UK Student Balloon Crosses Pacific
On Thursday, March 17 the UBSEDS14 balloon, launched by University of
students, had successfully crossed the Pacific and was above Arizona, having
traveled over 24,500 km since launch. By March 19 the balloon had
United States and was headed out across the Atlantic Ocean.
The University of Bristol Students for the Exploration and Development
(UBSEDS) launched their balloon on Monday, March 8. Powered by a single AA
Lithium Energiser Battery (LR91) the balloon has been transmitting about
Contestia 16/1000 on 434.600 MHz USB at 4 minute intervals as well as APRS
during its flight at an altitude of about 11,000m.
The balloon uses the error-correcting Contestia 16/1000 mode on 434.6MHz
The transmission power on this band was measured to be +5dBm on a
which is well below the +10dBm limit for ISM band operation. Each packet was
preceded by 10 seconds of 1Hz pips for manual alignment and a RSID tone for
automatic alignment with suitable software (dl-fldigi for example). For many
countries the balloon transmits APRS packets on local frequencies. In
this is 144.8MHz in Europe, 144.66MHz in Japan and 144.39MHz in North
The balloon has a diameter of 1.5m and the payload weighs just 21.3 grams.
Despite the weight constraints the team have managed to employ sophisticated
Geofencing technology to prevent the balloon transmitting when over certain
countries and also to select different APRS frequencies depending on the
territory being overflown.
UBSEDS14 information is available at
UBSEDS14 balloon launch
One of the students involved in the project is Richard Meadows M0SBU. He
the amateur radio courses run by the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society
Danbury in Essex. Further information on the courses is available from
Email: training2016 at g0mwt.org.uk
[ANS thanks AMSAT-UK for the above information]