MM15 - 2018-12-11

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

  • One 36" Qualatex balloon
  • 29.6 gram payload
  • 1.8 grams free lift


  • Top Altitude - 18,963 ft
  • Duration - 4.1 hours
  • Distance - 292 miles following path
  • Cause of death - lost at sea

General Thoughts / Observations

We had a rare situation where the winds could get a balloon to Europe in 48 hours, that was the goal of this flight. At the launch the surface winds were pretty dead, with 1.8 grams of free lift the balloon gently rose and easily cleared the trees. The ascent rate was between 1.5 and 2 feet per second and after 2 hours the wind speed had gone from calm to 65 MPH. The balloon reached the east coast of Florida after 2.5 hours and just kept picking up speed. At 180 miles off the coast the balloon was travelling at 107 MPH, that was the last signal - we did not reach Europe. The flight concluded somewhere over the Atlantic.

This flight was different than others in that we knew that signals would stop early into the flight and then go dark for two days. In the four hours that signals were received, it showed that we had very good signal reliability and a nice steady float at just under 19,000 feet.

Thoughts for next time

Keep the free lift under 2 grams, be cautious with unknown GPS modules.