January 27th 2023, Pico Balloon K9YO, Returns

Pico Balloon K9YO was missing in action after last reporting December 26th, 2023 after the 5th Circumnavigation and 76 days and 23 hours of flight. We were hoping for the best for a safe return.

On January 26th 2023 K9YO came back and reported at Grid ON25LL over Mongolia at 03:08 zulu.

It was Ken Daniel, K9YO that alerted our team that Pico Balloon K9YO reported just passing Japan on January 27th 2023 and asleep at Grid QN74LL at 04:08 zulu.

We did an 84 hour NOAA Hysplit Trajectory seeing a move over the North Pacific Ocean towards Alaska, but waiting for today’s report to confirm.

After 109 days and 5 hours Pico Balloon K9YO has reported on January 27th at Grid AO01LL at 22:38 Zulu flying at an altitude of 12,000 meters

Pico Balloon K9YO reporting Grid AO01LL January 27th 2023 now flying for 109 Days and 5 hours

The 84 hours NOAA Hysplit Trajectory is showing Pico Balloon K9YO heading north into darkness and over Canada preparing for another circumnavigation around January 31st, 2023

Our Locate and Track page has been updated for Pico Balloon K9YO and Pico Balloon KD9UQB with the 84 hour NOAA Hysplit as seen above, Ventusky for windspeed and direction, and APRS for the world view for both our balloons. We’ll continue to follow these balloons and will update the Locate and Track page.

Also, our Technical Team has updated our website with information on how to build our solar panel packages. These pages are still a work in progress, please visit https://nibbb.org/standard-solar-array-instructions-and-bill-of-materials/

The Low Sun-High Power solar panel is being used on our Pico Balloon KD9UQB for Antarctica with build pictures coming soon, please visit Power Solar Panels

Welcome back to our Pico Balloon K9YO now reporting on January 28th 2023, at Grid AO12bv, 00:20 zulu.

73, Cary KD9ITO

January 26th 2023, Pico Balloon KD9UQB, Fifth Circumnavigation, 05:34 Zulu, Grid IE75ri

Pico Balloon KD9UQB was launched on November 24th 2022 from Neumayer Station III, Antartica

The cyclinder solar panel array, Low Sun Angle-High Power using a flexible film for the panels was designed by Jim Janiak, KD9UQB specifically for this launch.

Low Sun Angle-High Power Solar Panel Array

On January 26th, 2023, at 05:34 zulu, Pico Balloon KD9UQB, Circumnavigated the World a 5th time in 62 days and 23 hours, reaching Grid IE75ri at an altitude of 11,240 meters, 36,878 feet.

Pico Balloon KD9UQB, completed the 5th Circumnavigation on January 26th 2023 at Grid IE75ri, altitude 36,878 feet

We are predicting by using the 84 hour NOAA Hyplit Trajectory, that Pico Balloon KD9UQB will be south of Tasmania around January 29th 2023.

Best Guess, January 29th 2023, Grid QE33dw, 18:00 zulu

Our Locate and Track Page has been updated for the 84 hour NOAA Trajectory, Sondehub for Float, Ventusky for wind speed and direction and APRS for location on the world map.

In addition, our Technical Team has provided two new Headers to our website with information on how to build our solar panels.

  1. Power Solar Panels, showing the build of the Low Sun Angle- High Power Solar Panel used in this Antarctica Launch
  2. The Standard Solar Array with Instructions and Bill of Materials.

Please feel free to contact me at the link above “Contact US” clicking on the link will forward to my email. Questions and Comments are welcome.

73, Cary KD9ITO

January 16th 2023, KD9UQB, 4th Circumnavigation

Pico Balloon KD9UQB was launched from Neumayer Station III, Grid IB59UI, Antarctica, on November 24th 2022. After 53 days and 1 hour of flight, Pico Balloon KD9UQB made its 4th Circumnavigation around the world.

Pico Balloon KD9UQB had reached Grid ID65LE at 07:32 UTC flying at an altitude of 10,840 meters, 35,566 feet, completing the 4th Circumnavigation around the world.

With several more hours of sunlight and flying north over warmer temperatures. Pico Balloon KD9UQB has been reaching altitudes of 11,100 meters.

The 84 hour NOAA Hysplit Trajectory model and Ventusky shows Pico Balloon KD9UQB traveling in a faster Jetstream arriving south of New Zealand around January 20th 2023.

NOAA Hysplit Model for 84 hours
“Best Guess” Pico Balloon KD9UQB around January 20th 2023, Grid RC54HJ

Our Locate and Track page has been updated for Pico Balloon KD9UQB showing the 84 hour NOAA Trajectory, Ventusky for windspeed and direction, and APRS for current location on the world map. The WSPR Spot Database updates automatically. We are seeing Radio Station KFS reporting at 09:22 UTC from Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco California, 15,137 Km or 9,406 miles from our balloon.

Also on our Locate and Track page is the Sondehub link showing all Pico Balloons in flight around the world. Below is from Sondehub showing the past 3 day path and forward projected path based on different altitudes.

Sondehub Float showing past 3 day path and forward projection of Pico Balloon KD9UQB

Congratulations to the NIBBB Team, and many thanks to our followers.

73, Cary KD9ITO

January 14th 2023, KD9UQB, Falkland Islands

How time flies when you’re having fun. Pico Balloon KD9UQB has moved a little north enjoying more scenery. Pico Balloon KD9UQB reported on January 14th, 20:04 UTC at Grid GD08EN, Falkland Islands, South Atlantic archipelago. KD9UQB is now enjoying an altitude of 10,900 meters, 35,752 feet and flight time of 51 days and 13 hours.

Pico Balloon KD9UQB at Grid GD08EN, altitude 35,752 feet

We’re expecting Pico Balloon KD9UQB to circumnavigate the world a 4th time around January 16th 2023, at 15:00 UTC.

The 84 hour NOAA Hysplit model shows Pico Balloon KD9UQB continuing around Antarctica passing Heard Island and McDonald Islands around January 18th 2023 at 06:00 UTC near Grid ND38tt

Best Guess Pico Balloon KD9UQB, January 18th 2023, Grid ND38tt

Our Locate and Track page is updated at least once a day for the 84 hour NOAA Hysplit model showing the projected path at altitude. The Ventusky link shows the wind speed and direction, and APRS for current location on the world map. The Sondehub link shows all Pico Balloons in flight around the world. The WSPR Spot Database updates automatically with every 1st packet received, showing among other data, the reporting station and their distance to our balloon.

The WSPR Spot Database is showing that on January 14th 2023 at 11:52 UTC, Seto, JA5NVN received our signal at a distance of 17,201 Km or 10,688 miles. Thank you Seto for finding our balloon.

Pico Balloon KD9UQB is flying with a low sun-high power solar panel package operating on 20mW, or .02 watts. The actual solar panel and tracker used for this flight is shown on our Locate and Track page in the Pico Balloon KD9UQB section.

73, Cary KD9ITO

January 9th, 2023 KD9UQB flying around Antartica

It’s been a while since I posted. Pico Balloon KD9UQB is flying south of Australia, altitude 10,360 meters, 33,981 feet, flight time, 45 days and 19 hours. Spending time south of the Day/Night Change Line will allow for more reporting time.

Pico Balloon KD9UQB January 9th 2023, 02:34 UTC at Gid PC80UO, 33,981 feet

The 84 hour NOAA Hysplit model shows Pico Balloon KD9UQB spending another day south over Antarctica then heading back over the Southern Ocean preparing for the 4th Circumnavigation.

“Best Guess” Pico Balloon KD9UQB, January 12th 2023, Grid CB08AA

We use the Northern Tip of Antarctica as a landmark for circumnavigation. Neumayer Station III is located between South America and Africa at Grid IB59ui.

Neumayer Station III, Grid IB59ui

Just north of the tip are a set of Islands, and Fun Facts

The Machu Picchu Scientific Base is a Peruvian polar scientific research facility in Antarctica, established to conduct Antarctic research on geology, climatology and biology. Wikipedia

Northern Tip of Antartica

King George Island is the largest of the South Shetland Islands, lying 120 km off the coast of Antarctica in the Southern Ocean. The island was named after King George III. Wikipedia

Elephant Island is an ice-covered, mountainous island off the coast of Antarctica in the outer reaches of the South Shetland Islands, in the Southern Ocean. Wikipedia

Elephant Island, Antarctica, is named after the elephant seals that make their home there (as well as for its elephant-like shape). The island is located 150 miles off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, in the outer reaches of the South Shetland Islands. Covered in ice and towering above the surrounding Southern Ocean, it’s truly a sight to behold. https://www.hurtigruten.com/en-us/expeditions/stories/elephant-island-facts/

The Flight of Pico Balloon KD9UQB is updated at least daily on our Locate and Track page. Clicking on APRS will show the current location along with the last known locations of Pico Balloons K9YO and AA6DY. Ventusky will show the wind speed and direction, by hovering your computer mouse over the map. The NOAA link shows the projected 84 hour balloon travel in 6 hour increments of time. The WSPR Spot Database updates with every 1st packet report received showing the 4 Grid Maidenhead, location of reporter, distance from the reporter to our Balloon and altitude in dBm and Watts.

Our Technical Page provides additional information on Tracking our Balloons, Calculating Altitude, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR part 101), Finding the Right Balloons and Gas, pictures of our two Solar Panel packages (Horizontal Polyscrystilline on Styrofoam and Low-Sun High Power Cylinder) and our Tracker and Antenna package for Pico Balloon AA6DY getting ready to launch.

We’re still preparing for our next launches of Pico Balloons KD9TVR and KE9LSI our youngest Generals, so stay tuned.

We’re liking your Likes and Comments!

73, Cary KD9ITO

January 2nd 2023, Pico Balloon KD9UQB completes Third Cicumnavigation around the world

Happy New Year to all and congratulations to the NIBBB Team for another feat, our 3rd Pico Balloon to Cirumnavigate the world at least three times.

Pico Balloon KD9UQB was launched on November 24th 2022, from Neumayer Station III, Antarctica as part of a larger group effort. For this launch we were testing a new tracker that would provide consistent reporting and a new solar panel package that would power up near sunsrise and stay awake at the lower sun’s elevation.

Pico Balloon KD9UQB has made it around the world three times in 39 days on January 2nd 2023.

Pico Balloon KD9UQB, 3rd Circumnavigation at Grid ID88QP, 34,178 feet

Using the 84 hour NOAA Hysplit Trajectory model, we are predicting that Pico Balloon KD9UQB will be near Grid MC50AA around January 6th 2023 at 06:00 UTC

Best Guess for KD9UQB around January 6th 2023 06:00 UTC

Our two solar panel systems we have been using are a mulitple polycrystilline package which is horizontal, fragile, thin and light and the film solar panel which is a vertical cylinder, sturdy and heavier.

We are also testing a pyramid shaped polycystalline solar panel package for a future launch.

The horizontal polycrystilline panel weighs around 4.2 grams, the film cylinder panel weighs about 18 grams.

Gordi Mulley, KD9TVR holding the Polycrystillne Solar Panel 4.2 grams
The Film Solar Panel designed and built by Jim Janiak, KD9UQB for the Antarctica Flight, 18 grams
From our Breakfast meeting December 17th 2022, showing the Fim solar panel package for Gordie KD9TVR and Kelsi KE9LSI launch in early 2023

The Polycrystilline package similar to the one shown by Gordie, KD9TVR was used for Pico Balloon AA6DY reaching an altitude of over 47,000 feet, and circumnavigating three times around the world in 82 days.

The Film Solar Panel was made for the Antarctica flight and testing winter launches for the lower sun’s elevation reaching an altitude of around 34,000 feet.

Our Locate and Track page has been updated for Pico Balloon KD9UQB with the 84 hour NOAA Hysplit model. Ventusky for wind speed and direction, APRS tracking and Sondehub for tracking all Pico Balloons in flight around the world.

Our next test for KD9UQB is how long the Film solar panels last with the UV coating. While this is an ongoing test, we are working on our next launches for January 2023 from Northern Illinois, stay tuned.

73, Cary KD9ITO

December 31st 2022, K9YO and KD9UQB

Pico Balloon K9YO last reported on December 26th for the 5th cirumnavigation after 77days and 23 hours of flight. We believe that K9YO has traveled north of the Day/Night Change Line and not able to report.

Pico Balloon KD9UQB went to sleep on December 31st at 22:34 UTC at Grid GD98WC, northwest of the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands over the Southern Atlantic Ocean. KD9UQB reported at an altitude of 10,600 meters, 34,768 feet.

KD9UQB at Grid GD98WC, altitude 34,768 feet

We are now predicting that Pico Balloon KD9UQB will make the 3rd circumnavigation around the world on January 2nd 2023. Pico Balloon KD9UQB has been flying for 37 days and 16 hours as of December 31st 2022.

Using the 84 hour NOAA Hysplit Trajectory model, below is our best guess location for Pico Balloon KD9UQB on January 4th 2023 at 06:00 UTC

Best Guess for Pico Balloon KD9UQB, January 4th 2023

Our Locate and Track page has been updated for Pico Balloon KD9UQB with the 84 hour NOAA Hysplit model and Ventusky for wind speed and direction.

The Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and look forward to our new and exciting projects for 2023.

73, Cary KD9ITO

December 26th 2022, Happy Boxing Day, KD9UQB and 5th Circumnavigation of K9YO

What a great way to celebrate our Holidays.

Pico Balloon KD9UQB was first to report on December 26th at 12:42 UTC after last reporting on December 19th. Pictured below at 13:22 UTC Grid CD10BC at 10,480 meters 34,374 feet, and nearing a 3rd circumnavigation around the world on January 1st 2023.

We are predicting Pico Balloon KD9UQB will be near the Falkland Islands around December 30th 2022

Pico Balloon KD9UQB near the Falkland Islands around December 30th 2022

Pico Balloon K9YO was last heard on December 20th over Russia and believed to be heading towards the North Pole. Pico Balloon K9YO was launched on October 10th 2022 from Independence Grove Forest Preserve in Libertyville, Illinois. Now after 76 days and 23 hours of flight, Pico Balloon K9YO has made the Fifth Cicumnavigation around the world.

Our first report of Pico Balloon K9YO came from our WSPR Spot Database on December 26th at 15:48 UTC at Grid EN78 near Dubreuilville, Ontario Canada. Pico Balloon K9YO is flying at an altitude of 12,180 meters, 39,950 feet.

Pico Balloon K9YO Fifth Circumnavigation December 26th 2022, altitude 39,950 feet

Best Guess for Pico Balloon K9YO on December 30th 2022, Grid KQ51DH

Best Guess, Pico Balloon K9YO, December 30th 2022, Grid KQ51DH

Our Locate and Track page is now updated for Pico Balloons KD9UQB and K9YO for APRS, Sondehub, 84 hour NOAA Hysplit Model, WSPR Spot Database and Ventusky for tracking wind speed and direction. The WSPR Spot Database provides realtime tracking of all our balloons.

73, Cary KD9ITO

December 19th 2022, K9YO and KD9UQB

After a few days of silence, K9YO reported on December 19th at 01:30 UTC at Grid PN64HA near Vladivostok, Russia, at an altitude of 11,900 meters, 39,032 feet. K9YO is now at 69 days and 11 hours of flight time. The NOAA Hysplit model shows K9YO heading east then northwest over 84 hours. The Sondehub Float shows K9YO heading east. We should see another reading tomorrow and will update our Locate and Track page

K9YO at Grid PN64HA altitdue 39,032 feet

Pico Balloon KD9UQB has been close to the Day/Night Change Line with longer wake times. Reporting below at Grid NC21LV at 14:14 UTC December 19th 2022. Pico Balloon KD9UQB is flying at an altitude of 10,600 meters, 34,768 feet, for 25 days and 8 hours of total flight time.

Pico Balloon KD9UQB Best Guess location on December 23rd, 00:00 UTC Grid OC88aa

KD9UQB Best Guess December 23rd Grid OC88aa

Tracking our balloons on one page using APRS for December 19th

K9YO near Sea of Japan, KD9UQB Antarctica, (AA6DY missing since November 24th)

Our Locate and Track page has been updated for Pico Balloons K9YO and KD9UQB for APRS, Ventusky for wind speed and direction, 84 hour NOAA Hysplit model, Sondehub for tracking Float direction and other Pico Balloons around the world.

It may be a few days between posts, the Locate and Track page will be updated as new information is received. We encourage you to check this page and the links available for tracking all our balloons.

73, Cary KD9ITO

December 16th 2022, K9YO and KD9UQB

Pico Balloon K9YO woke on December 14th over Russia and then went north into darkness and silent.

Pico Balloon KD9UQB launched from Neumayer Station III, Antarctica is reporting on December 17th at Grid LC99EH over the Southern Ocean at 01:32 UTC with plenty of sunlight ahead. KD9UQB was within the Day/Night Change Line and getting some sleep.

The 84 hour NOAA Hysplit model shows the general direction will be east and then south for longer reporting times. The Sondehub Float below shows a continued direction east.

Pico Balloon KD9UQB is flying at an altitude of 10,540 meters 34,571 feet

KD9UQB at Grid LC99EH altitude 34,571 feet

Our Best Guess for KD9UQB on December 20th 2022 based on the 84 hour NOAA Hysplit Model

Best Guess December 20th Grid NB08MA 12:00 UTC

The Sondehub link from our Locate and Track page under Pico Balloon KD9UQB, the Float track longer than 84 hours.

At the top of our Locate and Track page, the Sondehub link is currently showing 41 Pico Balloons in flight around the world.

Our Locate and Track page has been updated for Pico Balloon KD9UQB. Information of this flight has been moved to the top of the Locate and Track page including a picture of the solar panel package Jim, KD9UQB built for this launch.

The Ventusky link shows KD9UQB in a slow moving system for the next few days. The WSPR Spot Database updates automatically showing the reporting station and their distance to the balloon.

Station VE6JY from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada was received at 01:32 UTC, 19,112 Km, 11,876 miles away.

Please bookmark our Locate and Track page for continued updates between posts.

73, Cary KD9ITO