The long awaited launch of the our next generation balloon track has come. This new tracker integrates the Murata CMWX1ZZABZ-078 LoRa radio module, an Ublox GPS, TE connectivity MS5607 temperature/pressure sensor, AA lithium battery and boost coverter.

We launched the balloon from Fryent Country Park, London in the afternoon of 25/01/2020. It was last seen over Scotland.

Tracker Development

The tracker is a custom 0.6mm PCB integrating the CMWX1ZZABZ-078 LoRa radio module, U-blox MAX M8Q GPS, TE Connectivity MS5607 temperature/pressure sensor and boost converter.

Putting it on the map

Now we receive the data via the Things Network and we choose to put the data on the UKHAS tracker map, which we have used extensively for all our flights. We ran a script, the TTNHABBridge that recived the data from the Things Network, parsed it, and sent it to the UKHAS server to be displayed on the map. Credits to Bertrik Sikken for the script. We were also running a logger that logs all the meta data that comes along with each message(gateway information, RSSI etc) for further analysis

A packet has just arrived!

Balloon technology

The balloon we used was a standard 36inch qualatex party balloon. Total weight of the tracker was 12.0grams and we gave the balloon a next lift of 6.0 grams. Another essential step was to seal off the resealable valve of the balloon with super glue. This is essential to prevent the resealable valve from failing at high pressures.

The helium we used was from a party balloon disposable canister. We suspect that the helium in these tanks are not very pure(maybe only 80% helium). As expected, the float altitude was disappointly low, under 8000m. In past launches with similar tracker weight and purer helium, we have seen float altitudes of close to 9000m.

Launch conditions were not too bad. Very foggy, little wind but no rain.

Photos from the Launch