Thursday, June 27, 2019

Balloon Launch: SSTV & APRS from "near-space"

A hobby group in Binghamton, New York, Triple Cities Makerspace is planning to launch a balloon with amateur radio payloads on Saturday June 29th, 2019.

The group is launching a high altitude balloon to near space (100,000 feet) and transmitting photos of the atmosphere during the flight.

The Triple Cities Makerspace launch will take place on June 29th around 10:30 AM, tentatively depending on weather. The balloon will be tracked by amateur radio and also live photos during the flight will be transmitted back to the ground via amateur radio.

The group hopes that many radio operators will participate by listening in and uploading photos they receive to the project’s website:

The flight is expected to last around 2.5 hours and the coverage area of reception within 500 miles.
Gary Dewey, an amateur radio operator (callsign KD2PYB) and member of the Triple Cities Makerspace, is leading the project. “I’ve always dreamt of going to space, but this could be the next best thing – building something that goes to (near) space. I hope this project inspires others to experiment and reach for their dreams.”

They are using the MicroTrak-2001 from Byonics for APRS and will be transmitting on 144.390 MHz with the call sign KD2PYB-11. For SSTV, they are using a raspberry pi zero with the pi camera, a pHAT dac for a sound card interface and inexpensive Baofeng brand radio for the transmitter. They will be transmitting on 145.600 MHz.

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