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2017 News Releases




Aussie pico balloon series soars again

Date : 22 / 10 / 2017
Author : Jim Linton - VK3PC

The tiny helium filled balloon PS-72 launched from Melbourne has travelled 5,500 kms to be now over the Solomon Sea and is heading east at an altitude of 10,000 metres. After an absence since March the balloon was right on track to head north in Victoria before turning west into South Australia.

Andy Nguyen VK3YT put up PS-72 on Sunday, a solar powered party foil-like balloon measuring 90-cm across, filled with hydrogen. Its payload emits 25mW WSPR, JT9 on 30 metres, with a dial frequency is 10.138700 MHz.

While earlier PS-71 in March used APRS and Olivia on VHF/UHF, but the last HF balloon was PS-70 in January. The latest, PS-72 at Victoria’s upper limit adopted a path to South Australia, drifted over the Simpson Desert Regional Reserve, then close to the Northern Territory border, before moving into Queensland, the mid-Gulf of Carpentaria and across Papua New Guinea.

On Tuesday it was over Papua New Guinea, then left on Wednesday for the Solomon Sea. A dozen in VK2, VK3 and ZL tracked it an altitude of about 10,000 metres enduring temperatures to minus 30 degrees Celsius. But the big question is how long PS-72 travel? A world record held by Andy VK3YT saw PS-46 in 2015 just short of its third southern hemisphere circumnavigation.


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