The Introduction to our launch and the slide show are the 2 posts below, the most recent post are just below these two entries
December 22nd 2021, 1st Day, Launching Elizabeth KD9ORR, Duke Childs’ Field, Winnetka, IL. Launched 17:30 zulu This was the first time we’re using the 36″ Clear Chinese Balloon filled with Hydrogen. We are naming this launch “Three’s a Charm” This tracker started out on December 12th as KV3T, on launch landed in a tree, then a 2nd tree before we could recover the tracker but not the balloon. Relaunched on December 22nd as KD9ORR, first at 15:30 zulu. The wind gusts sent us into a backstop of the baseball field. We recovered the tracker, not the balloon. Michael returned to his house to build a new antenna and new balloon. We relaunched on the same day at 17:30 zulu, hence the name “Three’s a Charm” KD9ORR fell asleep at 21:00 zulu
January 13th 2022 7:30 p.m. CDT We are officially calling KD9ORR MIA (Missing in Action)
We are very pleased to announce that KD9ORR has flown for 19 days, 12 hours and 30 minutes making its’ trek almost around the globe. We crossed the International Dateline twice, once in the Jet Stream heading East to the Pacific Ocean and again heading West for a nice visit over and around the Marshall Islands, making it’s final transmissions over the Federated States of Micronesia. We are now readying our next Launch #9, stay tuned. 73, Cary KD9ITO
January 12th 2022, 9:40p.m. It is now 12:40 p.m. in Koror Palau, there are still high clouds in the area, if that is where our balloon is. We will still be watching for any signals received for the next day or so. This has been a great flight for us and a great adventure, with more to follow.
January 12th 2022 7:20 am CDT KD9ORR has failed to report yesterday. We will be looking at the weather and cloud cover in the expected area and continue to wait for a signal report. Below is our current travels from launch on December 22nd 2011 through January 11th 2022
January 11th 2022 06:00 zulu 19 days 12 hours of Flight, What a difference a day makes, or a long night, It’s now 9:20 a.m. on January 11th and I can finish this report of last night’s travels.
We were having some difficulty getting regular grid square reports. Windy.com was showing 50,000 foot cloud tops throughout our balloons path. Based on the projected wind speed and direction, we see the probable path and direction for wakeup today around 3:00p.m. CDT
January 10th 2022 22:00 zulu, 4:00 p.m. CDT, QJ97nr, Federated States of Micronesia 19 days, 4 hours of Flight
After spending 8 glorious days visiting the Marshall Islands, we finally arrived to the Federated States of Micronesia. From the picture below, we picked up some extra wind speed. With the Sun’s elevation at 30 degrees means it took a little while longer for us to be heard by VK1FOC/4, our friends of the First Class CW Operators’ Club (FOC) Australia Branch.
January 10th 2022 03:30 zulu, (January 9th 9:30 p.m.) 18 days 10 hours of Flight
HABHUB, High Altitude Balloon Tracker Not only can you see our balloon, but zoom out and you can see the other Pico Balloons in Flight https://tracker.habhub.org/#!mt=roadmap&mz=7&qm=1_day&mc=10.25086,-194.88117&q=!RS_*;
January 9th 22:50 zulu, Since we’re spending so much time in the Marshall Islands I thought it was time we enrolled in their School System. I sent them an email with a link to the NIBBB
January 9th 3:08 pm, 21:08 zulu KD9ORR awakens at RJ29si near the Marshall Islands 18 days, 3 hours in Flight
January 9th 2022, 8:00 am, after a good night’s sleep, some comments below while waiting for this afternoon’s wakeup.
I was able to take some images of our last 48 hours of flight around the Marshall Islands (2 pictures below). I had received some comments from Jeremy Dee, W9DEE on January 8th at about 1:30 pm. Jeremy wrote that “I know it hasn’t come to life yet today, but I noticed that it was last seen around Bikini Atoll, famous for the Nuke tests. Additionally, at 11am Chicago time, it’s “predicted path” is taking it directly to Wake Island. First Howland, then Bikini, potentially Wake Island! Jeremy goes on to say, “No wonder it’s dallying in the South Pacific – So much to see!” Thanks Jeremy, and thanks for following our balloon.
January 8th 9:36 p.m. KD9ORR at RK31bt Northeast of Bikini Atoll, 17 days, 19 hours and 38 minutes
The image below is from WSPRD.vk7jj.com and encompasses our travels from January 8th 2022 20:48 zulu to January 9th 2022 3:08 zulu. The Sun’s elevation is at 44.2 degrees with about 2 more hours of sunlight. I’ll be checking our map tomorrow and report.
January 8th 3:48 pm CDT 21:48 zulu KD9ORR awakens near Bikini Atoll, RK21vx, 17 days 4 hours
January 7th 8:00 pm CDT we’re at Grid RK30dh
Heading slowly Northwest of the Marshall Islands. Below is a map of our travels from January 1st through January 8th. Looking at Ventusky it looks like we’ll start heading north tomorrow around the Federated States of Micronesia.
Just a larger perspective
January 7th 2:48 p.m. KD9ORR awakens at Grid RJ39lt, Just Northwest of Marshall Islands, 16 days, 3 hours and counting
January 7th 10:36 am a few hours before sunlight awakens KD9ORR
It’s still too early for KD9ORR to awaken, but I thought I’d share this map which shows a projected path based on the algorithms at time of last reporting, with current winds and weather using Ventusky and other sites. We’re looking that when we start to go in a Northerly direction we’ll eventually meet up with the Jet Stream and take us East. We may be able to see that direction when I report in a few hours and later this evening.
January 6th 10:25 p.m. 15 days 10 hours now at Grid RJ49si
Our Balloon appears to like the Marshall Islands, that’s where we’ve been enjoying the weather the most lately. We are no longer in a Jet Stream, just meandering at around 9-20 Km an hour in a westerly direction towards the Philippines. Our balloon looks happy where it is, and we’re not really in any hurry to get anywhere in particular, so we’re just enjoying the ride. The Sun is at 29 degrees elevation, I’ll update you after 1pm tomorrow CDT after our balloon wakes up.
January 6th 2:15 p.m. 15 days 2 hours and 30 minutes awake at RJ59dd
Took a little while to wake up with the high cloud tops in the area, but here we are starting a new day. The winner of todays prediction is Doug Mulley KD9TPM with his prediction of RK34pd. The Grid Square location RJ59dd puts us just East and North of the Marshall Islands. Being as far south as we are, we are expecting 8-10 hours of sunlight and location reports. I’m tuned to http://wsprd.vk7jj.com/ set for auto search to get a general direction. While we’re in this slow traffic pattern, we’re going to hold off on asking for predictions until we get back in the Jet Stream or close to it, I’ll keep you informed. Until then, let’s enjoy the ride. 73, Cary KD9ITO
January 5th 9:00p.m. 14 days, 9 hours and 48 minutes in flight
KD9ORR hasn’t ventured far, still East of the Marshall Islands, looks like it’s heading slightly Northwest with possibly another couple of hours of sunlight before we go to sleep.
The wind speed seems to be steady at around 9mph and still flying at 27,000 ft.
I expect wake up tomorrow around the same time, just after 1pm. For those participating in our wakeup predictions, please go to
Click on 12 hours, all bands, 200 spots, TX call KD9ORR and click search WSPRD. you can then click on the map link, see the track for the last 12 hours, hover your mouse where you think wake up will be tomorrow and you’ll see a grid square, letter, number combination. For example, hovering over Kaven, you’ll see RJ58kv, send me an email with your predictions, click on “Contact US” above and Cary AT nibbb…
We hope you’re enjoying the South Pacific, we may be here a little while longer till we find the Jet Stream to the North.
73, Cary KD9ITO
January 5th, 1:52 p.m.
We had 4 predictions for Grid Square location on wake up for January 5th
George Vlahndreas KD9TLS RJ48ja, Jeremy Dee W9DEE AK05gc, Wendy Berg KD9RDV RJ96cl and Bill Fiely QL65tk
At 19:18 zulu we received Grid RJ76 and 2 minutes later at 19:20 zulu RJ76ix
Another close contest,
And the winner is Wendy Berg KD9RDV for her prediction RJ96cl
Being so close to the Equator, this will be a very long day. I’ll be watching this closely, if we can go further North, we can catch the Jet Stream going East.
Congratulations Wendy, now a Three-Time Winner!
73, Cary KD9ITO
January 5th 2022
Where did you go on your Winter Vacation
I stayed here watching our travels
Below is a map of our travels from Winnetka, IL on December 22nd to just East of the Marshall Islands on January 5th.
When KD9ORR wakes up this afternoon, where will it be?
There’s still time to place your predictions.
Go to http://wsprd.vk7jj.com/ look at the last 48 hours, 200 spots, KD9ORR, Click Search WSPRD then click map to get a general direction. You can hover your mouse over where you think it will be, look at the upper left hand side of the page and see a 6 point Grid Square, 2 letters, 2 numbers and 2 letters, and email your predictions. awakening will be somewhere around 1:00pm today.
For more information on the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade go to https://nibbb.org/
I look forward to hearing from you. If you’re already here, just click on “Contact US” above and send in your Grid Square to Cary AT nibbb
73, Cary KD9ITO
January 4th 2022
KD9ORR has awaken at 19:38 zulu at Grid Square AJ05qr
We had 3 predictions for awakening today.
Jeremy Dee W9DEE AJ10qt, Doug Mulley (and the Mulley Clan) KD9TPM AJ64jh, and Robert Bretzman K4WZV AL05be
The winner is Jeremy Dee W9DEE who interestingly picked his grid square AJ10qt which is right in the middle of Howland Island. When Jeremy put his prediction in last night he noted that Howland Island was where Amelia Earhart was headed.
Congratulations to Jeremy W9DEE, a first time winner and for the History Lesson for today.
KD9ORR seems to be lounging around the South Pacific, at the same altitude as the entire flight. Now 13 days 2 hours and 20 minutes
So, enjoy the show and when I check back later this evening you can put your predictions in for tomorrow. If you reading this, send your Grid Square predictions by clicking “Contact US” above.
January 3rd 2022
It’s been a while since I’ve updated this page, but much has happened. KD9ORR is still flying and just to add a little more interest in our new Pico Balloon Hobby, we have been asking our followers to predict when the balloon and tracker would wake up. We started our little contest with only the opportunity for bragging rights. As we are waiting for our January 3rd “Awakening” We just received word that KD9ORR had awaken not far from where it left off at AJ28kj Southwest of Johnston Atoll. And the winner is Collin Walsh with his prediction of AJ78kj. Collin is 13 years old, son of John KD9THB and a 2nd time winner of our contest. Both Collin who is not yet licensed and Wendy Berg KD9RDV are two time winners, no small feat. We are now 12 days, 1 hour and 30 minutes into our flight, Congratulations to all!!
This is a Map showing 48 hours of Flight. We almost look like we’re in a holding pattern
January 2nd 2022
We had received 5 predictions, Collin Walsh AL20id, Robert K4WZV AL05if, George KD9TLS AM92tw, Tami KD9IXB AL04kq and the Mulley Family Doug KD9TPM and Gordie KD9TVR AK44gm. KD9ORR had Awaken at 20:38 zulu AK15fb and the Winner is Doug KD9TPM and Gordie KD9TVR (the Mulley Clan)
January 1st 2022 and January 2nd 2022
We had 8 predictions for the awakening of KD9ORR, Cary KD9ITO QL18wd, Art N9AEP PL86st, George KD9TLS PL73cf, Warren KC9IL RP22ll, Tami KD9IXB PL96ut, Robert K4WZV QL17fl, Wendy KD9RDV QL29wr, and John KD9THB QM20wt. This contest was so close, I had to bring out the ruler, and the winner is Wendy, KD9RDV closest to QL86bs We were sitting on Pins and Needles waiting for wakeup. We believed KD9ORR was still flying, but it wasn’t until 23:38 zulu that we received a part of a Grid Square QL86 and 2 minutes later at 23:40 zulu QL86bs.
For us to get a Grid Square reading many things have to happen. 1) Our Pico Board with solar panels must see the Sun to charge it’s capacitors and power the board. 2) Out of the 31 Satellites circling the globe, the GPS receiver chip on the Pico must receive signals from at least 4 of them, with a clear view of the sky that usually takes just a few seconds. 3) The microprocessor on the Pico needs to compute the grid square from the latitude and the longitude information it received from the GPS, check to see if it’s allowed to transmit while it’s in that grid square because some countries won’t allow us to transmit over that country. The Microprocessor must take all this information and more, fit it into a 50 bit packet and and instruct the oscillator to transmit it using four frequencies. This whole process takes 110 seconds. 4) Then for us to see a Grid Square, an Amateur Radio Station must hear our tiny signal and report it to the WSPR (Weak Signal Propagation Reporting) database over the internet. Basically, we can see the projected path of our balloon but not see a report or a grid square location for sometimes hours after sunlight. Patience is the Key.
January 1st 2022
For the next Prediction with KD9ORR near Okinawa, traveling at a faster Jetstream at around the altitude of 24,000 feet. It looks like the Jetstream will be bifurcating North and South. Please check our last known positions, go to Ventusky.com and make your predictions for awakening, transmitting and being received. Use the Grid Square Mapper at the link on our home page and email me your Grid Square only. Good Luck to all and congratulations to the NIBBB for our successful flight.
January 1st 2022 KD9ORR went to sleep at 08:18 zulu PL35kx Near Okinawa
Pico Balloon KD9ORR has traveled 9 days 14 hours and 48 minutes for 49,780 Kilometers
Happy New Year to all KD9ORR, woke on January 1st 2022 at 00:28 Zulu, 18:28 (6:28pm) at OL84 and OL85nb near Luxi Fijian China at 6:50 pm CDT. Our winner for predicting location awakening is Robert Bretzman K4WZV from West Central Florida, Robert’s prediction was OL87cm. Robert is the admin of the TGIF network on DMR. Congratulations to Robert.
The other participants of predictions were; Tami KD9IXB OL31km, John KD9THB OL33tl, Collin Walsh OL41bv, Don KK9h OL33wt, Wendy KD9RDV OL96pb, Cary KD9ITO OL62mr, Jeremy W9DEE OL92kv, Warren KC9il PL03ll, and Doug Mulley KD9TPM and Gordie Mulley KD9TVR PL05sd. Thanks to all the participants for your predictions. Please see above for preparing for your next predictions 73, Cary KD9ITO
This image is from VE3KCL sent at 8:11 am December 31st, other balloons sharing the sky with KD9ORR
December 31, 2021 7:17 am
After 8 days, 15 hours and 40 minutes, KD9ORR starting in Winnetka, IL launched on December 22nd is now over Laos at 09:10 zulu on December 31st 2021 Grid Square OK09vl where it will be traveling in darkness until it passes the day/night line. We are now taking predictions for the next wakeup, Last known location Laos 09:10 zulu. Please check Ventusky for predicted Jet Stream and speed, using this last location, change the calendar date to Dec 31 and Jan 1, Look at where you think KD9ORR will awaken, when it starts transmitting and when it receives it’s first spotter. Use https://www.qrz.com/gridmapper Send that grid Square to: Contact US above Cary AT nibbb.org by 4:00pm CDT
December 30, 2021 KD9ORR awakens
KD9ORR came alive at Grid NK87 Burma at 01:58 z and at 02:20 NK87ih We’d like to congratulate Tami, KD9IXB for the closest to the Grid Square with her prediction NK87vn Congratulations Tami.
December 30, 2021 5:30 p.m. Predictions for first receive on wakeup
Collin Walsh NK76iu, John Walsh KD9THB NK68ut, Cary Willis KD9ITO OK04gk, Tami Witbrodt KD9IXB NK87vn, Warren Pugh Kc9IL OK28UQ, George Vlahndreas KD9TLS NJ88rd. Doug Mulley and the Mulley Family KD9TPM OL11hd, Don KK9H NK79ns
December 30, 2021 12:30 pm
Our last know location was over the Bay of Bengal Grid Square NK35kr heading towards Thailand sunrise 6:41am. We’ll be watching for WSPR spotters to hear our station sometime after that to get our next reading. We’ll be checking http://wspr.rocks/
December 30, 2021 8:15 am
We received 6 predictions for arrival and awakening of KD9ORR, we just asked for Grid Square to make it easier for people to participate. Robert Bretzman K4WZV MK78ue, Cary WIllis KD9ITO ML91op, John Walsh KD9THB MK97pa, Collin Walsh NK17pa, Tami Witbrodt KD9IXB OJ10ib, and Don Whiteman KK9H NL41mg. Just as I finished the email to the group, I refreshed the WSPR page and got a reading on Dec 30 at 02:38 zulu of NK16. The closest to that Grid Square was John’s son Collin who is not yet licensed but decided to play the game. Congratulations Collin and thanks for playing.
Although the WSPR maps page isn’t loading correctly, we’re getting steady readings in the Grid, last one NK15mv at 04:00 zulu which places us in the Bay of Bengal with the Jet Stream heading east towards the coasts of Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand.
Follow KD9ORR on WSPR, click on the 12Km Link on the left to open Ventusky and follow the Jetstream, change the date at the bottom to look at the future projected Jetstream Start by clicking below
Go to our Home Page, click Contact us and send Cary a comment or prediction for December 31st 2021
Sharing some slideshows of our tracks and Jetstream to help predicts the Balloon’s track
December 29, 2021 12:38 pm
Good Afternoon ALL
Thank you to everyone who has been following our latest balloon launch KD9ORR reporting this morning at ML26tw near Korak, Pakistan at 0620 zulu.
The closest prediction to this location was Henry KD9SRZ LM91wg
It just takes a little patience to see when our balloon will materialize. I was up till 11pm waiting for the wakeup, looking at daylight hours in that area. Went to sleep, and when I woke up at 3am, I saw a text from Michael sent at 12:45 am our time “It’s in Pakistan ” I sent the early morning email after getting some more information.
We already received our first prediction for tomorrow’s wake up, but to help you a little bit in your predictions. Please use the below information.
KD9ORR has last reported at ML53es which is the Island of Khadir Bet in India. To get the correct balloon altitude, we use the power shown in dbm x 300, (that’s 300 meters altitude for every dbm received, 23 dbm x 300 = 6900 meters or 22,642 feet) pretty consistent for the whole time.
With that information click on our balloon’s location here, http://lu7aa.com.ar/wspr.asp?banda=All&other=kd9orr&balloonid=×lot=&detail=on&launch=20211222173000&tracker=zachtek1#
Center the map at the current location, on the left hand side click “12 Km Winds) and the Ventusky site will open, change the Jet Stream altitude, zoom out and make your predictions where the balloon will be on December 30th.
This time I’ll take Grid Square only, so everyone can play, go to this link, https://www.qrz.com/gridmapper click where you think it’ll be and a Grid Square will appear in the box above, copy that and email it to me by 8pm this evening. I’m going to try and get to bed early.
We’re still looking at our next launch, which was going to be Friday, but now it looks like the cloud cover will hinder us. We’re also looking at tomorrow’s weather and a possible launch around 12pm. I’ll update as soon as I can. Look for a confirmation email today.
So exciting that we’re flying now for 6 days, 18 hours and 10 minutes.
December 29, 2021
The below slideshow is highlighting our flight from December 22nd to December 26th
For those that have been following our balloon, it is still flying with about another hour of sunlight. The balloon is near Agadez, Nigers with the Jet Stream heading east at just under 100 miles an hour.
I thought it would be a fun activity for those that want to play
Where will KD9ORR be when it wakes up tomorrow? What time will KD9ORR wake up at that location?
So we have a current location Agadez, Nigers
This is the current Jet Stream for December 26thhttps://www.ventusky.com/?p=13.8;23.9;3&l=wind-300hpa
This is the Jet Stream tomorrow December 27thhttps://www.ventusky.com/?p=13.8;23.9;3&l=wind-300hpa&t=20211227/1200
Approximately 22,000 feet
Send your predictions in, I’ll keep tabs and report
73, Cary KD9ITO
December 29 2021 awaken 0620 zulu ML26tw
Now for our new contest, predicting where and when KD9ORR will awaken on December 28th
This email has been sent to the group, hope you will participate, if not responding from the group email, send your predictions by clicking the tab above Contact us and click on Cary AT nibbb.org
KD9ORR has been going strong now on December 27th now over Egypt Grid Square KL46dw just east of Farafra, the sun’s elevation is 35.1 degrees so a few more hours of flying.
Thank you to the group participating in predicting location and time of wakeup. Wendy Berg KD9RDV picked Al Jawf, Saudi Arabia and was declared the winner.
That was so much fun, let’s try to look for a larger group of participants.
When looking at the WSPR map the location time in Zulu, Grid Square for location is highlighted Dec-27 11:40 Zulu Locator: KL46dw (updated to KL47vi on 13:10 Zulu)
Using this link https://www.qrz.com/gridmapper and plugging in the 6 digit Grid Square, click update and zoom out will give you the location.
Going back to the WSPRnet map, at the current location, on the left hand side you’ll see a set of tabs aligned vertically, click on “12 Km winds” and that will bring you to Ventusky at the current location and altitude of our balloon. This site will give you the Jet Stream, hovering your mouse over the Jet Stream will give you the mph. At the bottom of the screen you can change the date and time.
Tracking KD9ORR on WSPRnet http://lu7aa.com.ar/wspr.asp?banda=All&other=kd9orr&balloonid=×lot=&detail=on&launch=20211222173000&tracker=zachtek1
and for our new contest for December 28th 2021
1) What will be the Grid Square of Pico Balloon KD9ORR (hard to pick a 4 block area, try to get close)
2) When will Pico Balloon KD9ORR wakeup in Zulu time.
To give a little more information, wakeup on 12/26 was 07:38 Zulu wakeup on 12/27 was 06:18 Zulu
Here in Chicago we are minus 6 Zulu
While everyone is enjoying our flight, send your predictions to me.
We’re still updating our website with a Blog tag of a posting of all our flights and a Flight Log tab where you can click on a specific flight. Thanks to John KD9THB and Michael AA6DY for helping put this site together. https://nibbb.org/
Congratulations to Elizabeth KD9ORR we wish her a great academic year, as she has returned to Rose-Hulman in Terre Haute Indiana, glad you could be with us for your launch.
73, Cary KD9ITO
December 28 2021 1:30 pm CDT
We just finished our consultation on this flight and this is what we have.
This information will help you predict the next location when the transmitter awakens. Our transmitter operates with 2 solar panels, which powers 2 capacitors, which allows the chips to send data.
KD9ORR was seen at 06:08 zulu at Grid LM11 or LM11vr a few minutes later and stopped transmitting at 11:20 zulu Grid LM42fe. There was also a lot of cloud cover around the transmitter that may have hindered data as well as minimal satellite coverage.
With this last location LM42fe
The balloon has been traveling at the same altitude since launch on December 22nd 2021, at 22,632 feet or around 6900 meters.
Go to the tracking website lu7aa (link below), zoom into the last location at 11:20 zulu and on the left hand side click “12 Km Winds” that will bring you to the Ventusky site for the Jet Stream at the last location.
Change the Jet Stream between 5500 meters and 9,000 meters and the calendar date below to get the predicted Jet Stream. You can zoom out the web page to see where the balloon will be going.
John was taking this information and using Google Earth to predict location on awakening, feel free to use that if available to you.
Look at the time zone change for that area and send me your predictions.
I need these before 8pm, that gives you just over 6 hours.
Let me know if you have any questions, looking forward to our next reading.
73, Cary KD9ITO