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Part 3 - Into the Void

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Fascinating project John....many thanks for sharing. Looks like the high altitude winds might reach 100km/hr later today. Hope it doesn't get shot down by the Taliban :LOL:
Indeed. :) This is the Ventusky forecast for winds at 9,000m. You can see the air stream the balloon is now in. Annoyingly, this suggests it might miss Libya. I was hoping to tick it off but it looks like I will have to be content with Algeria and Tunisia only. But at least it will add Africa as a second continent. :)

Screenshot_20200912-115912_Ventusky.jpg
 
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A correction to a comment I made above. There are some outdoor gateways in Malta and on the southern coast of Sardinia. So there is reasonable coverage down on the southern border of Europe. This means it should be possible to track it on the north African coast.
 
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This is intriguing. The Hysplit function is working again and gives predictions where the balloon might go. It looks chaotic but does give an idea of the future. It is a feature on the NOAA website which runs a simulation multiple times and at slightly different altitudes. The interesting bit is some simulations have it returning to Europe. I'm not sure if I'm pleased or disappointed about that. :)

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868 MHz transmission which are generally line of sight only - and even the African coast is still below the horizon from the balloon.
Well, you've certainly set my inquisitive mind buzzing with web searches.

It might 'see' the N African coast shortly (c350km to Algiers) as from 9000m its horizon will be about 320km.
And it'll be around minus 40 degC up there.

(I really must stop diddling about on t'web and get on with jobs).
 
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Well, you've certainly set my inquisitive mind buzzing with web searches.

It might 'see' the N African coast shortly (c350km to Algiers) as from 9000m its horizon will be about 320km.
And it'll be around minus 40 degC up there.

(I really must stop diddling about on t'web and get on with jobs).
The blue circle you can see around the balloon in some screen shots is where to an observer the balloon would be on the horizon. This gives an indication of the limit of line of sight radio communication - although if the antenna is elevated as it will be the range will be a bit further.

The smaller green circle around the balloon is where it would be 5° above the horizon. :)

The temperature issue was the biggest worry I had about this flight. The problem is how much the frequency will drift due to temperature change. The sub-£10 transmitter uses very cheap crystals. :) If it goes too far the gateways will ignore the signals. There are clever technical ways around this but so far things are still working. On a later flight I must add temperature reporting so I've an idea what temperatures are being experienced by it.
 
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No news from the balloon yet but I think I know why. The air stream it was in has moved further south and I suspect it may now be somewhere around the southern tip of Tunisia or a little further west into Algeria. It may get blown towards Crete eventually.

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On a slightly negative note DBK. I sincerely hope your attempt at manned flight does include the use of Charlie. o_O ;)


This is an excellent project. I haven't heard such enthusiasm from the collective for a long time(y)
 
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My estimate, if it is is still flying, is it is probably around Tripoli and about 400Km from the nearest gateway on Malta. This is too far I fear so we will have to wait until the wind blows it nearer to Crete. However, I don't think it will get close enough to Crete in daylight and by the time tomorrow comes it will be over Turkey on its way, given current winds, to Iraq and Iran.

So I'm not confident of hearing from it again but very happy to be wrong. :)

I'll just set the alarm to wake me up in a couple of weeks when I can start looking out for it returning over the Atlantic. :) :) :)

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Cuh! This is as never-wracking as waiting for the Lunar module to appear from the other side of the Moon...........or listening for the teenagers to come home from clubbing. :unsure:
 
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Wow!
Only just seen this thread so I’ve missed much of the excitement.
What a fantastic project and many congratulations to John DBK.
Well done Sir. (y)

Richard.
 
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I've just discovered Turkey uses European frequencies so there is a chance it might get picked up if it goes that way. The snag is Turkey has very few gateways - but we must travel hopefully. :)

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The snag is Turkey has very few gateways - but we must travel hopefully. :)
(y)
That reminded me of my personal maxim:

Brutus:
There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218–224
 
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I'm finding this very interesting but is this just for
fun or is there a reason for this exercise, just asking.
 
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How can the question be resolved?
By sending a probe to investigate specifically the atmosphere of Venus.

The US space agency (Nasa) asked scientists recently to sketch the design for a potential flagship mission in the 2030s. Flagships are the most capable - and most expensive - ventures undertaken by Nasa. This particular concept proposed an aerobot, or instrumented balloon, to travel through the clouds of Venus.

"The Russians did this with their Vega balloon (in 1985)," said team-member Prof Sara Seager from MIT. "It was coated with Teflon to protect it from sulphuric acid and floated around for a couple of days, making measurements.

"We could definitely go make some in-situ measurements. We could concentrate the droplets and measure their properties. We could even bring a microscope along and try to look for life itself."

Artwork of Venus balloon
Image copyrightNASA-JPL/CALTECHImage captionArtwork: One of the best ways to resolve the uncertainty would be with instrumented balloons




I think they are looking for people to make this happen. DBK ???
 
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I'm finding this very interesting but is this just for
fun or is there a reason for this exercise, just asking.
For fun I guess but it is the technical challenge of making the thing and then finding out it actually works as intended where the satisfaction is. However, I have learned a lot about the atmosphere I didn't know before doing this project. For example, I didn't know just how much wind direction changes with altitude. When this balloon was launched it went south west for a short distance then at around 1500m abruptly changed direction completely and went north east for a bit.
 
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Missing my daily update DBK
Have you lost contact
Has it truly gone into the void?
It would be nice the think it might suddenly reappear but the odds are on it having been lost. The balloon might well have failed - they are of very variable quality. But I'm still hoping it will suddenly make contact. :)

I've also started building another...

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You have to keep the grey stuff active, as they say use it or lose it. I'm just into retirement so will need some sort of project to keep me from going Gaga 🙂
 
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You have to keep the grey stuff active, as they say use it or lose it. I'm just into retirement so will need some sort of project to keep me from going Gaga 🙂
I couldn't agree more. My problem is trying to do too much, but better that than the opposite. :)
 
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