Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It Works!

Hurray, the 1w transmitter is functional. We didn't know because it had been in a box in a closet for a very long time. We now have to find the right power source and fit it all in the rocket pod.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

1 Watt Transmitter Will Just Fit!

Hank brought in his transmitter project and we did a test fit into the rocket payload bay. It BARELY fits. Now we have to find the right battery.

This transmitter should give us 10 times the range! 3000ft maybe.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Launch Day

Got a call from Jesse the night before and the shipment still hasn't come in. The rocket will not fly until maybe May.

Secretly, I am somewhat relieved. That will give Hank and I time to build a more powerful transmitter. Hank showed me a 1 watt transmitter he dug up out of an old closet. We are going to convert it to rocket duty!

I went to the event anyway and it was great fun. The whole school came out to watch and Jesse sent up probably 20 rockets to my 3. He even flew an F powered one capable of supersonic flight, and a big G-engined one. KITV even came out and did a story on it!

This whole thing has gotten me interested in High Power Rocketry. I would like to get more involved and qualified for the big ones.

Back to the drawing board for now.


Rich "Rocket" Fewell

Range Testing

Friday Hank and I went to Ala Moana Beach Park to test our range at lunch time. He set up all the receiving gear and I got the transmitter ready. I started marching off but very quickly we realized we were not getting the performance we needed. We had a solid signal to 300 feet and then the signal got snowy to 500 feet when it was lost all together. The rocket is expected to go to 2000 feet or more! Very disappointing. We tried a few other variations but it didn't seem to matter. The transmitter was just too week. We would need more power to do the expected altitude, but the launch was in a week. This flight will have to go as planned.

I informed Jesse of the results and he wasn't too bothered. I delivered the payload and all the parts he had lent me back to him on Saturday night. I also learned Jesse was expecting the shipment of parts (especially fins) on Monday. He also had not yet secured the I-engine needed for the flight.

T minus 6 days and counting!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The project changes course...Going UP!

Hi Everyone,

This starts the second chapter of Bryan's project. Bry and I have always wanted to put his project in a rocket. It was too much to do for this science fair, but now that that is done and we have this equipment, it is a great time to start.

Bryan and I found ourselves in Pearlridge at we wandered into the Hobby Company to see what we might convert to a video carrying rocket. We started talking with the young employee there and discovered he was very into rocketry. Turns out he is building a large High Power Rocket of a custom design and was looking for a video payload. PERFECT! We decided to collaborate and that is how I was introduced to Jesse Bradley, 16, of Waialua High School.

Jesse is a remarkable young man. He has a passion for the hobby of rocketry and has been the force behind the Waialua Rocketry club and getting a bunch of people involved in the sport. He also started the Rocket Extravaganza event at his school, where he runs a demo of 20 some rockets being launched in front of the entire school assembly. He was amazingly organized and was effectively delegating responsibility to teams for the event. Pretty cool.

For the video payload, I disassembled Bryan's science fair project (with permission) and built a basic cardboard and straw prototype. That helped be figure out where everything was going to go and how much it might weigh.

I took that prototype down to see Jesse and he gave me a bunch of components of the rocket that I could build the project with. Over the next two weeks I built the payload bay, installed the components and wired it all up.

I also started talking to my friend Hank (KH6HAK) about it and he got involved building the ground station, with some speciallized antennas and amplifiers. It was great fun to be involved with the prototyping of the device, and I was hoping with Hank's gear to get better results than we got with the science fair format.

That's all for now,...more later.


District Science Fair

Bryan submitted his ATV project to the district level competition. It was amazing to see what some of the kids were doing. He got a certificate for participating but was not selected to go on to the state level competition. Trey Tirpak (in red) has won both last year's and this year's Hanalani science fairs and was the only one from Hanalani selected to go on to the state level. Congratulations Trey!