Recap of EOSS-77/78

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Tracking and Recovery Recap

by Benjie Campbell, W�CBH

What a surprise when Nick Hanks said "The APRS module is still on the ground." I had to think about that for several bumps on the road. We were headed north out of Limon, enroute to our bearing location, as suggested by our esteemed tracking coordinator, when Nick made that announcement on the air. The morning was beautiful, and the wind was blowing about 10 to 15 mph from the south. Okay, we can still track the balloon on the DF beacon, so here we go.

We found our bearing spot, and I started the triangulation program and waited for the bearings to start.

After two bearing sessions, we had 77 on the ground, and only two of us could hear the signal. When we started west to find it, we traveled over some pretty small and basically cow path roads to get just east of Agate.

Marcia had never driven over such roads, but we made it. She didn't call them roads. It was faster than heading south back to Limon and then west and north on I-70. We did get to see some places no other human has seen for 40 years. I was able to track our progress on Street Atlas and figure out which cow paths would get us there. We had to open and close a lot of gates, none locked, in our trek. Pretty country, and very, very dry.

The signal from the DF beacon was pretty steady, and we were able to find the balloon with Dan's and Jim's help. Marty and Larry showed up along with Ben, and we finally figured out where the payload was and recovered it.

There were some pretty long horned cows out there also, long horns, very long. Reminded me of the Killer buffalo trip, ha!

Lunch was had by the 77 recovery crew at a new place in Byers. The owners were great, and the cook was a master, and very fast. We had a great time. Marty has met his match in feistiness. The young waitress/helper there gave as good as she got, better I think. We will have to go back there again.

I spent more time getting ready for this flight, so I had more room in the jeep and didn't take as much junk. I am slowly getting the list of equipment down to a manageable amount. The equipment worked well and we had good computer info flowing during most of the flight. I only had to reboot twice. The triangulation program worked well, for the small number of bearing takers, but I need more practice using it. Since we didn't have GPS info for the balloon location we were not able to get position data to bounce off the data from the program, but it gave us a fix based on the bearings we took. Marty was faster on one bearing doing his hand plotting but I will get better, I will, I will.

Larry took some pictures and we will see them on the web soon, I hope.

Marcia, my driver and trusty companion took her license test on Saturday, and passed, so she is waiting to see what call sign she will get. Congratulations Marcia.