RASPBERRY PI IS UP UP AND AWAY

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BACAR — Balloon Carrying Amateur Radio — is just what it sounds like. A high-altitude balloon carries experiments and communicates via amateur radio. [ZR6AIC] decided to fly a payload in a local BACAR experiment. The module would send its GPS position via the APRS network and also send a Morse code beacon every seven minutes. It also sends other data such as temperature, and has an optional camera fitted.

The hardware used was the ubiquitous Raspberry Pi along with an associated daughterboard for transmitting on the 2 meter ham band. An RTL dongle took care of the receive portion and another dongle provided GPS. A DS18B20 temperature sensor provides the temperature data.

The GitHub link in the post has an extra period at the end, but that’s easy to fix. The instructions are a bit terse but complete. It is interesting that the Direwolf software that generates encoded data audio has to be routed to the input of the transmitter. Usually, this would be an audio cable to a transmitter but since the Pi is the transmitter, it only requires a software “patch cable.”

Going this high in a balloon takes some special engineering. NASA and ESA don’t have the exclusive lock on programming errors, either. It is surprising how high and how far these balloons can go.

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