UX-5 Balloon Launch Saturday, December 31

from Greg Williams, K4HSM
Website: http://balloon.utarc.org on December 30, 2005

The University of Tennessee Amateur Radio Club (UTARC) is planning to launch the UX-5 balloon on Saturday, Dec. 31. Approximate time for liftoff will be at 1830 UTC, or 1:30 PM Eastern Time.

UTARC will attempt the official distance record for this launch with a CW beacon on HF relaying telemetry and location information as the balloon takes to the air.

The balloon for the launch is designed for distance and longevity, so the flight may last over 24 hours if winds and equipment are favorable.

On UTARC’s previous balloon flight, UX-4 was carried aloft by a 200 gram latex weather balloon, and was in the air for an estimated 2 hours, although the transmitter continued to operate for over 36 hours. Predictions indicate it probably landed in Virginia. The transmitter was built by Carl Lyster (WA4ADG) and had a 0.8 watt output. Reception reports were received from as far away as British Columbia.

Recovery of the balloon is not anticipated at this time unless the balloon bursts early into the flight. Contact information will be on the balloon in case of a physical recovery.

The telemetry feedback will be in the following format:

Frequency: 14.325 MHz +/- 2kHz

Mode: CW
Sequence: AA4UT/B every 15
seconds; full telemetry every 4 minutes as follows:

ALT xxxxxM
LAT xx.xxxxxx(N|S)
LON xxx.xxxxxx(W|E)

TEMP (P|N)xxxC
SEQ xxxxx


Weather forecasts for the launch are slowly becoming favorable, but UTARC is still planning to launch even if conditions are less than favorable. Weather does not normally affect a balloon launch unless adverse conditions affect the safety of the crew.

As of now, the forecast is as follows:
Saturday: A 30 percent chance of showers, mainly before 8am. Partly cloudy, with a high around 54. West wind between 5 and 10 mph.

Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 32.
As with the the last launch, postings on DX Clusters will be made and signal reports can be sent via the web site at http://balloon.utarc.org

This is a long-distance record attempt. Your reception reports will be most welcome and valuable. If you do return a reception report, please give us your coordinates in Latitude and Longitude so that we may plot distance accordingly.

Thank you for reading and 73. We hope to hear from you this Saturday. The University of Tennessee Amateur Radio Club, AA4UT