Old days  

James Zelazny jr
Member Registered

Here is a time when I wasted money.

At the time,there were no "pico" trackers and small foil balloons would never carry such a payload.This attempt cost me 3 months of my life and spent WAY too much money for supplies.

Although the entire design was well thought out in theory,but a risk and basically lost this flight just over 100 miles away.Many stupid things happened starting with launching with super low lift where by my mistake and mine alone,did not observe the power lines just over my head before release.I was so involved completely missed seeing them.The parachute snagged for a brief moment to lose liftoff momentum and it snagged in a nearby pine tree.Had to climb up to save my huge investment and get it loose about 40 ft up.Once in the tree,was able to barely grab onto the chute while the payload and balloon was well above tree top.It slipped from my hand and floated away to yet snag in another tree,same way by the chute.After kicking myself in the you know what,tried to find ways to get it down.One plan was to throw objects at it to pop the Hwoyee 1600...there would go 130 bucks not to mention the gas inside $$$$. Before I could make a plan,it set itself free and floated away only to see it was not lifting upwards.By now,the sun was setting and dark.It appeared to be slowly descending in Northern,NY just a few miles from Fort Drum.It was never heard from again due to the tracking used was 70cm RTTY.Pretty much alone with that mode and would mean it would need to be copied in Europe should it survive.Biggest waste of money EVER !The payload was a cinder block.Note all the 18650 batteries.They would run the system for 5 days using the special timer circuit.It was incorporated to save battery power while over the Atlantic ocean then return to ON in a calculated time.This payload used 3 transmitters.One 70cm RTTY for main tracking,an HF RTTY transmitter with call sign continuous and a 10m CW beacon continuous.The timer switched the 70cm tracker off over Atlantic while turning on the RTTY/CW beacons for HF.This concept was actually good and worked well,but may have went down that night right there near Fort Drum.I always wished it would be found.Somewhere there is a very expensive payload rotting away.Also note the zero pressure concept where gas is vented into another latex balloon.The cost of this flight would have bought me 20 or more payloads I use today.My payloads are so small and powerful today,it takes a small blast of helium into a 3 dollar balloon to fly a tiny effective tracker.

Slide show link -


Just to add salt in my wounds,here are some other launches using gigantic payloads/balloons.I share these for pure entertainment some of which may surprise you -



The next was my very first major balloon fabrication using materials from a very amazing guy.The mylar type film was of very high quality sent by Don himself.He even took time to speak to me by phone.A true balloon pioneer!Also for this flight,we made our own Hydrogen gas...a story for another time.











Edited: 3 months  ago
Posted : 22/09/2017 3:48 pm

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