Parachute Mobile Scheduled for August 21.

Ham Radio Parachute Mobile

Mission 39 is scheduled for Saturday August 21, 2021.

You can reach via Simplex 146.430 MHz and jumps are made from 13,500 feet. Very reachable from Tuolumne County. If you have line of sight due west, you can participate!

Ham radio operators Mark Meltzer, AF6IM, and Michael Gregg, KF6WRW, were chatting on a repeater in 2008 and learned that they shared skydiving as a second hobby. They talked further about combining the two hobbies and the Parachute Mobile Project was born.

Parachute Mobile operates amateur (ham) radio gear while skydiving. Radio jumps are usually HAHO types (high altitude high opening) to give maximum hang time for radio communications. The jumpers are supported by a team of experienced hams, one team at the drop zone and the other at mission control which is usually sited on a mountain peak overlooking the drop zone. Our jumps, or missions, are great opportunities to make a contact and receive a special QSL card.

The jumpers carry a variety of gear depending on the mission profile: FM and SSB transceivers, 20 meter PSK beacon, APRS transceivers with GPS and physiological telemetry, data and voice recorders, batteries, DF locator beacons, and trailing wire antennas with cutaway releases. APRS I-Gates and other specialized airborne and ground equipment are also deployed.

Higher jumps are planned, up to as high as 24,000 feet (with oxygen) subject to FAA clearance. AF6IM made two freefall jumps from 24,000 feet, but sustained parachute flight starting from those altitudes raises all sorts of life support and safety issues that must be fully addressed before we take this next step. Our team made HAHO radio jumps from 18,000 feet for Radiofest 2010 in Seaside, California, without oxygen gear, but that is as high as we can go without masks and tanks. HF SSB comms, PSK 31 comms, and additional telemetry data are all on the menu for future missions.

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