Meriden (CT) ARC Balloon Projects In Progress

From the Meriden ARC March 2023 newsletter “Key Klix:”

The [Meriden Amateur Radio Club] currently has two balloon projects in the works. On Saturday, 25 February, John, KB1MFU tested his balloon to see if it would meet specifications. The balloons were supposed to inflate to 3 feet in diameter which would hold a specific amount of helium allowing him to calculate the amount of lift it would have.

For the test, John used nitrogen gas to save on the more expensive helium. He set up the test in one of the garage bays at the firehouse and began to slowly inflate the balloon. The homebrew inflation nozzle that he made fit perfectly into the balloon allowing the gas tank to be connected. The Balloon filled to 1 foot in diameter then on to 2 feet. At about 2 1/2 feet the balloon burst. Not good for a 3 foot rated balloon.

Undaunted, John said that he would get replacement balloons, probably rated 3 1/2 to 4 foot diameter. Another test is in the works. They like to say that failure is not an option but having this test balloon fail now is better than having it fail on launch day. Without testing, failure is always an option.

Once the balloon itself passes the test, other components will be tested as well. Carry on, John. You have no where to go but up! Ted KC1DOY