PSB-4 up and away!

PSB-4 lifted off in very strong wind condition yesterday

PICO launch

Solar panel worked well, the payload was powered for 5 hours until it shut down at low light, covering a distance of about 350km. Floating altitude was 6200m.

Telemetry transmission would resume when the solar panel gets enough sunlight the next day.

This was also our first field test of the new GPS module MAX-7C. It was working fine, and being very power efficient it was perfectly suitable for PICO flights.

A big thank you to everyone for assistance with tracking at a short notice. The 6200m altitude didn’t give us a good radius of radio horizon like previous flights at higher altitudes. Peter VK3XCO and VK3ZYC did a good job of getting most of the telemetry packets as the payload headed towards the Tasman.

Flight path:

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If the balloon remains afloat, predicted trajectory shows an Easterly path towards the northern part of New Zealand, and should be within reception range of Auckland around 9am Monday 7 October local time . It would be interesting to see if anyone can hear the payload again.

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For power saving we had the payload sending sequences of beeps at a few seconds apart, followed by telemetry packets at 434.650Mhz USB, 100baud RTTY with 440Hz shift, ASCII 8,None,1. The frequency was drifting to 434.653 the last time it was heard.

The audio beeps are very distinctive, and we’d love to hear reports of anyone who thinks they might have heard PSB-4! Please send reports to The balloon will only transmit if the solar panel generates enough power, ie. 10am to 4pm local time.

Solar PICO

This is the first test of our solar pico


We plan to release the PICO in Ballarat today (5th Oct), to test out the Solar panel, and light weight payload on a foil balloon. At 15g including solar panel this is our lightest payload so far.


The max expected altitude is around 6000/7000m so we are not sure what the radio reception radius will be, will call out to the mailing lists for help if this starts looking promising!

We don’t expect to recover this payload if it stays up for a while.

The tracking telemetry is as previous flights:

434.650Mhz USB, 100baud RTTY, ASCII 8,None,1

Tracking on as PSB-4