highaltitude.log.20100414

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[07:05] <Traveler9> Hello
[07:05] <natrium42> hi :)
[07:06] <Traveler9> I'm looking for good retrieval systems for balloon payloads.
[07:06] <natrium42> where are you based?
[07:06] <Traveler9> Seems like the best is a SPOT but that's way too expensive
[07:06] <Traveler9> Texas
[07:06] <natrium42> got a ham license?
[07:06] <Traveler9> Nope :P
[07:06] <Traveler9> If it comes down to it we will work to get one
[07:07] <natrium42> ok, well, you can use license free modules
[07:07] <natrium42> just need a radio
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[07:07] <Traveler9> So far our best idea has been using a GPS enabled cell phone but coverage is a tad spotty.
[07:07] <natrium42> do you want tracking throughout the flight or just the landing location?
[07:08] <Traveler9> We really just need landing location
[07:08] <natrium42> yah, that's the problem with cell phones
[07:08] <natrium42> you could use a higher gain antenna
[07:08] <Traveler9> I'm going to put a tracker in the whole thing for just logging the flight path but really just need the landing location
[07:09] <natrium42> you could check how good the coverage is in predicted landing spot
[07:09] <Traveler9> Before we get into all of it... our budget for communication is about $100...
[07:09] <Traveler9> Coverage appears "Great" but would like at least a backup method
[07:09] <Traveler9> I found a phone I can get for about $40 from Boost Mobile
[07:10] <Traveler9> Basically been looking at this: http://space.1337arts.com/
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[07:10] <natrium42> okay
[07:10] <natrium42> adding external antenna might help
[07:10] <natrium42> if the phone has an antenna connector
[07:11] <Traveler9> They just hacked into it and it looks like they put a wifi antenna into it
[07:12] <Traveler9> nevermind: this phone does have an external connector
[07:13] <Traveler9> Is the gps-cellphone method reliable?
[07:14] <natrium42> yes, if the coverage is good
[07:15] <natrium42> it might also be a good idea to power cycle the phone periodically, just in case
[07:15] <Traveler9> http://www.boostmobile.com/coverage/
[07:15] <Traveler9> La Grange, Texas
[07:15] <Traveler9> target LZ
[07:16] <natrium42> also, your payload better survive the landing
[07:16] <Traveler9> It should
[07:16] <natrium42> since cellphone only starts working below 1km or so
[07:17] <Traveler9> We have not actually built anything yet.
[07:17] <Traveler9> Thought that communications was the best place to start
[07:17] <natrium42> yah
[07:17] <natrium42> i have been using the gm862-gps modules
[07:17] <natrium42> as a backup
[07:18] <natrium42> they can actually run the whole payload as you get a python interpreter on the module
[07:18] <Traveler9> Nice....
[07:18] <Traveler9> But here's the thing
[07:19] <Traveler9> Due to the sometimes spotty reception in the area, we want a radio-based method as well.
[07:19] <natrium42> radio also gives tracking though out the flight
[07:19] <Traveler9> It seems like it's within FCC guidelines to be able to manually request a data packet from the payload's radio every 30 seconds or so
[07:20] <natrium42> what kind of radio?
[07:20] <Traveler9> using just the normal radios you can get at radioshack, the liscense free ones.
[07:20] <Traveler9> We found a pair with about 17 miles LOS
[07:20] <natrium42> not much...
[07:21] <Traveler9> enough to give us an idea of where it goes down if we lose LOS. Idea is we drive to the predicted LZ and hopefully have radio range
[07:21] <Traveler9> *i think*
[07:21] <Traveler9> never actually done this before
[07:22] <Traveler9> We would set up a pair of modems to transmit the data over airwaves.
[07:22] <Traveler9> Thoughts?
[07:22] <natrium42> not sure you can use data on CB
[07:22] <natrium42> WB8ELK had success with these transmitters --> http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8946
[07:22] <natrium42> just need a ham radio on the ground
[07:23] <natrium42> to receive
[07:23] <natrium42> http://home.hiwaay.net/~bbrown/projects.htm
[07:23] <natrium42> so make some ham friends and gain access to a radio :P
[07:23] <natrium42> or get a used one from ebay
[07:24] <natrium42> guys in the UK are using this module --> http://www.radiometrix.co.uk/products/ntx2nrx2.htm
[07:25] <natrium42> record range was over 400km
[07:25] <natrium42> (with a ham radio on the ground)
[07:26] <Traveler9> Well, here's our thought:
[07:27] <Traveler9> You can buy walkie-talkies with like 10mile range LOS that have GPS capabilities, that is, I can see where you are from your GPS coords
[07:27] <Traveler9> This is done by me sending a data request and your walkie talkie sending a reply
[07:27] <Traveler9> Replies must be less than 1 second and only 1 every 30 seconds
[07:27] <natrium42> ah, hmm
[07:28] <natrium42> might be worth a try
[07:28] <Traveler9> So our idea was to build our own system this way.
[07:29] <Traveler9> Did you have a chance to look at that coverage map?
[07:30] <natrium42> dunno whether to trust it :P
[07:30] <Traveler9> True
[07:30] <natrium42> there will always be some risk anyway
[07:30] <Traveler9> think the only way to try for sure is to just drive around
[07:31] <Traveler9> Yeah. Would be a real shame to send this up and lose it... how often does that happen and why?
[07:32] <natrium42> it happens when you try new things
[07:32] <natrium42> that's why it's good to have a known good backup tracker
[07:33] <grumbel_> or when it flies out to the sea ;)
[07:33] <Traveler9> So if you had $100 to use to set up a reliable tracker or locator, what would you do.
[07:34] <earthshine> get more money
[07:35] <natrium42> grumbel_, he's in texas though :P
[07:35] <natrium42> he could land on private land XD
[07:36] <grumbel_> heh, true
[07:36] <Traveler9> I'm tempted to just try what http://space.1337arts.com did and hope I land somewhere with decent cell connectivity
[07:36] <earthshine> risky
[07:37] <Traveler9> Yeah...
[07:38] <Traveler9> Seriously though, what do you think the best method for around $100 is?
[07:38] <earthshine> I bought one of these as my backup - http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B003CIFGCO/ref=oss_product
[07:39] <earthshine> it sens an SMS with its locations every X minutes
[07:39] <natrium42> http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.22968
[07:39] <natrium42> is a little cheaper
[07:40] <Traveler9> but you still need cell coverage
[07:40] <natrium42> indeed
[07:40] <Traveler9> http://www.findmespot.com/en/ is what I would love to use but it's $250
[07:41] <natrium42> :P
[07:41] Action: natrium42 has extended his service recently
[07:41] <Traveler9> with spot?
[07:41] <natrium42> yeah
[07:41] <Traveler9> Seems like the very best way to recover the payload
[07:42] <earthshine> that one is no good - it needs 12v
[07:42] <Traveler9> Well, in vain I sent an email to SPOT about 3 hours ago asking if there was any chance they could sponsor our school project or something...
[07:43] <Traveler9> but oh well
[07:43] <Traveler9> And we always have our possibly-borderline-illegal sending GPS data over a long-range walkie talkie
[07:43] <natrium42> hehe
[07:44] <Traveler9> Last question: how accurate do these LZ prediction things tend to be, and what do you use?
[07:45] <natrium42> http://www.srcf.ucam.org/~cuspaceflight/predict/
[07:46] <natrium42> i'd say 10km or so
[07:46] <Traveler9> oh really? So i might actually get walkie-talkie signal if I go to the lz
[07:47] <natrium42> assuming you get all the parameters right
[07:50] <Traveler9> drat
[07:51] <Traveler9> Hopefully SPOT will take mercy... or maybe you could let me borrow yours (:D)
[07:53] <natrium42> if you pay shipping
[07:53] <Traveler9> ...
[07:53] <Traveler9> Seriously?
[07:54] <natrium42> sure, why not
[07:54] <natrium42> just get the rest of the system together
[07:54] <natrium42> balloon, chute, cameras
[07:55] <Traveler9> So you'd actually let me borrow what comes to about $250 for this thing?
[07:55] <natrium42> yeah
[07:55] <Traveler9> cool, that's pretty neat.
[07:56] <Traveler9> Well, it's 2 AM here.... you always in thish channel?
[07:56] <natrium42> yah, usually
[07:57] <natrium42> athough working some university projects lately...
[07:57] <natrium42> there's always email
[07:57] <Traveler9> Well, thanks! When we end up getting this together in the summer I might just give you a shout...
[07:57] <Traveler9> Your email?
[07:57] <natrium42> natrium on gmail
[07:58] <natrium42> np
[07:59] <natrium42> well, bed time
[07:59] <natrium42> g'nite
[07:59] <Traveler9> sent
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[07:59] <Traveler9> Would natrium really do that?
[08:09] <earthshine> Of course - he's a real nice guy
[08:09] <earthshine> just take care of his gear or he'll stick your nuts in a blender
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[09:20] <jonsowman> :q
[09:20] <jonsowman> oops.
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[18:22] <jcoxon> silly zeusbot
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[18:38] <jcoxon> evening all
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[18:52] <Randomskk> have we seen http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=9723
[18:57] <jcoxon> i haven't :-)
[18:58] <SpeedEvil> IIRC laurenceb mentioned it a bit ago
[18:58] <SpeedEvil> the ST part with integrated magno and gyro looks fun
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[19:06] Action: LazyLeopard was pointed at http://www.altusmetrum.org/TeleMetrum/ recently. Aimed at folks launching rockets, apparently...
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[19:19] <earthshine> hi
[19:19] <earthshine> junderwood: I'm here
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[19:26] <earthshine> rjharrison: ping
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[20:03] <junderwood_> earthshine, did you have any luck getting your FSA-03 to work?
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[20:40] <earthshine> Back
[20:40] <earthshine> junderwood you there ?
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[20:44] <fot> hi
[20:48] <jcoxon> hi fot
[20:49] <Upu> evening
[20:49] <fot> i was wondering about hydrogen balloons
[20:49] <fot> is h2 more permeable than helium?
[20:51] <jcoxon> fot, i actually think H2 is less permeable but i'm not sure why
[20:52] <fot> i would have thought it was more permeable as a lighter molecule, but i could be that it is a bigger molecule
[20:55] <jcoxon> yeh
[20:57] <fot> well then is it not a better gas
[21:00] <jcoxon> its cheaper and has more lift
[21:00] <jcoxon> so it is a better gas, though it does have the stigma attached about safety
[21:02] <fot> i see that as only a small problem if there isn't a human payload, there is little source for ignition so it is relatively safe and has big pros
[21:03] <Upu> big explosions normally come with stigmas attached :)
[21:03] <earthshine> big explosions tend to happen at ground level too
[21:04] <fot> but not on take off
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[21:05] <fot> on docking
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[21:09] <jcoxon> wow 51 on a week night
[21:09] Nick change: jonsowman_away -> jonsowman
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[21:16] <earthshine> junderwood_: Yes, the FSA03 works perfectly.
[21:16] <jcoxon> i've got it working with my atlas flight computer
[21:16] <earthshine> They are nice units. My patio window seems to block the satellites quite well so I need to take it outside to gain lock sometimes. But then I can bring it back in and it will frun just fine.
[21:17] <earthshine> It locks on really fast
[21:18] <jcoxon> yeah
[21:27] <stilldavid> hey all, picking up my hab project again after abandoning it several months ago
[21:27] <stilldavid> think this would make a good tracking antenna for 434mhz: http://www.dxengineering.com/Parts.asp?PartNo=DIA-A430S10
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[21:30] <FutFutFut> Hi Everyone
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[21:31] <FutFutFut> I've noticed on the balloon details page that you get get quite high on a small balloon with not much Helium in it (well the value are for Hydrogen)
[21:31] <FutFutFut> This is Neil (Futurity) btw, but i've left myself logged in at work
[21:32] <FutFutFut> has anyone tried using the smallest balloons in the list? Are their any problems using them? I only ask because jcoxon, steve (sorry don't know his IRC sign), etc all seem to use HUGE balloons, I guess due to their big payloads
[21:34] <jcoxon> stilldavid, yeah that looks good
[21:34] <jcoxon> FutFutFut, well you need to check out the balloon details
[21:34] <jcoxon> they are on the wiki
[21:34] <FutFutFut> yep
[21:34] <jcoxon> size of the balloon is really a trade off between payload weight and altitude
[21:35] <FutFutFut> but apart for the lift differencies, those small balloons are still latex? still stretch ok? They just burst at a lower altitude?
[21:35] <jcoxon> exactly
[21:35] <FutFutFut> cool
[21:35] <FutFutFut> i just wondered if they were just really bad or something
[21:35] <jcoxon> well you want one thats 200g or over
[21:35] <FutFutFut> cool so i can start really small with not much helium ;)
[21:36] <jcoxon> less then 200g are a slightly different type
[21:36] <FutFutFut> i see
[21:36] <FutFutFut> i was thinking of going for the smallest on the list and making a very simple very light payload
[21:37] <FutFutFut> but i guess the parachute is quite heavy even though the payload may be very light indeed (a transmitter and battery)
[21:37] <jcoxon> whats the smallest on the list?
[21:37] <FutFutFut> i can't remember now lol
[21:37] <FutFutFut> sorry, being called away by the wive
[21:38] <FutFutFut> i apparently must spend time in front of the tv or else
[21:38] <FutFutFut> i'll read up more tomorrow
[21:38] <FutFutFut> thanks for the help :)
[21:38] <FutFutFut> *wife
[21:38] <FutFutFut> ttfn
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[21:38] <jcoxon> hehe
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[22:14] <LazyLeopard> stilldavid: That's the antenna I've been using.
[22:17] <stilldavid> cool. I don't know if I'm up for building my own just yet
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[22:23] <earthshine> I built one
[22:23] <earthshine> it's a bit wonky but it works well
[22:24] <earthshine> Cool - http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2010/04/02_robot%20.shtml
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[00:00] --- Thu Apr 15 2010