Re: Balloon chasing program

Mark Conner N9XTN

Another tricky part I've found is estimating vertical angles without mechanical assistance.  90 degrees above the horizon isn't "tilt your head back as far as it will go", it's more like "tilt your head, arch your back, and fall on your a**".

- Mark

On Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 3:15 PM, L. Paul Verhage <nearsys@...> wrote:

Great idea adding an elevation calculation. I do it in my head with varying accuracy because it's a great experience for the new to near space to see the balloon at 100,000 feet.

On Jul 10, 2017 2:04 PM, "Mark Conner mconner1@... [GPSL]" <GPSL-noreply@...> wrote:


I'm with you that the existing programs do only part of the job.  I still use APRSPlus, not only due to inertia, but because it has offline maps and the display can be configured to give essential info right on the map display.  When I have cell coverage, I also use but hate to rely on that.

Some things I find handy that you might consider:

  • Last several packets (parsed or raw) for a particular callsign or wildcard
  • Balloon course in addition to alt/speed
  • Dead reckoning of current position (updated near real time like based on last position and course/speed
  • Real-time (1 Hz) display of vehicle position (perhaps all moving APRS stations) and course indicator
  • I-gate packets received on RF to APRS-IS 
  • I-gate position reports of chase vehicle (and, ideally, transmit on RF at intervals)
  • Limit display to callsigns filtered by (multiple) wildcards

New features I don't have that I'd like:

  • Audible alert for burst detection
  • Compute balloon's angle above horizon from chase vehicle (can probably assume flat earth) to aid in visual search

Suggestions for current interface:

  • Put distance to balloon under compass (or maybe inside balloon icon)

Looking forward to your progress on this!

73 de Mark N9XTN

On Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 1:11 PM, Jerry Gable jerrygable@... [GPSL] <GPSL-noreply@...> wrote:
[Attachment(s) from Jerry Gable included below]

Since GPSL I have been thinking about chase software.  I haven't found any that does what I think it should.  I have looked at but that is about the only one I know about.  I am looking for one that can be used offline in those bad reception areas balloons like to find.

I decided to start looking at what it would take to write one and have started playing with writing my own.  I have played with the pieces and think I have the stuff to pull this off.  The screenshot below is what I have running now.  The numbers on the right for the balloon are all test but the parser is working and mapping position reports to the map.

The question is: Is anyone else interested?  If I do it just for myself I'm not convinced it is worth the effort.

Here are my goals for the tool.
  • Must work offline. 
    • Maps must be able to be cached.
    • Must be able to deal with internet loss as well as PC restarts
  • Show my location and the balloon being chased.
    • decode GPS NEMA data for my location
    • Allow multiple trackers to provide data from the balloon (failure backup and faster update times)
  • Simple interface to allow use in moving cars (not driver)
  • Show what the balloon is currently doing
  • Receive APRS from a radio (KISS mode) and APRS-IS.
  • Show pre-flight prediction
  • Update prediction with real time data from the balloon
  • Run on windows laptop. (Tools allow for Apple laptop & linux builds as well)

So am I doing this for myself or is there interest in this from you?  If yes, what would you like to see in it?

Inline image

Jerry Gable
Balloon Flight Prediction tools

Join to automatically receive all group messages.