MM13 - 2019-01-06

Tracker Details

Tracker Type: APRS

Model: PicoTracker1Rev2

Powered by 2 AAA batteries


transmitCount = 2

msBetweenTransmits = 3000 (3s, 0m, 0h)

lhAltFtThreshold = 10000

hAlt.wakeAndEvaluateMs = 200000 (200s, 3m, 0h)

lAlt.wakeAndEvaluateMs = 35000 (35s, 0m, 0h)

lAlt.stickyMs = 14400000 (14400s, 240m, 4h)

dz.wakeAndEvaluateMs = 1200000 (1200s, 20m, 0h)

Launch Parameters

Balloon and Payload

  • Three 36" Qualatex balloons
  • 29.2 gram payload
  • 1.64 grams free lift


  • Top Altitude - 27,222 ft
  • Duration - 22.5 hours
  • Distance - 1,004 miles following path
  • Cause of death - GPS failure

General Thoughts / Observations

What a great flight! This set new personal records for both elevation (27,222 feet) and distance (1,004 miles). The goal was to reach Mexico (another first), the balloon managed to ride some nice wind currents right into the middle of the Yucatan Peninsula in less than 15 hours. This was three qualatex balloons tethered together, with a total free lift of 1.64 grams. The GPS was from an older batch, and although tested for 10 hours turned out to be intermittent.

After reaching Mexico, the balloon continued on for a half day then, presumably, the GPS failed and the signals stopped.

This flight had GPS issues, otherwise all went well. Using three balloons resulted in a higher elevation, aside from catching faster wind speeds there may not be any further advantage over single or double balloons.

Thoughts for next time

Continue trying to find a way to pre-test GPS modules.