July 13 Lift-off for LOHAN Balloon Rocket Test

Vulture 2 Spaceplane - Image credit LOHAN

Vulture 2 Spaceplane – Image credit LOHAN

Radio amateurs Dave Akerman M6RPI and Anthony Stirk M0UPU provide an update on a balloon launch planned for this Saturday, July 13 which aims to test the firing mechanism for the LOHAN rocket.

There will be several 434 MHz radio transmitters on-board including one sending Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV). The radio range is expected to cover most of the British Isles and North-West Europe.

The British Amateur Television Club (BATC) will be providing live coverage of the launch and hopefully also from the two chase vehicles.

Dave and Anthony say:

We will launch a second test of The Register’s LOHAN Project  from Brightwalton around 1000 UT (ISH time is most definitely in effect for this one). If you recall last time due to some problematic predictions the trusty Playmonaut was lost at sea and not recovered despite some valiant efforts by Lester and Neil in a bath tub with an engine on it.

LOHAN_mission_summary_04_bigWe will be repeating the test of the first launch on Saturday under a 2000g Hwoyee balloon. In order to test the firing mechanism for the LOHAN rocket we will be instead using it to detach a payload at a predetermined altitude where the payloads will part ways and land separately.

Each payload will have a primary and backup tracker on it :
Main payload SPEARS : LOHAN Board and a PAVA backup tracker:

Primary : $$SPEARS 434.650 MHz
Secondary : $$REHAB 434.600 MHz

Secondary payload CHAV : Rasp Pi doing SSDV and a PAVA Backup tracker:
Primary : $$CHAV 434.075 MHz
Secondary : $$SHUTIT 434.495 MHz

Transmission format is RTTY speeds please select auto-configure in DL-FLDigi

If we have dubious prediction data we may be launching another payload early in the day to verify that prediction meets reality and we aren’t going to feed another Playmonaut to the fish. This will be on 434.545 MHz and its call sign will be $$PAVA.

The Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) on CHAV will change sizes during the flight:
– “launch mode” is small images (320 x 176) till it gets above 3 km
– “flight mode” is larger images (512 x 288) till it drops below 2 km
– “landing mode” takes a single 10-minute video starting at 2 km, then switches back to small images

We will, subject to 3G coverage, be transmitting the preparation, launch and possibly chase live thanks to the nice people at batc.tv. The link is :

There may be a secondary stream (the two chase cars may go separate ways) at :

SSDV picture from a PIE balloon - Image credit Dave Akerman M6RPI

SSDV picture from a PIE balloon – Image credit Dave Akerman M6RPI

You can of course follow the position of the balloons live at http://www.spacenear.us/tracker and the live SSDV images from the Pi will be uploaded here : http://ssdv.habhub.org/.

Although batc.tv has a chat function we welcome you to join the #highaltitude channel on Freenode to take part in the conversation throughout the day.

Finally we welcome listeners to track the balloons in flight, tracking can be done with any radio reciever that can recieved USB on 70 cms (434 MHz), i.e some scanners, full amateur radio equipment, FUNcube Dongles or just a RTL Dongle being used as an SDR. There is a guide here on how to track. We expect reception range to cover most of the UK and northern Europe.


Anthony M0UPU / Dave M6RPI

LOHAN hooks up with radio ham and top-flight rocketeer G7ALW

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