Dave VE3KCL/QRP Labs Balloon S-9 now flying
Dave VE3KCL launched his S-9 balloon yesterday. It uses a QRP Labs QRSS/WSPR transmitter (http://qrp-labs.com/ultimate3/u3s.html) with about 16mW power output on 30m band, using WSPR for tracking. See http://qrp-labs.com/ultimate3/ve3kcl-balloons/ve3kcl-s9.html for live map tracking, photos and more details. Dave's transmitter, antenna, batteries and solar cells weigh only 23g in total!
The special WSPR tracking method uses two WSPR messages:
1) Standard WSPR message with callsign "VE3KCL", which provides the 4-character Maidenhead locator position of the balloon
2) Special WSPR message where the callsign 1st character is "0" and the 3rd character is "4" (ITU unallocated callsigns); all other callsign characters, locator and power field are re-purposed to send the balloon telemetry. Data sent is: Maidenhead 5th/6th characters for better resolution location, altitude, groundspeed, battery voltage, temperature, and GPS/satellite status bits.
After launch from Toronto yesterday, S-9 ascended to 9,000m altitude, flew South-East right over New York Times Square, out into the Atlantic, then North. Currently flying very fast, 140 knots (approx 260 kph, 160 mph).
73 Hans G0UPL