WSPR Launch Process

Good news!

This site is slowly getting archived in favor of our new wider-community effort at Traquito.

Head over to our new site at Traquito to check out the $14 WSPR tracker, realtime maps/graphs, and other great resources!

Launching WSPR trackers can be a pain due to the very long length of the antenna.

Given the 20m (~14MHz) frequency we transmit on, the total length of of the dipole is ~33 feet.

For weight-reduction purposes, we've moved to using magnet wire for the dipole, and this gets tangled extremely easily.

The launch process we've gravitated toward looks to avoid tangling of the dipole wire.

This involves transporting the tracker to the launch site safely, as well as actually launching it safely.

The broad overview is:

Here are some photos that highlight the long lengths of wire in use for the WSPR antenna.

Anatomy of a tracker in flight.

Looking up during launch, antenna length requires long ribbon to balloon from tracker.

We don't use a ribbon anymore, we just use the top part of the dipole.  The view is the same though.

Here is some strain relief on the tracker itself.

Some extra tape on the antenna halves keeps the pressure off the solder points.

Each half of the antenna is wrapped around a cardboard tube and lightly taped in place.

This is purely for keeping the wires untangled while transporting to the launch site.

At the launch site, unpack tracker and two cardboard rolls.

Keep the balloon held down with some water bottles attached to a ribbon on the balloon.


Then tape the top antenna to the balloon.

Best to coil a few loops of the top antenna, fan out, and then tape.  This provides more surface area for the tape to grab onto.

Once ready:

Once wind ok to launch: