We launched two balloons, W9BLN and KB9LM on June 19th, different trackers, same balloons and solar panel arrays and just around 30 minutes apart from Willow Hill Golf Course in Northbrook, IL. We initially had some issues finding KB9LM but that tracker came alive the morning of June 20th.
For those that have been following, this has been a slow travel. Starting in Northbrook, IL a northern suburb of Chicago. Both balloons took a southerly track, and then diverged.
We track our balloons using a receive and send signal with a GPS chip and signal packets sent on two timeslots within a 10 minute slot. From these two packets we are able to receive a Maidenhead gridsquare. The two time slots 2 minutes apart gets us a 6 point gridsquare of 2 letters, 2 numbers and 2 letters which will show the balloon in a 3 mile by 5 mile rectangle on a map. If we only receive one packet we will only receive a 4 point gridsquare of 2 letters and 2 numbers which show the balloon in a 70 mile by 100 mile rectangle on a map. So we can be as accurate as 15 square miles or 7,000 square miles.
We’ve been tracking these balloons using different programs, WSPR.Rocks, QRP-Labs/U4B, and Ventusky for wind speed and wind direction. These programs together gives us different pieces of the puzzle. These links are available on our website under “Links to Track and Locate”.
W9BLN is flying the QRP-Labs U4B tracker. From that program we see the last information received was at 23:38 UTC which is 6:38pm CDT at gridsquare EM55rb. This is just north of the Mississippi border into Tennessee near where Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee come together. W9BLN is just east of Collierville, TN the home of W5KUB, Tom Medlin who is currently flying W5KUB-112, Hey Tom.
For the KB9LM tracker we are currently receiving one packet in a 10 minute timeslot for a 4 point Maidenhead. So we’re giving a general area of the KB9LM balloon. The last received signal was at 22:02 UTC or 5:02 p.m. in the general area of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The map below is from wspr.rocks That specific point just east of Baton Rouge is in the middle of gridsquare EM40
So, we have 2 balloons, launched at close to the same time, one hovering over southern Tennessee and the other in the general area of Baton Rouge, Louisisana.
As far as we can tell, W9BLN is flying at an altitude of 9,000 meters, pretty steady from the beginning of the launch. KB9LM is somewhere close to 8400 meters, best guess.
You can follow both these balloons at wspr.rocks. Under TX call put in the callsign, list 500 spots and the last 24 hours, click on table to see the Amateur Radio operators that have heard the balloon and the distance their station is to the balloon. If you click on map, you’ll get the location or general location of our balloons. I’ve added another link from habhub which shows all the balloons flying from around the world registed on APRS. Click there and track, W5KUB-112, us and all the others, please enjoy.
Until tomorrow, 73, Cary KD9ITO