Friday, March 17, 2017

Tracking VE3KCL "S22" balloon

At around 1400Z today, Dave VE3KCL launched his 22nd high-altitude balloon from Toronto, Ontario.

The payload for this balloon is based on Hans G0UPL's Ultimate 3S and is transmitting JT9 on 30 meters and WSPR on both 20 and 30 meters into a 2-band vertical weighing 1 gram (probably a dangling wire).

Power output on WSPR is only 20 milliwatts but his antenna is waaaaaay up there.

I had only a small amount of time to let my rig listen for the balloon this morning and was happy to have been able to decode his WSPR signal on 20m two times using a Flex 6300 and 2-element Yagi on my end:

As I write, Dave's balloon has been aloft for 3-1/2 hours and is now 20,500 feet (6260m) over the Atlantic Ocean east of New Jersey and headed quickly out to sea, zooming right along at 156 knots.

It's anyone's guess as to how long this balloon will remain operational and copiable by hams. His previous balloon made it to Puerto Rico and one prior to that circumnavigated the globe.

Whether you have JT9/WSPR capabilities or not you can track the progess of "S22" here.

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