On July 7, 2016 I glanced at the Cape Cod, Massachusetts APRS map and noticed a high altitude balloon at 29,000 feet over Provincetown moving east at 60 MPH over the Atlantic Ocean. The Pico Balloon was owned by Mike KD2EAT-15 and launched that morning from Ithaca, NY.  The balloons last transmission a week later was in IRAQ.


   After viewing launches, progression of flights on the internet and learning more about high altitude ballooning, I’m planning a Pico balloon launch on a Trans-Atlantic journey and try to circumnavigate the earth. While many balloon flights end in Europe and Western Asia, few flights circumnavigate the earth, even twice like Andy Nguyen, VK3YT, of Kensington, Victoria, Australia on April 6, 2015. My launch date will be Fall/Winter 2017 from Red River Beach, Harwich, Massachusetts. I’m using a Pico balloon rather than a larger neoprene balloon that National Weather Service stations use for Radiosonde deploy. They can reach an altitude of 150,000 feet (28 miles) expand and burst. Pico balloons reach an average altitude of about 30,000 feet (5 miles) and it’s weight loss carries it through the jet stream great distances. With the Radio, GPS, Solar cell and Batteries it weighs less than a pound. The FAA policy states a balloon will not exceed 4 pounds for free flight unless above 4 pounds then notifying the FAA. Amateur radio operators use 20 and 30 meters for worldwide communication. There are 2 frequencies dedicated to APRS work,  20 meters 14.066 MHz USB and 10.151 MHz on 30 meters LSB. HF receiving stations collect the balloon location and relay it to the internet. It is then plotted on APRS.FI and HABHUB.org. The North American APRS frequency is 144.390 MHz and Europe 144.800 MHz. Both are not used for worldwide communication due to it’s short VHF distance.

THE PROJECT   coming soon

Temporary plot on APRS.FI map with the KENWOOD TH-D72 handheld. The blue circle shows the receive area for 2 meters 144.390 MHz. Circle coverage increases up to 250 miles with a 20 or 30 meter transmitter that will be used.

N2KNL.com website online since 10/20/16

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