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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Two Party Balloons, an Arduino and an Si5351 FLY! ALOFT! UP IN THE AIR!


Farhan alerted me to this.  This is clearly the coolest use so far of the Dynamic Duo (Arduino+Si5351).

It took me a moment to get my head around this.  It is so fantastic.  Let me break it down for you:

You take two party balloons.  You build a little payload consisting of an Arduino Nano, an Si5351 board, a GPS module and a battery.  You load the Nano with firmware that will take the GPS info and transmit it via WSPR and JT9.   Then you release the whole thing and sit back to receive the telemetry packets that tell you where the thing is.  Very cool.  Very cool indeed.  

THE Si5351 SERVES AS THE WHOLE TRANSMITTER.  It connects to the antenna.  (Steve Smith will, I'm sure,  insists on a low pass filter, even here!)

Here is a similar project: 


And be sure to stop by the QRP Labs online store.  Lots of good stuff there:


I've been interested in balloons for a long time.  A few years ago Billy, Maria and I released a party balloon over Northern Virginia with a note requesting that the finder send us an e-mail (It landed about 10 miles away, across the Potomac river, in Washington D.C.).   Here is a picture of a paper-mache hot-air  balloon that we built and flew near Lavallette, New Jersey (Ocean Beach Unit III) sometime around 1969.  Many of the kids in the picture are my cousins:

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  1. I've been following these balloon projects for some time, they are great. The problem is that none of them are open source, unless you are a programmer you probably won't know how to build one of these things. I am also not a programmer, but gave it a try and came up with a working HF transmitter using a Arduino, SI5351 and GPS module. It is GPS synched for time, location, altitude and speed. In addition it will send telemetry data about battery voltage and temperature using WSPR, JT9 or JT65 modes. It's open source, and I hope it only gets better the more people use it.


  2. Best details to build and fly here -


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