View Full Version : K6J Parachute Mobile in June VHF QSO PARTY
06-03-2010, 11:41 PM
PARACHUTE MOBILE & ARRL VHF QSO PARTY
JUNE 12 2010
SPECIAL EVENT CALL SIGN
The Parachute Mobile Project (www.parachutemobile.org (http://www.parachutemobile.org)) will be participating in the ARRL June VHF QSO party by conducting ham radio jumps on Saturday June 12, 2010 starting at approximately 1:30 PM at the Bay Area Skydiving DZ at the Byron CA airport.
Mark Meltzer AF6IM will be jumping solo from 14,000 feet and operating 2 meter SSB on 144.200 MHz USB. Mark will QSY up as QRM, QRN and other conditions may require. 146.460 MHz FM simplex will be used for mission tactical operations comms. Jump times will vary depending on winds and aircraft loads. Tandem jumpers get boarding priority as they fund the DZ operations, so please be patient. We hope to make at least two jumps during the afternoon and possibly three. Mark will be using the special event callsign K6J during his descents. The jumps will be HAHO (high altitude high opening) to give maximum hang time for QSOs.
Special event QSL cards will be issued to listeners who provide verifiable reception details and to ham contacts who QSL and send a SASE to AF6IM at his qrz.com mailing address. Mark will carry an APRS telemetry beacon built by Mike Pechner NE6RD and Scott Miller N1VG which will transmit his callsign (AF6IM), GPS data and heart rate and blood oxygen levels. APRS data can be viewed at http://aprs.fi/ using AF6IM as the search term. Updated jump schedule info will be posted on Twitter. Twitter ID is parachutemobile.
Jon Gaefell, K6OJ, will be operating Mission Control assisted by Robert Coppock, KF0G from a mountain peak at or near Mt. Diablo. Mission Control will be operating/listening on 144.200 MHz USB and 146.460 Mhz FM simplex. Ray Rogoway W6RAR will be conducting dropzone relay comms. Rob Fenn KC6TYD will perform pre-flight safety checks including jumper medical condition, and will confirm that the jumper’s radio gear will not impede operation of his main or emergency parachute systems.
Please join us for a unique parachute mobile QSO. We won’t be able to give you a lot of contest points or multipliers but you will have the fun of working a ham parachutist in flight. We expect a contact horizon of at least 100 miles during the higher altitude portions of the jump and perhaps much further if conditions are favorable. The theoretical radio horizon calculated at 14,000 ft is 118 miles.
The dropzone at Byron http://www.bayareaskydiving.com welcomes spectators, but pets must remain in vehicles. There is no admission charge and plenty of free parking. Spectators must stay away from parachutes being packed and remain outside of jumper landing areas.
Feel free to repost this QST in any ham radio venue where it may be of interest. Please pass the word and join the fun.
06-09-2010, 05:55 AM
Best of luck to the SF Bay Area K6J Team! This should really excite the Ham community.
Are there any concerns about using an airborn transceiver for participation in the ARRL June 2010 VHF+ contest?
In the ARRL General Rules Section 1.6 states "Aeronautical mobile contacts do not count".
Your not on water, land, using a repeater or satellite, but your transmitter is above the earth. hi
Is Parachute Mobile considered a form of Aeronautical Mobile? hmm-just curious..
73 Eric N6SPP
06-09-2010, 09:59 PM
Since the ARRL VHF QSO PARTY contest rules dont allow preanouncing operating frequencies, please ignore the 144.200 USB operating freq post in our QST.
Our strategy will be to initially operate as most contest stations do, somewhere in the vicinity of the 2M SSB calling frequency of 144.200, but not on it so that the prior QST will not serve as a disqualifying preannouncement.
The FCC itself defines an 'aeronautical mobile service' and refers to title 47, Part 87 CFR. Section 87.5 "definitions" describes several stations, including 'private aircraft', "aeronautical advisory stations', 'aircraft earth stations', 'aircraft station' and so forth. None of these describe a parachute station.
Under "Amateur Radio Station", Wikipedia defines "Aeronautical Mobile" as thus;
"Aeronautical mobile stations are mobile stations installed in an aircraft."
As Mark is not an Aircraft, this clearly does not apply. Neither is his radio gear ever installed in an aircraft at any time.
It is my considered opinion that Mark is not an "Aeronautical Mobile Station".
The Parachute Mobile Team have verified this interpretation directly with ARRL Contest officials as well.
NB: Please disregard the original posting stating we will be working 146.200. Due to contest regulations and the inherent nature of contest operations we cannot pre-announce an operating frequency. However our strategy will be common to VHF+ operations of starting at the calling frequency and moving nearby to run contacts.
We look forward to your contact during the event.
06-09-2010, 10:34 PM
Is a parachute an aeronautical mobile station?
The FAA and FCC definitions leave parachutes out of the definition of "aircraft" and "aeronautical stations" respectively. You have to operate from an aircraft to be an aeronautical mobile station and parachutes are not classified or regulated as aircraft.
A 10 year old could legally fly a parachute solo in the US, but not an aircraft.
Parachutes can fly in controlled airspace without being equipped for radio contact with ATC, provided that the jumpship and jump operations comply with all FAA regulations.
It's fun being up in the sky and free from all those rules and gear requirements.
Can you imagine if we had to carry VHF AM aviation radios and radar transponders?
"Parachute 12 Alpha, Norcal Control, radar contact, climb and maintain 16,000."
Norcal Control, Parachute 12 Alpha, unable."
06-13-2010, 08:54 PM
Skydiving is all about waiting, sometimes for hours, followed by perhaps at most a few minutes of maxed out 101% adrenaline. The Parachute Mobile team did their share of waiting yesterday June 12, 2010, hours in fact. The Dropzone team set up at the Byron CA DZ around noon and the Mission Control team set up atop Mt Diablo concurrently. About seven hours later we made our jump. I have a VERY patient and dedicated team.
First, the DZ's main jumpship, a King Air was down with major mech problems. A DZ about 80 miles away sent over their PAC 750 to help. The PAC 750 is a single engine turboprop designed specifically for skydiving. Winds on the ground were as high as 26 kts and 56 kts at 18,000 ft, too high for parachute mobile ops which are HAHO (high alt high opening) jumps which exposes you to winds far longer than freefall HALO jumps. Further, I jump a big canopy for these radio jumps to give max hang time and it is not suted for landings in high winds. We waited for hours in 90+ degree weather and as the day wore on the winds decreased. Then, the DZ that owned the loaned PAC 750 plane called it back as they had a group of lucrative tandem jumpers who had just showed up.
The Byron DZ called the Lodi DZ and secured a Twin Otter that would be ferried over, but that fell through. All we now had was a little Cessna 206 and a long line of tandem jumpers who pay about $200 to jump compared to the pittance experinced jumpers like me pay ($20). I secured a spot on the last load of the day, last man out.
We flew over the beautiful Sacramento River Delta climbing to jump altitude. I free fell for a few seconds to get stable then tossed my pilot chute. I had a smooth opening, savored the spectacular sunset views, took a deep breath and set to work. I confirmed with Dropzone and Mission Control on 146.46 FM that post opening safety checks were complete, then switched to 2M SSB and started working stations using special event call sign K6J using my Yaesu FT 817.
I had more acoustic wind noise than expected but still managed to work at least six QSOs during my descent and approach to the Byron DZ. One ham who did not identify proceeded to announce that I was not a qualified contest contact because I was aeronautical mobile. I asked him to stop arguing the point and let me work stations, but he persisted for a bit. It was unfortunate because he blocked sigs from weak callers and as I descended I lost the path to them. We were NOT an aeronautical mobike station, as confirmed by the ARRL.
We learned a lot on this mission. An Ed Fong trailing wire J Pole was deployed after opening and worked fine which bodes well for an HF trailing wire antenna. The FT 817 worked fine and was easily operated. APRS worked well, but the crowded conditions on the national APRS freq caused us to lose some telemetry packets. We will work on using an alternate freq and an I-Gate to port selected data to aprs.fi.
I stopped comms at about 1000 ft as I set up for my final approach into the DZ bathed in beautiful golden sunset light. I did a nice standup landing on target as my team rushed out to greet me with whoops and high fives. Everything worked, not one single gear failure of any kind. The integration of the radio gear with the parachute harness worked out perfectly.
I am deeply indebted to my team who gives so generously of their time and resources to make these missions a success including : K6OJ, KC6TYD, NE6RD, KI6BEN, W6RAR, KF0G, KF6WRW, AE6YN and others.
Parachute Mobile Project: Taking Ham Radio To New Heights
06-14-2010, 10:13 AM
QSOs 2M USB
??? Probably ?6CVA cm87 100% sure on CVA suffix and cm87 grid square
Can anyone help with the CVA call?
06-14-2010, 04:47 PM
Typo, K6SIP should be KA6SIP.
I am not going to log the CVA contact for the contest since I couldnt decipher the call, but am curious as to who he was.
06-14-2010, 08:31 PM
One ham who did not identify proceeded to announce that I was not a qualified contest contact because I was aeronautical mobile. I asked him to stop arguing the point and let me work stations, but he persisted for a bit. It was unfortunate because he blocked sigs from weak callers and as I descended I lost the path to them. We were NOT an aeronautical mobike station, as confirmed by the ARRL.
It is a bummer that there always seems to be one miserable douchebag in every event that wants to mess with everyones fun.:mad:
06-16-2010, 06:41 AM
09-03-2010, 01:30 PM
I think I will go to attend the contest coz I just love skydiving, no matter how far I have to go or how much it costs me….
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09-03-2010, 01:37 PM
I think I will go to attend the contest coz I just love skydiving, no matter how far I have to go or how much it costs me…. Skydiving (http://www.adrenalin.com.au/skydiving/) | hot air ballooning melbourne (http://www.adrenalin.com.au/hot-air-ballooning-melbourne/vic-melbourne/air/12717)