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how much does it cost to fill a weather balloon?

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KD5ZEW, May 10, 2009.

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  1. KD5ZEW

    KD5ZEW Ham Member QRZ Page

    how much does the helium cost to fill one of those 6-8' weather balloons?
  2. KC2UGV

    KC2UGV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Can't be more than $75, which is about the price of a 50 lbs cylinder of helium (Short of the deposit on the tank).
  3. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Check your local helium prices (prices tripled in some parts of the USA over past 2 years) -- lowest prices in USA is in your part of Texas where it is extracted and stored!

  4. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I bet the Wx Service gets it holessell.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  5. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah, I'd use hydrogen. Much cheaper, especially if you "roll your own." :D
  6. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I can't believe you would even ask the cost! It is well substantiated that most hams are full of hot air so it shouldn't be hard to get it done for free and not need helium!!:D
  7. NA0AA

    NA0AA Ham Member QRZ Page

    4(3.141592)r^3/3 = volume. That is Four Times Pi time Radius Cubed, all divided by three.

    8' diameter ballon holds 268 cubic feet, plus just a skosh since the balloon compresses it a few torr.
  8. ZL3GSL

    ZL3GSL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've seen a suggestion that the world will run out of helium in a few years because NASA are using so much. :(

    Hydrogen is great, but be very careful. You must earth everything ... hydogen is very inflammable at any mix with air. When I lowered the balloon, I just threw a pair of scissors at the balloon. A few shreds of rubber fell to the ground. The balloon is a capacitor and the atmospheric voltage gradient is about 100V/m, so as the balloon goes high it is charged to a high voltage.
  9. KD5ZEW

    KD5ZEW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Throwing scissors in the air at a fragile sphere pressurized with extremely flammable gas that may be carring a Very high voltage charge.........

    here's your sign =)
    I love ham radio
  10. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    3.1415926 Please get it right---

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  11. ZL3GSL

    ZL3GSL Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's exactly why I threw the scissors at it. I wasn't going to touch the damn thing. :)
  12. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    To be more accurate...

    I'm game, after all you only live once.

    You know you could...
    take a peace of #40 bare wire and tape one end to the bottom of the balloon and sprial wrap it down the first 15 feet of rope or so and as you are pulling it in you can ground the balloon from a safe distance.

    Just a thought.
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  13. AC0FP

    AC0FP Ham Member QRZ Page

    You get the Franklin award for trying a risky experiment!

  14. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I can't or shouldn't tell you what a boyfriend and I did one year for Independence day.
    It involved
    Nitric Acid.
    Ethel Alcohol
    and fine silver....
    We only did it once
    we didn't want to press out luck.
    by the way it was just under 32 years ago.
  15. W7LPN

    W7LPN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Even though...

    Helium is a free byproduct of petroleum refining, when gas went to $4/gal, helium sky rocketed. But I have put up several groups of 3'x3'x 3-4 balloons and did it for less the $80 minus deposit etc. I have a military surplus weather balloon and intend to put it up this summer at a camp-out family reunion. Make sure you ate well grounded and always have a safety rope in case you lose your grip on the wire. Aluminum electric fence wire will hold the tension without using a rope and the added weight. It's a lot cheaper too. A frame on your tail gate with a spool on a rod and a rechargeable drill works great for retrieval.
  16. KC7BYY

    KC7BYY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I generally have thoughts about things like helium and prices,

    but I keep it to myself. :)
  17. NN4RH

    NN4RH Subscriber QRZ Page

    Depends on what you want to fill it with . . .
  18. AI3V

    AI3V Ham Member QRZ Page

    Called the gas man....

    245 cu ft helium, tank, and regulator/valve rental.

    'bout a hundred bucks.

  19. KI6DCB

    KI6DCB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Also, if you fly a large kite or a balloon, use a short length of somewhat weaker string between the device and the tether. If the tether were to break near the ground, the balloon/kite will eventually be blown sideways -- probably at a level which would drag a long tether along at a height which could cause all sorts of mischief with power lines and so on. It's a lot less trouble if you lose just the balloon and the tether falls to the ground where you are.

    I'm not a safety nazi, but a little bit of planning here can save a lot of grief.
  20. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'll call you and raise you one.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
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