Failed CRAAG1 Launch

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Noel G8GTZ and myself as the payload was sealed up.

On 28th September 2012 I planned to launch the CRAAG1 Pico Payload, got to the site and was ~1 minute away from launch before losing the balloon.

The site used was Woodgarston Farm nr Basingstoke. The prediction was for a North-Easterly flight, landing just South of Cambridge. My car was set up for chase, with 3G wifi, 2m comms, and 2x 70cm magmounts for the RTL-SDR Dongle and FT790. (Photo)

On arrival I set up the RTL-SDR receiver on my netbook connected to one magmount and my Dad's FT-790R connected to the other. The FT-790 displayed many of it's intermittent problems and took a great deal of time to be tuned in, with noticeably less SNR than the sdr dongle, it will speed up the setup greatly if I avoid using the FT-790 in the future.

I also spent time setting up Noel, G8GTZ's receiver near-site with the latest dl-fldigi software.

Accidental Balloon Release

The balloon was filled and the lift measured at home. (Photo) The balloon was kept in the back of the car for the majority of the setup time (Photo), until the payload had the batteries replaced ready for launch and it had re-acquired GPS lock.

The balloon had been attached to a bottle of water since the 'weighing' of the lift at home, and so I used this to anchor the balloon (Photo). Ready to attach the payload I mistakenly un-attached the balloon from the bottle-anchor, and as I walked the couple of steps towards where the payload was hanging, a wind gust ripped the balloon from my hand. Unfortunately no photos of this priceless moment were taken, but I have several of myself afterwards sans-balloon (Photo 1, Photo 2).

Full Photo Album