VK balloon reaches Southern Africa

11:23 Fernando Luiz de Souza 0 Comments

After being launched from Melbourne Australia on December 27, a small balloon has been tracked easterly to the southern tip of New Zealand, travelled across the Pacific and South America, and over the Southern Atlantic Ocean to Namibia, on the west coast of Africa.

Andy Nguyen VK3YT who launched the small solar-powered strong foil party-type balloon says it spent many days wandering off the African coast, before floating over land.

Andy VK3YT says "The ZS stations (in South Africa) are doing a great job with capture telemetry packets from PS-30.

"There was a massive international effort to track down the balloon after PS-30 wasn't heard from since 22:50 7/1/2015 UTC.

"After two days it started to look like PS-30 was lost, but at 6:10 UTC 10/1/2015, ZS6KN (Ken Gurr in Pretoria, South Africa) started to send in telemetry from the balloon, showing its location just over the coast off South Africa/Namibia."

A number of South Africa stations and further afield reports keep tracking positions. The last reported tracking was that it was at an elevation of 9734 metres travelling at a speed of 43 km/h.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast indicated a flight path exiting the west coast of Africa.

PS-30 is the latest pico balloon launched by Andy VK3YT who has been described as the 'master of miniaturisation' for the payload and developed a skill in the technology.

The latest in the series PS-30 includeS a payload weighing 13 grams including a 25Mw transmitter on WSPR and JT9, able of send locational and other data.

Very earlier balloon flights have lasted from a matter of hours up to several days. Some reached Tasmania (VK7), Queensland (VK4), New Zealand, and Brazil in South America. This is the longest flight so far, and it is continuing.

Originally VHF APRS was used for tracking, but with the HF data transmitter now in the payload long distance tracking is possible depending on the propagation.

Andy VK3YT has particularly thanked the new tracking stations that have made it a true international exercise.

Can it float further? More tracking reports are needed and it's a simple process.

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