This article documents the amazing achievements of radio amateurs flying small "floater" balloons around the world. A circumnavigation is a complete trip around the world, passing the starting longitude. If the following list of flights is complete or inaccurate please email us!This list was compiled by Ralph Wallio W0RPK who wrote this article for the QRP Labs website. (NOTE: The pictures are scaled to suit this article format. Please click each map picture for the full-size version).

Introduction by Ralph Wallio W0RPK

My introduction to what came to be known as Amateur Radio High Altitude Ballooning, ARHAB, was from Bill Brown, WB8ELK, and his high altitude ballooning presentation to the 1989 AMSAT Annual Meeting and Space Symposium (hosted by the Central Iowa Technical Society, CITS, in Des Moines, Iowa). Continuing to consider what Bill presented, in 1993 I attended a high altitude ballooning seminar in Denver hosted by EOSS, Edge of Space Sciences, http://www.eoss.org/.

CITS then flew four HABET flights (High Altitude Balloon Experiments in Technology) later in 1993 and during 1994. Then HABET, with the assistance of the Iowa Aerospace Education Council, was moved to Iowa State University in 1995 with funding from the Iowa Space Grant Consortium. HABET continues today in the Aerospace Engineering Department (https://sites.google.com/site/cyhabet/about-us/history).

A few years later, while hosting and maintaining ARHAB web pages, an unintended floater captured my attention. On January 8, 2000 Pete Sias, WB0DRL, launched a Sky Science Over Kansas (SSOK) high altitude balloon mission from Salina, Kansas. See http://showcase.netins.net/web/wallio/SSOK.html for the result when Pete's latex balloon refused to burst creating a 700-mile track.

Today, 16-years later, I continue to closely follow and kibitz about floating ARHAB flights. There are several Hams applying ingenious balloon lift, payload weight and telemetry schemes with increasing flight times and track lengths. Collective improvements in state-of-the-art has resulted in multiple circumnavigating flights (in date-of-launch order):

Callsign Flight Date Comments
M0XER B-63 08-Jul-2014  
M0XER B-64 12-Jul-2014 8 circumnavigations
M0XER B-66 15-Jul-2014 3 circumnavigations
K6RPT CNSP-21 25-Jan-2015  
VK3YT PS-41 05-Apr-2015  
K6RPT CNSP-24 12-Apr-2015  
VK3YT PS-46 22-May-2015 2 circumnaviations
M0SBU UBSEDS15 30-Apr-2016 Also used callsign AD6AM
K6RPT CNSP-29 13-Jun-2016 3 circumnavigations
VE3KCL S-11 14-Jun-2016 First QRP Labs powered balloon circumnavigation!
M0SBU UBSEDS18 17-Aug-2016 5 circumnavigations; also uses callsign AD6AM-12
W7QO HIRF(W)-3 22-Aug-2016 3 circumnavigations
K6RPT CNSP-30 25-Aug-2016 3 circumnavigations
W7QO HIRF(W)-5 08-Sep-2016 2 circumnavigations
W7QO HIRF(W)-6 20-Sep-2016 6 circumnavigations
VE3KCL S-18 07-Oct-2016 Second QRP Labs powered balloon circumnavigation!
KD2EAT Wisp1c_12 19-Oct-2016 Landed in FN44be after completing circumnavigation lap
WB8ELK WB8ELK-2 17-Nov-2016 3 circumnavigations
M0SBU UBSEDS21 11-Dec-2016 Also uses callsign AD6AM-13

 

Following is a compilation of all known circumnavigating ARHAB flights which includes information contained in flight web pages and in telemetry archives (principally http://habitat.habhub.org/ and then http://habitat.habhub.org/ept/). Flights are listed in chronological order of launch dates. Please see given web pages for much more information including payload details.

de Ralph Wallio W0RPK
http://showcase.netins.net/web/wallio/

 

M0XER B-63

FLIGHT    LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG  FLT ALT  INTERVAL
--------  -------------------------------  ------------------------------------  -------  --------
B-63      08Jul14/06:53z/
52.0958/-1.0214   06Aug14/04:57z/42.3912/-1.0149         13200m   29-days     
M0XER-3
Contestia 64/1000 434.500MHz USB           LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
2m APRS on regional frequencies            -------------------------------------------------------
10mW transmitter                           10Aug14/08:05z/37.4862/126.9668/12700m  (Korea) 

http://leobodnar.com/balloons/B-63/index.html

B63

 

MOXER B-64

FLIGHT    LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG  FLT ALT  INTERVAL
--------  -------------------------------  ------------------------------------  -------  --------

B-64      12Jul14/06:59z/52.0958/-1.0214   [#1] 31Jul14/16:27z/50.6904/-1.0193    12600m   19-days  
M0XER-4                                    [#2] 22Aug14/20:18z/52.0446/-1.0407    12200m   22-days
Contestia 64/1000 434.500MHz USB           [#3] 07Sep14/16:00z/78.2631/-1.0025    11800m   16-days
2m APRS on regional frequencies            [#4] 20Sep14/16:00z/72.2628/-1.2322    11900m   13-days
10mW transmitter                           [#5] 05Oct14/03:01z/58.1278/-1.0253    12200m   15-days
                                           [#6] 19Oct14/08:55z/53.5544/-0.9827    12500m   14-days
                                           [#7] 03Nov14/16:39z/37.9819/-1.0237    12700m   15-days 
                                           [#8] 12Nov14/12:55z/39.6753/-1.0455    12700m    9-days

                                           
LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
                                           -------------------------------------------------------
                                           
23Nov14/16:34z/64.1198/-19.0706/12400m (Iceland)  

http://leobodnar.com/balloons/B-64/index.html

B64

 

M0XER B-66

FLIGHT    LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG  FLT ALT  INTERVAL
--------  -------------------------------  ------------------------------------  -------  --------
 
B-66      15Jul14/14:17z/
52.0958/-1.0214   [#1] ~09Aug14/unk/unk/unk              13500m  ~25-days
M0XER-6                                    [#2] 25Aug14/21:15z/49.4061/-1.0121    13400m  ~16-days  
Contestia 64/1000 434.500MHz USB           [#3] ~08Sep14/unk/unk/unk              13500m  ~14-days
2m APRS on regional frequencies
10mW transmitter                           LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
                                           -------------------------------------------------------
                                           18Sep14/18:35z/57.9621/5.9182/13400m (Norway)

"Most of the last lap data is missing due to failing battery. B-66 stopped transmitting over
Russia and appeared again over Atlantic near Ireland having traveled East. The track maps show
this segment replaced with shortest path which might look confusing as it is "on the other side
of the world." [de Leo M0XER]

http://leobodnar.com/balloons/B-66/index.html

B66

 

K6RPT CNSP-21

FLIGHT    LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG  FLT ALT  INTERVAL
--------  -------------------------------  ------------------------------------  -------  --------

CNSP-21   25Jan15/unk/unk/unk              06Feb15/unk/unk/unk                    unk      12-Days
K6RPT-12
2m APRS on regional frequencies            LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
                                           -------------------------------------------------------    
                                           
11Feb15/unk/unk/unk/unk (Morocco)  
http://www.cnsp-inc.com/cnsp-21/

CNSP-21 crossing US and Atlantic for the second time:

CNSP-21

 

VK3YT PS-41

FLIGHT    LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG  FLT ALT  INTERVAL
--------  -------------------------------  ------------------------------------  -------  --------
PS-41     05Apr15/unk/
~-37.8/144.903       16Apr15/01:00z/-54.455/144.947         ~9000m   11-days     
VK3YT    
 
20m/30m WSPR/JT9 telemetry                 LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
25mW transmitter                           -------------------------------------------------------
                                           
18Apr15/20:32z/-57.952/-79.084/9543m (Cape Horn) 
http://picospace.net/?m=201504

PS-41

 

K6RPT CNSP-24

FLIGHT    LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG  FLT ALT  INTERVAL
--------  -------------------------------  ------------------------------------  -------  --------
CNSP-24   12Apr15/unk/unk/unk              27Apr15/unk/unk/unk                    unk      15-days
K6RPT-11  
2m APRS on regional frequencies            LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
                                           -------------------------------------------------------
                                           
10May15/unk/unk/unk/unk (near Japan)

http://www.cnsp-inc.com/cnsp-21/

CNSP-24

 

VK3YT PS-46

FLIGHT    LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG  FLT ALT  INTERVAL
--------  -------------------------------  ------------------------------------  -------  --------
PS-46     22May15/21:00z/~-37.8/144.894    [#1] 04Jun15/01:00z/-27.834/145.37     ~9000m   13-days
VK3YT                                      [#2] 04Jul15/02:30z/-19.135/145.234    ~9000m   30-days       

20m/30m WSPR/JT9 telemetry          

25mW transmitter                           
LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
                                           -------------------------------------------------------
                                           
17Jul15/18:00z/-40.484/47.439/2251m
http://picospace.net/?m=201505

PS-46

 

M0SBU UBSEDS15 

FLIGHT    LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG  FLT ALT  INTERVAL
--------  -------------------------------  ------------------------------------  -------  --------
UBSEDS15  30Apr16/08:09z/51.4668/-2.5803   01Jun16/10:14z/69.603348/-2.412605    ~11700m   32-days

M0SBU-11  
AD6AM-11                                   
LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
Contestia 16/1000 434.600MHz USB +6dBm     -------------------------------------------------------
2m APRS on regional frequencies +14dBm     16Jun16/13:10z/71.409423/9.798628/11332m

http://www.bristol-seds.co.uk/hab/flight/2016/04/30/ubseds15.html

UBSEDS15

 

K6RPT CNSP-29


FLIGHT    LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG  FLT ALT  INTERVAL
--------  -------------------------------  ------------------------------------  -------  --------
CNSP-29   13Jun16/14:14z/37.24/-121.8      [#1] 07Jul16/12:57z/44.06/-116.56      14069m   24-days
K6RPT-12                                   [#2] 25Jul16/03:57z/57.77/-121.96      13595m   18-days
                                           [#3] 24Aug16/19:32z/37.22/-121.80      14461m   30-days
 
2m APRS on regional frequencies            LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
                                           -------------------------------------------------------
                                           08Sep16/04:18z/17.03745/-155.6467/14876m

http://www.cnsp-inc.com/cnsp-29/ and https://twitter.com/K6RPT
https://tracker.habhub.org/#!mt=roadmap&mz=2&qm=All&mc=55.36638,-154.61756&f=K6RPT-12&q=k6rpt-12

CNSP-29

 

VE3KCL S-11

FLIGHT    LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG  FLT ALT  INTERVAL
--------  -------------------------------  ------------------------------------  -------  --------
S-11      14Jun16/10:06z/43.729/-79.375    04Jul16/13:54z/40.104/-73.625         >10000m   20-days
VE3KCL
20m/30m WSPR/JT9 telemetry                 LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
                                           -------------------------------------------------------

GPS problems above 10,000m                 08Jul16/09:18z/62.6458/48.625/>10000m (Russia)

http://www.qrp-labs.com/ultimate3/ve3kcl-balloons/ve3kcl-s11.html

S-11

 

M0SBU UBSEDS18 

FLIGHT    LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG  FLT ALT  INTERVAL
--------  -------------------------------  ------------------------------------  -------  --------
UBSEDS18  17Aug16/07:08z/51.4658/-2.5825   [#1] 06Sep16/13:28z/62.8161/-2.47758   12900m   20-days
M0SBU-12                                   [#2] 21Sep16/08:31z/42.6381/3.33165    13033m   15-days 
AD6AM-12                                   [#3] 10Oct16/04:08z/59.6220/43.81113   12801m   19-days
                                           [#4] 23Oct16/08:57z/55.8996/43.31197   12750m   13-days
                                           [#5] 05Nov16/09:22z/47.5358/6.0129     12522m   13-days
       
                                           LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
Contestia 16/1000 434.612.5MHz USB         -------------------------------------------------------
2m APRS on regional frequencies            Aloft on 06Nov16 at 12829m over Black Sea

http://www.bristol-seds.co.uk/hab/flight/2016/08/17/ubseds18.html
https://twitter.com/bristolseds

https://tracker.habhub.org/#!mt=roadmap&mz=4&qm=All&mc=54.81545,26.40342&f=UBSEDS18&q=ubseds18

S-11

 

W7QO HIRF(W)-3

This balloon flight has 21 days of missing data but probably completed a circumnavigation. The back-track on the map path below should actually contain a complete lap of the Earth, but due to problems the position wasn't reported during this time. Alan W7QO comments:

" ... cold temp startup issue, sometimes they start up, sometimes (most) they don't." and " ... due to a mistake on my part, I forgot to start the script that takes the WSPR call and pushing it to APRS after I had done some other work on the script."

FLIGHT    LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG  FLT ALT  INTERVAL
--------  -------------------------------  ------------------------------------  -------  --------
HIRFW-3   22Aug16/~10:00z/34.022/-83.871   [#1] UNK/UNK/UNK/UNK                       UNK      UNK
HIRF-3 (APRS)                              [#2] 
UNK/UNK/UNK/UNK                       UNK      UNK
K4MEA (WSPR)                               [#3] 
UNK/UNK/UNK/UNK                       UNK      UNK

2m APRS on regional frequencies            LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
WSPR-based telemetry                       -------------------------------------------------------
                                           Aloft on 11Oct16 at 12665m above Russia

https://tracker.habhub.org/#!mt=roadmap&mz=2&qm=All&mc=67.85867,622.06176&f=HIRFW-3&q=HIRFW-3

HIRF(W)-3

 

K6RPT CNSP-30

The strange shape of the map is explained by the last APRS reports of the balloon being north-east of Japan, then nothing at all over North America, until the balloon reached Europe again. So there are no APRS reports around the launch longitude but the balloon did pass it. This happened a second time with the 2nd circumnavigation.

FLIGHT    LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG   FLT ALT  INTERVAL
--------  -------------------------------  -------------------------------------  -------  --------
CNSP-30   25Aug16/UNK/37.24/-121.8         [#1] UNK/UNK/UNK/UNK                      UNK      UNK
K6RPT-11                                   [#2] 10Oct16/11:51z/52.2626/-121.4359   15705m     UNK
                                           [#3] 30Oct16/12:02z/58.1505/-105.3582   15453m     UNK 
                                                (Total interval: 66-days since launch)

2m APRS on regional frequencies            LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
                                           -------------------------------------------------------
                                           Aloft on 06Nov16 at 16267m above eastern Med

http://www.cnsp-inc.com/cnsp-30/ and https://twitter.com/K6RPT
https://tracker.habhub.org/#!mt=roadmap&mz=2&qm=All&mc=57.79671,38.34631&f=K6RPT-11&q=k6rpt-11

CNSP-30

 

W7QO HIRF(W)-5

FLIGHT    LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG  FLT ALT  INTERVAL
--------  -------------------------------  ------------------------------------  -------  --------
HIRFW-5   08Sep16/~10:00z/33.981/-83.787   [#1]~26Sep16/~09:00z/74.481/-53.037   13000m   ~18-days
HIRF-5 (APRS}                              [#2] 13Oct16/12:20z/28.7727/-83.7045  14110m   ~17-days 
W7QO (WSPR)                                   

2m APRS on regional frequencies            LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
WSPR-based telemetry                       -------------------------------------------------------
                                           Aloft on 13Oct16 at 13999m above Florida

https://tracker.habhub.org/#!mt=roadmap&mz=2&qm=All&mc=58.40166,-57.39869&f=HIRFW-5&q=HIRFW-5

 

HIRF(W)-5

 

W7QO HIRF(W)-6

FLIGHT    LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG  FLT ALT  INTERVAL
--------  -------------------------------  ------------------------------------  -------  --------
HIRFW-6   20Sep16/10:05z/33.9394/-83.9545  [#1] 14Oct16/08:18z/32.2727/-74.9545   13887m   21-days
HIRF-6 (APRS}                              [#2] 28Oct16/08:17z/32.4810/-69.0378   13000m   14-days
K4JCW (WSPR)                               [#3] 11Nov16/07:33z/37.8977/-67.9545   13665m   14-days
                                           [#4] 03Dec16/13:27z/36.4810/-75.0378   13000m   23-days
                                           [#5] 13Dec16/21:02z/32.9394/-83.7045   13665m   10-days
                                           [#6] 23Dec16/13:51z/41.4810/-81.0378   12999m   10-days                                  

2m APRS on regional frequencies            LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
WSPR-based telemetry                       -------------------------------------------------------
                                           Aloft on 23Dec16 at 13000m above Atlantic

https://tracker.habhub.org/#!mt=roadmap&mz=2&qm=All&mc=53.10428,8.23697&f=HIRFW-6&q=HIRFW-6

HIRF(W)-6

 

VE3KCL S-18

FLIGHT    LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG  FLT ALT  INTERVAL
--------  -------------------------------  ------------------------------------  -------  --------
S-18      06Oct16/01:18z/43.6875/-79.2916  27Oct16/09:30z/31.8125/-71.7916        10880m   21-days
VE3OCL
20m/30m WSPR/JT9 telemetry                 LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
                                           -------------------------------------------------------
                                           27Oct16/16:46z/32.0625/-69.0416/10840m (Atlantic)

http://qrp-labs.com/flights/s18.html

 

S-18

 

KD2EAT Wisp1c_12

FLIGHT     LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG  FLT ALT  INTERVAL
---------  -------------------------------  ------------------------------------  -------  --------
Wisp1c_12  19Oct16/16:58z/42.3560/-76.2045  02Nov16?/UNK/Grid FN44be               10000m  ~14-days
KD2EAT-12

WSPR-based telemetry                        LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
                                            -------------------------------------------------------
                                            
Landed in FN44be after completing circumnavigation lap

http://hojoham.blogspot.com/2016/10/flight-wisp1c12.html

Wisp1c_12

 

WB8ELK WB8ELK-2

FLIGHT     LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG  FLT ALT  INTERVAL
---------  -------------------------------  ------------------------------------  -------  --------
WB8ELK     17Nov16/12:30z/34.4083/-86.8133  [#1] 28-29Nov16/UNK/UNK/UNK            12000m  ~11-days
WB8ELK-2                                    [#2] 12Dec16/17:20z/38.729/-86.70817   12000m   14-days
                                            [#3] 20-21Dec16/UNK/UNK/UNK            12000m  ~ 8-days

WSPR-based telemetry                        LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
                                            -------------------------------------------------------
                                            Aloft on 21Dec16 at 12000m over Atlantic

https://tracker.habhub.org/#!mt=roadmap&mz=2&qm=All&mc=38.43198,-93.1692&f=WB8ELK-2&q=wb8elk-2

Wisp1c_12

 

M0SBU UBSEDS21 

FLIGHT    LAUNCH: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG       CIRCUMNAVIGATION: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG  FLT ALT  INTERVAL
--------  -------------------------------  ------------------------------------  -------  --------
UBSEDS21  11Dec16/05:23z/51.4676/-2.5784   23-24Dec16/UNK/39.9543/-0.4475         15463m  ~12-days
M0SBU-13                                   
AD6AM-13       
                                           LAST TELEMETRY: DATE/TIME/LAT/LONG/ALT
Contestia 16/1000 434.610MHz USB           -------------------------------------------------------
2m APRS on regional frequencies            Aloft on 24Dec16 at 15463m over Med
APRS on 145.825

http://www.bristol-seds.co.uk/hab/flight/2016/12/11/ubseds21.html
https://twitter.com/bristolseds
https://tracker.habhub.org/#!mt=roadmap&mz=4&qm=All&mc=54.81545,-1.72158&f=UBSEDS21&q=ubseds21

UBSEDS21