This is the electronic version of the Stratosphere Newsletter. Occasionally final editing is done to the actual layout of the newsletter and spelling checks, and other corrections may not make it into this edition. The content is complete (except for graphics).


Request for Corporate Sponsors or Contributors for
the First National Balloon Symposium

If your company has a program that sponsors or contributes to its employees' non-profit organizations please contact Marty Griffin, WA0GEH, (303) 794-3458, or Tom Isenberg, N0KSR, (303) 680-6511.

They will be glad to assist in preparing any requests but first they need an employee contact. If you are not aware of such a company program please investigate to see if one is available. You may be surprised to find your company has just such a program.

EOSS projects are a great asset to education in the community and it looks like similar balloon projects across the nation are taking off. (Pun intended). EOSS needs financial support to get this symposium off the ground. (Pun intended). So if you are able to connect EOSS with your company's generous community support you are guaranteed to feel uplifted. (No pun intended. You will "really" feel that way.)

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Tim Kelliher, N0RHE, is leaving EOSS as editor of the Stratosphere with the publication of this issue. Actually, how dare he leave just because he and Dina Springstead, N0HRB (we know who finished their license exam first!) are becoming a YL/OM contesting couple in July, and both are graduating from college to get on with their life together. The nerve!!! They'll probably be 88ing all over the bands in six land.

Tim, all the members appreciate your work as editor knowing full well that at times it had to be accomplished under the duress of launches, projects and college work. We feel that you have done an outstanding effort.

And Dina the members thank you for all the support you have given EOSS in your efforts under the same circumstances as Tim.

You are a neat couple. God speed to California and God Bless your future.


Onto ...

I'm personally looking forward to being the new editor and want to thank Tim for showing me the ropes so I won't have to go in cold for the next issue of Stratosphere.

We will be putting out a Stratosphere just before or in conjunction with the August 20-22 National Balloon Symposium so write up whatever project you are working on and send it in.

I know that I will be getting tremendous support from the members. One thing the members need to keep in mind is that I'm not a tech type so please get articles in early enough so technical "stuff" can be dealt with.

I'm really looking forward to this challenge. Thank you for the opportunity.

73 - Ann Trudeau KA0ZFI

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Call for Papers
National Balloon Symposium
August 20-22, 1993
Denver, CO
Sponsored by Edge of Space Sciences, Inc.

Yes! You TOO can become a >> Published Author < Don't be shy! In this newly emerging field, there are few recognized experts, and practically nothing is in print. So, it's very likely that many of the Symposium attendees will take great interest in even the most arcane balloon doggerel. Accordingly, the Symposium Committee is taking a pretty liberal position toward publishing whatever may be submitted for the Proceedings.

The following is just a sampling of topic areas and is in no way complete. Look it over and see if something rings your chimes. Then contact Rick von Glahn, N0KKZ, or check the Filebank for guidance on style, content and desired formats for submissions.

Then drag out the trusty ol' word processor and bang out your thoughts!

Suggested Symposium Topics

  • General
    • History of High Altitude Ballooning
    • Prospects for the Future (Round Table?)
  • Organizational
    • Getting Started
    • Involving schools and colleges
    • Public Relations
    • Funding
    • Incorporation
    • Non-profit status
    • Liability
  • Payloads
    • Power
    • Packaging
    • Environmental
  • EMS
    • Mechanical
    • Integration and Testing
    • Telemetry and Control
    • Imaging
      • ATV
      • Film
    • Beacons
    • Antennas
    • Navigation Systems
  • Flight Systems
    • Balloons
      • Types and Sources
      • Gas Sources
      • Inflation
    • Parachutes
    • Cutdown devices
    • Support systems
    • Despinning
    • Landing Survival
  • Launching
    • Site selection and preparation
    • System preflight
    • Launch Teams
    • Surface winds
    • Go/No-go criteria
    • Communications
  • Regulatory
    • FAA Rules and interface
    • FCC part 97
    • National Weather Service
    • Local Ordinances
  • Tracking and Recovery
    • Flight prediction
      • Paratrak
      • NWS and Weatherbank
    • RDF
      • Bearing taking
      • Beacon requirements
      • Field organization
      • Communications
    • Plotting
      • Maps
      • Grid systems
      • Computer aids
    • Using onboard navigational systems
    • Landing site access
    • Postmortem
  • High Altitude Physics
    • Balloon and parachute dynamics
    • Meteorology
      • Winds
      • Pressure systems and fronts
      • NWS data
    • Tropopause and jetstream
    • Environmental
      • Thermal
      • Atmosphere
      • Radiation
    • Radio propagation
  • Tales from the Highside
    • Gripping True Life Yarns about Helium, bags, Mother Nature and Murphy.


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The New Year

The new year looks like it is full of projects for Edge of Space Sciences' members.

University of Southern Colorado Launch 2/6/93

By the time you read this, EOSS should have launched its new shuttle with a LORAN-C receiver on board (EOSS-10). The launch was scheduled for February 6th (weather permitting) at the University of Southern Colorado, Pueblo. This launch was preceded by a four hour EOSS balloon seminar for the USC students and local Pueblo hams. This seminar will permit the Pueblo folks to operate their own missions in the futures.

Thanks to Jack AA0P, Tom N0KSR, Merle K0YUK, and Marty WA0GEH for conducting the seminar. A tracking and recovery seminar was conducted for new tracking and recovery teams from Colorado Springs and Pueblo. Thanks to Greg K0ELM, George N0NMJ, Marv AD0Y, and Paul WB3JZV for their efforts. Thanks to our own member, Marty Tressell, for his support in southern Colorado.

Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of Bob W6ORE, Mike W5VSI, Merle K0YUK and Jack AA0P, the EOSS shuttle flies with expanded packet telemetry which now indicates latitude, longitude, speed and bearing and distance from the launch point.

Channel 4 Education Expo

On behalf of North Middle School EOSS will participate with RMRL, ARRL and other local ham groups in the Channel 4 Education Expo to be held March 19-21 at the Colorado Convention Center. Please contact Tom Isenberg if you can help staff the booth. EOSS plans to tether a full balloon at this event.

EOSS National Balloon Symposium

EOSS will host the first National Balloon Symposium, August 20-22, 1993. This will be at the Holiday Inn at Chambers and I-70, in the north east corner of Denver. Tentatively, on Friday evening, hospitality suites will offer a social hour for participants to discuss adventures and show their payloads. Saturday will be filled with seminars as notable balloonists present papers and display successful balloon techniques.

On Sunday, EOSS will conduct a launch and invite several other balloon groups to launch. Look for a call for papers soon.

All papers will be published by EOSS and provided in a bound proceedings to participants.

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Educational Notebook

"What I know, I can Teach"

Now that we have had the two reliability flights completed it is time to get back into seeking experiments to fly. The education push for these experiments was suspended pending the outcome of those test flights.

WB3JZV, Paul Ternlund's work on the EOSS experimenters guide, requested by the education team, is looking real good. I owe Paul a great deal of thanks for the long hours he has spent in computer time putting that together. We can now enter a school and give the educators a preparation manual for their involvement with EOSS. I'd also like to thank all those who contributed input to the making of our handbook. Please continue to support Paul with your articles about how we do things.

I need to work harder on the effective student participation at ground control and in the field during our flights. I've let that slip some. I think earlier contact and closer monitoring of the school's progress will help. I'd like to have a support team in those areas. It's a matter of some phone calls to the educators explaining what is expected and working with students when we fly. Form me to do it all has been tough, but if we have some help the work will be minimized. For any feedback on that subject contact N0KSR, Tom Isenberg or one of the team leaders.

The upcoming CU launch opens the door for some student activity in the Boulder area. It would be fun to have the students at CU work with the High School students. CU also has great opportunity in getting other university departments working with them to organize a great launch and flight. Thanks to N0HRE, Tim Kelliher and the CU Ham Club for that effort.

Mark your calendars for the 19th, 20th and 21st of March. That's when EOSS will participate with 6 other community Ham Clubs in presenting amateur radio at the Channel 4 Education Expo at the Colorado Convention Center. EOSS is the leader in amateur radio education and now the other clubs are following in our footsteps to help provide schools with formal training and information about school Ham Clubs. What a great way to get exposure in the education environs. Thanks to North Middle School and Alice James, we plan to have some interactive displays, along with the presentation of EOSS, SKYWARN, COPA, AMSAT, Amateur TV, CW and the traditional radio HF and VHF. Let your ideas be heard and sigh up to be a part of the expo as an exhibitor.

Let's all make this year a banner year in education and let EOSS become nationally known for its efforts. We are very close to that now. My education slogan for 1993 will be "What I know, I can Teach". We can mentor each other as well as our students.

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Dayton HamVention to Feature EOSS Forum

Jack Crabtree and Dave Clingerman will present "EOSS - ATV From the Edge of Space." This presentation will describe the use of ATV on EOSS projects and will include videotaped highlights of EOSS 1-11. The educational applications of these projects will also be stressed. While at the HamVention, the EOSS representatives will attend the traditional Friday night ATV Party and Show-And-Tell. All opportunities to promote the August 1993 EOSS National Balloon Symposium will be taken advantage of.

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EOSS-10, View from the Gondola

The flight of EOSS-10 was a huge success. The teamwork required for this flight was especially important due to the scope of this project.

The Education Team did and excellent job of putting on the Friday afternoon balloon seminar at the University of Southern Colorado. This effort was equally matched by the training provided by the Tracking and Recovery Team to acquaint local Pueblo amateurs with the procedures to be used during the actual flight.

On Saturday, in the bitter cold, the Ground Station Team efficiently assembled the required equipment. The Payload team performed payload checkout in record time while the Balloon Team assembled the balloon train. Precisely on schedule, the balloon train was launched in what could be described as "pretty stiff winds." The lessons learned from previous encounters with the winds paid off this time. The payload "track team" running with the payload and beacon, conducted a flawless launch.

The performance of the payload was excellent and the LORAN C experiment proved to be a valuable asset. There was a problem with the altimeter however, that while making things uncomfortable, did not adversely affect the flight. Using data from previous flights, a good approximation of the altitude was on hand throughout the flight. The cause of the problems is already known and corrective actions are being developed.

While many thought the LORAN experiment would antiquate the fox-hunting team, this was not the case. The performance of the team was outstanding, and a special thanks again goes to Ed, N0MHU, and his airborne team of DFers. LORAN does have the potential to make the fox hunters' task easier in the futures, but their navigation and RDF skills will continue to be a vital element of our projects' successes.

The feedback I have received from USC has been 100% positive. They now recognize the great educational value in high altitude balloon projects using amateur radio and are already embarking on their own plans to implement a balloon program at USC. They expressed their sincere thanks to all who made EOSS-10 the success that it was. You have my thanks as well.

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President's Corner

Happy New Year and strap yourself in! 1993 is going to be our most exciting and active year yet. We have a number of challenges this year and the involvement of each of you will be necessary for us to meet them.

I appreciate your continuing confidence and reelection to President of EOSS. However, be forewarned, this will be my last year in this position and a great deal of my effort will be in grooming the next year's President. In fact, a majority of my energy will be in getting many fore of you involved in all aspects of our activities.

Congratulations to our new Vice President, Jim Libhart; new Secretary, Dave Clingerman; and once again held over Treasurer, Merle McCaslin. Also congratulations go to our new Student Advisors to the Board, Suzanne Wahrle and Dawn Ragain. Thanks go to Marty Griffin and Tim Kelliher for their support and efforts as officers of 1992.

Our hosting the EOSS National Balloon Symposium in August is height among my goals for the coming year. This will be an exciting opportunity for groups from across the nation to share experiences and learn from each other. The educational aspect of our projects will be a prime focus. Make plans to attend. The continuing improvement and evolvement of our Shuttle II is on my list of goals for 1993. Let's make it smaller, lighter, more powerful, and reproducible. These will improve our capability to carry more student experiments, also a goal for 1993. At the March regular meeting I will expand on my agenda and vision of 1993.

Elsewhere in this issue are my thoughts on the outstanding flight of EOSS-10. It was another tribute to what we can do with teamwork. Plans for EOSS-11 are already in the works. The tentative schedule date for this event is April 30th. This will be a Friday flight from the University of Colorado in Boulder. A weekday flight brings special problems -- many of us have jobs and so a confirmation that we have resources is underway before we make a firm commitment on the date. Stay tuned to our Tuesday night nets and our regular meetings for the latest information.

A sincere thank you goes to Tim Kelliher, retiring editor of Stratosphere. Tim's efforts have greatly contributed to the success of EOSS as an organization. A hearty welcome aboard is in order for Ann Trudeau as our new editor. Let's give Ann all the support and articles she needs to continue the Stratosphere tradition.

That's it for now. See you at the next meeting and GET INVOLVED in EOSS.

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Edge of Space Sciences
National Balloon Symposium
August 20, 21 and 22, 1993
Denver, Colorado

The Symposium will be held at the Holiday Inn, Denver International Airport located at I-70 East and Chambers Road. Reservations can be made directly with the hotel at (303) 371-9494. Mention EOSS for special arrangements.

The symposium will be held August 20-22, 1993. Friday evening activities will include a hospitality event for payload displays, launch videos and socializing. On Saturday, papers will be presented by nationally prominent balloon experimenters, educators, scientists and authors. EOSS will host a luncheon and a banquet for the symposium registrants on Saturday. Sunday, weather permitting, EOSS will conduct a balloon launch and recovery of our new EOSS Balloon Shuttle.

Information and Registration

For registration and symposium information, contact:

Merle McCaslin
(dated address information removed)

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The University of Colorado Amateur Radio Club (CUARC) in conjunction with Engineering Days and the Aerospace Global Positioning System (GPS) lab are proud to invite EOSS to launch from the CU Business/Engineering field in Boulder on April 30th. The payload will consist of a Trimble "Newton" GPS receiver, an Atmospheric Instrumentation Research (AIR) GPSsone, and the standard EOSS Shuttle including LORAN-C.

What the CU GPS group is hoping to achieve is what is known as differential GPS. Differential GPS is a method of removing the error in GPS by comparing the position of the receiver to the error in position of a receiver at a well known point. The CU GPS package will consist of a GPS receiver, a Kantronics KPC-3 TNC and a 43x MHz transmitter for the downlink.

The AIR GPSsonde is an experimental GPS receiver that actually does no processing of data in flight, rather it relays the data back to an earth station that processes the data. We are trying to get them to come to the launch site and give a presentation on how it works and give a demo during the flight. AIR is also supplying helium and the balloon for this launch. The downlink frequency for the GPSsond is 403 MHz.

With four different positioning systems (don't forget the all important fox hunters) it should be a very interesting location comparison.

Liftoff is at 9:30 am so get there early to get a good parking space. After launch stick around and watch some of the Engineering Days events.

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The Artificial Ground

How many times have you seen the HAM with the big scab on his or her lip and wondered if it was a blister or Mic Bite? Probably all of us that have a few Field Days under our belt have carried a bit of that badge.

RF (Radio Frequency) energy can be very unforgiving, and to the point of death if precautions are not taken. The Mic Bite is usually caused by a hot chassis of a transmitter or transceiver. The problem is directly related to poor or improper RF grounding techniques. Just because the attempt has been made to ground the equipment/ station by "nailing" it to the cold water pipe is no assurance that a good RF ground has been affected. A DC ground, yes, and you need that also in the form of the aforementioned "cold water pipe" ground. The AC plug ground return line should not be trusted to serve the grounding needs. Be sure with a ground return line that is separate from the AC line neutral or "green wire" ground. Not only will it serve to open a fuse or circuit breaker should a short occur, but it serves to bleed off static build-ups from antennas and even routes lightening (to some degree), however Blitz-Bugs and Metal Oxide Varistors do this.

The ideal cold water pipe ground for DC and RF would be if the equipment were attached directly to the pipe as it immediately enters the Earth. This of course is impractical and therefore compromises have to be made with which we can live. As the lead to the water pipe gets longer and longer, more and more inductance is incurred. The increasing inductance starts to take on the characteristics of an RF choke and raises the equipment high above RF ground.

The worst case of this that I have ever seen was during a military exercise. A couple of Marines were required to set up a communications post using jeep mounted equipment in a very marshy location. The equipment they used was known as an AN/TRC-75. It was an all mode high frequency (HF) communications system capable of putting out 1500 watts of RF to an antenna. The pair of Marines erected the telescoping whip antenna that was also jeep mounted then took a very corroded, one inch diameter, braided copper cable and attached it between the jeep chassis ground clamp and a copper clad post that they'd driven into the marshlands. Standing outside the jeep, in wet boots, leaning inside the vehicle, they fired off the equipment and hit the pickle switch to start the automatic antenna tuner. Just about the time the whip acquired resonance the two Marines hit the ground, cooked and dead. what had happened? What went wrong? The investigation team had to look no further than the corroded ground cable. These copper cables are manufactured such that they are woven, braided and twisted. The one in this case had corroded in such a manner that a coil, an inductor had been created. The jeep was 1500 watts above DC ground. The copper ground lead had become and served as an RF choke. To rectify the situation, service wide, all ground cables were to be inspected and those found to be corroded were to be destroyed while the remaining lot were to be saturated with heavy grease and stored out of the weather.

A greasy cable isn't something very desirable to have in the HAM shack and the military ones were only about ten feet long. What does one do if the HAM shack is on the second floor or even in the attic? We learn from the experience of others. The HAMS that work 160 meters were some of the first to realize that a long ground wire could create havoc in the shack. They knew they needed a DC return which was effected through the use of the cold water pipe or a rod driven into the ground as close to the shack as possible. Still, now and again they would get bite from the mic. They started to solve the problem through some antenna matching analysis. This consisted of the realization that a parallel tank circuit could be used to resonate any length of wire from just about a hat pin to a piece of railroad track. The parallel tank at resonance presents a very high impedance to a source or a load. If a hot chassis is the source and the Earth is the load why not make the path between the tow as low an impedance as possible? And, that is just what they did. With a series capacitor and a tapped inductor, an ammeter for an indicator that the amount of RF on the chassis in the shack could be run off to ground. The ammeter would confirm when the maximum amount of current and the minimum amount of impedance had been reached. All of a sudden the transmitters loaded up better, less noise was encountered on the various bands and more DX contacts were able to be made, plus those ugly lip scars were getting to be less and less. Things got to be fairly wonderful and then for some reason the technology was forgotten by many and there was a rash of TVI, BCI, Telephone Interference, Stereo Interference and Burned Lips.

Sometime in the recent past a company (MFJ) hit the market place with some HAM accessories at some very reasonable prices.

A few of their products are; Antenna Tuners, Phone Patches, VSWR Bridges and (guess what?) an artificial Ground. Very nice looking little box as all their stuff is. Inside the box was a tapped indicator that was front panel switchable, a variable capacitor that was front panel tunable and a meter with sensitivity control. The instructions, for the most part, indicated that you could attach this little box between transceiver or antenna coupler and a length of wire laid out on the floor of the shack. Tune up the antenna and then tune this magic little box for maximum meter indication. No more hot mic or weird indications on the transceiver final collector current or power output meter.

Myself, I like to make sure that RF is going to ground and not radiated around the shack so I go from the antenna tuner to the artificial ground unit with a copper strap and from the artificial ground unit to the sewer in the basement with a copper strap (about 15'). The sewer pipe is iron and always has somewhat of a water level in it. Now and then I throw in a handful of salt or copper nitrate just to keep the water ionized a little more than normal.

My antenna system, since I reside in a townhouse complex, consists of an East facing gutter and down spout and a west facing gutter and down spout. I work anything I can hear from 160 meters through 6 meters on this antenna arrangement. Before the installation of the artificial ground unit, I used to launch the TV, the stereo, the telephone and the answering machine; not to mention the neighbors stuff but I told him it was a mystical occurrence caused by the phase of the moon. Tune your ground system, I think you'll like the results.

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Final Editorial

It is time, once again, for the passing of the torch. At the February meeting, general elections were held. Congratulations to the new officers (or maybe not so new); President - Jack Crabtree, Vice president - Jim Libhart, Secretary - Dave Clingerman, and Treasurer - Merle McCaslin. Good luck to the new officers in the new year. I also will be passing the torch of the Editor to Ann Trudeau for the next year. The job of Editor can some times be trying, but when you produce the finished product, it is very rewarding. Good luck to Ann and may she get all her articles on time.

As most of you know, this will be my last year in EOSS (as an active member), as Dina and I are moving to San Francisco. The CU GPS April 30th launch will be my last. Therefore I would also like to wish EOSS the best of luck in all its future launches. With the people involved, I am sure that EOSS will continue to lead the way in amateur ballooning. Watch out though, San Francisco will soon be giving you some competition.

Keep reaching for the sky.

73 -- Tim Kelliher and Dina Springstead

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