NORTH TEXAS BALLOON PROJECT
Summer 2008, Hillsboro, Texas
Flight 16 The Newman
Family Memorial Flight
The North Texas Balloon
Project (NTBP) Flight 16 is planned for launch at 8:30 am CDT on Saturday,
August 9, 2008. The backup launch date will be Saturday, August 16, 2008. Both
primary and backup dates will launch from the
Hillsboro Municipal Airport
(32.0835 N 97.0971W), in Hillsboro, Texas, just south of Fort Worth and Dallas.
Flight status will be available on launch day on HF launch net frequency and the
The high altitude balloon carrying amateur
radio experiments is expected to reach 100,000 feet in about 90 minutes and
return via parachute in about 60 minutes. Mobile recovery teams will use
position reports from the onboard APRS, call sign W5SJZ-11 on 144.390 MHz and
RDF (fox hunting) to recover the payloads.
Set up will begin at 7:00 am prior to launch
the HF Launch Net on 7260 +/- 5 kHz LSB starting at 8:00 am. The cross band
repeater uses an uplink at 445.800 MHz and downlink at 147.560 MHz.
The public is invited to come out to the
Hillsboro Municipal Airport, located at Exit 3 on Interstate Highway 35W, to
watch the launch, flight status, and downlink video. In the event of unfavorable
weather or jet stream conditions, the launch will occur at a later date. For the
latest information check the Internet at
Handheld VHF radios and scanners can receive
the downlink easily. At the peak altitude ham radio operators from Texas,
Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Kansas can contact each other using the cross
The radios used normally have a range of about
25 miles, but that range will be extended to about 500 miles at the peak
NTBP is a group of amateur (HAM) radio
operators from Fort Worth and Dallas and has launched balloons from Cleburne,
Clifton, and Hillsboro Airports since 1991. This is the first launch during this
last year and is funded by the amateur radio operators associated with the NTBP.
Please send an email to
for further information or to make reports during or after the actual launch.
Shuttle Package Description
The shuttle package is intended to be used as
a part of each NTBP mission. It contains an Automatic Position Reporting System
(APRS) and a Radio Direction Finding (RDF) Beacon. The APRS consists of a
Motorola Oncore VP GPS receiver, a tiny tracker, and a Yaesu VX-2 HT which will
automatically report the position of the balloon once every minute on the
standard APRS frequency of 144.390 MHz. The RDF Beacon is a Yaesu VX-2 HT and a
Parallax BASIC Stamp voice controller transmitting on 145.560. A Trimble GPS
send data streams to the BASIC Stamp voice controller. The voice controller
reports latitude, longitude, altitude, speed, direction of travel, and both
inside and outside temperatures. Lithium battery pack powers the BASIC Stamp.
The radios use their internal batteries. The battery pack is the only component
that needs to be replaced between each mission. The Shuttle package has been
miniaturized and weighs 4 pound.
Cross band Repeater Description
The cross band repeater package has two Yaesu
VX-2 HTís and a NHRC-mini low power, low cost repeater controller. One HT is for
receive the other is for transmit. The controller handles all necessary
identifications needed for the repeater. The controller is powered with a 9v
battery. The radios use their internal batteries. The uplink frequency is
445.800 and the downlink is 147.560.
Summary will be posted
following scheduled debriefing August 24, 2008. 2:00 LMRA Clubhouse.