[aprssig] Transmitting data to a hot air balloon

Michael A. Heil maheil at comcast.net
Wed Oct 19 02:33:07 CDT 2005

A hot air balloon pilot is going to be most interested in wind speed and 
direction at various altitudes. I have used Vic's Windreader and a 
digital version to provide preflight briefing data to ballon pilots 
prior to competition and regular flights. Typically 150ft to 300ft 
intervals from ground to a couple thousand feet, more if we could get 
it. The digital version had an RS-232 output which went to a laptop or 
calculator for data processing then printouts.
Ideally an uplink would be to a small tape printer on the balloon that 
the pilot could grab a altitude/direction/speed list from.

During flight ground crews could take readings and radio (voice) results 
to their pilots. Usually via business band itinerant frequencies though 
some (ham radio licensed) did use ham frequencies I think. APRS or other 
tracking downlinks can help the ground crews keep track and ahead of 
their balloons and be ready for landings.

One or two pilots had some "Black boxes" that may have been uplink 
receivers, but I never got the details. Some things you don't want the 
competition committee worrying about (hi hi). They had snit fits about 
GPS's when they first showed up (didn't want pilots to forget to fly 
while trying to figure GPS out !!)

Mike N6TQV

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