Recap of EOSS-79

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By Benjie Campbell, W�CBH

Hi all. Boy, what a fun day. I enjoyed this flight so much.

My second cousin, James Harman drove. He met me at his grand mother's birthday party in North Platte several months ago, saw some Eoss pictures on my laptop and was hooked. His call is KC�OLQ.

Anyway, he came along with me on this flight. Marcia was busy and not available. I picked him up at the Flying J truck stop, and met the rest of the early tracking crew at 5:00 am. They have a good buffet there, and we all ate before leaving. It did cost us an early arrival at our assigned tracking location as the intrepid launch team had launched the balloon before we were all in place. This makes me believe we will have to give up having breakfast before the long duration/distance flights. We just don't have time to get there before they launch. I really need about 45 minutes to get set up and ready to take bearings and reports, and to make sure the computer is running all the programs correctly. I did start the programs as we left the truck stop, but didn't get all working right until we stopped in Raymer, where we were assigned.

The fog hit us hard just north of Fort Morgan on Highway 52, and we drove slowly up to Raymer and parked just off highway 14 and started taking bearings. James hadn't done bearings before but he was a very quick study. I had him practice for about 20 minutes before Marty asked for the first bearing. The APRS module was working fine on this flight, but we took three or four bearings anyway. James was getting the hang of having to turn back and forth across the payload's location to catch the edges of the high to low signal indications on my tracking radio. Since we were using Grid Calc to plot ourselves and the balloon we could compare the bearings we were getting with the correct bearing we should have. We were consistently to the left of the real bearing. We had several large metal buildings to our right, and high power lines to the front and right of our tracking location. Great excuses huh?

Marty and Larry assigned us to welcome the Students as they arrived from the launch site, and we met them on Highway 14, just south of Keota, where we lead them to the landing site which was located north of Keota.

Road 105 north was very, very muddy and slick. The jeep hung in there just fine, but the vans didn't have the same luck. Dan was even wary of getting too far up the muddy road. We all made the landing site and saw the payloads about 50 yards up the side of a small slope.

The first team there saw the parachute was dragging everything along in the wind so they, in their wisdom, pitched some cow chips on the parachute to keep the wind from filling the chute and dragging the payloads along the ground. Worked well, and everyone had a laugh about the big cows that deposited the chips on the chute. Inside joke, and we do have pictures.

I was able to talk with many of the students and really enjoyed the experience. I learned a lot about the space grant program. We had a great time.

When the payloads were picked up and the chute folded we all headed for the second balloon's landing site. It had flown directly overhead while we were working on 79a, but we didn't see if for the fog. It took us a long time to get close to the second touchdown spot, and we finally sent in two vehicles with students who had their payloads on that balloon. The roads were very muddy and slick in spots. The majority of us waited on road 127 and road 98 until the second tracking team had picked up all the payloads. We then headed to Raymer where we all transferred riders and headed for home.

The students went to Boulder and a banquet Saturday night, and we went to Fort Morgan for lunch at Memories, the best place in town for lunch. We had a great lunch recapping all the things that had and hadn't worked for us during the flight. The trip home was long and we saw some interesting storm clouds along the way.

I want to thank James for driving. I had one of the best times I have had for a long time. I think we all had fun. I didn't take any pictures, hope others did.