Up, up and away: Amateur radio enthusiasts will track weather balloon launched from Dan Nicholas Park Sept. 22

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 31, 2018

Staff report

SALISBURY — Members of the Rowan Amateur Radio Society will launch, track and recover a weather balloon Sept. 22, starting at Dan Nicholas Park.

The launch of the balloon to be tracked by the radio enthusiasts will be at 9 a.m. that day in the front soccer field of the park.

The 350-gram latex weather balloon will be about 3 feet in diameter at release and is expected to achieve an altitude of 80,000 to 100,000 feet above sea level.

Its payload will be a Styrofoam cup with a 2-meter GPS Automatic Packet Reporting System transmitter, along with a small camera.

The balloon’s path will be tracked by ground crews using the APRS and ultimately guide recovery teams to the payload.

“These balloons typically have a two-hour flight — 90 minutes up and 30 minutes down,” Aaron Cameron wrote in a note to fellow club members. “While tracking, we may have to drive as far as 50 miles to recover the payload.

“We do not know where it will land, so please dress for the occasion.”

Tracking updates will be loaded to a website every two minutes. Club members should check the society’s Facebook page for updates before the launch.

The Rowan Amateur Radio Society was founded in 1937 and has been affiliated with the American Radio Relay League since 1968.

Meetings are held at 7 p.m. the second Monday of every month at the Rowan Rescue Squad building, 1140 Julian Road.