Friday, August 29, 2008

Message in a balloon

Continued from "Message in a Balloon" at GeekPhysical

As part of the ongoing micropower device research we wanted to explore environments where no external power sources were available. The aim is to create a tiny model satellite that will survive for as long as possible attached to a small helium balloon. This project is an attempt to create an small and disposable radio transmitter that can be carried by a party balloon and eventually be powered by a tiny solar panel.

In its current version the transmitter morse-codes a radio amateur call sign and identifies itself. For the final project we call upon the radio amateur society to pick up signals from the satellite, log its time and position and report back to a dedicated website. The test transmitter was flown on tethered balloons for several hours to test the range and durability. The message was picked up by several pre-warned radio amateurs at various distances from the test-site.

Our future plans for this project include the use of solar panels, arranged in a triangle formation, which would always be pointing to a source of sunlight, and could thus power the device without the need for external power.

Listen to the message recorded by an radio amateur.

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