[aprssig] Balloons abusing our network...sigh

David Andrzejewski david at davidandrzejewski.com
Mon May 2 07:55:07 CDT 2016

I am happy to write an article and put it on my site. I am fairly knowledgeable about APRS but I admittedly have little experience with balloons. So... What are the recommended settings for balloons that maintain "politeness" but don't degrade functionality for people trying to locate them?

Are there particular hardware setups that are recommended? I saw some comments about hardware that can change settings based on altitude.


David Andrzejewski
E-mail/iMessage/Jabber: david at davidandrzejewski.com
PGP Key ID: 5EBA8A72

> On May 1, 2016, at 19:34, Steve Noskowicz via aprssig <aprssig at tapr.org> wrote:
> From the "Correct me if I'm wrong" department...
> I think what is needed instead of lots of words on this sig is an easily searched document on or two or three or more sites (Copmcast killed web hosting or I'd still have a presence) that respond to "APRS Balloon tracking" and many variations someone may try searching for, so that anyone trying to figure out how to set things up can find it easily.  Or perhaps a periodic article in QST, or some such other ehicle. 
> Somethiong sent to various balloon sites already in existence so others looking for balloon info will accidentally find some APRS info...
> It's 2016
> This phenomenon will continue to produce these periodic bursts of "Problem Balloon destroying the universe" posts until information is easy to find by random hams.
> I started doing some APRS with a used D700 back in the late 90's.  _ALL_   repeat _ALL_ the stuff on the net back then assumed the ham was very experienced in packet -- which is completely unnecessary.  It took me years of reading this sig (and only understanding pieces of what was posted) and plodding through mounds of outdated Packet information, packet-turned-APRS information, Packet-sort-of-turned-APRS information, out-dated APRS information, old PDFs and PowerPoints ROTTING on the Web to get to the point where I decided I knew enough that I felt it time to write something for newbies, so I wrote my own Beginner Guide in terms a beginner could understand.  It was well received by comments I received.
> And if someone does, do not give a long drawn out history of Packet., APRS, or your travels through Ham radio.  Get to the point so folks will actually read it.
> Put something together and get it on just about every site that shows up in the first 20-30 hits on Google...
> IN FACT.  These last few messages have everything this one paragraph document needs...
> If I wasn't busy right now with finishing a delayed garage (and everything else the wife has added on) and geting started on my older sister's Probate case, I'd consider pasting these messages together to get the ball rolling...
> There has  already been enough time wasted on these very postings to do it several times over.
> /Rant flag cleared/
> SO...?
> -- 
> Regards, Steve Noskowicz
> Science & Technical Advisor
> http://www.challengerillinois.org/
> --------------------------------------------
> On Sun, 5/1/16, Bob Burns W9BU via aprssig <aprssig at tapr.org> wrote:
> Subject: Re: [aprssig] Balloons abusing our network
> To: "'TAPR APRS Mailing List'" <aprssig at tapr.org>
> Date: Sunday, May 1, 2016, 1:54 PM
> #yiv9889509495
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> #yiv9889509495 I think we all agree that HABs
> should not use abusive paths or beacon
> rates.  However, the reality is that many
> of these balloon launch teams are populated with
> inexperienced hams who simply are not aware of how the APRS
> network works or how their HABs impact the network. Those of
> who do have considerable experience have a responsibility to
> educate the balloon teams. Discussion of abusive balloon
> launches occasionally pops up in online APRS communities.
> But, we have to keep in mind that we are preaching to the
> choir. Typically, these balloon teams don’t hang out in
> APRS groups or reflectors.  Jason is quite correct. While the
> balloon launch may seriously impact the APRS network for the
> time the balloon is in the air, that time is short and the
> network will get back to normal after the balloon is down.
> Meanwhile, we should take note of the callsign being used by
> the launch and attempt to reach the holder of the callsign
> to politely educate them about APRS
> networks.  BTW, in my experience, Jason does,
> in fact, have a clue. Berating him really doesn’t
> accomplish anything.  Bob…    From:
> aprssig [mailto:aprssig-bounces at tapr.org] On Behalf Of Ron via
> aprssig
> Sent: Sunday, May 01,
> 2016 12:21 PM
> To: Jason KG4WSV
> <kg4wsv at gmail.com>; TAPR APRS Mailing List
> <aprssig at tapr.org>
> Subject: Re: [aprssig]
> Balloons abusing our network
>  You have
> no clue.A device
> at 25,000 ft hits every digi within 300 MILES or more.
> Every
> one of those digis has to re-transmit that  packet because
> of the path used.At a
> rate of every 30-40 seconds its abusive. (EVEN APRS.FI says
> so)
>  Anyone
> who has done ballooning with APRS should have known this if
> they bothered to research.
>  NO Hops
> are required above a few thousand feet and transmit rates
> should be set by speed, just like everyone else does in
> their cars.
>  YOU
> should be glad that some people still care to maintain APRS
> Nodes and networks so EVERYONE can SHARE
> it.
>  de
>  On Sunday, May
> 1, 2016 11:53 AM, Jason KG4WSV <kg4wsv at gmail.com>
> wrote:  
>> On May 1, 2016, at 9:34
> AM, Ron via aprssig <aprssig at tapr.org>
> wrote:
>> Today 2
> balloons at the same time out of Maine are pounding our
> network with abusive settings that are unacceptable.
> Please explain how this is
> significantly different from the perspective of the LOCAL
> network than a terrestrial station with the same settings?
> (Hint: practically not at all assuming your network is built
> correctly.)
> If a single
> station with these settings can cause your local network
> significant problems you should spend some effort on fixing
> your local network. 
> Why would a balloon at 26,000ft moving at 15kmh need to
> beacon every 40 seconds and use WIDE hops across our
> network?
> To track it and
> get the payload back?
>> At this rate they'll
> be blasting our network all day
> long.
> A typical HAB flight lasts
> approximately 2 hours. 
> Be
> glad someone is doing something more useful/interesting than
> letting the wife track you on your way to the grocery store.
> -Jason
> kg4wsv
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