Monday, October 10, 2016

It's a Wrap

Yesterday was the last morning for the 2015 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  As usual, I stopped at IHOP for breakfast before driving over to the park.  I arrived early for my "Oh-Dark-Thirty" shift.  Opened the tent and turned on the lights.

Was not too long when Dave (N0LVA arrived.  He told me the combo for the trailer and we started setting up the station.

Bands were terrible.  We did tried by calling "CQ"s.  There were a couple QSOs we could here, but seemed like no one heard us.  Wish we had the laptop with JT65 software.  We were able to hear digital traffic.

Winds were a little "iffy" early.  There was no Dawn Patrol. Eventually, we got the green flag for the last mass ascension of the 2016 Balloon Fiesta.

We were wondering where John was, as he was also supposed to be at the tent.  Eventually he called and we found out he had fallen the previous evening and broke a bone.  That left Dave and I (me nearly 69 and Dave 72 yo) to disassemble to ham radio station and our exhibit, and finally packing everything into the club trailer.

Both of us have knee issues, to had to take many breaks.  It was nearly 11am when we walked back to our vehicles.  I needed to do 2 errands on the way home.   Stopped by a FedEx office to return a kilt I had ordered (size exchange).  Finally, Smiths for some groceries.

Home about noon, I crashed into bed.

Brisk Morning at Balloon Fiesta

Was glad I had a couple days off from volunteering.  Gave me some time to rest, recover, and get some other things accomplished.  This morning, I had another early morning shift at the NM5HD tent.

Stopped by IHOP for breakfast. Arrived Balloon Fiesta Park a little before 4am.  Traffic into the park was heavier than Wednesday morning.  Was able to get about the same parking spot.  Had to wait for the gate opening.  Headed over to the tent and opened it up.

Soon, Frank arrived.  Little bit after was our committee chairman walked in.  Set up the station, prepared to be on the air and meet our public.

Winds were just too high for balloon launch until about 8:45. I spent some time tuning through 7 M and 20 , but no much activity.  Was at hoping at least to find some action on the county Hunter's Net.  No luck.  When the sky lightened up, I noticed another antenna (dipole), looking for perhaps 75/80M.  We checked into a local 2M net.

Thinking it would be a short launch window, we packed up the station to beat the traffic leaving the park. There will be another crew at the fiesta this afternoon.  Tomorrow (Sunday) morning I will be back for the last half day of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta..

Thanks to an "expert" on the blogger help blog, I was able to re-post the Saturday report.  From the help blog, it looks like a lot of people had problems with blogger.

Pissed at Blogger

This morning I tried to write my blogging post about the last day of the Balloon Fiesta.  First, I could no post a photo.  Next, all photos disappeared from both of my blogs. Nnow, my last posting  has disappeared.  Instead, I have 2 copies of

What gives, blogger?

Friday, October 7, 2016

First Time at Balloon Fiesta

After some false starts, Wednesday, I had my first shift at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  As I expected, I could not sleep
Tuesday night.  Think it was the anticipation and worrying about over-sleeping. Read and tried to sleep/nap.  Got up, dressed, grabbed my cameras and headed to IHOP for breakfast.

Glad I donned a medium weight jacket.  Was a little chilly (mid-40s) when I headed out.  Stopped to gas up the car and arrived at the Balloon Fiesta Park about 4am.  One of the fiesta officials came by and plugged in our tent.

The Wednesday crew started showing up.  Grabbed the electronics out of the trailer and set up the Special Events Station W5B.  One on our club members told me what to look for.  Soon, it was about the time for balloons of the "Dawn Patrol" to take to the skies.  Their function was to check the winds before the mass ascension for the rest of the balloons.

As the sun started rising over the Sandia Mountains, balloons were lifting off.  There was a constant flow of balloons rising into the sky and heading to the north,  As I watched the ascension, the first balloons to lift off seemed to the those of traditional shape.

Later in the ascension came the larger and special balloons.  I captured photos of some of these unusual balloons.  Here is a cow, just for my friends in Wisconsin.

It was a good thing we had a full compliment of volunteers to man the High Desert ARC tent.  Like a kid in a candy store, I was excited watching all of the balloons.  Most of my time was closer to the launch field to take photos.

Band conditions were the pits like they have been all year.  There also were some problems with tent power - kept tripping the breaker.  Don't think we made any contact in HF.  Two nets were conducted during the morning.  I think they were both on 2M.

It was a perfect morning for flying.  One of the things I learned about the Albuquerque air currents often create a "box".  Winds aloft were to the North.  After flying North, they dropped altitude and the surface winds often brought the balloons back to the Balloon Fiesta Park for landing.

Once the mass ascension had been running for over an hour, people started leaving the park. The club shut down the HF station and one of the nets concluded. Two of us members stayed until the second net was over.  By about 11 am, most of the balloons had landed and it was our time to close up for the day.

While I was tired, I also was hungry.  Stopped by a couple stores near Cottonwood Mall killing time until the clubs Wednesday lunch.

Exhausted, I got home and crashed onto my bed.  Slept for a couple hours. got up and transferred photos from the camera to the hard drive.  Processed some of the better photos and posted some on

Photos:  Dawn Patrol,  Specialty Balloon,  Special Events Station W5B and High Desert ARC tent

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

W5B SetUp Redux

Core group of High Desert ARC members returned to Balloon Fiesta Park to (again) set up the Amateur Radio Special Events Station W5B. The station should be on the air starting Tuesday morning.
Confusion between the club and the fiesta organizers cause the club tear down and pack up the station last Thursday. I will leave powers-to-bee in the club to iron out all of this confusion and consideration for 2017.
In this photo. club members Merle, Larry, and Dave are checking out the antenna installation.
My first shift (with the new schedule) is Wednesday morning,  I am to be at the park at Oh-Dark-30 (about 4:30 am).  At that time, we pull the electronics out of the trailer and connect cables, plug in the power and hopefully be on the air. 
We will have literature about amateur radio and the High Desert ARC.  Once again, we are near Gate 3 in the NE corner of Balloon Fiesta Park.