We no longer manufacture our own APRS transmitter. We recommend purchasing the StratoTrack instead. It is extremely easy to integrate into any weather balloon system and operates without the need for a separate flight computer. Click here for more details. Track your weather balloon payload with live data anywhere in North America!
You don't even need any special equipment on the ground. You will be able to track your weather balloon on Google Maps with any device connected to the internet, including smart phones and tablets! At just under 25 grams it requires less than one cubic foot of helium to compensate for the extra weight. Just plug it into our Eagle Flight Computer and suspend it below your payload from the included 24 inch data cable and you are ready to track.
No need to hassle with creating your own antenna setup, dealing with a coaxial cable, or setting up an extra power supply. The Radio Bug has a mW transmitter mounted in the center of a dipole antenna.
This is the most effective antenna for tracking weather balloon payloads over long distances. Studying for the test takes only a few hours. You set your callsign by editing a file which the Eagle Flight Computer downloads onto the micro SD card when it is powered on.
This packet of information will include position, altitude, speed, temperature, and pressure. The APRS network operates at a single frequency. It would be like trying to understand a hundred people all shouting a different message at you at the same time. As a common courtesy to other uses on the network, we limit the transmit interval to once every minute.
Theoretically it is possible that you and someone else could transmit at the same time preventing your packets from being received and decoded by surrounding IGates, but this rarely happens. A packet takes less than a second to transmit. Above 60, ft, we've seen IGates over miles away from our payload receive our signal. IGates have a hard time picking up your signal when your transmitter is close to the ground.
They almost always require direct line of sight. If your payload is on the ground and a hill separates it from the nearest IGate, your signal will not be picked up. For this reason you should not rely on our APRS tracker to locate your payload once it lands. Even if the satellite tracker is on the ground, it still has direct line of sight to satellites in orbit as long as it is facing up.
This is also why you should never use a Styrofoam cooler as a payload enclosure. They occasionally roll upside down when they land preventing the satellite tracker from "seeing" satellites in orbit.
This makes it almost impossible to find your payload. I already have an Eagle Flight Computer. All flight computers purchased after June 18th have the necessary firmware update.APRS - Tracker e plotagens pelas estações móveis
If you purchased your Eagle Flight Computer before the above date, simply mail it to the address located on the Contact Us page. Within two business days of receiving your flight computer we will service your flight computer at no charge, update its firmware, and mail it back to you along with your tracker. Cart: 0 Log in or Create an account.It's possible to embed the mobile tracker on any page. If you are developing a HAB project, you can add the tracker to your website.
You can customize the tracker to fit. There are options to limit the visible vehicles to a specific callsign. Or two, or three. Many other options to play with. It's easy. Just visit the page below and check it out. Customize tracker for embedding. Want to track with Google Earth instead?
Just click here. Did you know the tracker is open-source? Bug reports, suggestions and pull requests are welcome.
You can also find us on IRC in highaltitude at irc. Here you can access various weather overlays. This an experimental feature.
Mobile users be aware that this can quickly eat your data allowance. Embed tracker It's possible to embed the mobile tracker on any page.
Settings Interpolate gaps in telemetry.
Hide welcome on start-up. Imperial units. Horizontal speed in hours. Hide time display. Hide receivers from the map.This web page is a quick throw-together of the images and experiences. This one was assembled for a water landing high probability in our area by placing it in a lightweight water bottle. The black plastic bag on the left serves as a"streamer" to slow its descent. The team prepared the simsat for launch on 24 July using a small WXX balloon.
The Space Camp team had planned on a launch-and-forget approach to the smaller expendible cricket sats. These simulated satellites consisted of a matchbox size transmitter think key-chain FOB transmitter and 9v battery. The only telemetry was temperature. But from temperature and thermal gradient knowledge, one can infer altitude.
No direction finding was planned, so no DF gear was on hand. After the days launch activities were over and several small simsats were launched, we thought it would be fun to go see if we could find one.
We chose to go look for the one called Cricketsat G2, since it appeared to only have a 45 minute flight life before it was heard to descend. This suggested that it was not that far away. To a ham radio enthusiast Direction Finding is a cause for a challenge. We wanted to go see if we could find one anyway, with nothing but our hand held walkie-talkie.
We used what the Hams call, the fade-circle technique. This is a cimple technique for just this kind of as-you-are recovery effort. The Process is simple: All you need is your mobile rig and an HT and some greay matter between the ears, and you can find anything. Almost as easy as driving right to it and back and forth a bit.
Just visualize signal strength, and always go to the middle of your maximum signal along any line of travel. Then turn 90 degrees and again go to the middle of the signal maximum, turn 90 degrees again, and repeat, and repeat. As signal gets stronger, switch to HT.
As signal gets stronger, switch to paper clip antenna and repeat. As signal gets stronger, remove antenna completely and repeat. Finally, reach out an pick up the transmitter. The images below chronicle my approach at finding this payload. The relative signal strength is shown by colored dots as I drove and then walked to find the balloon.
Radio Flight Tracking Information
It was placed on the map only after we had found the general area of the landing. This object was uset to mark our location we got out of the car to start our foot search. This symbol allerted launch control where we were beginning our foot search. The above image shows our initial drive from launch site with our mobile radio along track line north of the launch site. We had no idea where the balloon was or how far! The next image shows our first weak detections along the highway: Next shows a plot of my first perpendicular driving leg after going north and then turning south by car The next shows the second Perpendicular leg by car no more roads : This next slide shows the first HT results and confusing circling in the farmers backyard clearing while we tried to visualize how the signals were arriving: And here is the final image of the assault on the corn field!
Anyone can, and you don't need any DF equipment. Just your mobile, your HT, and a signal to find!
The APRS Radio Transmitter
Just depends on how much gas you have in the tank, and how far you are willing to walk once you get to HT range. This final picture shows what the Cricket sat looked like when found.When it comes to tracking a weather balloon, the three most common options are a satellite tracker, an APRS tracker, or a cell phone.
Each option has its benefits and limitations. A cellphone tracker is illegal and should never be used. GPS was developed by the U. Department of Defense for military purposes. It was never originally intended for civilian use. In an airliner caring passengers Korean Airlines Flight was shot down by Russia after accidentally straying into their prohibited airspace. This prompted President Ronald Regan to issue a directive making GPS freely available for civilian use to prevent future navigational errors that resulted in loss of life.
However, it is important to understand that civilians do not have access to all of the features of the GPS system.
Sometimes it is possible to obtain specialized GPS receivers more expensive that work above 18, m. How a Tracking System Works. In order to have a tracking system, you need a tracker, a network, and an internet connection. A tracker is simply a GPS receiver and a radio transmitter built into a single piece of hardware. The tracker is able to determine its precise location by receiving position signals from GPS satellites with its GPS receiver.
The tracker then uses its built-in radio transmitter to transmit its position to a network. The network can be either ground or satellite-based. Examples of ground-based networks include cellphone towers and amateur radio APRS stations. Both types of networks are connected to the world wide web. As long as you have access to the internet by computer, smartphone, etc. The weakest link in any tracking system is always between the tracker and the network.
A cellphone or GSM tracker is any device that transmits its location over a cellular network. We only cover these types of trackers in this tutorial because they are sometimes used by uninformed hobbyists launching weather balloons. There are three main reasons why you should never use these types of trackers.
First, per FCC Most payloads land in rural areas with limited or no cellular network coverage. Third, these types of trackers are not designed for extreme environments. Your tracker will shut down before your payload even lands. As with most trackers, the GPS receiver in these types of trackers are not specialized for high altitude flight and the tracker will stop updating when flying above roughly 18, m. Satellite Tracker — This is by far the best option for tracking your weather balloon payload.
Satellite trackers are designed to be both rugged and reliable. Unlike cellphone and APRS trackers, satellite trackers rely on a network of satellites in orbit to receive their position signal.
These satellites then relay the signal to a gateway on earth which is connected to the internet. This allows your tracker to work just about anywhere on our planet. There are a few things to keep in mind when using a satellite tracker. Many people use Styrofoam coolers as their payload enclosures which have a tendency to roll onto their sides, or even upside down, when they land.Launch a hacked Canon camera to the stratosphere and photograph the blackness of space.
At the time, the standard recovery method utilized a cellphone programmed to communicate its position after landing. Unfortunately, once you let your balloon go, you had no idea where it was until it came back to the ground and phoned home. What we wanted was a way to get live reports from our flying machine while it was in flight. The solution is the Automatic Packet Reporting System.
APRS is an amateur radio communications system designed to report the location, altitude, speed, and other information about the sender. This combination of key components along with some other standard gear is a tried and true platform for a cost effective journey into the stratosphere.
Within about 2 hours our balloon would climb to 94, feet, attain ground speeds of over mph, and record hundreds of stunning photos along with dozens of videos. All the while telling us exactly where it was and what was going on. APRS is an amateur radio protocol designed to report the location of a sending station on the move. This system has been adapted to many uses, including the reporting of telemetry required to track a balloon like this.
The fantastic thing about APRS is once you broadcast the packets, everything else is done. Thanks to ham radio operators around the world, when you broadcast a packet, there are receiving stations listening for them nearly anywhere you might be.
The receiving station forwards your packet to internet sites which provide near real-time reports of your flight, including location, altitude, speed, and any other data you can fit into an APRS packet.
Utilizing a radio capable of tuning the APRS frequency, it is also possible to directly receive the packets from your balloon even with an inexpensive receiver. This is important after landing, because there is a good chance that no stations will be close enough to hear your packets once the balloon is back on earth.
Chances are the final packet that reaches aprs. It is a sonic representation of your packet.
StratoTrack APRS Transmitter
All you need is a radio receiver that can tune to the broadcast frequency of your Trackuino If your APRSdroid happens to be running on a smartphone with 3G or 4G access, it can also be used to map your location versus the location of your balloon. The APRS amateur radio network passes along digital data packets sent by your transmitter, so you can track its location. This is an Arduino shield that combines a low-power radio transmitter with a GPS receiver and some other components to provide everything needed to track our balloon via APRS, including GPS location, altitude, speed, internal temperature, external temperature, and battery state.
The Trackuino can also drive a beeper or buzzer, to help you find which tree it is stuck in during the recovery phase of your adventure. The heart of the Trackuino is its milliwatt radio transmitter made by Radiometrix.
The Trackuino is not available anywhere as a pre-built component, or even as a kit. You must have the circuit board made and then solder in the components by hand. Radios and ham radio skills can seem old school and old hat to us cellphone-toting 21st-century citizens. WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G, 4G, and, yes, your cellphone are all radios.
Understanding and mastering radio communications is very much a 21st-century skill.
Besides allowing you to use APRS, getting an entry-level ham license Technician will require that you learn some basics of radio technology and electronics stuff you might already know. One of the best places to get started is the American Radio Relay League website. There are also many websites that provide tools to help you study for the test, including practice tests.
Choosing a camera for this project is a balancing act. We needed something a little more economical that could take photos and videos on a timer.TXT file seems to have been lost. This will bring up every digi over a million square miles but at least it will only do it once a minute, and no worse to locals than just another mobile in the area. And beingit will not bring up the WIDE fill-in-digis that may not have dupe suppression.
This makes sure that everyone in range of a digi will hear one and only one copy of each packet. The goal is that a digipeated packet is cleared out of the local area in ONE packet time and not N packet times for every N digipeaters that heard the packet. Notice, this is contrary to other packet systems that might want to guarantee delivery but at the expense of throughput. APRS wants to clear the channel quickly to maximize throughput.
Unfortunately we launched on a day with a totally unexpected and unusal weather pattern bringing in winds that took it North instead of the usual East. After about 17 hours and at night over Lake Ontario it expeirenced severe weather and lost pressure and began to descend as shown in the map below.
Landing: After experienceing severe weather, the balloon began leaking helium and descended fortunetely over land. And our prediction is shown below. Since the payload is solar powered, there is no reason that it should not continue to beacon its position for some time to come unless it landed upside down or in permanent shade. We invite any hams in the area to go take a listen. It transmits once every 2 minutes on Watch the brief launch video.
This was a surprise to see so many APRS balloons on a single day. The scope is not understood. But a visual scan zoomed in on the eclipse path on APRS. FI only found about Their mission was to stream live video of the moving shadown of the moon acorss the Earth. Clearly smart people realized that adding an APRS device would make it easy to recover. If anyone has more info, please fill us in. Another plot of the same balloons shows on the North Carolina Near Space web page shown above. That page describes two of the above Eclipe balloon missions in detail.
Notice, at the time of this screen capture, he balloons out west, having been launched earlier, were achieving higher altitudes than the ones lanched later in the east as evidenced by the blue range circles under each balloon. The mission ended up being a tether mission, but this package shown at far right was my latest version of my typical balloon tracker using a soda bottle for solar heating and water survival.GitHub is home to over 40 million developers working together to host and review code, manage projects, and build software together.
If nothing happens, download GitHub Desktop and try again. If nothing happens, download Xcode and try again. If nothing happens, download the GitHub extension for Visual Studio and try again. This Project contains the Pecan Pico project in it's 9th version. A Pecan is a cheap lightweight APRS position tracker designed especially for small ballons which may fly for monthes. This tracker has been made in respect of weight, functionality and price because it's usually used once like a satellite.
While the balloon can fly for a long time, this tracker is solar powered and recharges it's battery at daytime and uses the power stored in the battery at night. Note: The most recent Pecan design is Pecan Pico Pecan Pico 9a. Other than usual position tracker, this tracker has also the ability to take pictures with a camera and send them to the ground.
This new protocol allows the user to receive pcitures by using their APRS receiver and a computer. There is no tuning required, so everything could work autonomously. So images can be received from far away using the Igating service. Image packets may be received somewhere else by Igates and relayed through the internet. VGA sized pictures can be transmitted within minute. While the protocol doesn't change, using this technique doesn't need any changes rather than the decoding equipment.
The camera can sample pictures up to UXGA xpx but transmitting those still might take some time. Please don't expect high quality images. VGA sized pictures xpx are okay but you might see the bad quality if you ramp up the resolution. Note that this tracker cannot save the pictures.
That might be possible in theory but the chip STM32F does only contain 1MB Flash memory and that might be enough for 20 pictures only. Closed Airport Berlin Tempelhof roughly 3km 10,ft altitude. Test picture from the ground. The tracker can transmit pictures, GPS data and telemetry data simultanously. That means that the picture transmission can be interrupted and GPS data can be sent in between.
While all data can be transmitted by APRS, there is only one decive being needed to receive all the data. If one station miss one packet, it could be received by a different station. All packets are put together and decoded on a central server. It can operate up to 50km. This is important because regular GNSS receivers operate only up to 18km 60,ft usually and balloons may fly higher.
I have chosen the predecessor while it consumes less power. However the software does use UART. It can be connected by assembling 0R resistors.