The background voice you hear is an off-air recording of the ARBONET 1 Flight from Clarksville, TX. The voice is a location beacon generated from a microprocessor decoding GPS data and presenting it to a voice synthesizer module, which in turn outputs the voice to a radio after passing through minor filtering.
Tracking the ARBONET Flights
APRS: Tracking from the comfort of your home, vehicle or on footDid you know you might be able to track ARBONET flights from your home computer? ARBONET flights are equipped with APRS and a SPOT Messenger. APRS is a messaging network, based on systems exchanging packets of data. This data can be position information, email, weather, frequencies and much, much more. The SPOT Messenger is a GPS-based device that does not work above certain altitudes we pass. However, the SPOT does not require an APRS network to relay position information. Positions are calculated from GPS satellites, and the location data is sent to the Internet via communications satellites, providing us with an independent system from the APRS network.
Two systems on the ARBONET flights send out APRS position information, including altitude. However, ARBONET data may not show up until we are actively in flight and the payloads are being heard by other radios feeding this data to the Internet via "Digipeaters". The APRS coverage in the area we fly is sparce, but is used by local ground chase teams to intercept the landing of the ARBONET payloads.
This means the links below may not work for you until well into the flight, where we are high enough to be heard a long distance away. There are no active digipeaters near where we fly, so it could be that we are not heard at all during the flight with the exception of ground tracking mobiles using APRS to track the payloads for recovery.
But, you can give it a try! If you do get a map showing the ARBONET payloads, you might need to hit "refresh" on your browser to get the latest position report.
To track the progress of the ARBONET flight from APRS, CLICK HERE:
ARBONET APRS K5ARB-10To track the progress of the ARBONET flight from a SPOT Messenger, CLICK HERE FOR SPOT MESSENGER PAGE (Not so functional at higher altitudes, but still works!)
RDF : Radio Direction Finding: ARBONET is equipped with a 2m FM tone beacon. It tones out the famous theme tune of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" followed by 10 seconds of tone and Morse code ID.
Locating payloads via Radio Direction Finding methods can be a blast! Using RDF equipment, teams or individuals can locate the payloads via the payload's on-board transmitters. These transmitters, which include APRS, Voice Synthesized Beacon, Tones generated, Morse code on CW can all be used for location orientation. Using directional antennas and / or Doppler effect detectors, a direction to the transmitter can be plotted. Then, by moving your location and again plotting the direction to the transmitter, intersecting lines will provide triangulation to the transmitter, which in turn can be used to pin-point the exact location on a map.SIMULATION:Simulation tools such as Balloon Track are used to approximate the flight and landing zone of the payloads. From weather data, we can simulate the wind's effect on the ARBONET vehicle, which consists of the balloon and several payloads. The vehicle flight is influenced and at the complete mercy of the wind. During the ascent, the winds change directions at different altitudes, so the effect of the wind is also changed in the simulation to reflect the amount of time and influence of the relative direction of the wind at any point in time. If the weather data is accurate, the entire flight should fairly represent the simulation of the vehicle. While in the descent phase, the winds again influence the vehicle flight and the landing zone can be plotted on a map. Knowning the ascent rate and descent rate, the time aloft can be determined.