Project Horus – Horus Binary Test & Tune Launches

UPDATE: The first launch (16th Feb) was a success, with quite a few new stations uploading telemetry. The following stations were seen to upload telemetry this flight: CT1EGC/VK5, VK5APR, VK5CV, VK5FPKR, VK5HS, VK5KIK, VK5KX, VK5LJG, VK5NE, VK5NEX, VK5NTM, VK5PE, VK5PW, VK5QI, VK5ST, VK5TCP, VK5TRM. Also a special mention goes out to callsigns ‘PLEASE_CHANGE_ME’, and ‘DONT_CHANGE_ME’, who might need to go edit their configuration settings 🙂

The next launch will be this coming Sunday, the 23rd of Feb, with the launch site TBD.

If you’ve been following the last few Project Horus High-Altitude balloon launches, you may have noticed the new ‘Horus Binary‘ telemetry payload is making a regular showing. This payload uses a high performance 4-FSK modem specifically designed for High-Altitude Balloon flights by David Rowe (VK5DGR) and Mark Jessop (VK5QI).

Horus Binary Telemetry

After resolving some issues experienced on the first few flights, the Horus Binary payload has now proven itself to be well suited for high-altitude balloon tracking, with fast position updates and high robustness to weak signals and fading. It has considerable advantages over the ‘traditional’ RTTY payload in both reliability, reception range and speed.

RTTY (left) and Horus Binary (right) payloads.

As such, it’s time we start to say goodbye to the RTTY tracking payload we’ve been flying for the last 54 flights. It may still make an appearance on a few more flights, but it is long overdue to be phased out, and the weight budget used for more interesting things!

To help regular listeners make the transition, and help new listeners get set up to receive this new telemetry, Project Horus will be performing a series of small (not-so) high-altitude balloon launches over the next few weekends. These launches will each fly a single Horus Binary transmitter, which consists of a reprogrammed Vaisala RS41 radiosonde. It is expected that each flight will remain in the air for approximately 2 hours, giving ample time to test receiving setups.

How can I get involved?

Getting setup to receive the Horus Binary telemetry is no harder than receiving RTTY – if you have a 70cm SSB receiver, or even a Software-Defined-Radio like a RTLSDR dongle, you can get involved and help contribute to the tracking of Project Horus balloon launches, and the success of our future flights.

 

 

We have recently re-vamped the documentation for Horus Binary, and there are now reception guides available for both Windows, OSX and Linux available here: https://github.com/projecthorus/horusbinary/wiki#how-do-i-receive-it

Follow the linked instructions prior to the scheduled flights, then during the flight tune your SSB receiver to 434.660 MHz USB – our standard Horus Binary frequency. Listeners in the greater Adelaide region should be able to receive the signal from the payload shortly after launch, with those further afield following as the balloon and payload ascend to higher altitudes.

If you have issues with setting up the software, please contact Mark Jessop (VK5QI) at vk5qi (at) rfhead.net .

Scheduled Launch Times & Locations

The following launch times are planned:

  • Sunday 16th February, 10AM CDT, from the Two Wells Football Oval (across the road from the bakery!)
  • Sunday 23rd February, 10AM CDT, launch site TBD

All are welcome at the launches – though unlike most Project Horus launches, these launches are expected to be over with very quickly! Launch crews are expected to be on-site approximately 30 min before the launch time, and may depart to chase the payload depending on flight-path predictions.

Online Tracking

Tracking of the flights will be available on the HabHub Tracker, available at this link. (Note that other balloon launches will also be visible on this page, including the Bureau of Meteorology launches from Adelaide Airport).