Monday, 3 August 2015

Balloon Experiment Update

The balloon (see yesterday's post) hasn't been heard from since 6:44 pm last night (2244Z). As it would have been night time over the mid-Atlantic by then, it is probably due to the discharge of its batteries. By now (1514Z) it should have picked up again, so hopefully it is just due to unfavourable propagation and not a failure of some kind.

The day before, it shut down a little later (but of course was further West with more sun) but picked up operation quite early, as you can see from two successive beacon reports. Note the timestamps on the left in UTC, and that the last report of the evening was at 2320 reported by Germany and the first report in the morning was at 1052 reported in Illinois.

 2015-08-02 10:52  VE3KCL  10.140129  -21  -3  GM66  +13  0.020  K9AN  EN50wc  3576  2222 
 2015-08-01 23:20  VE3KCL  10.140152  -26  0  JB24  +23  0.200  DL8HAF/P  JO53dm  14354  8919

Digression: As mentioned before the WSPR protocol has been hijacked to provide additional information. The reports with the power shown (correctly) as 0.020 (20 milliwatts) are well-formed WSPR reports. The others (like the second line above) re-use the fields like the transmitter power to convey other information. 20 milliwatts was all that was needed to communicate 23,500 km to New Zealand, which is over 1,000 km per milliwatt, assuming the speculation that it was long path is correct (otherwise a mere 16,500 km).

The map appears to show it wandering around in the same area at the end of its path. The web site doesn't mention this and has no indication that anything might be amiss.

Hopefully all is well. I will watch, and wait.

1 comment:

  1. The web site now reports the probable loss of the balloon. Other possibilities are poor propagation (unlikely I think as 30m has been quite active) and the tangling of the antenna which would reduce the transmitter's range holding out hope for picking up the signal when the balloon nears Europe.