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Flights Log

c150 - Dec 9, 2017
SOAR - Nov 11, 2017
cleano2-1 - Sept 30, 2017
gishwhes-3 - Aug 9, 2017
gishwhes-1-2 - Aug 10, 2017
CWPerry1 - June 4, 2017
Edison1 - May 27, 2017
UofL1 - March 18, 2017
Arcos3 - Sept 4, 2016
Arcos2 - Aug 20, 2016
ABE-5 - June 18, 2016
27 - May 15, 2016
UCHAB3 - Jan 23, 2016
UCHAB2 - Jan 22, 2016
UCHAB1 - Nov 1, 2015
Eds last flight - May 9, 2015
Icarus - Feb 28, 2015
Sunrise-1 - Nov 23, 2014
Harold Panabake - Oct 23, 2014
Great White - Sept 13, 2014
BunnyLift-1 - July 13, 2014
Lachlan - June 8, 2014
MVA-3 - April 26, 2014
MicroSat-3 - April 13, 2014
MVA 2 - March 13, 2014
CW Beacon 5 - March 8, 2014
MVA 1 (gps) - Feb 7, 2014
MicroSat-2 - Jan 25, 2014
Float-1 - Dec 29, 2013
MicroSat-1 - Oct 26, 2013
GeekTrek1 - Oct 12, 2013
Hawk4 - Oct 5, 2013
Bearlift4 - Sept 28, 2013
Hawk2 - Sept 14, 2013
Hawk1 - Sept 1, 2013
CW Beacon 4 - Aug 5, 2013
Pheonix-4 - Aug 3, 2013
Bear Lift 3 - June 15, 2013
Ontario L2 - June 7, 2013
Ontario L1 - June 5, 2013
CW Beacon 3 - June 1, 2013
ABE-3 - May 18, 2013
CW Beacon 2 - May 12, 2013
Bear Lift 2 - April 28, 2013
Bear Lift 1 - Oct 7, 2012
CW test beacon - Sept 16, 2012
Pheonix-3 - Sept 8, 2012
Pheonix-2 - Aug 25, 2012
Pheonix-1 - July 14, 2012
UnknownName - June 2012

Re: Radio direction Finding

Postby Robert Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:34 pm


That's a big unit.

I don't use RDF. All as my payloads are supposed to come back to me. Even if they don't I still have a GPS coordinate of where they are.

I would upload the two pictures of last years model and this years model, I just need to figure out how to upload a picture as all of my pictures are off line.

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Re: Radio direction Finding

Postby njanzen Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:44 pm

how do your payloads come back to you, I've been working on a GPS autopilot with a controllable parachute.
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Re: Radio direction Finding

Postby Robert Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:27 pm

njanzen wrote:how do your payloads come back to you, I've been working on a GPS autopilot with a controllable parachute.

My first foray into high altitudes was using a powered parachute with a very basic GPS autopilot. Although a good idea, winds being what they are in my neck of the woods we ended up some distance from home simply because of the way powered parachutes fly. With any type of headwind you create lift. An actual parachute with out power works much better but still suffers about 30% none home landings due to head winds. If we dropped it from 80K directly overhead there would be no problem but with balloons we are often 20 to 40 miles down range before we reach max altitude.

So between 2007 and now a small group of us have designed built and tested 4 versions and 21 different upgrades to end up with a full 9DOF IMU GPS autopilot. We are very confident about it's function up to and including just under 18,000 ft. and hopefully this year we will get to try it to 80K.

We started with a powered parachute and have had multiple versions of glider platforms but the Osprey V2 is this years version of powered glider. Because we are limited by lift capacity we will fly the Osprey V2 as bare as we can go with the smallest possible batteries. With a 1600g balloon we are about 650g over the limit so we may need to ask the authorities for a waiver on the maximum weight and or go to a smaller balloon and less altitude. I think the second option is the way it's going to end up.

Here are some pictures of aerial platforms we have used and the new Osprey V2 ... sp=sharing ... sp=sharing ... sp=sharing ... sp=sharing ... sp=sharing ... sp=sharing

Our present system consists of a 600mw FHSS Long Range RC 433mhz transmitter and receiver and a 1W 900mhz FHSS 2 way data radio for the autopilot. This gives us two valid ways of flying the powered glider. We have RC control beyond 20 miles at altitudes exceeding 80K ft. and autopilot control exceeding 40 miles at the same altitude.


There is some controversy over the use of a glider dropped from a balloon. The following excerpt is from an e-mail from 2007 explains the situation.

Hello Robert

I have just finished discussing your plans with the Superintendent - Doug Tomalin. If you are not using your small powered parachute for any commercial activity, so recreational only, then we would consider it to be a model aircraft.

The Canadian Aviation Regulation (CAR) that deals with the operation of a model aircraft is 602.45

602.45 No person shall fly a model aircraft or a kite or launch a model rocket or a rocket of a type used in a fireworks display into cloud or in a manner that is or is likely to be hazardous to aviation safety.

This leaves it up to the flyer of a model aircraft to make sure that they operate safely. When the model is in visual line of site and under the control of the flyer, then this should be relatively easy to accomplish. If you see a hazard you can avoid it. If you are flying the aircraft beyond visual line of site, then there is no way to see and avoid hazards, so complying with this regulation comes very difficult.

I have worked closely with Transport Canada and Nav Canada to be allowed to fly this powered glider at these altitudes. Normally, this is a BIG NO NO. However, I have been granted permission because I fly within a restricted military control zone, am in contact with the military ATC, and have NOTAM's in place for the duration of the flight. The key to being allowed to fly was getting the military to allow me to fly in their restricted airspace.

PLEASE, if you are going to try to do this in any form do it with permission from both federal and local authorities. Any form of controlling a vehicle between 18'000ft and 60,000ft requires Class A Airspace permission granted by either the control zone controller and/or previously cleared by federal authorities with NOTAM's issued.

We are lucky here in Canada to be allowed to fly balloons and payloads like this. Please respect the laws when launching high altitude balloons. I have been advised by the above authorities that the increase in non regulation balloon flights has caused some concern, minor at the present but if we are getting noticed lets be noticed for the right reasons, not the wrong ones. Also continued none regulation balloon flights could also mean stricter regulations and or no balloon launches at all.

The two radios above fall within the 802.1* framework and are completely legal, The addition of a video transmitter for the camera is still up in the air.


Flight Computer - CW beacon

Postby njanzen Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:22 pm

I have tested and launched a proof of concept low power transmitter transmitting my callsign and other data in morse code.

The test was a balloon that i didn't recover using a 8051 PIC and 3 AAA batteries that keyed an oscillator on one of the ham bands that is amplified by a quad input inverter (74HC240N) i was able to track it's < 50 miliwatts upto about 40,000 ft

the test worked well and on my next one i will encode temp and maybe pressure and use more voltage into the finals to get more range.
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Re: Flight Computer - CW beacon

Postby njanzen Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:03 am

Including battery, foam and antenna should be just under 100 grams.
I have also ordered some foil balloons to attempt this project long distance,
should go for multiple days. I'm hoping hams will pick it up and send me QSL
cards or reports by email. This should go across Canada.

*** Please send in signal reports when the balloon is in the air, launch status
will be updated with "CW beacon" when this balloon is in the air.

Transmitting on 28.322mgz the following message (this is actually decoded by
computer software Hamscope)

vvv de ve6ts bcn qth hab rpts to qsl at arawr dot ca tlm t 4 5 5 a 6 2 3
vvv de ve6ts bcn qth hab rpts to qsl at arawr dot ca tlm t 4 5 5 a 6 2 a

vvv: everyone listen up
de: I am
ve6ts: my callsign
bcn: this is a beacon
qth hab: my location is HAB (high altitude balloon)
rpts to: please send reports to
qsl at arawr dot ca:
tlm: Telemetry
t 4 5 5: inside temp is 455 (455 ticks) about 19 C
a 6 2 3: outside temp is 623 (623 ticks) about 19 C

Manual RDF antenna

Postby njanzen Sun May 19, 2013 9:58 pm

I built this 2 meter RDF antenna using an old tape measure and superpex. I made it to fold up for travel.

it weights 200 grams.





Gas handling offer Postby njanzen Wed Jan 09, 2013 7:44 pm For anyone who is looking to launch a balloon in the Calgary and area, I have both a Hydrogen filling system and Helium filing system and will help you with your launch in providing the gas at cost as a volunteer. please contact me for more information

I bit the bullet and went all out on a commercial system from: I purchased their mobile setup with GPS I decided i didn't need a serial radio and ordered a BCT15X from

Wanted Inexpensive pressure sensor (analog output) Postby njanzen Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:04 pm Wanted Inexpensive pressure sensor for connecting to an adc on my flight computer. so far the cheapest i have found is: digikey part number: 480-3301-ND SENSOR 15 PSI ABS 5V these cost about $35 each which is alot
How about this. We used this for two years until I switched to different long range gear. Robert

VE6SRV Postby VE6SRV Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:57 pm Greetings from Edmonton, I'm James VE6SRV. I've been actively involved in HAB since the turn of the century... (Makes you sound old when you say that!). I watched the Vernon crew led by Wilf Mulder VE7OHM launch the Vernon Balloon Experiments (VBX), and decided that they shouldn't have all the fun. So I pestered a few locals that I knew would be easily swayed, and got the Balloon Experiments with Amateur Radio (BEAR) team together. We researched as much as we could about Environment Canada launches, and did some direction finding on their radiosondes. We launched a few payloads in 2000, and then went on hiatus. In 2006 Tony Rafaat contacted us about doing some launches with a school, and the SABLE project was born. SABLE-3 caught worldwide attention, and since then we've been working with a number of different groups and individuals across Canada, and around the world getting HAB groups going. I am actively involved in building out the APRS digipeater network around the Edmonton area, and helping others get their digipeater networks optimized across Canada and the United States. I've also started into flying a PPG which could be used to support payload recovery in areas where terrestrial search may not easily find the payload. James VE6SRV

VE5BNC Postby VE5BNC Wed May 01, 2013 11:32 am Hi everyone Looks like I never introduced myself. I'm Bruce in Saskatoon. I've been a member of the Saskatoon Amateur Radio Club since I got my license 1992. I've always been more of a builder than an operator and have been active in VHF, satellite, ATV, packet and APRS. Late in 2007 Gus - VE5SPI(SK) and I were having coffee and he brought up the idea of flying high altitude balloons. A couple of sips later and I as hooked. Together with Bob - VE5RGM (now VE7RGM) we spent the rest of the winter researching and planning our first flight. It all culminated in our first flight in May of 2008 ( It's been a wild ride ever since. This year we're looking forward to new projects and our 19th flight. 73, Bruce - VE5BNC VE5BNC

Here is a launch from environment Canada done by Rick Mercer The following is a excerpt from his show: