November 12th and 13th 2022, AA6DY and K9YO

Pico Balloon K9YO woke on November 12th at 09:20 UTC at Grid JN83LC, near Bilbao, Spain, flying at an altitude of 13,060 meters, 42,837 feet

K9YO, at Grid JN83LC near Bilbao, Spain, altitude 42,837 feet

Pico Balloon K9YO is no stranger to this area having visited last on November 9th about 4 days ago, just a little further south of Bilbao. We had reported that we expected K9YO to travel back west and then north towards Norway. We still expect that to happen and then turn southeast towards the Caspian Sea by November 16th. Click on Locate and Track link for for the 84 hour NOAA Hysplit Model Trajectory projections for both our balloons.

Below is our “Best Guess” of K9YO on November 16th.

K9YO “Best Guess” on November 16th 2022

Pico Balloon AA6DY woke on November 13th at 01:32 UTC at Grid BJ41KI, east of Kiribati in the Country of Oceania, flying at an altitude of 14,480 meters, 47,494 feet.

AA6DY received reports from two stations, KFS in California and KA7OEI in Utah, we’d like to thank them for finding our balloon before AA6DY went to sleep. We had received both 2 packet reports over a 10 minute period before going to sleep. Receiveing both packets gave us a 6 Grid Maidenhead and accurate altitude. For more information on how our balloons receive information, and pictures of our launch, please go to our Technicial Page

AA6DY at Grid BJ41KI, east of Kiribati in the Country of Oceania, altitude 47,494 feet

Based on our previous NOAA Hysplit and Sondehub Float models, we were predicting Pico Balloon AA6DY was heading east towards South America. Below is our “Best Guesss” on November 16th 2022

AA6DY “Best Guess” on November 16th 2022

Pico Balloon AA6DY was launched from Willow Hill Golf Course, Northbrook, IL on September 3rd 2022. We’ll be watching AA6DY as we approach our 3rd Circumnavigation around the world in the coming days.

Our Locate and Track page has been updated for K9YO, for NOAA Hysplit, APRS and Ventusky for wind speed and direction. AA6DY has been updated for the NOAA Hysplit Model. The Sondehub Float models from November 11th are still shown on our Locate and Track page.

Till Tomorrow, 73, Cary KD9ITO

September 3rd 2022 Launch, KD9UQB and AA6DY

We met this morning to launch two balloons, transmitting the call signs KD9UQB and AA6DY. We met at the highest mountain in the area – the Willow Hill Golf Course in Northbrook, IL. Assisting in our launch today were Michael Seedman AA6DY, Jim Janiak KD9UQB, Stewart Spies KB9LM, Doug Mulley KD9TPM, Kelsi Mulley KE9LSI, Gordie Mulley KD9TVR, Noah Berg KD9RDT, Bob Berg KD9RDU and Cary Willis KD9ITO.

We’re flying our latest board design version 2.2, manufactured in China by a contract manufacturer. After multiple attempts we’re successfuly flying a clear Yokohama Balloon reaching an altitude of 46,000 feet.

We had mild winds at ground level and gusty above. For this launch, we used the Icarus Device and 30 foot pole to get our tracker away from the ground at launch. The idea for the Icarus Device came from Noah Berg, KD9RDT (then 13 years old) at a group presentation in October of 2021. Noah suggested using a device to assist the balloons lift after losing some of our balloons in nearby trees. After months of discussing how something like this could work, Michael Seedman, AA6DY designed the Icarus using a small arduino based computer and a pico servo. Jim Janiak designed the 3D printed holder to couple the icarus to the pole. Since getting a 30′ pole in the car is a bit troublesome, Doug Mulley KD9TPM suggested using a telescoping pole which extends from 7 feet to 30 feet making it easy to transport and deploy.

  • The 3D printed top of Pico Servo with lever
  • The Icarus Device is a PCB switch and Pico Servo with a lever and timer to release the Balloon

Preparing KD9UQB for Launch

Preparing AA6DY for Launch

While we’re still waiting for KD9UQB to report, we’re very happy that our Yokohama balloon has reached 46,000 feet. We appear to be in a slow moving air mass over Michigan traveling around 35 mph.

Now that we know our altitude is steady at 14Km we can now provide a NOAA Hysplit Trajectory. We’ll be updating this while we’re watching Tropical Storm soon to be Hurricane Danielle.

NOAA Hysplit Trajectory 14Km from Michigan for 84 hours

July 31st 2022, KD9TPM & KD9UQB

We launched two balloons on Saturday July 30th from Willow Hill Golf Course in Northbrook, Illinois. We were waiting to see any life of our balloons and feared they were lost. On Sunday July 31st we heard from KD9TPM at 6:42 am CDT over Canada at Grid EN88LL near Agate, Ontario, Cananda moving slowly north, will be heading east and then south to join the faster Jetstream over the Atlantic. KD9TPM, altitute is about 32,000 feet.

Below are graphics on where KD9TPM is heading, and down a little further is information from yesterday’s launch.

We’ll be monitoring this launch for KD9TPM and KD9UQB

KD9TPM is showing nice movement now in Grid EN98LL near Preston, Ontario Canada at 8:22 am CDT

Saturday July 30th 2022

Many different parts came together for today’s launch. Michael Seedman, AA6DY has been working for months on redesigning our tracker. Our Technical Team has been working on reducing the size and weight of our package. We rely on the support of our larger Pico Balloon community to share information and help in problem solving. We’re very grateful for all the assistance from our many supporters.

We’re meeting at Willow Hill Golf Course in Northbrook, Illinois for the launch of two Pico Balloons, KD9TPM for Doug Mulley and KD9UQB for Jim Janiak. In preparation for this launch, Jim Janiak, KD9UQB designed and built the solar panel packages we’re using for today’s launch. We started using the Polycrystalline Solar Panels used by Tom Medlin, W5KUB. Tom is currently flying W5KUB-112 coming on 49 days in flight. You can follow his flights at W5KUB

Below is the preparation of the balloons, tracker and solar panels for this flight

  • 7 Polycrystalline SOlar Panels and the Tracker on piece of Styrofoam aproximately 4" square
  • Wiring of the Solar Panel Package on the backside, wired in series from positive to negative and 4 lb. fishing line for support to connect to the balloon
  • Solar Panel package wired on a gram scale, showing weight of 7 grams
  • July 30th Launch weights, Tracker and Solar panel package 7 grams, 33 ft. antenna 1.6 grams, tape .6 grams, total 9.2 grams plus 6.5 grams excess lift. Balloon will be filled to at least 15.7 grams of gas
  • 1st Balloon is filled with Hydrogen weighed using a grams scale showing 16.13 grams of total lift lift
  • 2nd Balloon is filled with Hydrogen weighed using a grams scale showing 15.76 grams of total lift lift
  • Balloons are prepped, secured with glue and a weight the day before launch.

It’s a beautiful sunny day here at Willow Hill Golf Course in Northbrook, Illinois.

Willow Hill Golf Course, Northbrook Illinois Mild Day with a still Flag

We had a nice gathering this morning, with a couple of new visitors. Joining us today were Loren AD9AY, Chris KD9TVT, George KD9TLS, Jim KD9UQB, John W9BLN, Michael AA6DY, Stewart KB9LM, and Cary KD9ITO. We officially used the Icarus Device for our two launches. The Icarus is a Timer on a PCB attached to a Pico Servo with a lever, a battery and a 30 foor pole. We push the timer and raise the pole, after 10 seconds the lever is tuned and the balloon released. We have 10 seconds to raise the pole for the balloons release.