[aprssig] flying digipeater?

Wes Johnston aprs at kd4rdb.com
Mon Apr 18 13:03:53 EDT 2005

I just saw an article on slashdot about a stratolite... a communications
satellite that will hover over an area at 65,000 feet (yeah right....)
They say it's above the jet stream, but I know better... hope their
solar powered craft can "hover" in a 100mph head wind. 

Never the less, it got me thinking.... what if we could use a digipeater
at 100'?  or even 75'?  High enough to be over a 70' pine tree...
Provide coverage for SAR teams

a 1200g weather baloon can lift 9lbs right?  How light can we make a
digipeater?  what about those promotional balloons car dealers often
use?  a d7a walkie won't digipeat, so it's out... a pocket tracker won't
receive, so it's out....  I'm thinking just use a kpc3 and a walkie
talkie with a 1.7 or 2AH battery. 

Of course when the wind blows, it will surely pull the balloon off to
the side and cause it to descend.

A reel with kevlar line on it would be light.... anyone know how light? 
The weight the balloon has to lift must include the tether line too. 
Are these balloons suitable to be reused?  Could we make a large net
(like one of those cheap charlie camping hammocks) to fit around the
balloon to reduce wear and tear on the nozzle?  Suspend the load from
the hammock/net instead of the nozzle?

A company called datahunter makes a rs232 radio link called "the tick"
that is parasitically powered from the RS232 port.... perhaps that would
be used for a data link from the ground station?  It works for 350' line
of sight at 10,000 bauds.  http://www.datahunter.com/Tick_DataSheet.pdf

What about flying a WIFI range extender?  That would allow us to do
video conferencing from laptop to laptop....  What about using digined
running on linksys wrt54g with something like TNC-x on a serial port? 
Then we'd have wifi access and an APRS digipeater in the sky.

Just food for thought....

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