Balloon Project

On April 27, 2024 we safely & successfully launched a high-altitude balloon system from Georgetown Aero Modelers Association in Georgetown, TX.
The balloon system consisted of an 800g latex balloon tied by string to a 3-foot diameter parachute tied by string to a small payload box system consisting of 3 trackers:
  1. PicoAPRS Lite tracker (used callsign KI5ZRE-11).
  2. QRP LightAPRS W2.0 WSPR tracker (used callsign KI5ZRE-4).
  3. SPOT Trace GPS Satellite Tracker.
And here are the payload boxes (1 &2) attached together with theBig Red Bee VHF Dipole antenna for the PicoAPRS Lite tracker coming out of box 1 and the eGuitar string antenna coming out of box 2.

Balloon launch October 28, 2023 – 7am at Boerne Area Model Society (BAMS) at Joshua Springs Park in conjunction with the Civil Air Patrol Cadets. This event is weather dependent, strong winds, rain and thunderstorms are not friendly to balloons so it is subject to canceling.

The balloon will be transmitting on APRS with a callsign of N9EOD-11 and N9EOD-12.

Our near-space balloon reached 106,469ft. in altitude (20 miles)

The BRB APRS transmitter worked well, as did the SPOT Trace GPS satellite tracker. And I learned that the Insta360 Go2 camera can also be used successfully on these HAB activities (at least for 30 minutes):

Travis Few, N9EOD headed up the team to prepare, and launch the balloon. Light winds, a cool temperature, and plenty of enthusiasm made for a successful balloon launch at  Kitty Hawk Flying field in Schertz, TX.
Michael Kappas, KI5ZRE had The Civil Air Patrol Cadets help Travis launch the balloon with its APRS & Camera payload. It was a learning experience for the Cadets and their leaders. 
After clearing with local airport traffic, (ultralights, powered parachutes) and filing the NOTAMS and clearing with air traffic control at San Antonio, the balloon was successfully launched at 0800.  

The balloon slowly descended via parachute to a field in Nixon, Tx after the balloon burst at over 100,000 feet. The pay load box is suspended between trees requiring some effort to retrieve intact. The contents survived the journey to be used again on another flight.

The APRS information from the payload transmitter showed the landing place in Nixon, Tx after an approximate 3 1/2 hr flight.

Our first Balloon launch was April 20 at 0700. The launch site was the Old Kingsbury Aerodrome in Kingsbury, TX. If you want to track the balloon on APRS, the callsign will be N9EOD-11. The chase vehicles and balloon will be tracked here as well
Video’s of the launch are up on youtube @  SARC/CAP Balloon Launch 20 April 2023
Michael Kappas, KI5ZRE reached out to the San Antonio Radio Club to help The Civil Air Patrol with launching a high altitude balloon as part of an educational activity for our Cadets.…

The first launch was a “proof of concept” event to verify all the equipment and procedures worked as planned.  Travis Few, N9EOD headed up the team to prepare, and launch the balloon. Many things had to be taken in account, airspace, Notice to Airmen filed, and weather along with a packing the telemetry equipment and cameras into a small lightweight Styrofoam box. It is not just take a balloon out and launch as we all soon found out.