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Surfin’: Ham Radio Ballooning


By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor

This week, Surfin’ considers high-altitude ballooning with Amateur Radio payloads.

Some things never change.

When I was a kid, I watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to see the big balloons float down Sixth Avenue. As an adult (also known as a “big kid”), I still watch the parade to see the big balloons float down Sixth Avenue.

I also watch hot air balloons, blimps, dirigibles, airships and Zeppelins whenever they pass by. Well, not Zeppelins so much anymore, but you know what I mean. As a result, I find amateur ballooning fascinating, too.

Amateur Radio High Altitude Ballooning (ARHAB) is the website “for near space explorers and enthusiasts dedicated to the education and study of aerospace science” via ham radio high-altitude ballooning.

Billing itself as “the poor man’s space program,” this website is the place to turn to for information about the latest ham radio balloon missions, as well as a repository of data and records of past missions, such as a record-setting mission last December, when a balloon traveled more than 5200 miles in 57 hours from San Jose, California to splashdown in the Mediterranean Sea near Algeria. Pertinent links, for example, to prediction and tracking websites, populate the ARHAB website.

Until next time, keep on surfin’!

Editor’s note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, seeks the unusual in radio. To contact Stan, send e-mail or add comments to the WA1LOU blog.




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