K4WCU Repeater Finds New Home

As of Sunday, (12/23/12) The K4WCU Repeater has been relocated to the top of Reservoir Ridge. It’s new location should serve Cullowhee flawlessly, and potentially add improved service to the surrounding areas such as Tuckaseegee and Sylva. Can you now hit the repeater? We’d love to hear about it. Please give us your report by commenting on this article, We’d love to know how the location effects your coverage. We look forward to testing it’s coverage more extensively when we return to the area for the spring semester. Information on how to access the repeater can be found on the “Repeater” Tab above.

Much thanks to Russ, K4RCC for his efforts and work to obtaining permission to use the site, and getting the repeater installed!

K4WCU Balloon Launch Statistics and Pictures

As many of you may know we have successfully recovered the K4WCU (Catamount-4) Balloon. The write up below was written by Al, WD4A, and Chuck, W3WZN. Much thanks to them for tracking the information.

We have also Posted Pictures from the flight Check them out here! – K4WCU (Catamount-4) Baloon Slideshow

Catamount-4 Track and Recovery Teams, Along with the Property Owner, and Stakeholders

Catamount-4 Track and Recovery Teams, Along with the Property Owner, and Stakeholders taken as the balloon was first discovered

· Launch: 10:06 AM ET Dec 15 from Jackson County Airport – Cullowhee, NC
· Maximum observed altitude (via APRS): 83,712 feet at 17:18:341 UTC (12:18:34 ET)
· One packet seen at 88,656 at 17:22:37 UTC but is likely erroneous since the packet immediately before and after were much lower
· After balloon burst, the payload was falling at 119 mph (174 fps for first 60 seconds) (10,469 feet in 60 seconds)
· At one time the balloon was observed to be traveling over 150 MPH horizontally!
· Landed near Wingate College in Monroe, NC at position N 35 00.87 W 080 25.66 (track picture below)
· last report to aprs.fi on Dec 16 at 12:11:17 UTC (7:11:17 AM ET) altitude 639 ft
· Distance traveled: 158.5 Mi at heading of 96.8 degrees

Hunt Highlights:
· At one point we were afraid we had lost the balloon payload as we did not hear the APRS or beacon for about a hour
· We got lucky after driving near the site of the last transmitted packet and just barley heard the beacon
· We converged on the payload by direction finding the beacon once we could hear it well enough
· Balloon was first found by following the sound of a piezo buzzer installed for that purpose
· The payload was hung up about 35 feet above the ground in a dead, rotten Sweet Gum tree -Tree branches easily snapped off when climbing attempts were made.
· We were unable to retrieve the payload on Saturday evening as dark overtook our efforts
· All chasers except except two (W3WZN, & W3WDD returned to Western NC Saturday night
· The landowner was found on Saturday night and permission was granted to cut down the tree
· Sunday afternoon the payload was retrieved around 1:25 PM

· All equipment in the payload was safe and secure although some of the batteries powering various pieces of equipment had become depleted

Flight Path of the Catamount-4

Flight Path of the Catamount-4

No December Meeting – (December 27, 2012)

Our Monthly Meeting, which would have been scheduled for December 27, 2012, has been cancelled due to the holiday break. We will Resume our regular Monthly Meeting again in the new year. Our First meeting will be January 24, 2012 in the Dogwood Room, University Center @ WCU at 7PM.

We hope to see you all there, and that you and your families have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

K4WCU-11 Balloon Launch (Catamount-4) – December 15, 2012

CARGO, along with the Haywood County Amateur Radio Club, and the WCU Physics Dept. Will be Launching Catamount-4 This weekend on Saturday December 15 between 9-10AM from the Jackson County Airport.

Here’s the link we’ll use to track spot from the GPS


If you happen to see the balloon (K4WCU-11) feel free to email us with any information you may have (especially if it’s down and helps us recover) to balloon at wcuradio.com

UPDATE: Balloon has been located, and recovery efforts are still underway at this time. (12/16/12)
UPDATE: Balloon and Payload successfully recovered at approximately 1325 EST, 12/16/12. It’s final resting place was only a few miles off of Highway 74 near Wingate University, in Monroe North Carolina. We will do our best to post a few pictures shortly, please continue to refer back to this post for updates.
UPDATE: (12/20/12) Pictures have been uploaded to the web. Check them out here! K4WCU – Catamount-4 Slideshow