RAC Bulletin 2010-025E – SHARP-1 Launch

RAC Bulletin 2010-025E – SHARP-1 Launch

VIA Derek Hay, VE4HAY


All is still GO for a launch on Friday, October 22 at 10 AM. The hardware all looks good except for the camera which is giving us trouble after the kids attempted some firmware and hardware mods. April is going to try and replace it tonight with a similar unit.

The cut down circuit works great. We are still doing some last minute
fabrication of the bits and pieces (running kite string/balloon line through NiCr wire inside glass tubing etc. – Alan knows this). We will probably finish this tomorrow evening in Elkhorn. We are bringing (I hope) every conceivable piece of gear with us. The flight radios will transmit at 29 and 31 second intervals as VE4SHS-14 (Garmin GPS 16x LVS) and VE4SHS-11 (Garmin GPS 18x LVS). -11 will show a balloon icon on the map. The former will give about 6 m resolution for the lat and long. The chase car is VE4SHS-10. I’m
the driver. All together there are five vehicles with 5 staff and 20

Today Bruce Feaver predicted the winds to be light and from the west with some northerly component (I sure hope so) on Friday. Alan will e-mail us all his flight predictions using Balloon Track and will be monitoring things from Portage la Prairie. It looks like our payload may be a little over weight but not too much – say 1100 grams instead of the ideal 1050. We will adjust weights accordingly but this may lower our burst altitude somewhat. We do not have much going for us in terms of maps. McNally Robison gets the new edition of Backroad Maps – Manitoba on Friday – too bad for us. I have some decent road maps but not down to section roads like Alan’s UI View maps. Bruce Feaver will file the NOTAM and we will give him the time and
position (DMS) of the landing which he will pass on to NavCanada.

We have cell phones. All the other staff have phones and we will e-mail all those details Thursday evening from the resort in Elkhorn. We also have a couple of 2 meter transceivers (ICOM IC-V80). I’m VE4SHS and Bohyun Lee (grade 12 student) is VE4BHL. I’ve programmed in the WPG repeater as well as Starbuck and Bruxelles. Hopefully that will get us on the repeater system. We have some crazy neon colours to wear while searching so hopefully none of us attract hunters.

We are not nearly as prepared as I would have liked but we are at a point where we just have to go for it. It has been a lot of work in a short time and we are all starting from scratch. I’ve been very sick and unproductive the last few weeks but others (especially, April, Bruce, Craig, Alan, Adrian, Mike and Jeff) have really been a big help as we approach launch time. Even if we don’t retrieve our package, it will have been a tremendous learning experience and we will just fund raise and start over.

Finally; if the winds do not cooperate, we may try a tracking exercise. One car could take the beaconing cube and drive off. After a twenty minute head start the rest of will try to follow. I’m not sure this would actually work as we will be on the ground and the APRS repeaters/gateways are far and few but we will try to come up with something. I don’t like to think it won’t happen after all the time and money spent but it could get scrubbed. This is the only time I wish I lived in Saskatchewan.

Keep your fingers crossed and if you can, follow us online at aprs.fi


Mike: Please forward this to our SHARP grads.


Robert Striemer
Teacher | Shaftesbury High School
2240 Grant Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada
R3P 0P7
tel: 204.888.5898 | fax: 204.896.5492



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