BEAR

(Balloon Experiments with Amateur Radio)

 

A view from near space and SABLE-3 at 117,597 feet, August 11th - 2007

Near space is within the Stratosphere and Ozone layers from 75,000 feet to the beginning of space at 62.5 miles. The earth's curvature and thin blue layer of atmosphere hugging the earth can easily be seen from here and at 117,000 ft. the horizon is at 460 miles, rather then only 2-3 miles when standing at ground level. The air pressure is <1% of that at sea level and with so little atmosphere there is next to no filtering of cosmic rays or ultraviolet light, blue sun light is not scattered leaving the sky inky black, stars are visible, and there is no weather so it's always bright and sunny, but very cold at -60 to -90 degrees Fahrenheit.

A few friends and myself decided to start launching HAB (High Altitude Balloon) payloads with amateur radio, camera and other equipment which we nicknamed BEAR (Balloon Experiments with Amateur Radio) after watching others do this and seeing no reason why they should have all the fun. We are not a club or official group, but simply a few amateur radio operators with similar interests, a common goal and hope that our BEAR projects, which anyone is welcome to participate in, will help promote education, experimentation and camaraderie between all amateurs and amateur radio clubs in the area.

An APRS tracker is essential to track and recover balloon payloads and our first flight, BEAR-1, was to confirm the GPS receiver we chose for our tracker would work above the 60,000 ft. ITAR altitude limit. BEAR-2 included a cross-band repeater and future flights are planned with cameras and other equipment.

August 2009 - It's been 9 years since BEAR-2 and some have asked if the BEAR group is still active. It is, but it's not an official group and simply myself that enjoys building the payloads, a few others that enjoy helping launch, track and recover them and a often a few more that enjoy simply watching. Progress is slow with only myself building the payloads, especially with all the other projects and things I also like to do, but progressing slowly has been good. Digital cameras were just starting to become available and much too expensive for any of us to risk using in 2000, but have become fairly inexpensive and capable of much higher resolution images now. And video cameras used to not only be too expensive, but too large, heavy and have very short recording times, but have now become much smaller, lighter weight, inexpensive and have much longer recording times now plus it's even become possible to transmit real time video from one aboard a high altitude balloon flight.

 

Date Flight Special
Notes
Duration
H:M
Max. Alt.
Feet
Balloon Total Payload (+) Distance Travelled
Kg Lbs Point to Point Ground Path
May 27, 2000 BEAR-1 1st Flight 4:34 104,206 1200g (1)  0.977 Kg 2.15 Lbs 76.2 Miles 106.8 Miles
Aug   5, 2000 BEAR-2   2:48    99,481 1200g (1) 1.564 Kg 3.45 Lbs 53.8 Miles 71.1 Miles
May 20, 2006 SABLE-1

Visit the SABLE Home Page for these and other SABLE flights
that BEAR members assisted with.

July   8, 2006 SABLE-2
August 11, 2007 SABLE-3
May 20088 TBJ 2008

TBJ - The largest balloon launch most of us could ever hope to be involved with.

Aug 22, 2009 BEAR-3   2:39 116,387 1500g (2) .0958 Kg 0.21 Lbs 47.7 Miles  
Aug 24, 2009 BEAR-4 HD Video 3:56 107,145 1200g (2) 1.500 Kg 3.31 Lbs 89.0 Miles  
April 24, 2010 BEAR-5 1st  UofA 2:51 92,359 ≈2000g (2) 0.228 Kg 0.50 Lbs 14.1 Miles 41.5 Miles
May 16, 2010 TBJ 2010

We were once again at TBJ to help with tracking and recovery operations,
however we also became involved with preparing and the launch the balloon this time.

BEAR-6   2:23 114,635 1000g (1) 0.370 Kg 0.82 Lbs 33.7 Miles 42.1 Miles
May 29, 2010 SABLE-4   3:14 110,219 1500g (1) 0.772 Kg 1.70 Lbs 61.1 Miles 83.5 Miles
July   8, 2010 BEAR 7 UofA 1:59 93,917 1000g (1) 1.420 Kg 3.13 Lbs 34.5 Miles  
July 15, 2010 BEAR 8 UofA 1:47 91,952 1000g (1) 1.986 Kg 4.38 Lbs 40.0 Miles 52.6 Miles
Oct   2, 2010 ABE-1     103,533 1200g (1)        
May 14, 2011 ABE-2     99,770 1200g (1)        
June 18, 2011 SABLE-5       1500g (1)        
Feb 11, 2012 BEAR-9 4x5 #1 2:44 118,146 1600g (3) 2.2 Kg 4.85 Lbs 31.2 Miles  
Feb 13, 2012 BEAR-10 4x5 #2 ?? ?? 1600g (3) 2.1 Kg 4.63 Lbs 19.1 Miles  
May 15, 2013 BEAR-11 4x5 #3 2:12 118,195 1600g (3) 3.0 Kg 6.61 Lbs    
May 17, 2013 BEAR-12 4x5 #4 2:17 121,633 1600g (3) 2.8 Kg 6.17 Lbs    
May 20, 2013 BEAR-13 4x5 #5 2:46 121,525 1600g (3) 2.8 Kg 6.17 Lbs    
Aug 24, 2013 BEAR-14 Genesis #1   100,443 1200g (2)     67.9 Miles  
Jan 18, 2014 BEAR-15 Genesis #2   101,742 1200g (2)     150 Miles  
Sept  6, 2014 BEAR-16 Genesis #3 2:10 100,925 1500g (2)     76 Miles  
Sept 14, 2014 BEAR-17 Genesis #4   103,772 1500g (2)     ≈ 88 Miles  
Sept 21, 2014 BEAR-18 Genesis #5 1:36 99,665 1500g (2)     64.3 Miles  
Sept 28, 2014 BEAR-19 Genesis #6 2:00 101,151 1500g (2)     53.5 Miles  
??, 2015 BEAR-20                
Notes: (1) Kaymont Balloon with Helium
(2) Kaymont Balloon with Hydrogen
(3) Hwoyee  Balloon with Hydrogen
(+) Total Payload Weight includes all payload packages, parachute and connecting lines.
We've been using Hydrogen that cost's ≈$60/bottle since 2008 when the cost of Helium rose to $280 from $80/bottle
(other than when helping a school or some other group with a flight that purchased or had Helium donated).

 

 

Equipment & Constructionn

 

Links to other Balloon Groups

View the BEAR Balloon Flight Videos on the BEAR Channel

Follow BEAR activities on Twitter

Visit my Main Home Page at www.sbszoo.com
for my other Web Pages & Sub-Web Sites

 


Information and pages on this site © Copyright 2004 by Barry Sloan - VE6SBS