High Altitude Balloon Tracker

About The W1NRG High Altitude Balloon Project & U4B.live

This project looks to increase awareness of ham radio to those not currently in the field while enhancing knowledge and excitement of the hobby to those already licensed. Balloon launches attract a great deal of attention. This is not about ballooning per se, rather it is an avenue to attract young people to the hobby of amateur radio through STEM activities, as well as offering existing hobbyists a renewed excitement for trying something new. This proposal covers a two year time frame and will be supported through the Meriden Amateur Radio Club (MARC) in Wallingford, CT. Specific outcomes are centered around education, camaraderie, and fun. In specific:

  • Making young people aware of ham radio through STEM based activities involving balloon tracking,
    with initial outreaches through organizations like schools and scouting.
  • Provide an educational activity to those interested in the hobby as well as those already involved in the hobby.
  • Provide new avenues for older amateur radio hobbyists.
  • Provide an activity that will bring members, both old and new, together within a club.
  • To grow membership in the MARC organization.
  • To provide avenues for joint experiences between MARC and other amateur radio clubs looking to
    grow and/or reinvigorate their organization.

The project is projected to run for 24 months and is meant to offer a learning experience in amateur radio, specifically low power, long distance, high altitude communications. Our balloon launches will utilize WSPR technology to return tracking data and data from additional sensors.

In addition, the club will offer launches as community activities, along with educational talks regarding all aspects of the project (ballooning, ham radio transmitters, solar cells/panels, atmospheric conditions, launching and tracking), with an emphasis placed on ham radio. Ultimately we plan to transition people we impact in our community outreach to our licensing education programs, getting people licensed and active in amateur radio.

u4b.live was created to suit the needs of this project, but we hope that others might find it useful. The site will remain active for as long as QRP-Labs is making the boards.

More coming soon... for now, here's some pictures and videos!

The Balloon Gang

Dave NZ1J, John KC1KQH, Bill NR1B, Ray KC1QLS, and Ted KC1DOY

Ray & Dave

Dave NZ1J & Ray KC1QLS -- the masterminds!

Balloon Released

Up, up and away!