Saturday, May 22, 2021

WSPR balloon project initiated

UPDATE: Postponed two months due to excessive shipping time + travel scheduled for June/July.


If all goes according to plan and my questions receive the answers I'm hoping for, I'll be placing an order Monday for the ingredients that will result in a balloon-supported WSPR transmitter.

The heart of the project will be the WSPR-TX Pico Transmitter from ZachTech. Finishing up the recipe will be an SBS-12 or -13 balloon and local procurement of either helium or hydrogen.

The gas used is not as simple as it seems - there are different dilution levels of each gas, depending on its intended purpose and where it is sourced.

So there is some learning to be done - but the transmitter is decided.

I had been waiting on G0UPL's previously-announced U3B - a stripped down, lightened version of his U3S. But, after three years, it's time to look elsewhere, thus the Pico.

Although light, these weigh significantly more than the U3 variants flown on balloons by a few so I'm certainly not hoping for anything remotely close to a circumnavigation. But it will be fun to see just how far one of these might fly.

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An upcoming business trip and then a vacation in the coming months makes the shipping time for this item incompatible with those plans. Maybe at a later date...


 

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6 comments:

  1. Interesting experiment John. Helium is expensive. Good flight. 73 Ron PA2RF

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    1. I'm going to try to use hydrogen if it's not too expensive. I won't need much and may be able to buy the small amount from a welder I know.

      73,
      John

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  2. Keep us posted, John. I saw the presentation at the QSO Today Expo and have been thinking about jumping in to some flights. I heard winter might be a better time...and with the lead time for GoUPLs, the choice of flight date might not entirely be up the pilot....

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    1. Will do, Jack. I hadn't anticipated a possible 30 day shipping time although the beacon I'll be using comes from Sweden. If G0UPL ever makes a general release of the U4b, I'll be one of the first to place an order. So far, all of his (very few) U4b's are dedicated to one or two folks who've flown them enough to know what they're doing - ie, no one like me!

      The distance record for the beacon pictured above is from New Mexico to Afghanistan. I'd be happy just to cross a few states. Several of G0UPL's have completed multiple laps around this blue marble we're all riding on - amazing stuff.

      73,
      John AE5X

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  3. FB, John.

    I was looking for my files for info that I have collected regarding balloons. I can't attach here, but the May 2017 QST feature's lessons learned by Bill Brown (WB8ELK). Bill was the presenter at the QSO Today Ham Expo this past spring.

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    1. Page 79 in that issue - got it!

      Thanks,
      John

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