Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tracking a "Pico Balloon"

Launch of a pico balloon
(Courtesy AMSAT-UK)
Ham radio ballooning enthusiasts are embracing a new challenge, launching and tracking "pico balloons," which Newsline describes as "those silverized party balloons fitted with an ultra-light amateur radio payload and designed for long-distance medium altitude flight." Apparently, they're capable of remaining aloft for quite a long time if a recent report from England is any indication. The "B6" balloon was launched on July 14th from Silverstone, England and was tracked for the next 70 hours as it drifted across the English Channel and toured the French countryside before its signal was finally lost some 80 miles outside Paris. It carried a 10-milliwatt 70-centimeter transmitter that was powered by a single AA battery.