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NTBP #10 Announcement



PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: JOHN GRAHAM, AIRPORT SUPERINTENDENT,
DOUG HOWARD, KG5OA, OR TOMMY DAVIS, W5TCD

AUG 17, 2003 PHONE: (254) 582-3478, OR (817) 346-0381

NORTH TEXAS BALLOON PROJECT ANNOUNCES
PROJECT # 10, THE FLIGHT OF EL FENIX

AMATEUR RADIO GROUP TO FLY HIGH FROM HILLSBORO AIRPORT

On August 30, 2003, Hillsboro Municipal Airport will be the location for
the 10th mission of the North Texas Balloon Project (NTBP). In case of bad 
weather/Presidential
delay will launch the next week on September 6, 2003. Two payload
packages constructed of Styrofoam and housing communication devices will be
attached to a weather balloon and lifted aloft to an expected altitude of
100,000 feet. NTBP officials will begin preparations at 7:30 a.m. and
launch the balloon at approximately 9:30 a.m. NTBP's Doug Howard said,
"This is being done mostly for fun. But, this exercise will support the
President's call for Homeland Security and give an opportunity for us to
practice our skills. It involves many different facets of amateur radio and
thus a project that many types of amateur radio operators can enjoy
together. There is also an educational component utilized by scouting
groups, because it can be counted towards several different merit badges,
as well as by teachers for science experiments."

Funding Sources - Generally, The Lockheed Martin Amateur Radio Club members
provide all of the funding for the launches. However, it is worth noting
that NTBP has not done a launch in about 5 years and many of in the 
organization
thought it would never launch again. NTBP decided to dub this mission El 
Fenix,
after the Beautiful Bird that rises from the ashes, and have received 
permission
from the restaurant chain to use their logo and name, as a sponsorship 
decoration on
the side of our package (and anywhere else we like) in association with
this activity. So we have a bit of sponsorship/advertising support from El
Fenix restaurants.

The equipment used normally has a communications range of about 25 miles,
but that range will be increased to about 500 miles when at altitude. Radio
operators from all over Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas will be able
to communicate with each other using the equipment. An onboard GPS receiver
will beacon its position once a minute. A television transmitter will show 
video from
two cameras, one pointed up at the balloon and the other pointed back at 
the earth,
to observe the ride to altitude. From that altitude, the curvature of the 
earth is visible.
A 35mm camera will also take photographs every four minutes throughout the
flight. Two other devices will provide for two-way communications for ham
radio operators. After reaching approximately 100,000 feet in about 90
minutes, the balloon will expand to its maximum volume and finally burst,
free falling back to Earth in about 25 minutes riding on a pre-deployed
parachute. Mobile recovery teams will use position reports from the
onboard GPS and radio direction finding techniques to recover the payloads.

NTBP is a group of amateur (HAM) radio operators from Fort Worth, based at
the Lockheed Martin Amateur Radio Club and since 1991 has also launched
balloons from Cleburne and Clifton Municipal Airports. The public is
invited to come out to the Hillsboro Municipal Airport, located at Exit 3
on Interstate Highway 35W, to watch the launch. For more information
contact Mr. Dave Heald with the Hillsboro Municipal Airport at (254) 582- 3731.

Communications:

Crossband FM repeater Uplink 445.800 MHz - Downlink 147.56 MHz
GPS Data Downlink 144.39 MHz (KG5OA-11)
Simplex Parrot Repeater 146.500 MHz
FM ATV 1255 MHz

There will also be a 35mm still camera with a timer taking pictures
about once every 3.5 minutes

HF Launch Net 7.230 MHz

Doug Howard - KG5OA
2517 Coldstream Drive
Fort Worth, TX 76123-1239

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