It simply said "Several 434 MHz balloons launch today" but it was enough to pique my interest, the first launch this morning was the NSE/CHEAPO balloon set to launch at 9am from Bicknacre, Chelmsford, Essex, UK.
I was vaguely aware of these balloons and the High Altitude enthusiasts but I had never received or made any attempt at receiving them, but shortly after nine I started up the FUNCube Dongle and tuned to 434.650MHz with the discone in the loft and got a pretty decent signal, which I recognised as being RTTY.
A quick visit to the UKHAS UK High Altitude Society website and I had downloaded the dl-fldigi application which decodes the signal from and uploads the data to a central website.
I didn't have any luck getting a decode from NSE but I was prepared for another attempt, so when I returned home this afternoon I managed to received the AURA balloon which launched from Great Malvern. I received quite a few success data packets which got uploaded.
I also received the last balloon this afternoon launched by the Queen Mary University from the Elsworth Site near Cambridge, around 4pm, but the signal was a little too scratchy for a successful decode.
I have since discovered that the transmitters in these balloons are only 10mW, but because of the line of sight they can manage several hundred miles, but even so the setup I was using wasn't the most efficient for reception.
|A similar balloon being launched|