Jim N2NXZ launched the balloon he calls "the brick" on 22-Sep-2016. It's not the first Ultimate3S balloon (and other non-U3S balloons before that) but it is the most successful to date and I feel we should have this all documented here along with the other flights (mostly by Dave VE3KCL). 

Jim uses a standard Ultimate3S firmware, unlike Dave VE3KCL who uses the special firmware with the telemetry WSPR message. Jim is using the standard U3S configured to send WSPR and JT9 on 30m, and 20m WSPR. His construction is interesting (see below) as he uses just the v3.10a firmware chip wired to the Si5351A Synth and GPS, without any U3S PCB, for weight saving. The power output is something like 10-20mW. The transmission format is as follows: 30m WSPR x 2 followed by 30m JT9 x 3 (Grid,altitude,speed), (1 minute pause); 20 WSPR x 2 (2 minute pause,repeat). The JT9 signal can be found 100hz about 30m WSPR segment at the same dial frequency of 10.138.70 mhz USB. 

Jim's flight doesn't use the QRP Labs tracking system developed for Dave VE3KCL's telemetry balloon flights. Jim has plotted the approximate path from the data he collected, on this map (see below). At the end of Day 3 the balloon had crossed the Atlantic to Portugal, see below. Click for larger map.

Launch photos

Jim launched the "brick" balloon on 22-Sep-2016 and says it was a picture perfect launch, that went straight up from his hands. The first JT9 packet soon after was:

1233   2 -2.5 1708 @ 758.5

View the embedded image gallery online at:

Transmitter photos

Jim's transmitter construction is interesting. He calls it "The Brick" because this transmitter was not small or nice-looking, or lightweight. The transmitter uses a standard QRP Labs Si5351A Synth, and a uBlox GPS board. The Ultimate3S is a regular bare v3.10a firmware chip wired to the other modules with enamelled copper wire!

View the embedded image gallery online at: