Watching and Waiting and Watching Some More

It’s been a while since I’ve written about our project. While we’re waiting for the winds to subside. We’ve been busy ordering balloons, Michael has been busy building trackers and we’ve been watching one of our hero’s in the Pico Balloon community.

I’d like to introduce you to Tom Medlin, W5KUB, who is currently flying his 110th Pico Balloon. I understand Tom is famous for his Helmet Cam at Hamvention, and has been very successful at flying Pico Balloons.

One of the biggest obstacles we have found in our launches is the balloon. We were able to purchase what is known as a 36″ Chinese made balloon for around $2 each. Starting with our flight on December 22nd 2021, KD9ORR flew for 19 days on one Chinese balloon.

Though we conquered flight time, we were still hampered by altitude. KD9ORR with one balloon averaged around 24,000 feet. We next flew KR9T with 2 Chinese balloons and averaged 28,000 feet.

Now back to W5KUB. Tom Medlin acquired what he referred to as an experimental Yokohama 32″ Sphere balloon which flew for 22 days for twice around the globe. Tom is currently flying #110 with the Yokohama reaching an altitude of 41,000 feet. Though the 32″ balloon in smaller, it’s completely round holding more volume of gas compared to our 36″ round pillow shaped balloon.

Did I mention we we’re flush with balloons. We now have in stock around 70 Chinese made balloons and 9 Yokohama’s (we experimented on one of them to figure out how to seal it, we’ll talk about Kapton tape in another post). We’ll be looking to our next launch with a Yokohama balloon, hopefully soon, weather permitting.

And while we’re waiting, please visit Tom W5KUB and his current launch at

73, Cary KD9ITO

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