Lost Weather Balloon Update – May Be Near Covington

BTS-1Y Missing Balloon Payload Landing Prediction

BTS-1Y Missing Balloon Payload Landing Prediction

This is just a quick update about our search for BTS-1Y, a high-altitude weather balloon that launched from Carrollton, Georgia on November 6th.

On the morning of the launch, we ran a prediction that used the wind data from the GFS sounding that was taken at 1 AM. The scheduled 7 AM file was not available for some reason on that morning. We have just accessed the 7 AM file for that day and have run an updated prediction. This shows that the payload may have landed about 5 miles west of Covington.

You can see the map with this prediction here. Zoom in on the pink/purple pin. Keep in mind that this is just a prediction, and the actual landing site may be different by several miles.

If you think you have spotted our payload, please recover it (safely!) if you can, or take a picture if you can’t. Then contact blake@bearsonpatrol.org.

Reward Increased for Missing Weather Balloon Payload

High Altitude Weather Balloon Payload Missing

High Altitude Weather Balloon Payload Missing

We are increasing the reward to $200 for anyone who finds our weather balloon payload that went missing on November 6th.

It is believed that our payload is somewhere in the area between Redan and Lithonia, although it could be anywhere east of Atlanta. Please contact blake@bearsonpatrol.org if you find our payload or have any questions or information.

Georgia, We Need Your Help!

High-Altitude Balloon Capsule

On Sunday, November 6th at 11:54 AM EST, a high altitude weather balloon lifted off from Carrollton, Georgia. At about 1:10 PM, we lost communication with the balloon. The last coordinates showed it at 63,498 feet and 5.4 miles northwest of Union City.

I have created this map to show the balloon’s path, a trajectory prediction for that day, two predicted landing sites, as well as the travel routes of two vehicles that were searching for it.

We would appreciate anyone in and around the area who would be willing to help search for our payload, as well as anyone with suggestions about where to look. If you find it, or have any questions, you can contact blake@bearsonpatrol.org. Thank you.

BTS-1Y Launch Day

Launch day prediction is 30 to 59 miles.

Here is a list of repeaters to possibly consider, depending on the track the balloon takes. I will also add a screen shot of the predicted path at the end of this post. You may want to print it for reference to the repeater list and predicted. path.


Simplex Repeater on Balloon.  146.550
Simplex Frequency – 146.520
APRS Frequency – 144.390

Carrollton – W4FWD – 146.640- (131.8) – Starting repeater
Madras – N4OME – 147.165+ (131.8) – Good coverage South of 285 and over towards Fayetteville, PTC, etc
Newnan – K4SEX – 145.130- (156.7) – Covers a little bit further south then Madras, but really Madras should be our choice in this area)
Atlanta – W4DOC – 146.820- (146.2) – If we get north of 285, this would be a good one to use
Fayetteville – KK4GQ – 145.21- (131.8) – (EchoLink node 317195) Can take us further East of Fayetteville
Convington – WA4ASI – 146.925- (88.5) (EchoLink Node 311962) (Good East Side coverage East of 285 and NE of 75)
Stone Mtn – W4BOC – 145.450- (107.2)
Stone Mtn2 – B4BOC – 146.760- (107.2) Might have ham fest traffic on it
Griffin – WB4GWA – 145.390 – (110.9)
Thomaston – KT4YP – 147.390+ (131.8)
LaGrange – AB4KE – 146.700- (141.3)
Pine Mtn – WB4ULJ – 145.190- (123.0?)
Barnesville – W8JI – 147.225+ (No PL)

Forsyth, GA – KI4KHO – 147.315+ (88.5) (Linked to 7 Macon Repeaters)
Macon, GA – AA4RI – 145.430- (no PL) (Main Macon Linked Repeater)
Wayside, GA – W4BKM – 145.370- (88.5) Linked to Macon Repeaters (Gray & Julliette, GA)

SpaceQuest High Altitude Balloon Test Flight Upcoming

High-Altitude Balloon Capsule

SpaceQuest is tentatively scheduling a high-altitude weather balloon flight for Sunday November 6th at 10:00 AM.

The weather balloon will be using APRS for tracking (callsign N4BWR-11) and will also carry a simplex repeater operating on 146.550 MHz.

When: November 6th Meeting at 9:00 AM, Launching at 10:00 AM

Where: Hobby Lobby parking lot (front of the building, very end of the parking lot, beside Hardee’s)

1301B South Park Street
Carrollton, GA 30117

Tracking Website: http://www.bearsonpatrol.org/track


  • OpenAPRS-XL – For iPad and iPhone (APRS tracking map)
  • Packet – For iPad and iPhone (Decode APRS signals from the radio using the phone or iPad’s microphone)
  • APRS Viewer – For Android (APRS tracking map)

The Mysterious Flight of BTS-1X

Taken at about 60,000 feet, just before we got telemetry back

BTS-1X, a high altitude balloon test flight, lifted off from Carrollton Georgia on July 23, 2011 at 12:24 PM EDT.

It crossed the state line into Alabama, climbing steadily until it reached 78,819 feet, and then radio transmissions fell silent for about 45 minutes, except for two very inaccurate data packets.

Based on the angle of the cameras, which were taking photos every 30 seconds, we think we can tell when the balloon burst. With this information, and the ascent rates from APRS data, we should be able to get an accurate idea of our highest altitude. Early estimates say that we were just over 110,000 feet!

After about 3 hours and 15 minutes of flight time, BTS-1X landed in Lake Logan Martin. We quickly arrived on the scene and were able to verify by tuning our radios to the APRS frequency that the capsule was safely floating and still operational. Within minutes, we found a group of people with a jet ski who were willing to go out and recover the capsule for us.

You can see all of the BTS-1X flight photos here.

#BTS1X Test Flight and Amateur Radio

We have a test flight scheduled for July 23rd from Carrollton, Georgia. It will be a way to test some changes and an exciting opportunity to introduce amateur radio operators to APRS.

GoPro Anti-Fog Inserts
GoPro Anti-Fog Inserts

You may have noticed that our photos from BTS-1 turned out foggy. This is because the cameras were closed in their waterproof case in a humid environment. For our BTS-1X test flight, we will be using GoPro’s Anti-Fog Inserts, which are a desiccant that will remove moisture from the case.