Posts Tagged ‘Balloon’

National Hamfest Balloon Launch

Following my maiden high altitude balloon launch last month of MADHEN Eggsplorer-1 at the World Egg Throwing Championships I have agreed to attempt another launch at this years National Hamfest which takes place on the 25th-26th of September at the Newark Showground.

Once again I will be assisted by the members of South Kesteven ARS and hopefully this time it won't end up splashing down and being lost at sea.

I intend to have a SSDV system running on a Raspberry Pi using the usual UKHAS RTTY protocol and possibly this time a LoRA transmitter which allows faster transmission and higher resolution, however this requires ground stations to use a LoRA receiver, this are straightforward to build. I have done some experiments with the code base developed by Dave Akerman but didn't implement them in the Eggsplorer-1

As to any special payload? Well following the yokes about "Ham n Eggs" following the sending of an egg in the stratosphere, who knows....?

Anyone interested in joining South Kesteven ARS and being involved then contact me via the club website at or our facebook page

Baofeng in space!

If you like APRS and cheap Chinese radios you might be interested in this Spanish balloon project which will launch tomorrow (Sunday) from Madrid. The helium balloon will carry aloft two Baofeng UV-3R transceivers connected as a transponder with a 435.450MHz downlink and a 145.840MHz uplink, an APRS module on 144.800MHz beaconing the SSID EA1RCS-11, three cameras, a radio ionosonde and a parachute. The team anticipates that the balloon could go as high as 30km, making operation or reception possible over a large area of Spain and neighbouring countries.

For more information see the project website

South Texas Balloon Launch Team launches balloon aimed at China

My daughter and I made the short trip to the No Label Brewing Company in Katy TX to watch the South Texas Balloon Launch Team launch a helium balloon aimed at Nanjing China. Thanks to Tom AE5QB for letting us know about this event!

To track the balloon in real time go to :

From the press release of the South Texas Balloon Launch Team:

The South Texas Balloon Launch Team is pleased to announce the upcoming launch of its twenty-eighth, helium-filled, unmanned balloon in twenty one years. The purpose of this flight is to establish a world record for distance by floating a balloon from Katy, Texas to Nanjing, China.

The balloon will be released at approximately 3 P.M. CST on Saturday, February 11, 2012. The site of the launch is at the western end of the No Label Brewery complex at 5373 First St., Katy Texas, near the old rice grain silos.

The public is invited to this free event, with a special invitation to science students and teachers. Free helium-filled balloons will be available to the first 100 students. Sorry, no pets allowed in the balloon area.

The balloon payload package weighs only about five ounces (150 grams) and contains a high altitude GPS tracking system and a VHF amateur radio transmitter. To conserve weight and battery life, no camera equipment will be on board. The maximum altitude is expected to be above 100,000 feet, with horizontal speeds between 100 and 150 MPH. The balloon size will increase from about five feet to about 39 feet at maximum elevation. Recovery of the payload package is not expected.

Individuals may follow the balloon’s progress on the Internet by logging onto APRS, filling in the “track callsign” field with “kt5tk-11”, and change the “show last” to 24 hours.

The South Texas Balloon Launch Team is composed of about twenty active amateur radio “Ham” operators from a variety of occupations who donate their time and expertise.

We appreciate the continued support by No Label Brewing Company for our amateur radio projects.

iHAB-7 Was a Sucsess!

Southgate Amatuer Radio has a great article about iHAB-7, which is a high altitude balloon that carried Amateur Radio as well as record HD video of the flight. It went up to a little over 85,000 feet and took some stunning images.

YouTube Screen Shot

YouTube Screen Shot

It all carried a 40 Meter beacon and a 70cm simplex repeater up with it. The video was posted on YouTube and I am re-posting it here for you as well. Here’s the description from the YouTube video giving a little more detail on the flight:

First, we are thankful for everyone who participated in the iHAB-7 launch. What a GREAT way to spend a beautiful Iowa fall day! iHAB-7 was a picture perfect flight! The propulsion team did a fantastic job getting the balloon filled to specifications, which gave iHAB-7 a perfect 5.5m/sec ascent rate.

The balloon stayed aloft for 1 Hour – 51min, reaching a burst altitude of 85,290ft and traveling 33 miles down range. COLD temperature at altitude, lowest temperature recorded inside the payload reached -8 °C or 17.6 °F. The recovery team had the rare opportunity to get a visual on the payload at 8,000 feet on its decent, and witnessed it land in a freshly harvested cornfield SE of Morning Sun, Iowa.

Signal reports are still coming in on the 40 Meter beacon. UHF Simplex repeater worked as well as it could. Being a “Parrot” it is a little more challenging to work, but some folks were able to make QSOs.

A special thank you to the Washington Area Amateur Radio Club for their sponsorship of the iHAB-7 Launch! Also, thank you to Mark Joseph (KC9DUU) – Jesse Risley (K9JLR) – Jeremy Lamb (KC9KGJ) – and Pete Lilja (KC0GPB) for chasing with us!

Looking at a still image from the video, the view reminds me of Courasant from Star Wars. There I go being geek again. Anyways, here is your Amateur Radio moment of “Zen”.


Rich also writes a Tech blog and posts stories every Tuesday and Thursday on Q103, Albany’s #1 Rock Station website, as well as Amateur Radio stories every Monday thru Friday on AmiZed Studios and hosts a podcast called The Kim & Rich Show with his fiance’ Kim Dunne.

Texas Club Flies High with 10 Meter Balloon [VIDEO]

The North Texas Balloon Project is going to be launching mission number 19 tomorrow, at about 8:30am central time. The balloon will have a few payloads attached with different sensors and a 10 meter beacon aboard. It’s expected to go up to 100,000 feet, which will take approximately 90 minutes and return by parachute in about 50 minutes. A recovery team will track and retrieve the balloon using it’s on board APRS. All the particulars for mission 19 can be found on the group’s website. There is also information on their past flights as well. Below, I found a nice little video for a 2009 flight they did. This kind of thing is still on my bucket list to do. Maybe I should take the time this winter to start planning something out. Do some research and get some stuff together for it. And if I wasn’t already going to be running around Upstate NY all day tomorrow, I would be trying to listen for this on 10 meters and watching on APRS.


Rich also writes a Tech blog and posts stories every Tuesday and Thursday on Q103, The Rock of Albany’s website, as well as Amateur Radio stories every Monday thru Friday on AmiZed Studios and hosts a podcast called The Kim & Rich Show with his fiance’ Kim Dunne.

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