Following an interesting talk by Ross G6GVI about tracking High Altitude Balloons at The Bolton Wireless Club I decided to give it a go.
High Altitude Balloons are Helium Weather Balloons that carry a payload into the edge of space. These are usually projects associated with schools and colleges linked with STEM. Telemetry is transmitted on the 70cms band with very low power, about 10mw, which can be received and tracked using software. Today there were two balloon launches around Oswestry in the Midlands, the first one is called ‘Hi-impact’ and the second one ‘Spacecamp’. I could copy both balloons on 70cm, the Hi-Impact was using 50 Baud RTTY and Spacecamp using 300 Baud RTTY. Using the dedicated software package DL-FLDIGI I was able to decode the 50 Baud RTTY with no problem, but could not decode the 300 Baud. When the packets are received the software automatically sends the data to HABHUB which shows on the tracking map that my signals have been received. All clever stuff!
Screenshot showing the DL-FLDIGI software receiving and decoding the Hi-impact balloon. In the background is the HABHUB tracking and mapping of the two balloons.