Cambridge Amateur radio balloon recovered in the Netherlands

James M6JCX reports that the BallastHalo 4 balloon that was launched from Cambridge carrying a 434.073 RTTY beacon has been recovered in the Netherlands by PD3EM.

See pics recovered from the flight here – ( Opens in new window )

See launch video on YouTube

James says – BH4 has been recovered!

More details to follow but many thanks to everyone who has helped out, those who helped out with the launch, helped track it especially those who did some clever long range triangulations while the GPS was dead and then the Dutch Amateur Radio Operators who managed to get the last few lines of telemetry and then find the payload today – special thanks to PD7N for coordinating the reception of telemetry and PD3EM for recovering the payload.

The flight was a partial success, while the GPS lost lock for a considerable part of the flight we have narrowed this down to interference by the pump – something to test on the desk to really solve it. When the gps came back online after the pump had run out of batteries the flight computer was able to count up the number of turns by the pump – it had pumped out over 4500mls of ballast (it would have pumped out the 500mls in the tank and then carried on pumping air – the lack of a lock meant that it did not know when to stop.) The loss of lock showed some gaps in the code that will need to be fixed.

The flight path suggests that the balloon did not get very high and instead began to descend with the balloon intact – most likely we had a leak in the vent which meant that we vented too much helium – a bit of hot glue next time to seal the tube would be the solution to this.

So whats next? They’ll be a break unfortunately – I’ve got to do some revision for my finals! But of course they’ll be a number of launches by different groups in the UK though these probably won’t be planned to leave the UK.

As we didn’t exactly complete the mission aims for BH4 there will certainly be a BH5 – updated to avoid the problems we experienced with BH4 – she’ll fly soon I promise

Thanks again to everyone,

James M6JCX

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