Natick HS High Altitude Balloon Group Project a Success

wa3itr-7 aprs trackCharlie Bures, WA3ITR writes:

On Wednesday, June 20, the Natick HS High-Altitude-Balloon Group launched their platform at 4:07pm from the Hatfield Elementary School, near Northampton in the middle of Massachusetts. The APRS tracking device used Charlie’s callsign (WA3ITR) with a dash-7.

From the APRS track shown below, the HAB was up to 45,000 feet over Worcester traveling east at over 85 pmh! It circled over South Natick & Framingham, reaching up to 91,953 feet before it burst. It continued toward the Atlantic as it parachuted back to the ground. Although the plan from the simulations was to land in the Natick area, that wasn’t going to happen as it sped to the east.

The chase team couldn’t go that fast ! The last APRS point was in East Weymouth at about 500 feet above the ground (AGL) at 6:38pm . The Natick group hoped to find it, since the 3 GoPro cameras were only recording photos to their internal micro-disks. Luckily, they spotted it around 7:10pm in a farmer’s field in Hingham and he gave them permission to recover it. Now, we will be checking the 3 cameras to see if there are any photos and, if so, making a short video or photo album.

Natick High School Balloon Launch Carrying Amateur Radio


Charlie Bures, WA3ITR reports he is involved with a Natick High School High Altitude Balloon (HAB) launch carrying an Amateur Radio Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) package. The project is funded by the AeroClub of New England via the David Frawley Foundation.  

“The launch will be soon,” said Charlie. “I’m working with the science teacher at Natick High School. We are currently doing tethered dry-run integration tests in preparation for our actual launch.  We are also monitoring the jet streams so that our balloon platform doesn’t go into the Atlantic but, hopefully, lands around the Natick area, or at least outside Route 128 away from congestion and major highways.” Charlie adds the launch will hopefully occur either “later this week or next.”

The balloon activity can be followed via Charlie will use the call sign WA3ITR-7. 

Updated: June 14, 2018