We flew our tracker when Robert from Wotzup gave us the opportunity to fly our tracker as a secondary tracker on his balloon recently. It was a great opportunity to test the tracker as well as the new APRS iGate in the Defender

Launch site - Main street of Weethalle

Launch site – Main street of Weethalle

We launched from Weethalle in Country NSW, the balloon reached a height of 29,879m (98,028feet) before the balloon burst and headed back to earth.

The flight track based on data from the tracker

The flight track based on data from the tracker

The balloon landed in a sheep field not far from the main road.

Landing Location approx not far from the main road

Landing Location not far from the main road

The flight wasnt without some tracking issues and my tracker turned off after it hit the ground as the batteries fell out of their holder. Also the mount for the antenna came off and the polarisation of the antenna was wrong for a large portion of the flight.

Damaged Antenna Mount

Damaged Antenna Mount

The main tracker also had some GPS issues but was still broadcasting so we relied on foxhunting techniques to find the payload. The Tape-measure Yagi built last week came in handy along with the portable TH-D72A radio.

Defender near landing location with Yagi antenna on the foreground

Defender near landing location with Yagi antenna on the foreground

The iGate in the Defender worked very well and was responsible for gating the majority (463/487) of the packets from the tracker to the internet.

Definately learned a few things on this flight and wil make some changes to the tracker to make sure it doesnt turn off on landing.