In mid March the team took possession of a new chase vehicle. In the past the students had to use a school SUV. Due to the multi use school vehicles, it proved very difficult to install communication equipment on a short term basis. This will no longer be an issue, as Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran has provided the team with their very own chase vehicle. The vehicle previously served as the county ambulance and most recently as the Schleicher County Command and Control Center. It is already equipped with high tech communication and surveillance equipment. The Space Cowboys will now add the equipment needed to communicate through out the launch. The communication equipment that will be added will allow the team to track the probe from the ambulance. The equipment will also allow the team to keep track with mission control from the road.
Since taking control of the Hambulance the team has made many changes. We have added a fresh new look to the chase vehicle. We were able to add graphics thanks to the generosity of the school. We have also added a screwdriver motorized antenna. The antenna is capable of of tuning to a Standing Wave Ratio of less than 2:1 on 10-80 meters within the Amateur Bands. A Kenwood TS-2000 connects to the antenna to allow communication back to mission control. The Hambulance has also been outfitted with a VHF 5/8 wave antenna. The radio for the VHF communication is a GE Mastr Delta. We have also installed a top of the line desktop computer that has the capability of handling the data coming from the probe.
Next we hope to install a 500 watt HF solid state amplifier. We also hope to install the automatic antenna that will track the probe. It is rather challenging to install a microwave antenna permanently due to the size. We also hope to install a camera to see where the antenna is pointing. A weather station would be very valuable to add for storm chasing in the future. A state of the art one touch Cappuccino maker is yet to come as well.