Support Our Weather Balloon Flights

Many of you know that I launch weather balloons with the West Georgia Amateur Radio Society. While they are fun, and a good learning experience (and even an emcomm training experience), they are expensive. I have already purchased the cameras and tracking equipment. The balloon and helium for each launch cost about $100 each. You can help support us by purchasing a t-shirt (don't forget to customize it with your callsign!), or donating to our GoFundMe campaign. Thanks for your support!

Balloon Launch & Recovery Team T-shirt  GoFundMe Campaign

WGARS Balloon Launch Presentation

Just a few notes and bullet points for me to use for the short presentation at the 4/11/2017 WGARS club meeting. It won't make much sense to read as an article, but if you're here because I mentioned it in my talk, you can look at the cool photos at the end. :)

  • The balloon is a weather balloon, not standard party-type balloon. It's big: 10 feet when inflated, 20 feet when near burst alt.
  • Try to keep the payload lightweight - around 4 lbs. Styrofoam cooler
  • Track it with amateur radio: reports its position with APRS connected to GPS. Standard APRS frequency - 144.390 MHz
  • Simplex repeater, amazing range at that altitude. Frequency TBD
  • You can also track it on by entering N4BWR-11. I-gates send APRS traffic to internet
  • We do a morning prediction from several sites to get an idea where it's going, discuss, and then start driving
  • You can track with aprs-enabled radio while moving, or on on a phone or tablet with a data plan
  • Bit of fox hunting (RDF work) at the end. May not be able to hit an I-gate on the ground, and it may not be immediately visible. Treat it like a fox and triangulate

 Click photos to view full size. Click here to see all 362 flight photos

Our Balloon Flights

Flight Designation
Launch Site
Houston, TX
Recovered after a week in a Louisiana swamp
Read story here
Carrollton, GA
Recovered after landing in a lake
GPS not rated for high altitude. Cut out at top of flight
Carrollton, GA
Lost when batteries died in flight
Predictions and potential search area here