Wednesday, February 18, 2015

QRP Ham Radio Balloon Nearly Makes it Around the World

Launch of a picoballoon
(Courtesy Amateur Radio Victoria website)

A foil "party balloon" carrying a tiny amateur radio transmitter flew from Melbourne, Australia across the Pacific Ocean to South America, then across the Atlantic and southern Africa before landing off the coast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. 

The ARRL Letter reports that the balloon carried a 25-milliwatt transmitter, sending out telemetry via the WSPR and JT9 digital modes on 20 and 30 meters during its 20-day flight. It was launched December 27 by Andy Nguyen, VK3YT, in hopes that it might make it all the way around the world, and was tracked by many hams as it traveled eastward.