While we’re flying, we’re still working

We’re still meeting, and building while AA6DY is flying.

Some of our members were able to gather on Saturday September 10th at the home of the Berg’s, who hosted our build session.

One of the most difficult parts of our Pico Balloon Project is building the solar panel package. The Polycystalline solar panels are so fragile, that a sudden touch can break a panel. Jim Janiak, KD9UQB designed a template to hold a single solar panel in place for ease of soldering. Once one side is soldered, it’s then glued to the plate, then soldered and repeated.

Each solar panel is glued to the styrofoam plate and soldered in series. The wires from negative to positive are stripped before soldering. After working on several renditions of this package, Jim KD9UQB had designed our current board. Jim was our Elmer and Guide who patiently worked with each of us.

Joining us for this session were, The Berg’s; Noah KD9RDT, Bob KD9RDU, and Wendy KD9RDV, Ken Daniel K9YO, Cary Willis KD9ITO, Mikaela Streicher KD9VIW, The Mulley’s; Doug KD9TPM, Kelsi KE9LSI, and Gordie KD9TVR. We also had the support of Winston close at hand.

Jim started out with an introduction to the tools, parts and a step by step instruction. We then broke into groups and started cutting out the styrofoam template. We had four soldering stations spread around five tables.

We ended with 3 complete solar panel packages weiging around 4.7 grams each, tested and ready to fly. This session added to the two other solar panel packages that Jim had completed

We’re looking forward to flying Pico Balloons for our three younger Generals, Kelsi Mulley KE9LSI, Gordie Mulley KD9TVR and Mikaela Streicher KD9VIW.

We’ll be updating our Technical page which will provide instructions on how to build and launch Pico Balloons, hosted by Ken Daniel K9YO. You’ll also be able to read and follow Ken’s future Pico Balloon launches here at the NIBBB.

Please enjoy this slideshow from yesterday’s session

2 thoughts on “While we’re flying, we’re still working

  1. Glad that the balloon is still up and flying and that there is a nice group of young Hams available to build some panels. I wish I could join but due to my recent left carpal tunnel surgery and the upcoming right side surgery next month I am out of business for a while.
    I will try again when both extremities are back and running.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In addition to building three excellent solar panel arrays, we extended the knowledge and experience in building them within the group. Several people took building supplies with them to continue building at home.
    We can away with new ideas to improve the building process. Kelsie and Noah experimented with using a Cricut machine to cut out the frames. Ken had a great alternative to soldering the panels.
    I was impressed with few panels that we broke during the build session. Two arrays were built by first time builders without breaking any panels.
    Thanks to everyone who participated and to the Bergs for hosting. Lastly a special shout out to Winston!


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