Amateur Radio Roundtable
High altitude balloon project

Our Mission and Goal

To launch a high altitude balloon for long duration and multiple trips around the world. We will use a new aero-space material balloon called the SBS-13. It will
be filled with hydrogen to obtain higher altitude. The design shoul fly at approx 41,000 to 43,000 ft. It will be solar powered only (no batteries so it will only transmit during daylight). We will receive  tracking every 2 minutes via APRS  on VHF and backup WSPR on HF.
Tracking data will give us Altitude, Speed, Voltage, Temperature, future course predictions. Entire payload is approx 25 Grams. Transmissions will be turned off over the UK, Yemen, and North Korea due to regulations.


About the Tracking

We are solar only so no data or reports
during the dark hours. Due to regulations no transmissionsover North Korea, Yemen, or UK.

APRS

You will see speed, altitude, temp voltage, Heading, and Lat and Lon. under preferences you can set it for metric or imperial units. The aprs transmitter is running .5 watts of power on the 144 Mhz band. Typical range is about 250 miles. There are no APRS receivers over the ocean or Africa and the Middle East.

HabHub

This site gives you speed, heading voltage, Altitude, Temp, lat and Lon. Under settings you can set things like metric or imperical measurements. If you click on Hysplit, it will give you estimated prediction paths for the
balloon.

WSPR

Our WSPR transmitter works on HF at 14 Mhz and has a range of over 5000 miles. It is only running 10 mw of power. Baud rate for data is 1.4 Baud. Yes you read it right 1.4. The signal bandwidth is only 6 Hz wide. WSPR does not give us all the data we get above. It is used as back up to the other data systems.  For example while over the ocean, it could be 5 days that we do not hear from it on the vhf bands, But WSPR will tell us its approx location and if it is still moving.

Payload

The payload consists of a 9 Gram tracker that contains the GPS system, an HF transmitter, and a VHF transmitter. powering all this is a 4.8 Volt 50 ma solar panel with a 3 Farad 6 V super capacitor to handle the large current of the vhf transmitter on start up.


Previous Flights

W5KUB-1

Standard 3 ft mylar party balloon running the skytracker. Helium gas.  We flew at 31,000 ft and made it to the coast of Japan where we hit a storm and went down. Distance 14,000 miles in 14 days.

Pictured Bill Brown WB9ELK


Balloon Callsign
W5KUB-11

launched Jan 27, 2020

Click here to join our ham radio facebook group 

Click either button below to see map of balloon location.  Each are similar but allow you to customize the data you want to see.  For example metric or U.S. units

Day 6 Feb 1, 2020 We have not heard from the balloon in 3 days. Last report it was entering Africa.  Probably has gone down but we are not certain. We will keep watching over the next week to see if it reappears.  It was flying great and have no indication it was losing altitude. It was flying steady at 41,000 ft. We went into darkness so no reports during the time frame in question.  We are already working to build our next tracker based on YO3ICT. tracker weighs only 1.5 grams. Should be built by end of Feb and we will schedule another launch soon.  In the meantime lets keep watching for this one to re-appear.

Day 2 Jan 27th, 2020  as predicted wspr is showing it mid way over the alantic. we only have wspr so no altitude, lat, long, etc. Not much going on as the balloon is in the dark most of our daylight.

Launch date: Jan 27, 2020 at 0945 Central.  Filled a test balloon to launch for wind direction. It exploded on us. No one injured, still have all fingers and eye brows. Payload was a little heavy (27 grams) and we added 8 grams of Hydrogen as free lift. Today was about the last option to launch. WX prediction was to be partly cloudy. We had some clouds on launch but within about 45 minutes the skies were clear. Wind was averaging about 3-4 mph. Upon launch the balloon went almost straight up. It was already reporting position by 6000 ft.  Cloud ceiling was low. Average speed 100 mph. By 4 PM eastern it had made it 100 miles from east coast and we lost sunlight so no tracking. solar panel is flat and horizontal. Sunset was at 6 pm but it was straight off the side of the panel so no voltage. It should show up on wspr sometime in the morning over the ocean during daylight. 

 

 

 

 

This is the beta test configuration
of balloon flight W5KUB-11