Showing posts from May, 2016

ANSR Ground Station Tracking System

  ANSR Ground Station Tracking System Filed in ANSR Tracker on May.21, 2016 In support of the Arizona Near Space Research group, I have agreed to set up a new ground station for tracking the balloon flights. We do this in order to point directional antennas at the balloons as they float across the state on their missions. I had done this about 10 – 12 years ago with a PIC processor programmed to read the telemetry from the balloon beacons and calculate the azimuth and elevation to point the directional antennas at the balloon for optimum reception of live video feeds.   Ground Station Configuration When I left the ANSR group, another member (Gary, K7GGG) took over that responsibility. He developed a C# program to do those same functions on a PC. That program talks to a rotator controller interface to move the antenna array. My new system will initially use his software. I started out by trying an RTL-SDR dongle that I had ordered via EBay as the receiver.   RTL-SDR Dongl

Restoring the Kenpro KR-5400 Rotator

  Restoring the Kenpro KR-5400 Rotator Filed in Antennas on May.20, 2016 As mentioned in my prior post, I found that the elevation rotator for my Kenpro-5400 set had corroded internally to the point where it was no longer working. It had been sitting outside in the weather for over 10 years, with no maintenance or activity, and the seals had allowed water to leak into the rotator, resulting in the corrosion. The Azimuth rotator just needed a bit of fresh grease on the bearings to work smoothly. This post will show some pictures of the cleaning/rebuilding process for the elevation rotator.   Kenpro KR-500 Elevation Rotator Upon opening up the rotator, this is what I found. Notice all the sand-like deposits scattered throughout the assembly.   Initial condition The motor and gear assembly is on the left, and the rotator axle is on the right. Here is a picture with more detail of some of the corrosion.   Corrosion around the axle Next, the drive motor was unscrewed and moved ou

ANSR – Arizona Near Space Research work

  ANSR – Arizona Near Space Research work Filed in ANSR Tracker on May.20, 2016 After having taken a break for a few years, I have renewed my membership in the Arizona Near Space Research group. This is a club that specializes in high-altitude balloon launches that carry payloads typically designed and built by students ranging from Jr. High to Post Graduate levels. I was involved in the club shortly after it was formed in the early 2000s, then found myself juggling for time to work on our cabin in Northern Arizona, Golf and family matters. When I was involved years ago, I created an automated balloon tracking/antenna pointing system to keep our antennas pointed at the balloon as it floated downrange from the launch site. These antennas were high-gain 430 Mhz or 2 Ghz directional arrays on which we captured live video feeds from the balloons. My original incarnation was controlled by a PIC Microprocessor and a few I/O devices, driving my Kenpro KR-5400 Azitmuth-Elevati