydrogen weighed using a grams scale showing 15.76 grams of total lift lift
  • Balloons are prepped, secured with glue and a weight the day before launch.

It’s a beautiful sunny day here at Willow Hill Golf Course in Northbrook, Illinois.

Willow Hill Golf Course, Northbrook Illinois Mild Day with a still Flag

We had a nice gathering this morning, with a couple of new visitors. Joining us today were Loren AD9AY, Chris KD9TVT, George KD9TLS, Jim KD9UQB, John W9BLN, Michael AA6DY, Stewart KB9LM, and Cary KD9ITO. We officially used the Icarus Device for our two launches. The Icarus is a Timer on a PCB attached to a Pico Servo with a lever, a battery and a 30 foor pole. We push the timer and raise the pole, after 10 seconds the lever is tuned and the balloon released. We have 10 seconds to raise the pole for the balloons release.

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