Tuesday, December 13, 2011

K6RPT-11 APRS balloon from California in Europe - igates needed for 144.390!

Updated 2011-12-14: Still flying, igates needed further west!

An APRS-equipped high-altitude balloon, using the callsign K6RPT-11 (track on aprs.fi), launched from San Jose, California, has almost crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and is now passing Azores, and approaching North Africa. With a little change in direction it could as well go to Spain or Portugal! It was already a great success when it managed to travel to the east coast of the US.

There is a catch - it's transmitting on the US frequency of 144.390 MHz instead of the usual European frequency of 144.800 MHz. That's will help reception, since 144.390 is very quiet around here, but we need some igates in Morocco, Spain, southern France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and so on, to temporarily switch frequencies - and do it now! Keep an eye on the track - it could be coming your way!

Please help spread the word, right now, tonight, amongst igate operators around that area.

There might be a very fun recovery operation ahead for some hams down there.

Stephen H. Smith wrote:
"The K6RPT-1 APRS-equipped high-altitude balloon left the U.S. mainland,  headed out over the Atlantic about 0330 UTC Tuesday after a coast-to-coast crossing of the US from the San Jose, California launch site.

Radio contact was lost about 400 miles off the New Jersey coast. At that point it was still transmitting and reporting normal battery voltage, holding altitude around 107,000 ft, and headed toward the Straights of Gibraltar at about 150 MPH (240 KM/h)."

"It's now around sunset at it's current location, so it looks as though the balloon's envelope survived the day's UV exposure -- better and better chance now it WILL make landfall over there. ."


http://twitter.com/k6rpt (Balloon project's twitter feed)