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Amateur Radio balloon starts record breaking flight

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by G4TUT, Feb 12, 2012.

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  1. G4TUT

    G4TUT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Amateur Radio balloon starts record breaking flight

    An APRS amateur radio balloon KT5TK-11 has started out on its journey to break the long distance record.

    It was launched from Katy in Texas at about 2123 UT Saturday night on the start of its journey to Nanjing in China. Previous balloon flights have ended in the Mediterranean, this one aims to go much further.

    You can follow the balloon’s progress on the Internet by logging onto the APRS tracking site, filling in the “Track callsign:” field with 'KT5TK-11', and changing the 'Show last:' field to 24 hours.

    Its frequency agile transmitter is capable of operating on 144.390 MHz, 144.800 or 145.825 MHz FM depending on geographical location.

    APRS tracking site

    Further details at

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  2. VE4CY

    VE4CY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Looks like it stopped transmitting positional data just after 00:00:50Z and it shows the last telemetry report came in at 00:04:30Z ... It's 01:47Z as I write this and there have been no updates.. I hope this is just a temporary glitch...
  3. KD2WA

    KD2WA Ham Member QRZ Page

    So much for the record breaking..... Looks more like a broken balloon! Maybe China used it's anti-balloon tracking system to destroy it?
  4. KF4RQH

    KF4RQH Ham Member QRZ Page

    go to ( ballon about 35 miles south of port arthur La 2.5 hours ago
  5. AB3Y

    AB3Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    It seems like the journey ended in the Gulf :(
  6. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    It never made it past New Orleans... but then again,... it is MARDI GRAS !!
  7. N5ARK

    N5ARK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is it still going? Looks like the latest is 2012-02-12 00:00:50z alt 45763 ft and gaining....
  8. N2WSK

    N2WSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do not use lead paint or products !!
  9. VA3TSE

    VA3TSE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Alt might be gaining, but Ub .... the Balloon might be there still, but the Battery... was going down right from the start at a steep rate.

    Hope the balloon lasts till china!
  10. N0FPE

    N0FPE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Looks like a dead in the water balloon to me no updates since yesterday.
  11. N5ARK

    N5ARK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah looks like that is what happened...hate to hear it but hopefully they will learn from their mistakes and give it another chance....
  12. K2WH

    K2WH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    When I first read about this attempt to fly a balloon to China I said "What for". Is it to prove a balloon carried by weather patterns can transport a floating object all the way to China? Is it to demonstrate battery life for some manufacturer? The fact that it had a ham transmitter on board is irrelevant and as far as I am concerned, this balloon stuff is just an ego trip for the balloon boys with amateur radio a bystander. Give it up already.

  13. N9ZL

    N9ZL Ham Member QRZ Page

    If I had to speculate, I'd say the balloon is probably still going somewhere over the Atlantic, but the electronics failed. There were no position updates that indicated a balloon failure (rapidly decreasing altitude). The temp on the last update was -49C (-56F), and dropping by a degree C per minute as the balloon climbed. Pretty harsh conditions.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  14. KD2WA

    KD2WA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think the idea of any publicity (including as a bystander) for amateur radio is good. Once all you retirees die off, I won't have anyone to talk to (as in rag chew) unless we get new (younger) people interested in the hobby. These balloon launches have been done here locally, and have involved high school age kids. After all, weren't you in high school when you got into ham radio?

    The concept of China is a publicity stunt, obviously with a balloon you are not going to control the jet stream to make it go where you want.....

    I wouldn't tell them to give it up! There is far more to this hobby than calling CQ, telling someone they are "5/9", and then moving on to the next contact!

    It looks like the extreme drop in temperature did something to it. -100 degrees (c) in space is pretty darn cold! That would be enough to shut down most any equipment that we use in this hobby.
  15. N4EYZ

    N4EYZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    If we had listened to folks like you back in the 60's we'd have never set foot on the moon. There are countless advances in science that have their roots in "balloon boys" and similar endeavors. We should applaud activities like this (as most here are doing) not be selfish and shoot them down.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  16. K2WH

    K2WH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Excuse me, but I am not retired and I hope I'm not gonna die soon; but maybe if I do, that will open up a slot for you. No, I was not in high school when I got my ticket. I waited until I was smarter to prevent me from doing stupid stuff. As to getting new young people involved in the "Service", I didn't know ballooning was in the interest of ham radio. It seems to me, this belongs in the ballooning hobby and not ham radio.

    So entlighten us of your distinguished career in ham radio and please relate to us of what value to ham radio is tying a radio to a balloon worth. What does it prove that a balloon can carry a radio to a certain altitude and then eventually plunge to the ground in a death spiral. Seems like a waste of good equipment and time.

    You want to track something floating in the air? Go to some of the aircraft websites, and track a commercial jet.

  17. KD2WA

    KD2WA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think it is an interesting experiment.

    <a href="">Government Rules - FAA?</a>

    My question is how do you legally do what is being done here compared to what information I am reading in the link above? Do these requirements apply? Isn't this an unmanned free balloon? Did this launch have all the safety devices in place that is called out in the CFR, like the ability to terminate the flight as in 101.35(2)? Or is there some other law that applies to this?
  18. M0LEP

    M0LEP Ham Member QRZ Page

    As someone who got into ham radio relatively recently after first becoming involved in amateur high-altitude ballooning, and as I happen, at this moment, to be tracking a different amateur high altitude balloon experiment on the other side of the ocean using one of my ham rigs, I'd say there's significant overlap, myself...

    73, Rick
  19. AB3Y

    AB3Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    C'mon man. People like to build things and experiment. Isn't that what being a ham is about? What's wrong with releasing balloons and having some fun... Don't be so negative, they are not causing harm to anyone and at least bunch of them got together and built something they all enjoyed.
  20. KD2WA

    KD2WA Ham Member QRZ Page

    K2WH - Your posts are often very negative. I promised myself that when I get to be of the retirement age, I won't be all crotchety about everything.

    I acquired my technician ticket (last FCC field office test ever given!) at the age of 12, which allowed me to get smarter BEFORE I graduated from high school. Those who know me, know exactly how far I've made it so far in life thanks to 28 years of ham radio and there is no reason to enlighten anyone!

    To microscope the balloon project like you are, is like saying getting into model railroading is dumb because all you are doing is watching a train go in a circle... Why not just go to the train yard and watch real trains?

    We all find ways to entertain ourselves in life, and if this is what gets these people excited and brings happiness - god bless them! Why try to cut these people down?

    Sorry to accuse you of being retired - your QRZ description says you are going to retire in a 2 months, that was posted on December 16.... I guess you have a couple of more days.
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