MM14 - 2018-10-08

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 = 937500 (937s, 15m, 0h)

Launch Parameters

Balloon and Payload

  • One 36" Qualatex balloon
  • 29.8 gram payload
  • 2.42 grams free lift


  • Top Altitude - 18,532 ft
  • Duration - 5.6 hours
  • Distance - 169 miles following path
  • Cause of death - Consumed by Hurricane Michael

General Thoughts / Observations

This flight was launched in 17 mph winds, the intent of this risky launch was to get ahead of a northbound storm and enjoy the fast winds. With a turbulent start and after rising 1,000 feet the balloon was moving at 35 mph while it ascended to a float of 18,000 feet. The balloon was soon caught in rain and was driven down about 5,000 feet, it then climbed back up but was hit by another round of rain and was soon consumed by the storm.

This flight had a GPS with a different serial number than the last several flights. The signal gaps on this flight were minimal supporting the theory that the group of GPS modules with the same serial number were causing many of the signal gaps.

Thoughts for next time

Continue with tracking GPS traceability data and compare to signal gaps. Carefully plan launches when storms are nearby.