3rd Launch October 23rd

We launched 2 balloons today, Bob KD9RDU (Noah’s Dad) and me, Cary KD9ITO. I failed to mention that my callsign KD9ITO was the first launch on September 25th, never transmitted but the balloon went somewhere over Lake Michigan. Here was my 2nd attempt at greatness. But first was Bob KD9RDU. Bob who has been a member of our team from the beginning had just passed his General exam and was honored with a balloon.

Michael AA6DY making the final programming touches, making sure we’re getting a signal and using those great knot tying skills he learned in his earlier years. We’re getting ready for launch.
Looking for a larger field, we launched at Glenbrook North High School with our host Jason KD9CFM the advisor for that Ham club. Pictured here is Bob KD9RDU.
Here we are preparing for a launch, it really takes a village to make these successful
Just after this launch, we noticed the planes preparing to land at the nearby airfield
While Bob KD9RDU has flown our longest flight, the balloon had started losing altitude about an hour before and with storms coming in and flying close to the White House, we weren’t sure if it was altitude, storms or the Secret Service that brought our balloon down. Anyway, with our 3rd Launch we were on a streak

Cary KD9ITO launched a half hour after Bob but didn’t fair as well, losing steam in Indiana, trying to figure out how we can go from 25,000 feet to lost in a minute, Hmmm.

From the track above you can see we didn’t start seeing the first spot till we were on the other side of Lake Michigan, 90 minutes after launch. This kept us biting our nails, was this a successful launch or another failure? This seemed to be a common theme, 90 minutes from launch to get a reading.

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