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James Zelazny jr
(@n2nxz)
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Many people are taking an interest in this hobby. If you are truly serious about trying your hand in this,go for it. Do not think you need the best tracker in the world using state of the art technologies...not true at all ! WSPR mode in itself is a tracker only without the bells and whistles having temperature,altitude,speed,voltage telemetry.If you see one flight...you already know this stuff.Many payloads have these extras... you seen one, you seen them all.Not much changes at those altitudes and if your power levels has an issue...nothing you can do about it anyhow.My first builds were nothing but WSPR with grid tracking only...still fun.

But the real point is this. Even the best most expensive tracker is useless if you do not know how to fly one. Trackers are the least of the problems here. In my opinion,that is the easy part.Selecting balloons for long duration,deciding which lifting gas you want to use,where to fly,how much gas to use per flight and many other equations we have not even mentioned on this forum yet. Build something simple and once you get that out of the way,your going to need lifting gas.Where are you going to get it ? Hydrogen or Helium ? How much do you need? A little or a lot and does your supplier carry what you need? If you decide on Hydrogen and they only carry 300 cubic foot tanks,where do you store it safely? Does it cost you rental fee monthly as it sits in your garage for either tanks Helium or Hydrogen? If your payload is only 15 grams or even 7 grams,a 60 ft tank will last a year and give you a dozen flights.A larger tank will last several years if you launch 1 tracker per month.Do you return the tank for one launch and throw all that money away ? Heck no...build and send up as many balloons and trackers you can and get practice doing so...then go get the 200 dollar tracker to fly or improve your very own designs meanwhile. If you are planning to buy and fly your first...you will miss a lot of fun that way .

This topic was modified 4 weeks ago by James Zelazny jr
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Posted : 26/04/2019 6:26 pm
James Zelazny jr
(@n2nxz)
Member Registered

Just for piece of mind,your first builds are not going to look perfect.All that matters is they work.I have several PCB`s and components in my junk box from mistakes made and learning.Some with enough flux residue left on them to reuse for a year of builds 🙂 Wrecking stuff is not fun and can be costly if it happens too much,but part of this hobby.For example,here is one of my first WSPR tracker builds some time ago using AD9850dds module and Arduino code from Gene,W3PM. Having WSPR code for Arduino and 9850dds to me was the greatest thing EVER at the time as it was very new to HAB. Only VK3YT and Hans had this for balloons but much more elaborate using special telemetry. Gene was so much appreciated having this code available for me. Even thought it was WSPR only...watching it track using grid locators was still LOTS of fun !! See image...you cant get any uglier than this !! Observe the cardboard PCB for Atmega328P . These flew out to Atlantic ocean never to be seen again on home build balloons.

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Posted : 27/04/2019 12:18 am
James Zelazny jr
(@n2nxz)
Member Registered

Just for piece of mind,your first builds are not going to look perfect.All that matters is they work.I have several PCB`s and components in my junk box from mistakes made and learning.Some with enough flux residue left on them to reuse for a year of builds 🙂 Wrecking stuff is not fun and can be costly if it happens too much,but part of this hobby.For example,here is one of my first WSPR tracker builds some time ago using AD9850dds module and Arduino code from Gene,W3PM. Having WSPR code for Arduino and 9850dds to me was the greatest thing EVER at the time as it was very new to HAB. Only VK3YT and Hans had this for balloons but much more elaborate using special telemetry. Gene was so much appreciated having this code available for me. Even though it was WSPR only...watching it track using grid locators was still LOTS of fun !! See image...you cant get any uglier than this !! Observe the cardboard PCB for Atmega328P . These flew out to Atlantic ocean never to be seen again on home build balloons. So much learned since then.The caulk I used to seal that container probably weighed more than 3 of the trackers total I use now !!

This post was modified 4 weeks ago 2 times by James Zelazny jr
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Posted : 27/04/2019 12:18 am
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