Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade

Meet our original Group, started June 9th 2021The Bottlecap Balloon Battalion

From left to right, Cary Willis KD9ITO, Burt Krain KR9T, Michael Seedman AA6DY, David Kaplan, Elizabeth Ziemer KD9ORR, Natalie Tran, Bill Fiely, Henry Fiely KD9SRZ, Noah Berg KD9RDT, and Bob Berg KD9RDU

We started out in June of 2021 as the Bottlecap Balloon Battalion (Named after the movie “UP” the Ellie Badge, Bottlecap Merit Badge) there were 10 of us to start, aged 11 years old and up, kids, their parents and friends, some licensed in Amateur Radio some having an interest in science and engineering. We met monthly to research and report and had our first launch on September 25th 2021.  Throughout our successes and failures, we’ve continued to learn and grow. From the beginning we added members to include 2 local schools, Central School in Glencoe, IL and Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, IL

Pico Ballooning is a part of Amateur Radio also known as Ham Radio or Hams. We’re licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allowing us to communicate to other Hams throughout the World. Pico meaning small, we send a small transmitter, with GPS tracking and antenna on a balloon filled with Helium or Hydrogen, rising to hopefully over 30,000 feet, and travelling with the speed of the Jetstream. As we travel, our GPS is able to locate our current location, and other information is gathered depending on what chips we have on our transmitter while using other programs to gather other inflight information. Other Hams can receive our signal and are reported on a computer using WSPR (Weak Signal Propagation Reporting) from anywhere through the internet. Our total package of transmitter, antenna, and balloon weigh less than an ounce, that is really small.

As the interest in Pico Ballooning has peaked with every launch, we have now become the NIBBB, the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade. The NIBBB is a part of a larger Pico Balloon Community, we learn and share from others in our community.

Please click above to Contact us for comments and click on the Blog tab to see our launches starting with the most recent.

Our 8th Launch KD9ORR 19 days of Flight Launched December 22nd 2021
8th Launch December 22, 2021 to January 11th 2022 From Winnetka, Illinois to the Federated States of Micronesia
8th Launch after turning back west circled the Marshall Islands. last heard from over the
Federated States of Micronesia after 19 days, 12 hours and 30 minutes of flight