Data Book

Eagle Pride In The Sky


Joseph Judge, Mar. 29 2015

It’s workin’.

Ended up reformatting the entire SD because I realized that the pre-built image is super out of date. Everything started working pretty much perfectly afterwards.After doing some research, though, I’ve found that we might need a beefier receiver in order to track this down properly. I’ll do some range testing once I get my laptop all set up, though.

Scott Danville, Mar. 29 2015

Can we make a small amplifier antenna for the unit we already have?  I think that would require a small modification and we’d be able to attach the antenna with the same size plug.

Joseph Judge, Mar. 29 2015

An amplifier for the Pi? Probably feasible, but I’d imagine that the board should already be equipped with enough power to be read from a distance. We probably do need to lengthen the antenna, though.

I think the main issue is that the receiver we currently have is pretty low-spec, according to the UKHAS wiki. I’m not sure how hard it would be to get a beefier receiver, but it seems like something we’re going to need, considering how high up the balloon is going. I did a range test a little while ago and lost essentially all reception as soon as I walked out of my house. I’ll try and craft a longer antenna for the Pi, but it might be a bit ghetto for the time being, seeing as though I don’t think I have the right connector and I don’t want to risk damaging the antenna we already have. Again, I’m also not sure how much of an effect that’ll have on signal, as well.

Scott Danville, Mar. 29 2015

I believe increased sensitivity of the receiver may be achieved with an amplification of sorts.

If you agree, I should get a rush on the order.

Also, a trip to the local airport(s) may also be in order to file official requests for flights.

Joseph Judge, Mar. 29 2015

That seems like a pretty good option, though. My only concern is that we won’t be able to match the ports of the dongle and the amplifier, though I’m sure we’ll be able to hack something together. I’d go ahead and order it, if at all possible.

Do we need an official flight date before we go to the airport? If not, then when should we schedule a trip for?

Scott Danville, Mar. 29 2015

In reflecting on this incredible moment of success that YOU have achieved with this seemingly simple handshake of the two pieces of equipment, I must, at very least, salute your tenacity and drive.  I say, “Well done!”

This project may likely seem elementary on many, many levels when describing to another person.  However, I believe that there is a complexity that, once revealed, illustrates how remarkable a feat this is.

To be certain, a web presence and presentation at the science fair will prove inspirational for others.  Not to be boastful, but generous.  A true sign of science understanding is the will to share.  To be imitated where others learn and replicate what is done here is the true essence of science and the scientific method often overlooked in high school science classes.

I know others will appreciate any successes this project brings.

With that said, let’s continue to head toward the heavens (literally).

Joseph Judge, Mar. 29 2015

Hearing that means a lot to me, and this project really is something I’m incredibly interested in. To be honest, I think the biggest factor that allowed me to get this far so fast was that I was able to actually sit down with the equipment for a long period of time and actually study it without interruption. In fact, I began thinking about this in more detail, and started wondering about the possibility of a lab period for the independent study next year. I feel like the span of less than 40 minutes per day every other day doesn’t provide a whole lot of consistent thought, and seeing as how I’ve made this much progress in such little time, that seems to be the case. I also realize that next year sounds like it might be a bit of a burden for you schedule-wise, so I suppose I’ll save that subject for when it can be discussed a bit more thoroughly.

Going along with this new understanding, I feel like I will be able to relay this information a lot better when it comes time to present it. I’m glad I can provide an easier experience to someone looking into this field, seeing as how it’s quite disorganized, at the moment.

Speaking of disorganized, I’ve also just remembered that my mother’s friend, who is a professor at Clarkson, stated that she worked on a similar project recently. I’ll try to see if I can get some useful tips and info from her, to ease these trials.

Scott Danville, Mar. 31 2015

I came across this video searching for information about balloon inflation.

Does this video make you think of a number of things that need to get done prior to launch?

I think a comprehensive check-list of things to do and then another list of pre-launch items is definitely in order after some preliminary testing of the EPITS GPS/radio receiver is complete.  And there is the issue of what to do about a science fair presentation, too.

Here are a few things that can begin a framework for a master list:

  • Testing GPS/Receiver with field tests
  • Calculations about payload and required helium amount
  • Construction of EPITS case, lines, and balloon attachment to parachute and EPITS case
  • Balloon fill nozzle modifications from air tank
  • Air tank (helium amount and %) specifications (from Air Gas – near Buck’s Discount center)
  • Airport contact and “authorization
  • Tactical pre-launch weather watch. This may be a good activity for a few of my current Earth science students using the trajectory tool on my website.
  • Science Fair paperwork, poster boards, simulation presentation, etc
  • OTHER . . . .

Scott Danville, Apr. 7 2015

I know that this is not as simple.  But, is this a possibility?

Joseph Judge, Apr. 7 2015

Essentially that’s the same idea as what we’re doing currently, just in a more specialized form. It doesn’t eliminate the need to use a radio receiver, and his idea of having the balloon be tracked by other enthusiasts won’t really work in the US, seeing as we have much less of a developed weather balloon community than the UK.

Joseph Judge, Apr. 7 2015

I don’t know if you’ll get to this in time, but if you see this, order it as soon as possible. I wouldn’t question it, since it seems like our only shot for a reasonable price.

Scott Danville, Apr. 7 2015

I hope it works.  It’s on its way.

Joseph Judge, Apr. 7 2015

Funny thing, I was just about to message you that the listing ended. Glad to know that you’re the cause, though!

Scott Danville, Apr. 8 2015
Let’s figure out how to build an appropriately sized receiver antenna.  Can you figure out the math?

I can bring in the materials.

Joseph Judge, Apr. 8 2015

Wavelength of 434mhz at speed of light = 0.690766032258m

1/4 wave = 0.1726915080645m

So, we’d have to have the branches be about 0.17m. Convenient timing for this; I just recently started this unit in Physics. Might be a good idea to make note of this concept when making the presentation.

I think that’s really all the math we need. If you can grab the supplies, I guess we’ll start building this ASAP.

Scott Danville, Apr. 8 2015

I will see what I can scrounge together.

Scott Danville, Apr. 10 2015

I just received this little gem(see link below)more the UK.  I hope it helps boost the receiver signal. I did a little research a few weeks ago and I think this may help especially with the FunDongle.

Also, this calculator (link below) will come in handy and also aid with the design of the edits “basket”. The equipment mass will add up quickly.

We definitely NEED to document all of this on a website as soon as possible.  I believe an assignment list is necessary and forthcoming to ensure that we can more completely present all of the technical jazz.

Can you start a site somehow?  We could ultimately host on one of the servers at school and call the site or maybe something a bit more clever.

Joseph Judge, Apr. 10 2015

I can start laying out the content for a site soon, though I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get a whole lot done this weekend; I’ve got a bit of a packed schedule.

That adapter looks like it’ll work perfectly, though. I’m excited to test it out! The only things I can see being issues are the power plug (we may need to splice some wires to be able to power it over USB, seeing as it can work with 5V), and we’ll need an SMA to SMA and a long SMA cable for the antenna.

I’ll also keep note of that website, but there’s obviously not a whole lot I can do until we get the payload assembled and weigh it.

Scott Danville, Apr. 12 2015

I have set up on my out-of-school server for greater autonomy.  I believe that the login information has been sent to you.

I know that you are very busy.  I just wanted to have it ready to go and secure the domain name.

You have full admin rights.  Giddy up!

Joseph Judge, Apr. 12 2015

Sounds good, I’ll probably get to work on content Monday night. I’m thinking of just writing all of the info into a single word document and then transfer the info into separate articles on the site.

Scott Danville, Apr. 12 2015

This is a great framework to illustrate the anticipated balloon path.  This style of illustration would be extremely visually informational on a poster board presentation and for use on


Scott Danville, Apr. 12 2015

I believe that we will need to design a Yagi antenna.  If you can take a look at this video, we should be able to build this soon.

Scott Danville, Apr. 12 2015

This is very important.

The display has very strict dimensions.  I believe that inflating one of the weather balloons to 30″ and connecting it to the parachute and Eagle Pi will work with in the height, width and depth dimensions.  However, it appears that the show board is the conduit of science!  Let’s plan on high end graphics.  I would like to have this ready to go asap so that I can have the show board professionally printed.

Scott Danville, Apr. 14 2015

Hi Joe,

Just received the FunCube Dongle and cables.  It’s a go for antenna testing ASAP.  Just need to solder up the dipoles and connect.

Quick note, power can be supplied to the preamp via the FunCube Dongle bias-t switch(to on) inside the Preamp.

See excerpt from preamp documentation:

There are 2 options for powering the board either by the header (plug supplied) or via bias-t. Devices such as the Fun Cube Dongle can enable bias-t and power the device. Power can be supplied from any DC power supply from 5 to 26V output to the header or bias-t.

The units are supplied with the switch in the powered by header position.

If you want to power the board via bias-t remove the four screws, use a pen to move the power selection switch to bias-t (to the right) and replace the cover and screws

Joseph Judge, Apr. 14 2015

So I messed with the whole kit quite a bit tonight and took a few mental notes:

  • I figured out how to get bias-T working on the amp; the FUNcube dongle has a software setting to allow this, although the configuration needs to be set every time the dongle is attached. Kinda annoying, but hey, it works.
  • I don’t know if it’s because of the interference on land (trees, houses, etc.), but the reception is awful. I couldn’t even get to a mile without the connection dropping completely. Either I’m underestimating the impact having the payload in the air will have on signal, or something is drastically wrong.
  • I found out that we have to run dl-fldigi in HAB mode to get the interface to actually be useful. I don’t know why this isn’t the default, but at least I know this now.
  • The reason we were getting garbage data while testing in the school is because SDR# needs to be set to LSB (Lower Side Band) when using the FUNcube dongle for some reason.

Scott Danville, Apr. 16 2015

This is good info for He filling. The calculation of the amount necessary and dealing with the nozzle @ fill time appear to be the critical part,elements.

Scott Danville, Apr. 17 2015

In addition to getting the radio working,  the Eagle Pi in the Sky project needs to be presented on a display board (along with the website portion)  Here(link below) is a display board companies take on how to do that.

The display or show board is the critical element for the science fair.  However, having data and results from testing is what goes into the science portion of the science fair project.  Both need to get completed ASAP.

I recommend creating all show board elements and doing the science to fill in what is needed as a process to complete the science data gathering.  The science data gathering at this point will be trajectory predictions, radio field test results and gps accuracy as it relates to predictions and radio field tests.  Graphically representing the data is the critical mass. Yes, a bit of a sticky wicket to present succinctly.  That is the challenge.  Oh yeh, and the contraption still needs to be built!

Scott Danville, Apr. 17 2015

I like the show board illustration layout on the link below.  It might be something to consider.

Scott Danville, Apr. 21 2015

I went to the Champlain Valley Regional Science Fair website to gain a bit better understanding of what was possible regarding display boards.

Take a close look at the Technology Winners (second photo)

I think they have a small flat screen display embedded in their double size display board.

Could you pull this off with two IPads? I have two IPads that could be used.  One is an IPad Air 2 and the other is the slightly larger original IPad.

I think a simple cut-out cardboard slot, duct taped into place from the back for the IPads to slide down into, would be perfect.  I believe the trick is to make the cut-outs look factory cut.

I think that the laptop, balloon rigging, and content for IPad displays is something to plan on.

I also think that some time after school this week is absolutely a necessity.

While I am not in school today, you should be able to ready display content.  This could be content that could be auto display OR interactive with the IPad touch screen.

I can stay after every day for the rest of the week as well.

Please let me know.

Scott Danville, Apr. 22 2015

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Just as an order of standard practice a research paper must be written.  Do not freak out about this.  It is a good thing and I will help with the structure etc….

This will allow for a simpler to-the-point display board.

Focus on getting the display great!  Writing the paper must be completed first.

I think you have it mentally figured out.  Now, write it.

Joseph Judge, Apr. 22 2015

I’m not too concerned about writing the research paper, seeing as though it will contain essentially the same information as the poster, but this frightens me:

Project Data Book

A project data book is your most treasured piece of work. Accurate and detailed notes make a logical and winning project. Good notes show consistency and thoroughness to the judges and will help you when writing your research paper. Data tables are also helpful. They may be a little ‘messy’ but be sure the quantitative data recorded is accurate and that units are included in the data tables. Make sure you date each entry.

If this is indeed a necessary component, then I’m very much doubting we’ll be able to make this for the deadline. I don’t want to be pessimistic here, but this data book is something that will take a lot of time to manage, and seeing as we haven’t really kept any definite notes going through this, we’re in trouble. The only exception I can think of for this is that our project isn’t really one that fits the typical format to a “T”, and that this data book isn’t applicable. Something inside me doubts that, though. I’m also almost done organizing a basis for the information I’ll need to write for the poster, so I’ll email that to you when finished to make sure I’ve got the right idea.

Joseph Judge, Apr. 22 2015

I’ve finished an outline for the research paper. I’m hoping it’s well developed, though I had to rush a bit since I have to head out for review soon. Take a look at it and tell me if you find any errors or any additions that can be made.

Scott Danville, Apr. 22 2015

It’s all no big deal.  All of the sites and drawings can be compiled.  I have your drawing of the quad antenna as a precursor to the Yagi.  And I feel that a list of sites is essentially the backbone of notes that were really used.

Compiling emails and sticking them in a binder is probably a good idea.

Clearly you operate in your head.  This will be clear in the presentation.

No worries.

Joseph Judge, Apr. 22 2015

I was actually thinking about compiling all the emails the other day, but I guess it sorta flew over my head after that. Glad to hear that it should be relatively simple to clear up.

Joseph Judge, Apr. 22 2015

I dropped off the poster board at school during the review. Did you take a look at the outline I sent you a few emails back? If so, does it look alright?

Scott Danville, Apr. 22 2015

I have reviewed what you have done so far.  If you read it through, you may get a sense of direction.  Less personal works.  However, mentioning things like ‘project motivation’ and ‘inspiration came from’ are good alternatives.

I think there will be some synthesis in the next couple of days.