Balloon tracking using TTN

Good evening, My name is Medad from the Imperial College Space Society. Wehave just launched a party balloon with a LoRa radio + GPS + battery on board from London, UK. It is registered on The Things Network. More importantly, the winds predictions show that it will fly directly over Amsterdam, where one of the biggest TTN conference is happening. You can track the balloon’s flight here on Habhub.com. There is more. The tracker will be sending down a special message every once in a while. So if you want to know what that is, you will need to add this tracker to your TTN console. I am not sure if is a good idea to publish the access keys here so get in touch with me and I will send it to you. early flight

My email is : mailto@medadnewman.co.uk

It is expected to reach Amsterdam by 6pm local time.

Thank you,
Medad

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Wouw! I see it is already receiving data by my gateway in NL!
I’ll follow the track.

Cool! You’re using my https://github.com/bertrik/ttnhabbridge software, right? If you have to some ideas to improve it, I’m open to ideas and put them in the repository.

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yes indeed Bertrik, thanks for making the bridge and making it available to everyone. We have forked the repo and changed the parameters for our tracker. It works great.

Hi Medad,
congratulations to your successfull balloon flight!
I tracked it on habhub map. Based on this data, the last know position is this: 48.6573 19.2984 769 m high.
This is near at a small nice village, its name is Horhat in Slovakia.


We have here in Budapest, and in Slovakia too an active balloon hunting group, have good practice to track and search the everyday flying meteo balloons. I sent an alert to my fried, living 56 km from this landing point of your balloon. Maybe he will drive there and explore the situation. If you have more accurate last position, send it to us, please.
It seems, the LoRaWAN network a good option, to follow pico balloons over Europe.
Sorry, I have only an indoor TTN gateway, dont have chance to receive such balloon flights.

t.janos

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Good evening Janos,
It was a good flight but unfortunately the balloon heated up in the morning when the sun came up, rose up by 2000m and burst. It seems to have come down on top of a hill with lots of trees. And now it has stopped transmitting. The last packet we received is below. That is the most precise gps location value we are receiving from the tracker. I don’t think it is worth hunting it down because it is probably high on a tree. The balloon is a qualatex 36 inch balloon with “Happy Birthday” written on it.

{
  "analog_in_3": 0.17,
  "barometric_pressure_0": 936,
  "digital_out_4": 8,
  "gps_2": {
    "altitude": 729,
    "latitude": 48.6573,
    "longitude": 19.2984
  },
  "temperature_1": 12.3
}

I will add you as a collaborator and so you can see any new packets that arrive on the console.

3 Likes

Dear Medad,
I started to evaluate the data, appeared on the ukhas map. It seems, between the 1.st febr 16 h an 18 h there are not any telemery data, but after 18:0 h there are 3, or 4 last.
*It seems me, there was somebody, who picked up it, and the payload sent some data to the gateway. I am waiting and hope some news about the last story, dont force now my college to drive there. *

I dont understand clear, what is the meaning of your last note:
-------------
I will add you as a collaborator and so you can see any new packets that arrive on the console.
--------------
I see on my TTN console only my gateways and nodes. How can I see the data of your ballon?
best: My personal address: hg5apz at gmail…
t.janos

Dear:
Congratulations for such an interesting project, I think LoRa is a more reliable system, because we had experience with PI IN THE SKY systems and we really didn’t have a reception beyond 3 km.
I hope that with LoRa you will have much greater coverage.
I wanted to take advantage of this thread to ask if you are trying to send in addition to the telemetry of the globe also images use SSDV, or if you know who is working on it (SSDV on LoRa) help me with that information.
Many thanks and best wishes for success for you from Ecuador- South America

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PI IN THE SKY (PITS) can use both direct point to point LoRa and FSK RTTY. Normally at 434Mhz and at only 10mW power, both the LoRa and the FSK RTTY will give around 400km range.

Whilst using TTN might be seen as convenient by some the non TTN methods of balloon tracking do the job well enough and have done so for many years.

A range of a mere 3km indicates a fault of some type.

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The PITS already does do SSDV using point to point LoRa and it works well enough. Its generally done at very low bandwidths that overcome some of the legal restrictions on duty cycle.

At the maximum TTN data rate you would under the fair use rules be able to transmit from a balloon 18.5kbytes of data per day, so SSDV is a non starter really.

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Yes I agree with @LoRaTracker. The max amount of data you can send through the TTN network per day is far to small to send pictures.

With the PITS I would expect a range of a few hundred km, so maybe you may have an equipment fault.

But the TTN network is useful for doing long distance flights with floater balloons that transmit only a few times per hour