Aussie balloons a delight for trackers

Aussie balloons a delight for trackers

Source: Southgate Amateur radio news

The high altitude pico balloon PS-57 launched from Melbourne on December 12, is expected over South Africa, with stations there already tracking the flight.

Meantime Andy VK3YT reports that the earlier PS-56 balloon has now completed its second circumnavigation of the Southern Hemisphere, despite a catastrophic failure of its GPS tracking, and is still floating.

A lot of interest is being attracted by the PS-57 balloon with its solar powered payload of a 25mW transmitter on WSPR and JT9, as it journeyed across the equator while over South America.

Its movement was closely tracked and reported at more than 9-thousand metres in altitude by data transmissions heard in the USA and Canada.

The tiny party type balloon slowly floated over Colombia and Venezuela, then the Atlantic Ocean around the northern end of South America going parallel to the coast until Rio De Janeiro.

By last Wednesday it had turned east heading for South Africa, closely watched by at least four trackers in ZS-land, where it is expected to exit on its final circumnavigation leg to Australia.

The latest launch by Andy VK3YT is PS-58 that has taken inland route over Eastern Victoria and is now off Queensland over the Coral Sea.

Meantime, Project Horus had floated a Japanese-made red coloured weather balloon over Adelaide, with its up-and-down flight to test telemetry, before really hot weather returned.

Mark VK5QI and David VK5DGR deemed it a success. Others helped in the tracking it too.

When it came down landowners disabled electric fences, opened gates, and a mob of sheep looked on curiously as some direction finding of the RTTY payload found it perched 2-metres up in gum trees.

Another Project Horus flight was expected in this round of tests, reported on the Australian Radio Experimenters Group website ( www.areg.org.au ).

Both the pico balloons by Andy VK3YT and Project Horus, are to be the subject of a two-part feature article in the WIA journal Amateur Radio magazine.

Jim Linton VK3PC

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