PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no GPS

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VK3YT
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PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no GPS

Post by VK3YT » Sun Dec 13, 2015 7:31 pm

Hi all,

PS-56 was leased on Sat 28 Nov, two weeks ago, with a GPS failure after launch.
As the result the payload only sends out CW at 15wpm with the following format

“VK3YT QF22 0000 xxxx”

Where xxxx is the battery voltage in mV. No GPS, JT9, or WSPR data was transmitted.
The frequency of transmission is around 8-10min, in sunlight. The CW signal is around the 1000Hz mark with the dial frequency at 10.1387Mhz.

It was tracked by Bob ZL1RS for about a week, using directional antenna, and correlation between battery voltage and the sun’s gray line.
It was out of range around South America as expected.

PS-56 has just been heard by Bob again tonight, and the estimated position is somewhere between WA and South Africa.
Signal is still too weak for Bob to decode.

We would appreciate any signal report for PS-56, either audible, visible, or decoded CW. Please include the RX time.

A sample of the signal is shown here:

Image

Andy VK3YT
Last edited by VK3YT on Sun Dec 13, 2015 7:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by VK4ALF » Sun Dec 13, 2015 7:52 pm

Not good it failed but gives us something different to listen out for

Thanks for all your hard work Andy
Len Falknau VK4ALF

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by ZL1RS » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:11 pm

Our 'dead reckoning' position of 'somewhere between WA and South Africa' has been proved by us to be completely wrong! Further observation of the very distinct waterfall patterns and the propagation characteristics of the last two nights indicate it is highly likely that PS-56 is over the Atlantic Ocean, and possibly between the eastern-most tip of Brazil and the west coast of Africa.

73,
Bob, ZL1RS in the Bay of Islands at RF64vs
http://www.qsl.net/zl1rs

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by VK5EI » Sat Dec 19, 2015 8:52 pm

Not sure if it is PS-56 but I saw a trace at 10:41 and again now at 10:49

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by ZL1RS » Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:24 am

Yes Joe, PS-56 indeed. John VK2FAK got some interesting screen shots of the same thing at that time. This morning I grabbed the following screen shots of the signal while receiving it on my SSW Beverage ... there is no doubt!

Image


Image

73,
Bob, ZL1RS in the Bay of Islands at RF64vs
http://www.qsl.net/zl1rs

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by ZL1RS » Sun Dec 20, 2015 6:11 am

Considering the 'wake up' sequence was transmitted at around 17:40 UTC, PS-56 must have been about 1 hour after sun rise. Taking into account the best signal by far from here was on the SSW Beverage, I suspect the following general location ...

Image

73,
Bob, ZL1RS in the Bay of Islands at RF64vs
http://www.qsl.net/zl1rs

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by VK3YT » Sun Dec 20, 2015 9:55 am

Hi all,

After looking at all the available data, we can say with a large degree of certainty that PS-56 completed its navigation of Southern Hemisphere this morning, and is still going!

Details at http://picospace.net/?p=1050

Thanks everyone for assistance with tracking.

Andy VK3YT

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by VK3KCX » Sun Dec 20, 2015 12:12 pm

Hi Andy, you just know that this will be the one that lasts for three months, I'm sure this will be the one...it's always the way.

- David

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by ZL1RS » Sun Dec 20, 2015 1:22 pm

03:16 UTC ... RST 449 in the headphones on the Beverage pointed at 150 degrees azimuth ... visible on the waterfall but unreadable on the 220 degree Bev, and not even visible on the waterfall on the 095 degree phased Beverage array in that direction.

:popcorn:

73,
Bob, ZL1RS in the Bay of Islands at RF64vs
http://www.qsl.net/zl1rs

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by VK4ALF » Sun Dec 20, 2015 7:28 pm

I've caught a few traces from PS-56 but no audible CW
Bob your ears on 10 Mhz are brilliant ...
The minute the sun goes down PS-57 is visible up until midnight .. still going strong
Len Falknau VK4ALF

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by VK5EI » Sun Dec 20, 2015 7:45 pm

Just seen a trace now at 09:43

:D

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by VK5EI » Sun Dec 20, 2015 7:58 pm

and again at 09:49 UTC unable to decode signal too weak for me.

:D

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by VK5EI » Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:39 pm

Managed to receive 5 traces during the gray line period.

The attached screen shot shows the CW beacon trace from PS-56 at 09:59 and the JT9 signal from PS-57

73
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PS-56_and_57_2015_20_12_1002UTC.jpg

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by VK3KCX » Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:10 am

What is the other mode displayed just above the JT9?

- David Pratt
VK3KCX

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by ZL1RS » Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:40 am

That is QRSS FSK CW ... the signal in particular is the start of ZL2IK's callsign. The full callsign is readable in the screen shots further up the page.

This morning PS-56 is still ticking away in CW every 7 or 8 minutes. Strongest signal is on the Beverage pointing to 150 degrees, but the signal strength is picking up on the Beverage array pointed at 095 degrees, so PS-56 is probably SE of ZL at the moment. The CW signal is quite strong here (easy copy in headphones), so it can't be too far away from ZL (guestimate 1000 to 2000km SE of ZL)

73,
Bob, ZL1RS in the Bay of Islands at RF64vs
http://www.qsl.net/zl1rs

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by ZL1RS » Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:17 pm

PS-56 CW is currently pounding away here on the 095 degree Beverage array, and Roger Zl1VCC reported a few minutes ago it as being "loud" in Rotorua ... so probably line-of-sight there.

We are recording the battery voltage readings sent in the Morse code 'reset' string to get an idea of the sunset time at the balloon. Between that and the report from Roger it will be possible to get a fairly accurate position and a run a credible NOAA trajectory prediction for the next few days.

73,
Bob, ZL1RS in the Bay of Islands at RF64vs
http://www.qsl.net/zl1rs

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by ZL1RS » Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:38 pm

There was a sudden drop in battery voltage around 05:50 UTC as a result of the sudden temperature drop at the balloon's sunset. From that and the directional antennas here we deduce that PS-56 is somewhere around 37S x 165W, and the following is the NOAA prediction based on that ...

Image

73,
Bob, ZL1RS in the Bay of Islands at RF64vs
http://www.qsl.net/zl1rs

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by VK5EI » Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:54 pm

1st Trace for the day seen here at 07:48 UTC

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by ZL1RS » Mon Dec 21, 2015 7:11 pm

PS-56 battery is now 'flat' and the controller is slipping in and out of 'sleep mode'. There was no transmission at 08:59 UTC, but the battery recovered enough without the load and PS-56 transmit again at 09:02. Maybe it will TX once or twice more, but otherwise it will be 'asleep' until 1 or 2 hours after sunrise ... perhaps at around 16 UTC.

Here is a screen shot of the PS-56 and PS-57 transmissions from 0900 to 0904 UTC as seen here on the pair of phased Beverages pointed at 095 degrees azimuth ...
PS_20151221_0900UTC.jpg
PS-56 and PS-57
73,
Bob, ZL1RS in the Bay of Islands at RF64vs
http://www.qsl.net/zl1rs

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Re: PS-56 HF pico balloon tracking challenge - CW only, no G

Post by VK5EI » Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:38 pm

Traces seen today 08:17, 08:25 and 08:33 UTC

To weak to read................. I need Bob's ears :D

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