Near Space Project


January 2017

Launch video and data of OZHAB01

Here’s the video of OZHAB01 being launched from Barmedman  NSW as well as other data I have collated so far

Unfortunately I have not yet recovered the payload of OZHAB01 so I am unable to provide any of the on board collected data. However I do have some flight data that was collected via APRS and the RTTY transmitter which gives a good indication of the flight progress.
The APRS was being received by digipeaters around 1000m and continued to have contact until it burst about 31000m. APRS Google Earth KML OZHAB01

Elevation Profile
Flight from Launch until bursting

The RTTY was decoded on my laptop as I chased the balloon and followed the same path as the APRS. I did loose signal a few times as it was climbing to its burst altitude. RAW KML of RTTY Flight for Google Earth


Post Flight thoughts for next time

  • Ensure I pack a highly directional antenna to locate the payload.
    • Something with variable attenuation would be great.
  • Use a weight instead of digital scales to determine correct lift and helium dosage.
    • The digital scales were difficult to read as the wind blew the balloon around, which lead to less helium in the balloon and a slower ascent.
  • Cut balloon away when approaching max altitude to ensure a cleaner descent.
    • As I haven’t recovered payload yet, I don’t know how much balloon was intact and this could have impeded the parachute
  • Don’t forget the tarp next time.
    • Blankets worked , but were too small
  • Improve my APRS decode.
    • APRS was decoding sporadically.
    • I didn’t have an app installed that would upload the APRS data to the web

Still tracking

Flight is taking a little longer then expected but trackers are still transmitting.  Phew Should be reaching bursting altitude soon.

I was getting concerned that it wasn’t going to make the predicted turn back west and keep heading towards the east. But it saw my mountain and decided to make a turn. 🙂

Turning back at Mount David

5 mins , tracker online

Tracking OK, before launch, if I continue to have signal the map should update.
look for VK2HEK.
or, if APRS is working!mt=roadmap&z=12&call=a%2FVK2HEK-9&timerange=3600&tail=3600


15min to launch of ozhab01

Longest 15mins ever. Trackers ready but am I. 

Launch preps underway

The launch preps are well underway.

Launch preps

OzHAB1 is Go for launch

After a long wait, the day has finally come where I hope to have a successful launch of my first ever Arduino based High Altitude Balloon project.

My launch approval has been granted through CASA and my NOTAM has been issued for Wednesday morning 9am / Tue 10pm UTC.


The approval process was a lot easier than I had expected. I ensured that I provided all the information required from the regulations for a light balloon and the rest was easy.

I’m currently camped out at the launch site in Barmedman NSW where it must be at least 30 degrees C, so its going to be a hot night. Not going to make sleep easy when I’m rattling all the things of forgotten to bring through my head.


The predicted flight looks straight forward and as long the transmitters hold out, I should get some good results.

I’ll have a APRS tx on 145.175 , and RTTY on 433Mhz.
As long as I have mobile reception I should be able to upload to  or



Connecting chute and payload

I’ve reached a point where I am now securing the payload to the tie lines running up towards the chute and balloon. I want to have as much of the securing done prior to the launch day so I save time and potential last minute problems.

I have seen some launches where the balloon is tied in line at the top of the chute as well as others where it is tied below. My initial though is that the payload is going to weight as much as the balloon itself. If upon bursting the remnants  weigh the same or maybe slightly more, then the payload, its possible that the balloon will pull the chute upside down preventing it from opening.

Parachute with balloon line clipped in

I have placed a mini carabiner similar to that used to hold your keys onto the line running to the chute. I’m hoping that when the balloon bursts it will fall causing the carabiner to slide down towards the payload leaving the chute clear to open.  I just need to ensure that the chute doesn’t tangle with the balloon line.

Both methods seem to have been successful for other people’s launches but I feel that the 2nd method will allow for a better chance of recovery.

Testing out payload lines

The lines around the payload are  taking shape with some test lines taped to the sides. I still need to load the items into the payload and balance out and finally secure with more tape.


I will be placing the trackers in a separate box, so need to ensure that the antenna doesn’t become tangled or interfered with.

I am also trialing some fishing swivels that have a hook clip at one end. They seem to allow the rope to fit onto the swivel and are smaller then the small carabiners.

Fishing Swivel and Carabiner



I have had to use two of these specific types as the clipped end connects nicely to the rope whilst the eyelet on the swivel would require thinner rope.

payloadI am still working on the balancing of the payload but the below shots give you an indication of what it looks like so far.

Fitting Cameras in payload

Decided to use a Styrofoam Esky (Cooler, some people may call it) to house my payload. The small Esky usually stores up to 6 cans of soft drink so its noeskyt overly large. Its also very easy to cut through to make holes for the camera gear. I still need to work on the final attachment to the parachute as the esky comes pre-fitted with a rope tied lid. I will most likely replace the provided rope with my own and add an additional two points to provide more stability during the flight.


I started by cutting a hole for the Go Pro which will hopefully record a video of the flight. The other small hole is for what I think is the light sensor. I will need to make a few more adjustments to get the hole size right, as the Go Pro has a wide angles lens and I can still see the Esky in the shots.

I have also cut another hole in the bottom of the Esky to allow for a second camera. The 2nd camera is my cheap 1080P camera and will be set to take a still shot over 5 secs.

Camera’s in final positions

I am hoping that if I connect the cameras to an external battery that I will be able to extend the battery life. This seemed to work in my initial tests, but I am currently retesting to ensure I can get at least 3 hours of battery life.
I don’t really want to purchase a Go Pro Back pack battery if I don’t need to.

I will be placing some additional foam around the cameras to keep them in place, but have discovered that having the USB cables attached make it more difficult to get the foam to fit.  More cutting and adjustment needed.

Foam insert to keep things in place

The camera’s seem to be locked in tight and I can shake the payload and they don’t budge.

The Go Pro looks good to go (except for battery life), its more a power-on and hit record,  whilst my other camera seems to revert to some basic setup when I turn it on , so I have to reset everything to how I need it for the  flight. During a recent test, I thought I was recording a still every 5 secs but instead it was videoing, it wouldn’t have been too bad provided the battery life lasted.  So I’ll be researching to see if I can save the config somehow to save time and fiddling at launch.

Its great to be on holidays

Well its certainly been sometime since I have posted to my Ozhab blog but work and family had taken priority. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been playing with my HAB project behind the scenes.  I was planning on launching

Flooded Road, src NSW SES

sometime late last year, but parts of central NSW were under flood and I was worried that it may impact a safe launch and recovery operation. With many roads closed, it just wasn’t worth it. So I took the time to complete some other projects around the house before getting back on the HAB project.

Currently I’m on holidays so have a few days up my sleeve to really finish off this project and schedule a launch date. I don’t want to make any further major modifications and will just launch when I can.

I’ll be posting more updates as I go.



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