4 Things for the High Altitude Balloonist’s Christmas list

4 Things for the High Altitude Balloonist’s Christmas list


The build up to Christmas seems to start straight after Guy Forkes night. So here are a few things to mention to relatives when they look for ideas for your present.

Cameras – Go Pro Hero 3+ Black edition £359.99


hero 3 plus

The update to the Go Pro Hero 3, the originally titled Go Pro Hero 3+, is out there and sporting some features that will interest the HABist who has an older model, or who is investing in their first action camera.

This is what Go Pro say about the Hero 3+

The Go Pro hero 3+ is …“20% smaller and lighter than its best-selling predecessor, it delivers improved image quality and powerful new features geared for versatility and convenience. SuperView™ is a new video mode that captures the world’s most immersive wide angle perspective, while Auto Low Light mode intelligently adjusts frame rate for stunning low-light performance. Combined with 30% longer battery life, 4x faster Wi-Fi, a sharper lens and compatibility with all GoPro mounts and accessories, the HERO3+ Black Edition is the most advanced GoPro yet.

Stunning video quality has made GoPro the world’s best-selling camera company, and the HERO3+ Black Edition continues this tradition. High-resolution, high-frame rate 1440p48, 1080p60, 960p100 and 720p120 video modes result in professional quality footage and allow for liquid-smooth slow motion playback. 4Kp15 and 2.7Kp30 enable ultra high-resolution, cinema quality capture.”

Better performance at low light levels and longer battery life will be an advantage to HABists. As will the lower weight. HABist John Flaig, from USA, has already tried out the Go Pro Hero 3+ and notes a word of caution. John said, “In testing so far, the battery life is not long enough, even with the bacpac, to get 3-4 hours recording at the highest quality settings. I also had to get a 64gb card and an external battery (Anker Astro Mini 3000mAh) to record for longer.”

Trackers HABduino £100



HABduino is the first ‘Off the shelf’ radio tracker to come to the marketplace. It should open up radio tracking to a wider section of the HABing community.

This is what the inventor, Anthony Stirk, has said about it,

“The Habduino Project is an open source sheild and code for Arduino™ designed to transmit the current location via a radio transmitter. Its features include :

• Compatible with Duemilanovo, Uno and Leonardo boards.

• On board step up to permit operation from 2 x AA batteries.

• Ublox MAX6/7 GPS designed for high altitude use.

• 70cms frequency agile TCXO equipped transmitter for RTTY.

• Optional 300mW 2 meter transmitter for APRS.

• Interupt driven simultaneous APRS and RTTY transmission.

• On board temperature sensor.”

HABduino has been given the thumbs up by those HABists who have used it but you will also need to buy an Arduino micro controller, suitable antenna, and Funcube dongle for your laptop to get the best out of HABduino. This more than doubles the initial outlay. You also have to solder up an aerial but it is worth it.

Stocking fillers

TileApp $19.95



Has your payload ever landed in dense undergrowth or a crop? Mine has. Some kind of short distance locating device would be ideal to take you the last 30 metres to recover your payload. The Tile is not yet released but may offer the solution.

Book Drifting on Alien Winds: Exploring the Skies by Michael Carroll



Armed with egg nogg, chestnuts, and your new woolly jumper why not settle into your favourite chair with a good book? Drifting on Alien Winds is a great book on the nature of the atmosphere on planets in our solar system. After a read of this you can dream of your first extra-terrestrial HAB project.






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