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377

New parachute to ground radio distance record.

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On Sat March 31st, a new parachute to ground radio distance record was set. I talked with fellow ham radio operator Lloyd G. Rasmussen W3IUU in Maryland while I was flying my canopy over Byron CA at about 8000 ft. Worked many other closer stations during my descent. My radio was a book-sized battery powered Yaesu FT 817 putting out slightly less than 5 watts on 14.250 MHz USB. Lloyd is blind and learned about my upcoming jump through a network of blind hams.

I had a busy jump. My Triathlon 190 canopy opened with a lot of line twists but since I opened so high (hop and pop from 13.5) I had plenty of time to kick them out. I was carrying a chest mounted Go Pro camera driving a 5.8 GHz transmitter for live air to ground video. I also had APRS telemetry gear that broadcast my GPS data (position, course, ground speed and altitude) also heart rate and blood oxygen percentage (from a fingertip pulse-ox sensor) to ground stations that auto-posted the data on the Internet in real time. Had to unwind and deploy a trailing wire end fed dipole antenna. Also had a VHF UHF radio to communicate with the DZ and get up to date winds aloft info.

My resting HR is 67 BPM. The telemetry data showed a peak of 173 BPM!!! during the more stressful parts of the jump. Worst SpO2 was 84%, getting better as I descended into denser air.

This stuff is mostly a yawn for experienced skydivers but the ham radio community gets a big kick out of it.

http://www.arrl.org/files/file/QST/This%20Month%20in%20QST/May2016/GLIFFORT.pdf

377
2018 marks half a century as a skydiver. Trained by the late Perry Stevens D-51 in 1968.

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377

This stuff is mostly a yawn for experienced skydivers but the ham radio community gets a big kick out of it.



Not a yawn for this experienced skydiver! I'm not a ham radio operator, but much of my electronics work has been parachute related, and hobby electronics as a kid included radio, and I think this is very cool. The QSL cards with pictures of parachutes really makes it special.

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Indeed, we even had the so-called "fish", a lead weight on the distal end of the long wire. Right out of the 1940s.

Had to remember to fly a very clear landing approach staying WAY above any power lines. Wouldn't want to drag that baby across any high tension lines or wind generators.

Stowing the wire into a compact bundle that wouldn't tangle up on antenna deployment was a challenge. No room for a reel. We ended up making taped paper bands around coiled sections of wire. I ripped the bands open as I deployed it coil by coil. Worked fine.

Surprising how well the VHF and UHF gear transmits from inside the planes. We have no trouble talking to the ground during the climb to jump run. 144 and 440 Mhz. Works in King Airs, Twin Otters and Caravans.

The live 5.8 GHz ATV worked well, from exit at 13.5 to landing. There is some really good cheap drone video gear nowadays. Most of it exceeds FCC power limits for unlicensed users, but the FCC doesn't do much spectrum cop work these days, too busy dismantling net neutrality. Anyway as hams, we are actually licensed to use high power the 5.8 KHz band.

377
2018 marks half a century as a skydiver. Trained by the late Perry Stevens D-51 in 1968.

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Well, we were kinda at the top of a hill, courtesy of a $24 ride to 13.5. ;)

Your co-worker was too pessimistic. Hams routinely talk many thousands of miles without elevation or huge antennas. All it takes is good ionospheric reflectivity. Solar activity influences it a lot. Sunspots help. I talked to a station in the Antarctic from my CA home. I live 18 ft above sea level and use a simple single element rooftop antenna.

PM me your email and I can send you an MP3 file (too large to attach here) taken from my receiver output during descent. You can clearly hear the Maryland station W3IUU calling me and acknowledging my reply. We had a lucky break in ionospheric skip conditions. Only running about 3 watts transmitter output, powered by AA cells!

377
2018 marks half a century as a skydiver. Trained by the late Perry Stevens D-51 in 1968.

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Ya know, there's this thing called a "telephone" that is somewhat useful for this sort of conversation. :)

Seriously, this is pretty cool. There are a lot of 'tech geeks' that jump.

How long was your antenna?
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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wolfriverjoe

Ya know, there's this thing called a "telephone" that is somewhat useful for this sort of conversation. :)

Seriously, this is pretty cool. There are a lot of 'tech geeks' that jump.

How long was your antenna?



That's a bit personal, isn't it? ;)
My computer beat me at chess, It was no match for me at kickboxing....

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obelixtim

***Ya know, there's this thing called a "telephone" that is somewhat useful for this sort of conversation. :)

Seriously, this is pretty cool. There are a lot of 'tech geeks' that jump.

How long was your antenna?



That's a bit personal, isn't it? ;)

Well, considering he was dangling it under canopy, and was being very careful not to snag it on powerlines or wind turbines, I'm gonna guess he's not terribly shy about showing it off.

:P

The info may well be in the linked PDF, but I'm having trouble opening it.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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