Saturday, 23 April 2016

YRARC Board of Directors - Minutes 2016-03-15

Meeting held in the Magna Centre, Multipurpose Room1. Called to Order at 19:00 by Chris VE3NRT. Board members attending: Chris VE3NRT, Steve VE3UT, John VA3JI, Rob VE3RQB, Alf VA3BLE, Doug VE3ATP, Barry VA3LLT, David VA3DCY. Absent: Geoff VA3GS, Eric VE3EB. Others attending: none
  1. Agenda: Chris VE3NRT. Moved by Rob VE3RQB, seconded by Steve VE3UT to adopt the agenda. Carried
  2. Minutes: David VA3DCY. Moved by Alf VA3BLE, seconded by Rob VE3RQB to adopt minutes of Board Meeting date 2016/02/16. Carried
  3. Repeaters: Steve VE3UT
    • The installation of backup batteries at VE3YRC-U (Richmond Hill) and VE3YRC-V (Aurora) is complete for repeaters and link radios.
    • We have two working RC85 controllers which have been repaired by Bruce VE3BV.
    • Questions were asked, should we sell them or keep or keep the for backups, and should we buy a backup 7330 controller with the proceeds from a possible sale?
    • Moved by Steve VE3UT, seconded by John VA3JI that we sell the RC85 controllers.
    • Moved by Barry VA3LLT, seconded by Rob VE3RQB that voting be deferred until after the PIC discussion. Motion carried by a vote of 4 for and 3 against the motion.
    • Doug VE3ATP raised the possibility of linking our repeaters with VE3PIC, still operating as an analogue repeater.
    • Moved by John VA3JI, seconded by Steve VE3UT that we ask Steve VE3EZ to approach Rick Smiles VE3IU about the possibility of linking with our repeaters. Carried. Chris checked the bylaws and confirmed that a simple majority is sufficient to pass a motion.
  4. HamWAN, Trillium and MESH: Chris VE3NRT. There has been recent discussions on the YRARC Yahoo group about MESH. Chris noted that there is another option available for for linking sites with a digital network or MAN (metropolitan area network). The equipment used would be a weatherproof MicroTIK access point, mounted on a parabolic grid antenna, and connected to a power supply and network (inside) by a single CAT5 cable. The MicroTIK operates at 5GHz with a maximum power of 1.3W. Cost is approximately $100 US for the access point and $100 for a grid antenna. The proposed used would be to link EOC sites, with possible funding from a Trillium grant. Details can be found at
  5. Property: Rob VE3RQB. Rob will buy a BBQ at Home Depot to replace the defunct club barbecue. The purchase was approved in August 2015, motion number 2015-08-18-3b.He will talk to the owner of Cameron Canopies about the purchase of fittings for a shelter. There was discussion about the loan of a radio to a new member, however it was agreed that loaning the radio should not be a problem.
  6. Membership: Alf VA3BLE. We currently have a total of 77 members, with 74 voting members.
  7. Treasurer's Report: John VA3JI.
    • Opening Balance 2016/02/29 [Available to members on request to the club secretary]
    • Income: None
    • Expenditures: Directors and Officers Insurance $649.08
    • Closing Balance 2016/02/16 [Available to members on request to the club secretary]
    • Motion 2016-03-15-7 moved by John VA3JI seconded by Steve VE3UT to pay the directors and officers insurance. Carried.
  8. Field Day: Steve VE3UT. There was a discussion about the upcoming field day, and Steve has agreed to continue as coordinator, however he needs an assistant. In addition there are new positions for this year including Safety Officer, which could be filled by David VA3DCY, and a Social Media Officer, which could be filled by Chris VE3NRT.
  9. Meeting adjourned at 21:33 Moved Alf VA3BLE, seconded Barry VA3LLT. Carried

Friday, 22 April 2016

The Voyage Home?

The final transmission of the day from the VE3KCL S-9 balloon at 0837Z today reported it over the North end of the Sea of Japan. It is travelling between the Asiatic Russian mainland and the island of Sakhalin, where on September 1st, 1983 Korean Airlines flight 7 was shot down by a Soviet fighter.

Current direction is Northeast (towards the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Aleutians) with a speed of 40 knots. It was just off the mainland when it shut down for the night and current direction and speed will have crossed the island within 3 hours and entered the Sea of Okhotsk, where we'll probably see it when it wakes up this evening (North American Eastern time).

During the day its messages were received by Austrian, New Zealand and Japanese stations, with most reports coming from JQ2WDO, according to the WSPRnet database.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

What a Long Strange Trip it's been

The S-9 balloon is still going strong. After travelling across the Black Sea into Turkey the GPS failed, which caused the WSPR and JT-9 modes to stop working properly as they're dependent on accurate time. Some signals were picked up although there are few WSPR receiving stations across all of Asia. Signals are mostly being picked up now by a station in Sweden and a couple of New Zealand hams, usually during grey line conditions. Here are the most recent spots of the primary WSPR signal.

This is from the WSPR reporting site.

2016-04-21 11:02VE3KCL10.140277-224ON440.02ZL1RSRF64vs11008132
2016-04-21 10:38VE3KCL10.140270-19-1ON450.02ZL1RSRF64vs11081131
2016-04-21 10:26VE3KCL10.140277-26-4ON350.02ZL2ABNRE78kv11750134
2016-04-21 10:26VE3KCL10.140273-19-4ON350.02ZL1RSRF64vs11199130
2016-04-21 00:14VE3KCL10.140265-26-4NO770.02SM0EPX/RX2JO89si4255307
2016-04-20 13:02VE3KCL10.140263-22-4MP830.02ZL1RSRF64vs13791102
2016-04-20 13:02VE3KCL10.140264-22-4MP830.02ZL1RS2RF64vt13787102
2016-04-20 13:02VE3KCL10.140267-24-4MP830.02ZL2ABNRE78kv14387105
2016-04-20 12:38VE3KCL10.140257-212MP830.02ZL1RSRF64vs13791102
2016-04-20 12:38VE3KCL10.140259-211MP830.02ZL1RS2RF64vt13787102
2016-04-20 12:38VE3KCL10.140261-232MP830.02ZL2ABNRE78kv14387105
Query time: 0.007 sec

The GPS recovered after travelling through the Middle East leading to speculation that the GPS failed due to jamming signals in the war zone. Fortunately when it woke up the following morning all was well again although tracking was unavailable through much of the day due to propagation conditions not favouring the 16 milliwatt signal.

The predictions based on winds and the next location the balloon was heard shows it crossing Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. It was then spotted in Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, having crossed Uzbekistan whilst out of range of the receiving stations. It then spent a couple of days looping through Russia.

The latest report on the tracking web site shows that the balloon has almost crossed Mongolia and about to enter Northeastern China travelling East Southeast which might take it over North Korea or even back into Russia where it sidles down the coast East of China. The distance traveled is now more than 36,000 km and the altitude is still around 10,000 metres so there is no sign of a problem.

If the current wind speed and direction are maintained it could well be over the North Pacific on its way back to North America. I hope to pick it up on WSPR or JT9 once that happens.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Heading for Asia

Having just made landfall in France before shutting down last night, balloon S-9 woke up this morning over Hungary, presumably having travelled over Austria and Germany, and possibly Switzerland. So far today it has also crossed Romania, clipping Moldova and Ukraine along the way. It is now over the shores of the Black Sea, on a track towards Turkey. It has also picked up a little altitude at 10,100 metres, a bit higher than it was when over the Atlantic.

With about 3 more hours (as of 0900 EDT) of good sunlight left, it has a good chance of making it to Turkey before shutting down for the night.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Landfall in Europe

The balloon has crossed Portugal and Spain and is heading for the Bordeaux region of France (a personal favourite of mine!). It is only 80 metres lower than it was a couple of days ago, having climbed somewhat since yesterday. I surmise this is because we've moved into an area with higher barometric pressure. If the on-board altimeter were a barometric type, that wouldn't matter, but using GPS to measure altitude means that the actual altitude will be reported, which will be at the atmospheric density where the balloon's buoyancy and weight are at equilibrium.

Now we can see how many countries the balloon can visit during its lifetime. As far as I can tell, this is a record duration flight of all of them so far.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Europe Bound?

VE3KCL's S-9 Balloon Experiment has certainly been making the rounds of the North Atlantic, first doing a loop around Greenland, then another around Iceland before almost returning to the point where it passed by Newfoundland in the first 24 hours of its journey, although it is now travelling in the opposite direction.

You can see in the map below the most likely nighttime path has been added to the map in blue, while the daytime path, reported by the on board GPS, is shown in red. The night time paths are calculated from NOAA wind predictions, as explained on the web page.

Last night's path hasn't been added yet but it is fairly easy to imagine. The last report yesterday was somewhat Southeast of Iceland and during the night it traveled Southwest where at daybreak it started reporting again off the coast of Newfoundland. Perhaps now it will find fair winds to Europe. It is still maintaining altitude at 9990 metres, or 32,776' so it seems to be holding together well.

This morning (as of 0900 EDT, 1300Z) most of the reports are from North American stations including two from Ontario in FN25. Its most recent report was picked up by only two stations, VE1VDM (near Truro, NS) and W3BH (Pennsylvania).

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Fickle Winds

Dave, VE3KCL, has launched yet another balloon experiment. This one, now in its third day, is taking a different path to any of those we've seen before.

Right now it's being heard in Sweden. You can look for it on the wsprnet web page and try to hear it on WSPR and/or JT9 on 30m.