APRS Flights

Good news!

This site is slowly getting archived in favor of our new wider-community effort at Traquito.

Head over to our new site at Traquito to check out the $14 WSPR tracker, realtime maps/graphs, and other great resources!

Here is a summary of the flights you can look at.

DMxx are Douglas Malnati flights.

MMxx are Mark Malnati flights.

For some of the flights, the identifier (eg MM14) appear out of order.  That's because the tracker was built and ID'd but flown at a later date.

The flights below are date-ordered, not ID-ordered.



First in-air test of the APRS transmitter adapted from high-altitude balloon project.

Hack job wiring transmitter to AVR dead-bug style.

Attached rubber party balloons and let it go.

Success!  Progress with this technology and make dedicated trackers.

First flight using fabricated PCB.

Balloon made it out to Cape Cod, MA from Hoboken, NJ.

I consider this a success.

Mark's first flight,  only lasted 2 hours 15 minutes

632 mile flight from NJ up through New England, ultimately crashing in Canada.

Believe tracker hit bad weather.  At some points it appeared to touch the ground, probably due to rain.

Flight failed due to tracker damage

Short flight, reached 16,250 feet

Reasonably good flight that died after 344 miles.

Balloon appears to have been pushed to higher altitude over great lakes, and ruptured.

How to fix this?  Adjust free lift?

After receiving 8 signals, no more were received. 

Slow and steady ascent, but popped at elevation.

Reached 15,230 feet.

My longest flight yet, 22 hours.

Rose to 24,373 feet only to descend to under 1,000 feet.  

It repeated the up and down pattern three times before ending.

Flew from NJ to FL along the coast.

Float Altitude - 20,000 ft

Duration - 58 hours, 38 min

Cause of death - Float was steady all along, but (theory) got pushed to a higher altitude over Gulf of Mexico

My first flight using two Qualatex 36 balloons.

Reached 25,000 feet.

Floated out to sea.

Used two Qualatex 36 balloons.

Lost communication from the tracker after 3 hours.

Reached Georgia with a float at 20,000

Tried a 1.8 gram free lift with double Qualatex balloons.

Floated at 25,000 feet

Nice flight, followed the eastern coast up to North Carolina.

Flight headed northwest into the Gulf of Mexico, then signals stopped.

Signals resumed when the balloon reached the panhandle, then proceeded up into Georgia.

Tried a risky launch was to get ahead of a northbound storm.

Reached 18,000 then was consumed by the storm.

Tried fast winds to Europe.

Balloon reached 107 MPH.

Great flight!  Reached Mexico.

Three Qualatex balloons tethered together.

Over 1,000 miles of flight.

My second international flight!   Reached Dominican Republic.

No signals for 17 hours as the tracker was out of range.

Reached Haiti, then circled back to Central America.

A new record of 2,479 miles and over 75 hours of flight.

Failed flight, after 36 signals nothing more was heard.

Terrific flight, Florida to Canada in 18 hours.

Flew 1,652 miles with a top speed of 121 MPH.

Material test, did not hold float.

Material test, developed a tear at 15,325 feet

The balloon was recovered by kayak in Alligator Bay.

Test of 5/4 wave transmission antenna.

Reached Mississippi.

Material test, the balloon developed a tear at around 15,000 feet.

The balloon was recovered from a farm field.