WA8LMF Mirror of WB4APR Website - 21 July 2008 Naval Academy Balloons


Bob Bruninga, WB4APR (bald, white shirt)

Balloon Preparation

The above photo is our April 1991 launch. Notice our nice tracking antenna in the background. (Click here to see the liftoff)

The photo above is our Sunday 26 March 2000 trial-balloon payload that was launched from the Baltimore Hamfest consisting of two 3v Lithium batteries, a 555 oscillator with thermister and a 10mW 433.92 MHz key chain transmitter inside a tiny plastic bottle. It weighed less than 16g and rose to over 20,000' on a single 18" party balloon (Which we underinflated and ended up using 3 before we got it up in the wind). It was a trial test of our launch and tracking capabilities in preps for our larger 1 April APRS balloon launch (whichi was canceled). The balloon was tracked and chased across the DLMARVA penninsula and out over the Atlantic when we ran out of land on the shoreline near Dover Deleware. The balloon had only a temperature sensor, but when matched to an elevation temperature profile we got this telemetry:

  • 1230 launch
  • 1306 temp was 65 at about 2500 feet
  • 1400 temp was 54 at about 8000 feet
  • 1430 temp was 48 at about 11,000 '
  • 1500 temp was 34 at about 18,000 '

    See USNA Radio Club's PHOTOS and description of the Launch and chase.

    We are contemplating another launch on a weekend in April to let some other Midshipman clubs participate in the chase and recovery. Sort of simulating a "downed flier" search and resue mission.

    You are visitor number: Since 24 March 2000.

    The remainder of this WEB page is 5 years old and not yet updated to this new project.

    A good test of any small satellite payload is very low cost high altitude balloon tests. Mission duration may last from a few hours to a few days. The Naval Academy has launched one such payload in 1993 which was detected as far away as South Carolina and Conneticut. Select any of the following replays of missions:

    Return to the Satellite Ground Station

    WA8LMF Mirror of WB4APR Website - 21 July 2008