This Saturday (8th of May) the Saskatoon Amateur Radio Club is launching SABRE-9 a high altitude ballon that is equipped with a simplex repeater on 147.570. Amateurs in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and northern US states should be able to hit the machine when it is at maximum altitude. The launch takes place at 8:00 MDT (9:00 CDT).
Club members expect that the balloon will be aloft for approximately 3 to 4 hours. What is unique with this flight is that there will be onboard a simplex repeater on 147.570. This is a store – forward simplex repeater. You use it by transmitting a short message on simplex at 147.570. When you unkey you should hear your own communication back.
Anyone else withing range of the repeater will also hear that transmission from the balloon. They can then respond the same way. Without flying duplexes etc club members say they should be able to facilitate communication over a very long distance. In theory once the balloon gets above 30,000 feet ( approximately 3o minutes from launch) stations from Manitoba should be able to hit the repeater and in theory communicate with stations from Alberta and the northern USA.
It may help to direct you antenna towards Saskatoon or Humboldt Saskatchewan as this is the predicted flight path but it is very likely that a mobile unit with a 5/8ths wave will work especially once the balloon gets above 70,000 feet.
In an attempt to encourage use of the repeater the Saskatoon Amateur Radio club is sponsoring an award for communications through the repeater.
The website for VE5AA has the details of the award under the Sabre 9 link. The club would appreciate it if you would publicize the repeater on the Manitoba nets and encourage Manitoba hams to try and make a contact.
Documentation and images from their previous launches are here http://ve5aa.dyndns.org/Balloon/index.html