Amateur Radio Experimenters Group's Balloon Success

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group released a high altitude balloon carrying transmitters for APRS and SSTV, and a crossband FM repeater

The balloon was launched from Mount Barker High School at 10am and quickly floated high enough to take in views of Adelaide, the Fleurieu and Yorke peninsulas, and the curve of the Earth's atmosphere giving way to the blackness of space.

It reached a height of 36 kilometres and zig-zagged across the sky, carried by stratospheric winds, before bursting somewhere above Monteith and falling to earth in a paddock south of Wynarka.

Recovery teams followed signals from an APRS beacon to find the exact landing site of the transmitter, a white object about the size of a shoebox.

Amateur radio is all about self-learning and experimentation. It covers people who want to chat with people around the world, people launching balloons like myself, people who bounce signals off the moon ... there’s all sorts of sub-groups.
— Mark Jessop VK5QI

Group member Mark Jessop VK5QI said his team was able to follow its descent closely enough to watch it land from a kilometre away and, after obtaining permission from the property owner, go and pick it up.

He said the flight, the 50th conducted by the radio group under the name Project Horus, was just one kind of experiment amateur radio operators were interested in.

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