Cal Balloon Launch details of March 18, 2017 Flight

Reported by Randy Jenkins KA6BQF

On Saturday, March 18, a high-altitude research balloon was launched from the UC Berkeley campus carrying amateur radio equipment, including APRS, using the call sign W6BB-1 and a cross-band repeater, and other experiments.  The balloon reached an altitude of 108.346 feet, and traveled from the Berkeley campus to west of Folsom, CA. When the balloon passed through the cloud deck, the APRS data showed a velocity in excess of 100 mph.  The chase team kept in touch, via amateur radio.  The balloon team included UC staff and students including K6JEB, W6MMR, and KJ6DBZ.

The balloon was named Henry-1, after the late UC Space Scientist Henry Primbsch, KK6PH.   There will be a story with more details on the EBARC page.    The team played the recovered video from the cameras at the March EBARC meeting.



    Starts At Approximately 6′ When Filled, About 40′ At Burst

    1500 g latex Kamont

     179.1 cu-ft Helium fill

     106k ft Predicted Burst Altitude

     115 min Predicted Burst Time 

     6.7 lb Neck Lift (5.4 lb Payload) 

     925 ft/min Predicted Ascent Rate



    60″ Spherachute

    885 ft/min Predicted Descent Rate


Radio Module:

    SainSonic APS510 APRS Bluetooth Tracker (1 W) w/Twin Lead J-Pole antenna rigged on flightline)

    Wouxun KG-UV8D HT with Cross Band Repeat Function 

        Output 445.525 MHz NB (1 W)

         Input 135.525 MHz NB (no tone)

         Ground Plane Antenna Mounted on Capsule (Constructed From Welding Rods)

    GoPro Camera


Geiger Module

    Recording Geiger Counter – Records High Energy Particle Strike Locations onto SD Card

        Goldmine Electronics Geiger Counter, Adafruit Arduino Uno & GPS Shield With SD Slot

        Energizer Ultimate Lithium Batteries (9V & 1.5 V “AA”)

    Up and Down Looking Camera – HobbyKing HD Wing Camera (1280x720p 30 fps)


Atmospheric Sampling Module

    PVC Pipe Within Another Pipe Driven By A Linear Actuator.  Set to Sample at x ft

         Actuonix L12 P Micro Linear Actuator

         Modern Device RBBB Arduino, U-Blox GPS Module

         Energizer Ultimate Lithium Batteries (9V & 1.5 V “AA”)


Radar Reflector

        Increases The Apparent Size Of The Object On Radar 

        Homemade Aluminum Laminated Cardboard Corner Reflector