This type of balloon flight we actually tried 20 years ago or so.
     It seemed to have worked, but we were not sure of what altitude it leveled off at because this happened LONG before there were any GPS's to use for flights like these. It ran CW on 20 meters, and we determined it's location by beam headings from all around the globe. And we made an estimated altitude by who was hearing it directly. Launched in SW Wisconsin, We tracked it for two days, last readings from east coast stations as well as European stations placed it somewhere near Iceland.

Now we have light weight GPS's and special ultra cool tracking units, so we are trying it again!

     Detail of the flight, Times, Frequencies, modes etc. are at he bottom of this page, as well as a twitter feed for rough up dates before the launch.

     The concept of the flight train is actually very simple.
It all has to do with densities, and buoyancy. 
The payload train From top to bottom as seen at the left...

     The top lifting balloon is a standard Latex 1500 Gram Balloon from
 Kaymont Consolidated Industries.  This flight will possibly for ever, test the theory that these latex balloons die quickly at altitude because of UV radiation. Since the altitude we will be flying at for this balloon will be no where near it's bursting diameter, this indeed will be a good test to see how long one of these balloons will last at between 70,000 and 80,000 feet.

Then a Home made Parachute.

Then the Electronics payload Designed and built by Carl, WA4ADG
(Details below.)

   And finally the magic part of the whole system the ballast/anchor balloon system. The "Pumpkin Restrictor System" is just that, a system that resists the bottom balloon from expanding, and it has the appearance of a pumpkin.

The "Pumpkin Restrictor System" is made from two things, a 600 Gram standard latex balloon from Bill WB8ELK, for this flight. 

And a pumpkin shaped sphere,  that is made from two large parachutes sewn face to face to yield a pumpkin that has a rough average diameter of about ten feet. The 600 Gram balloon acts like an Inner tube of the pumpkin.

     How the whole system works as many of you know it's all to do with buoyancy.  The density of the complete flight train, vs the amount and weight of the atmosphere it is displacing., I.E.: the atmosphere's density.

Really simple, if the flight trains density is less that the air it is displacing, the system will rise,  if it is heavier, it will sink. Pretty simple.
          Now how this system works.

     In reality the numbers used are incredibly small and stretched out to several decimal places. But for explanation purposes here I will use large and rounded off whole numbers just to make it clearer and less number cumbersome.

     At sea level or close to it, just plain old air is measured and injected into the pumpkin.  How much "AIR" is calculated by at what altitude we will want the flight train to park at. 
In this case say 70,000 feet. Free lift will be 8 ounces. So in other words when the lifting balloon is filled to the correct amount and everything is attached in the flight train, there is an excess of 8 ounces of lift.  

     Say the volume of the pumpkin when full is 160 cubic feet.  We calculate that if we put in 16 cubic feet on the ground, once it reaches 60,000 feet it has expanded and filled the pumpkin fully.  Remember these numbers are all wrong and are not even close. It is just to explain how the system works.

     Now is when the magic starts. As with any normal balloon as it rises the atmospheric pressure and density drops. And any regular balloon also expands to equal out the pressure and also overall density. But this is where this system is different and is cool.

     Say at 60,000 feet, the density of air is 0.1 ounce per cubic foot.
So, In this pumpkin, it is contains a volume of 160 cubic feet of "AIR" that weighs 16 ounces.
And since it has a volume of 160 cubic feet, it is also displacing 160 cubic feet of air outside the pumpkin that also weighs 16 ounces.. 0.1 ounce per cubic foot.

     OK, we still have positive lift of 8 ounces and the flight train continues to rise. It is rising into less dense air of course.
So now say it is at 70,000 feet.
Pressure has dropped, and the air is less dense.
BUT, the pumpkin restrictor did not allow the 160 cubic feet of "AIR" inside the pumpkin to equalize the pressure and expand.
The 160 cubic feet of air inside the pumpkin, is still having the properties of the air at 60,000 feet. I.E.: It still weighs 16 ounces.

     But the air at 70,000 feet outside the pumpkin has expanded and became less dense.
It is now having  a density of 0.05 oz per cubic foot.
So The pumpkin is still displacing 160 cubic feet of the atmosphere.
But this atmosphere at 70,000 feet weighs less than it did at 60,000 feet.  0.05 oz per cubic foot. So 0.05 X 160 cubic feet = 8 ounces. And now because of this, the whole flight train stops rising because the train has magically become 8 ounces heavier than it was at 60,000 feet!

     The air in the pumpkin still weighs 16 ounces, but the air it is displacing only weighs 8 ounces, so the pumpkin is 8 ounces heavier now.  How cool is that?!  And that is it! That's how it works. Pretty cool huh? The failure of flight will be if the restrictor pumpkin can not hold back the pressure, to keep the lower altitude densities from expanding.

     Now onto the flight details itself.

Is set at Saturday September 8, 2012. The payload itself (Described below) is ready.

It will be a launch that happens shortly after sunset. But when exactly, we can not say because we need dead calm or at least very slow winds to do the balloon fill and launch.  We use an AWESOME service from PredictWind
Using their service, we are able to get a  Wind Forecast for surface winds  that is incredibly accurate.

We will hit most of the E-Mail lists with launch announcements of possible launch times. Check back here also often, for Up-Dates via our twitter feed as seen below.

     The Electronics payload was Designed and built by Carl, WA4ADG. He did an awesome job.

    This little box, with a total weight of 10 Ounces, Is a totally self contained payload that is just like an OSCAR. It can run indefinitely!  The payload has a solar panel charging system on the top of the box. And re chargeable lithium's inside. The payload also has on flight day a set of four energizer lithium's as a backup supply. But I do not think they will be needed, because so far in testing, with not having the back up batteries installed,  the payload running solely on the solar panel and the rechargeable lithium's, the payload has ran constantly for over two weeks, and the rechargeable cells haven't even got to the  half way charge point each morning.

ANTENNA:  Vertical Wire Dipole
TRANSMITTER: 500 milliwatt RTTY and CW Transmitter.
FREQUENCY: USB And a Dial Frequency of: 10.145
RTTY Tones will appear at approximately 1600 and 1800 in the waterfall.   CW will appear at the 1800 point.
RTTY is 200hz shift,  110 Baud,  8 Bit,  None Parity, 1 Stop.

     We will fire up the payload a while before launch to make sure it is still operating correctly. It will be sending the RTTY after launch configuration. Just before launch we will shut it down to re-set the processor. Once power is restored it will transmit once a minute for the first 120 Transmissions. The transmissions will be formatted like this.


$$KB9KHO/B  =  Call sign
0004  = Transmission number
13:16:15  =  Time
+43.609776  = Latitude
-090.082565  = Longitude
000310M  =  Altitude in Meters
*53  = Checksum

We are transmitting this at the fast one minute rapid rate to closely monitor the first part of the flight.
To closely watch if we achieve float, or if it malfunctions and ends up flying like a regular sounding type of flight.

Again this will be the format for the first 120 transmissions. At one transmission per minute.

Then at the 2 hour (121 Transmissions) mark, the format changes,  It will now only transmit once every five minutes. And each of those five minute intervals alternate between the RTTY and the CW message.  As well the messages get much longer, now contains telemetry from the payload. This is the new format.


Again this breaks down as:
$$KB9KHO/B  =  Call sign
0004  = Transmission number
13:16:15  =  Time
+43.609776  = Latitude
-090.082565  = Longitude
000310M  =  Altitude in Meters
000K  = Speed
359D  =  Direction
07.37V  = Voltage being supplied to the electronics
07.61V  =  Voltage being supplied from the solar panel and the rechargeable lithium batteries
P25C  =  Temp outside of payload in deg C,  a "N" instead of  "P" will indicate a below zero number
P25C  =  Temp inside of payload in deg C,  a "N" instead of  "P" will indicate a below zero number
*74  = checksum

H I H I K B 9 K H O / B,0140,17:25:15,P43.609920 ,W090.082631,00324M,000K,005D,07.37V,07.63V,P24C,P23C 7A
This Breaks down as:
H I H I K B 9 K H O / B  =  Greetings and Call sign
0140  =  Transmission Number
17:25:15  =  Time
P43.609920  =  Latitude. "P" = Positive number "N" = negative number
W090.082631  =  Longitude  "W" = West,  "E" = East
000324M  =  Altitude in Meters
000K  = Speed
005D  = Direction
07.37V  = Voltage being supplied to the electronics
07.63V  =  Voltage being supplied from the solar panel and the rechargeable lithium batteries
P24C  =  Temp outside of payload in deg C,  a "N" instead of  "P" will indicate a below zero number
P23C  =  Temp inside of payload in deg C,  a "N" instead of  "P" will indicate a below zero number
*7A  = checksum

So summing it up, Transmissions 1 through 120 will be RTTY at once every minute.
Then at 125 minutes into the flight the RTTY message
130 CW
135 RTTY
140 CW  etc.

Watch the Twitter feed below for rough flight announcements prior to launch.

On Launch day shortly before launch we will be on the flight tracking page,  EarthBreeze Flight Room.
Where there will be a tracking map as well as a chat room to be able to talk to us before launch as well as during the flight itself.
It will be at:
EarthBreeze Flight Room

     While that is where you can chat and watch the location of the payload during the flight.  Just like the usual APRS network on 144.39, and web sites like, or Anyone anywhere with web browsing capabilities can watch, chat, and track this flight.

     But Since this is not the usual APRS system. You do NOT need to be in direct line of sight to receive the signal. It is running on 30 meters and has world wide propagation possibilities. So while just like the 144.39 APRS network anyone in line of sight can monitor the payload. But this being on 30 meters, stations thousands of miles away can also monitor the payload directly.

Matter of fact  WE ENCOURAGE IT!!!!

     Please if you have 30 meter capabilities, and internet access (which obviously you do or you would not be reading this) we would love you to join in on this mission and help track the payload by being one of the actual tracking stations.  It is a simple 30 meter capability and a small program, with internet access is all that is needed to monitor the payload and automatically forward the tracking data to the  tracking map site! The Program is called dl-fldigi and can be downloaded at:
dl-fldigi Download

     Install it, And set up is simple just fill in all the blanks. One Item you may not have ready during the install is it will be asking for your location. Both in the 6 figure format of Grid squares, Like in my example EN43xo. There are many web sites you can use to determine this if you already do not know it.  It will also ask you for your latitude and longitude in strictly decimal form.

A pretty good tutorial for this program can be found at;
dl-fldigi Tutorial
But when it talks about frequencies, ignore all that. This program works regardless of frequency it is all the audio that the program works on so frequency does not matter.

     On flight day find the program on your computer and be sure to choose the sub program  the HAB version,
HAB = "High Altitude Balloon"
Then from the pull down menu under the word "Flight" choose the KB9KHO_B flight, then at the right hit the autoconfigure, and you're 99% set ready to go.

See ya all in the chat room on Flight Day!