Project: Traveler is a high altitude balloon research project of Custom Digital Services, LLC. Based in Hutchinson, KS, Project: Traveler has been flying and chasing balloons all over the midwest since 2001.
From the beginning, education has driving factor behind the Project: Traveler group, working with elementary schools and hosting the Great Plains Super Launch and symposium in 2004, 2006, 2010, and 2014. With our extensive set of hardware, software, and tracking equipment, coupled with over ten years of experience, Custom Digital Services and Project: Traveler can help bring space into your classroom.
Flight #27 - 2015b
Project: Traveler has been invited in to a local elementary school during the spring of 2015 to do a launch.
The payload will consist of 2-3 APRS trackers, along with numerous cameras. I will be trying to acquire a second A570IS camera since those are the most reliable units that we've found to-date. Also new for this flight will be a set of 3D printed avionics frames to hold all of the controllers, transmitters, and batteries rigid. The ultimate goal of this is to increase the reliability of the electronic packages.
2012 Grand Cherokee Radio Install
For balloon chasing, a dedicated APRS tracking station with the appropriate software (like Balloon Finder) are key to a successful chase, having a backup APRS rig in the vehicle is never a bad idea. My primary COM/NAV rig is the Yaesu FTM-400DR which I recently installed in a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Converting KPC-3 to USB
Our tracking system of choice has included the Kantronics KPC-3 Terminal Node Controller from day one. These are nice, compact little units that can often be found a hamfests for well under $100, and they just work. Except when they don't.
Flight #26 - 2015a
Project: Traveler will be spending the fall/winter building out a new generation of ArduinoTrack tracker boards in preparation for the next flight.
Update: The new controller boards are in and have been tested. They're ready for a test flight, which has been scheduled for Saturday morning, February 7th. If the surface winds cooperate, we'll push for a later launch date, but that is yet to be determined.
Little Wheel Antenna for 70cm ATV
Project: Traveler has built and tested a variety of ATV antennas for balloon use, for both on the ground and in the air. By far, the most sucessful balloon antenna that we have come up with is the "Little Wheel", which is a scaled down version of the "Big Wheel" that appeared in a magazine article many years ago. In essence, the Little Wheel is an omni-directional, horizontally polarized antenna with a small amount of gain.