Weather Balloon Tracking

For the past month I have been running this weather balloon tracking program. Its called “auto_rx” and it is a great piece of software.  This software lets you receive weather balloon data and uploads it to the Sonde-Hub Tracker website so other can see the balloon tracks.  For running the software locally you can get real time data it has an internal webserve so any computer in your house can see the data from the balloon and follow its plot on a map, and one of neater things it can do is to plot earlier received balloon paths.

Now my setup is a Raspberry PI 5 {A 4 would work} an RTL-SDR receiver and one of Arts WA3BKD J-Poles.   As you can see I can track a balloon all the way beyond State College. These balloons often reach a height of 107,000+ feet.  So I can hear it from a pretty far way usually its the curvature of the Earth causing me to loose the signal.  While my station is receiving the signal it will also forward the data to the Sonde-Hub Tracker website. It is neat to see your callsign as the station providing the data.

Now my setup has only one RTL-SDR dongle so I can only track one balloon at a time. The software can handle more than one RTL-SDR at a time. So right now once I loose the first track it will start scanning again and often picks up the balloon coming from Cincinnati, OH. Also a couple of times when the wind is blowing from N to S it will pick up Canadians balloon at their peak altitude.

Below are the links to the Sonde-Hub Tracker website and Auto_rx software, the balloon are launched at 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM and are airborne for an hour to an 1 1/2 hours.   People do use this software to track and recover the balloon payloads.  It just another neat part of this wonderful hobby.

Website: Sonde-Hub Tracker
Software: Auto_rx

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