Thursday, April 2, 2009

Holy High Altitude Balloons: HALO II Launch this Weekend!

According to the Amateur Radio High Altitude Ballooning Launch Announcements site ( there will be a large number of coordinated balloon launches this weekend.

The HALO II Project involves 15 Universities from across nine different states simultaneously launching high-altitude balloons to create a balloon-to-balloon network in order to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) Education and conduct cutting edge multi point science experiments.

The purpose of the HALO (High Altitude Launch Opportunity) project is to set up a high altitude communications network. When one balloon comes over the radio horizon of another balloon they will link and and start communicating. This project and Part-15 900MHz Spread Spectrum HALO NETWORK is managed by Taylor University (Indiana). Cooperating universities from Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia are also launching balloons.

The launches for these balloon flights are scheduled for this Saturday, April 4th at 11:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time. All high altitude balloons are equipped with Amateur Radio APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System) transmitters on 144.39 MHz. Refer to the ARHAB site for more specific launch locations and tracking call signs.

The primary Talyor University balloon (KB9ZNZ-1) will likely have the normal Cross-band Repeater capabilities (Uplink ↑ 144.360 MHz & Downlink ↓ 446.025 MHz). The Wright State University balloon (W1WSU-11) is listed as having telemetry (145.050 MHz AX.25 TLM), Fast Scan television (427.250 MHz AM ATV) as well as a 2 Meter beacon (146.565 MHz DF Beacon).

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