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SkyQuest balloon signal blankets New England

The SkyQuest 3 balloon with its dual mode CW/RTTY controller
made a nice leisurely 3+ hour flight over southern New England
and the Atlantic Ocean Sunday afternoon under cloudy bright
skies.  Launch time 1:29 EDT, 17:29 UTC.  SkyQuest 3 weight
with parachute and battery was *7.5 ounces*.

A full SSB ground station (for CW and OOK RTTY) was in operation at 
the Taunton, Massachusetts office of the National Weather Service for 
its open house.  Lots of youngsters were on hand enjoying the free
complimentary balloons.  

As usual, balloon launches are show stoppers at these events and a
sizeable and attentive crowd formed around the balloon and the 4 man
launch crew as we set up the inflation equipment. I gave a short talk
explaining what we were going to do mentioning the role of ham radio,
answered a few questions, and then got down to business. 

The balloon headed west because of the unusually persistent
east winds that have been around for days -- that meant it recrossed 
near the launch point sometime after.  Signals were heard at NWS for
almost the entire flight (3.5 hours of signals at Taunton using a 
5/8 wave whip up 8 feet above ground level).

Paul Kelley, N1BUG in Milo, Maine 220 miles distant turned in a super 
reception log showing balloon payload inside and outside temperature, 
via CW, that spanned about an hour and a half minute by minute.  This 
was using a "heavy metal" moonbounce class array of yagis comprising 
64 elements.

This kind of antenna was not required, and a station at Orono,
Maine almost as far was using a very simple antenna and also
copied the signals.  Other reports have come in from New Hampshire 
and Massachusetts.  The 220 mile report means that all of New
England was in range, plus Canada, New York, and New Jersey.

Ron Moniz, K1CI of Rhode Island listening in Massachusetts
submitted a CW derived telemetry log and an audio tape.  
Charlie Bresnahan, N1UGE of Pocasset, MA on Cape Cod made an 
audio tape and may have heard the very last low altitude signals 
from SkyQuest just before it hit land or water.

Much temperature profile data from SkyQuest 3 needs to be
interpreted and graphed; also an estimation made of where SQ3 may 
have landed.  This will eventually end up on the SkyQuest/HABLIC 
website, but it will take maybe a week.  Pictures will also be 

Priority is given to responding to reception reports, and secondly
to updating lists such as this one.  Negative reception results
are valuable data, so if you tried and didn't hear a signal, please
let us know.  Include your location, time listened, and a general
idea of your station equipment (things like HT, home SSB station
with 7 element vertical yagi, or 80 foot parabolic steerable dish).

Thanks to everyone who has already filed reports.


HABLIC: "All balloon launches, all the time"

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