Mission 7 – Byron 8/14/11- 3 Good Jumps

We had 3 good jumps. We had quite the day. We arrived about 11AM. It took about an hour to get all the gear setup. It was hot, about 90.  I was definitely done when we left about 5PM.

As the crew gives me their videos and pictures, I’ll get them posted

The Crew for Mission 7 was:

  • Mark Meltzer, AF6IM, Jumper 1
  • Michael Gregg, KF6WRW, Jumper 2
  • Rob Fenn, KC6TYD
  • Ray Rogoway, W6RAR
  • Bernhard Hailer, AE6YN
  • Michael Pechner, NE6RD
  • Michael Wright, K6MFW

Photos by Bernhard Hailer, Michael Wright and Michael Pechner

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We had a real antenna farm setup, about 9 antennas. Rob had a 5/8 wave.  I had a J-Pole, Ed Fong, and 3 mag mounts.  Michael Wright had a 1.2Ghz yagi and a UHF J-Pole.  Michael Gregg had a 2.4Ghz antenna.  Plus all the HTs.

The goal of the jump was to test Video. We had Michael Gregg’s gear. His 1.2Ghz crapped out the night before and he had to test his 2.4Ghz at the last minute. When we were setting up, the RCA connector failed and he had to solder it in the field. This was hooked into the computer to stream the video to the internet using Justin.tv.  We had power and antenna issues.  The RG-174 from the helmet to the antenna on  Mike’s leg was 6 ft.  So the 2W output was reduced to about 1/4W because of feedline loss.  Michael is going to work on moving the radio to his leg so the feedline is much shorter.  Also because of Michael’s changing body position during the decent, we had polarization issues.  With a 1/4W signal, that means we lost the signal often. When we did a get a signal it was snowy.

Michael Wright brought all his ATV gear.  It took a while to get things going. He strapped a 1/4W transmitter to Mark.  Unfortunately we never got much of a signal.  So for ATV, hopefully Michael Wright can address the power issue.  Otherwise maybe we will split the feed from Michael Gregg’s camera and send it over ATV and Justin.TV.

My data logger worked well.  But the xastir station hit a couple of snags.  First I had to raise the antenna and move it away from the building.  Plus I leaned the mast a bit into the wind and tied a 15lb weight to the tripod as ballast.  I build a PCV frame for the second mast.  That did not work.  I took the mast and lashed it to the structure.

My test for how well the data recorder and the xastir station worked was that they see the same stations. At first it was working great.  But then the xastir station was hearing fewer stations. I tried a different radio, then a different open tracker. I need to test it a bit more.  Retest the open trackers.

I did capture data.  I  captured 200 data points for Mark both on the data logger  and xastir uploaded 200 data points to APRS-IS.  For Michael’s jump, there was an issue and only 70 data points were captured. The battery Michael used might not have had a full charge.

Rob as usual took some great video and took the time to do some editing of the 3 jumps.

KF6WRW – Jump1

Michael Geared up and was manifested too soon to get the APRS gear on him.  But we watched with baited breath to see if we had any video come though.  Mark did try to aim the antenna at Michael as he descended.  It helped a little.

AF6IM – Jump 2

Mark had both the ATV and APRS gear on him.  Mark made a few QSO’s with people from Livermore to Palo Alto. This is what 10,000ft of altitude does for a 5W FM signal.

KF6WRW – Jump3

Michael was able to jump with both his Video Gear and APRS on his second jump.  He got a good rise out of Rob when he announced he was manifested in 20 minutes. Rob had just sent Mark off on his jump.  Luckily the plane had to be refueled, so it bought another 20 minutes for Rob to get Michael ready.

We will have at least one more practice jump before Pacificon.

results of trying to push live video from a skydiver to the ground

So far, the results have not been great. We have tried multiple transmitters

I had a FCC unlicenced 2.4 GHz transmitter on a helmet with a battery and a camera:

I was using a rubber duck, on the helmet, and on the ground.

This didn’t work very well. I got spotty video starting at 10k AGL:

At 8k AGL:

around 6k AGL things started to improve greatly. :

Finally, at 1k AGL, I was getting a high quality(well, as good as ntsc and a low quality board camera can do), steady video signal.

My next plan is to try out some patch antennas on the ground. I am suspecting that these will do a significantly better job as their gain is dramatically better.

I’ve ordered the following two antennas:

I am hoping that the smaller green one is not just on a normal pcb, as patch antennas on normal fiberglass tend to be very lossy.

If it’s good enough, I may try out attaching the smaller antenna to the bottom of my feet.

Link to my parachute mobile gallery for reference.

One Comment on “Mission 7 – Byron 8/14/11- 3 Good Jumps”

  1. […] you can see from the video below and the info Mark gave about the jump, the Drake can act as a transmitter when an antenna is hooked to it, but the signal was weaker then […]

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