Monthly Archives: April 2014

PS-5 – PICO floater MEL-SYD-QLD with RTTY and APRS

PICOSPACE-5 is planned for release at around 4-5pm 2-3pm Sat 26/4/14 from Melbourne.
It will be a PICO party balloon floating north from Melbourne to Sydney and possibly will reach QLD.


12g payload
434.650Mhz, USB
10mW, dipole antenna
100baud RTTY, 425Hz shift, ASCII 8,None,1

Altitude: 7000-8000m

RTTY callsign PS

RTTY tracking with dl-fldigi on as PS-5.
Assistance with manually tracking on RTTY is greatly appreciated.

Software for tracking is here:

Setup instructions:

You will need a SSB receiver that can receive 434.650Mhz.

There will be a 30 second gap between groups of 3 RTTY transmissions.

The payload will also send APRS packets every ~8 minutes on 145.175Mhz.
APRS callsign is VK3YT-11

Will be in #highaltitude chatroom on

The aim of the flight is to try out both APRS and RTTY on a new tracker, and to see how we can complement manual tracking with APRS.

New tracker:
1g lighter than its brother


Updated Prediction:


Update 1: 5pm 26/4.

Released at 2pm, The balloon has been going well, APRS works fine, we had some heavy fading on RTTY but it seems to settle down now.

Balloon is heading towards Sydney, it does look like there should be enough coverage for RTTY reception until Sydney.

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Update 2: 9am 27/4
Passing Newcastle, balloon is going slow at 24km/h, ready to turn left. Still being tracked by VK2 team.

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Updated prediction shows it will get to Rockhamton in 40+ hours. The battery might have been flat by then 🙁


Update 3: 1:50pm 27/4

Looks like we had the last transmission via APRS at 1:01pm AEST.

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Total travelled distance 1072km

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PS-4 – SA – QLD flight

PICOSPACE-4 PICO balloon was released from Robe, South Australia at 8pm AEST (UTC+10) Monday 14/4/2014.

– Party foil balloon
– 13g payload with APRS tracker and dipole antenna.
– Callsign VK3YT-11
– TX frequency 145.175, 50mW

Expect to travel north through SA, and then QLD.

The payload will track the ISS space station using the Two-Line-Element (TLE) set and attempt to transmit APRS packets on 145.825 when it is within range of ISS.





Tracking at!call=a%2FVK3YT-11&timerange=3600&tail=3600

Update 1:

The balloon moved north slowly for 22H between altitudes of 7000m and 8000m before it got out of APRS range at 17:55:22 AEST 15/4/2014.

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Update 2:

The balloon was heard again at 17:24:12 AEST 16/4/2014 near Mackay, QLD, before disappearing into the Coral sea.

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Total distance was 2100km, over 47H.

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The payload transmitted two packets to the ISS space station during the trip, and none was received by the ISS.

Max APRS range was 350km, which was close to the line-of-sight range at 7000m.