Project Horus High Altitude Balloons: Horus 55 Flight Report

Horus 55 was the culmination of something that had been discussed for many years within the Project Horus team – Live video from a high-altitude balloon. The technical challenges in doing this are many, from designing a transmitter system that provides enough signal without melting in the thin atmosphere at high altitudes, to building a high performance receive system that can capture that signal, and then upload it to the internet for everyone to enjoy. (After all, if it didn’t get live-streamed, did it really happen?)

At 10:30AM on the 7th of March 2021, all of this came to fruition with the first flight of the Project Horus DVB-S payload.

The Payloads: DVB-S Transmitter

The DVB-S payload was the primary experiment on this flight, and had been in development by Mark VK5QI and Peter VK5KX over the last 12 months. The payload utilised a Raspberry Pi Zero W to capture and compress video (using F5OEO‘s DVB-S encoder and natsfr’s LimeSDR Gatewarethis project would not have been possible without their work – thanks!), which was then modulated as a 70cm (445MHz)  DVB-S transmission using a LimeSDR Mini. The signal was amplified to ~800mW using a LDMOS-based power amplifier. The overall power dissipation in the payload was ~6 watts, so a heat-spreading and heat-sinking system was built by Peter, including custom-milled interface plates for the LimeSDR.

Monitoring the temperature of the LDMOS device during testing.

The payload was powered from 8x Energizer Lithium AA primary cells, which are well-regarded for their low-temperature performance.

Much testing and tuning of the payload was performed in the lead-up to the launch, including monitoring of the temperatures within the payload when sitting in full-sun, to ensure it would not reach dangerous temperatures.

Mark VK5QI gave a presentation on the payload at the AREG February meeting, which is available here:

The final DVB-S parameters used on the flight were:

  • Frequency: 445.0 MHz
  • Mode: DVB-S
  • Modulation: QPSK, 1 Msps
  • Forward-Error-Correction: r=1/2
  • Video Resolution: 720 x 404

The Payloads: LoRaWAN Beacon

Horus 55 LoRaWAN PayloadAlso on this flight was an experimental LoRaWAN tracking payload built by Liam VK5LJG. The aim was to transmit position beacons into ‘The Things Network‘ (‘TTN’), which has gateways (receiver stations) in many locations across Australia.

The payload operated on the 915-928 MHz LIPD band, with a transmit power of ~50mW. The hardware was a RAK Wireless RAK5205 board, running custom firmware for the flight. Position updates were only sent every ~3 minutes to comply with TTN fair-usage guidelines.

We expected that this would be received by TTN gateways all around the Adelaide area… it actually performed much better than expected!

The Payloads: Tracking & Flight Management

Reprogrammed RS41

The flight also included the usual complement of telemetry and flight management payloads. Primary telemetry was provided by a reprogrammed RS41, transmitting the ‘Horus Binary‘ 4FSK mode on 434.200 MHz. This was received by a large number of amateur stations running the ‘Horus-GUI’ demodulation software. Tracking of the payload was available on the HabHub tracker online, allowing global access to the position of the balloon throughout the flight.

The separate flight management payload was a LoRa-based payload operating in the 70cm (430.0MHz) amateur band. This payload allows remote termination of the flight if necessary (and it was actually used in anger this flight!).

Flight Preparation & Receiver Testing

VK5APR Receiving DVB-S SignalsOn the weekend prior to the launch, two test-and-tune events were conducted, where receiving stations around the Adelaide area had the opportunity to configure and test the software and hardware necessary to receive the DVB-S signals. Transmissions were conducted from Steve VK5SFA’s QTH on Saturday, and from Black-Top Hill on Sunday. Both sites provided excellent line-of-sight to the Adelaide metropolitan are, enabling eight stations to be able to receive the test  transmissions ready for the live balloon flight the following weekend.

Testing the Ground-Station AntennasFinally, a full systems check was conducted with Peter VK5KX. The test covered all of the equipment which would comprise the primary ground-station for the flight, receiving video from the payload and streaming it live to Youtube. This involved testing of the 2 x 18-element Yagi-Uda array, and all the receiver and streaming software. A big thanks to Hayden VK7HH for helping get the Youtube streaming working via his HamRadioDX channel.


The ground station crew, chase teams, and spectators started to assemble at the Auburn Oval launch site around 9AM, to find that showers had set in.

It was decided to continue on with launch preparations and wait for the showers to pass.

By a bit after 10AM the showers had died away to a light sprinkling, and the balloon filling was started. Around this time the live-stream from the launch site was switched on, with many viewers from around the world tuning in to watch the proceedings.


The balloon used for this flight was a Totex 1000g, and an entire 3.5m^3 cylinder of helium (donated by the University of Adelaide) was used to fill it. Using the fast-fill rig the fill was completed in a few minutes (as opposed to the almost 1 hour of slow-filling that used to be required), and the balloon was tied off ready for launch.

After a final check that all payloads were working as expected, the (short) countdown began, and the balloon and payloads were released!

Ascent & Live Video!

After launch the ground-station system was switched into ‘auto tracking’ mode, and began pointing the high-gain Yagi antennas to follow the balloon and payloads. This ensured the best quality video reception, and it definitely worked!

DVB-S Received by Joe VK5EI after launchViewers at the launch site and all around the world via Youtube were treated to clear visuals relayed from the primary ground station as the balloon ascended up to cloud-base. Reports from other receiving stations around the region started trickling in, with Ian VK5ZD (near Kapunda) and Joe VK5EI (Adelaide) being the first to report in.

As the balloon reached the first cloud layer the views of the surrounding landscape was replaced with grey, and the chase teams took this as a sign that it was time to head off towards the expected landing area. Meanwhile the ground control team of Matt VK5ZM, Pete VK5KX and Grant VK5GR kept watch on the balloon state and the TV signal being relayed to YouTube and being broadcast around the globe.

The ground-station team continue to keep tracking the payload, uploading live video to over 200 viewers on Youtube. A big thanks to Hayden VK7HH for hosting the live stream on his Youtube channel, and helping answer the many questions that were asked by the viewers throughout the flight. Please make sure to Like and Subscribe his Youtube channel!

One of the last shots received before the balloon was cut away so the payloads could land

Chase, Cutdown & Recovery

Chase cars stopped at EudundaThis flight had four chase teams:

  • Mark VK5QI  and Will VK5AHV
  • Darin VK5IX, along with Cameron and Dan
  • Liam VK5LJG
  • Gerard VK5ZQV

All the teams headed off in convoy towards Eudunda as their first stop, where the traditional bakery visit was made mid-flight instead of after recovery.

Receiving DVB-S from Mark's carMark and Will were receiving the video from the DVB-S payload in the car, which worked surprisingly well even with the fairly modest antenna setup on Mark’s car (an upward-fading turnstile).

Tracking the balloon flight-path in the chase car

After a quick lunch, the teams headed south towards the predicted landing area. As the flight processed and the balloon rose past the expected burst altitude of 30km, Mark made the call to terminate the flight to help land the payloads in an easily recoverable area. A few radio commands later, the payloads started falling, with the cut-down event observed via the video link (though the fast tumbling did result in a lot of broken video). The maximum altitude achieved was 32379m above sea level.

The teams headed towards the new predicted landing location, and after a bit of back-and-forth were able to be in position to watch the payloads land under parachute. Unfortunately the payloads were just a bit too far away for the teams to get imagery of the final descent.

After getting permission from the landowners (thanks!), the teams were able to enter the property and drive almost right up to where the payloads had landed.

Landed payloads While a bit bent and dented (and upside-down!), the DVB-S payload continued to transmit video after landing, with the receiver in Mark’s car capturing the team walking up and recovering the payload.

Bent payload

Analysis of log files from the payload showed that overheating was certainly not an issue – instead the heat-spreader plate within the payload reached a chilly -27˚C during the descent phase of the flight!

DVB-S Payload Temperatures

DVB-S Reception Reports

So far the following stations have reported being able to receive video from the DVB-S payload:

  • Bill VK5DSP – Middleton, SA
  • Iain VK5ZD – Kapunda, SA
  • Joe VK5EI – West Lakes, SA
  • Berndt VK5ABN – Nairne, SA
  • Andrew (N0CALL), Pt Noarlunga, SA
  • Steve VK5MSD – Whyalla, SA
  • Roger VK5YYY – Whyalla, SA
  • Gerard VK5ZQV – Mobile, during the chase.

If you received video from this flight, let us know!

The longest distance the payload was received from was by the stations in Whyalla, at almost 190 km range, followed by Bill in Middleton, at 145km range. The payload designers are absolutely ecstatic at how many stations were able to receive video during this flight – hopefully we can repeat this success on more flights in the future!

Horus Binary (4FSK) Telemetry Reception Statistics

With every Project Horus flight we like to thank all the receivers that helped receive telemetry from the flight. All the telemetry you receive and upload to the net helps keep the tracking map up-to-date throughout the flight, and serves as a backup in the case of ground-station or chase-car receiver failure. On this flight telemetry was recorded from as far away as Horsham, though there were reports of telemetry reception in Melbourne – however it appears these stations did not upload their telemetry to the internet.

Horus 55 Callsign Pie

CallsignReceived PacketsPercentage of Flight ReceivedFirst-Received Altitude (m)Last-Received Altitude (m)
VK5LJG (Home)138169.7%29463156

LoRaWAN Experiment Results

As mentioned earlier, the LoRaWAN payload was transmitting telemetry packets to be received by The Things Network gateways. We expected the payload to be received by stations in the general Adelaide area, however it turned out that at the peak of the flight we were received by gateways as far away as Ballarat, Victoria! Full details on what gateways received each packet are available here.

LoRaWAN Coverage

The longest path was 585km, which for a ~50mW transmitter at 923 MHz is quite an achievement! The world record distance for this system is 823km, and we’re interested to see if we can beat this on a future launch!

Flight Track

At the conclusion of the flight we were also able the telemetry into this flight profile, which gives an appreciation of the journey the balloon and the experimental TV transmitter under took.

Conclusion & Future Flights

Horus 55 - Flight Statistics

Flight Designation:Horus 55
Launch Date:2021-03-07 00:02Z
Landing Date:2021-03-07 02:37Z
Flight Duration:~2.5 hours
Launch Site:-34.02932,138.69124
Landing Site:-34.25959,139.11443
Distance Traveled:46 km
Maximum Altitude:32,379 m

With the huge success of this flight, the team plans to follow this up with more video flights in the future. There are many lessons to be learnt from this flight, and many improvements that can be made to both the payload, the ground-station, and the live-streaming systems. Viewers can look forward to higher quality video, more running commentary, and hopefully live video from the chase-cars as they recover the payloads.

The next few months will be getting busy for the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group, with the upcoming Riverland Paddling Marathon taking up a lot of club members time. Expect the next full-scale flight sometime in late June – weather permitting!

Horus 55 Balloon Flight: D-ATV Launch Tracking & Live-Stream Details

The DVB-S high-altitude balloon launch (hopefully the first of many!) has now been locked in for 10AM ACDT Sunday the 7th of March (2330z Saturday 6th), from the Auburn Oval. The launch team is expected to arrive on site starting 9AM, and spectators are welcome!

Tracking of the flight will be available on the Habhub tracker or should be visible here on our website!

For those without D-ATV receiving equipment, AREG is going to attempt to stream the received ATV pictures via Hayden VK7HH’s HamRadioDX YouTube channel at the same time. You will find the link to the YouTube broadcast here:

Tracking Details – Primary Telemetry – 434.200 MHz

The primary tracking telemetry will be transmitted on 434.200 MHz using the Horus Binary 4FSK data mode. Amateurs in the Adelaide and Central SA region are also encouraged to get involved with the flight through receiving and uploading flight telemetry from our 70cm band tracking beacons. Every piece of telemetry data is valuable to the flight tracking and recovery teams so if you can help join the distributed receiver network to collect that data you will be making an important contribution to the project!

If you try receiving the telemetry from this flight, you’ll need a SSB-capable 70cm receiver (or a SDR), and the Horus-GUI telemetry decoder software. A brief guide on setting this up is available here:

Note that you will need to use a ‘dial’ frequency of 434.199 MHz for the 4FSK signal to be centred in your receiver passband and hence be decodable.

Tracking Details – DVB-S Video – 445 MHz

If you want to get involved through receiving the D-ATV signal direct from the balloon on 445 MHz take a look at the How-To Guide being maintained by Mark VK5QI, available here:

The DVB-S transmission parameters are as follows:

  • Frequency: 445 MHz
  • Polarisation: Vertical
  • Mode: DVB-S
  • Symbol Rate: 1 Msps
  • FEC: 1/2

Project Horus: Live ATV Flight Path Prediction & YouTube Live-stream Link

UPDATE: The launch has been set for Sunday 10AM ACDST, from the Auburn Oval. 

The flight crew are starting to get flight-path predictions for this coming weekend, though the models are quite inaccurate this far ahead of the prediction time. Currently a launch on Sunday looks promising from Auburn. This would put the balloon within 80-90km of Adelaide for much of it’s flight, which should allow many stations to be within direct decoding range of the Digital-ATV transmission on 445MHz.

These predictions *will* change over the next few days so this is just a preliminary plan at this stage. We expect to be able to make a commitment on the launch date and time most likely Thursday or Friday this week.

As a reminder, the following launch dates/times are planned:

  • PRIMARY: Sunday 7th March, 10AM (ACDT) – (2330z 6th March UTC)
  • BACKUP #1: Monday 8th March, 10AM (Public Holiday!)
  • BACKUP #2: Sunday 14th March, 10AM

For those without D-ATV receiving equipment, AREG is going to attempt to stream the received ATV pictures via Hayden VK7HH’s HamRadioDX YouTube channel at the same time. You will find the link to the YouTube broadcast here:

Digital ATV Transmission – How to Receive?

If you want to get involved through receiving the D-ATV signal direct from the balloon on 445MHz take a look at the How-To Guide being maintained by Mark VK5QI:

The setup guide is available here:

433MHz Telemetry Tracking – How to Receive?

Amateurs in the Adelaide and Central SA region are also encouraged to get involved with the flight through receiving and uploading flight telemetry from our 70cm band tracking beacons. Every piece of telemetry data is valuable to the flight tracking and recovery teams so if you can help join the distributed receiver network to collect that data you will be making an important contribution to the project!

The telemetry beacon will operate on 434.200MHz

If you want to have a go receiving the telemetry from this flight, you’ll need a SSB-capable 70cm receiver (or a SDR), and the horus-GUI telemetry decoder software ( ).

A brief guide on setting this up is available here:

Project Horus Balloon Project: Digital ATV DVB-T Terrestrial Testing – Success!

Today Mark VK5QI took the Balloon ATV transmitter out for a terrestrial test. He carried out line-of-sight testing of the DVB-S payload from BlackTop Hill to the AREG remote site near Tarlee – a distance of 54km!

First test – could he see the signal on the SDR up at the site (RTLSDR, Diamond X-50, no preamp)… yes!

Next, Mark dumped some samples with rtl_sdr, then transferred them back to his laptop. He processed them through leandvb – and got video!!! A bit of fading, but for an omni receiver with no preamp, this is a pretty damn good result!

… and here’s some of the raw video

The MER as reported by leandvb was around 8-11 dB, right on the edge of what is decodable. Still, with such a basic system, a good result!

Based on the path, it is estimated to give us a working range of about 150km from the balloon given a receiving station with 15dBi gain and a good low noise preamplifier.

Stay tuned for more information on how to receive and decode the Digital ATV signal and save the date – we hope to launch the transmitter into the stratosphere on Sunday March 7th. (We also plan on streaming the event on Youtube).

For those who missed it late last year here is a bit more information about the Balloon ATV payload and some minimum signal testing that was carried out.

Project Horus – Horus Binary Test & Tune Launches

FURTHER UPDATE: The second launch (23rd Feb) was also a success, with even more new callsigns showing up. The following stations were seen to upload telemetry for this launch: VK5BGN, VK5EU, VK5FPKR, VK5KK, VK5KIK, VK5KX, VK5LJG, VK5LO, VK5NE, VK5NEX, VK5NTM, VK5PE, VK5PW, VK5QI, VK5QS, VK5ST, VK5TRM, VK5ZEA. The callsign ‘PLEASE_CHANGE_ME’ also made another appearance 🙂

Thanks to all that received telemetry from these launches, and we hope to see you on the tracker again during future Project Horus launches!


UPDATE: The first launch (16th Feb) was a success, with quite a few new stations uploading telemetry. The following stations were seen to upload telemetry this flight: CT1EGC/VK5, VK5APR, VK5CV, VK5FPKR, VK5HS, VK5KIK, VK5KX, VK5LJG, VK5NE, VK5NEX, VK5NTM, VK5PE, VK5PW, VK5QI, VK5ST, VK5TCP, VK5TRM. Also a special mention goes out to callsigns ‘PLEASE_CHANGE_ME’, and ‘DONT_CHANGE_ME’, who might need to go edit their configuration settings 🙂

The next launch will be this coming Sunday, the 23rd of Feb, also from Two Wells. Launch is expected to be around 10AM again. The payload will be a cut-down RS41 Radiosonde, and we will be launching as a ‘Small’ balloon (<= 50g payload).

If you’ve been following the last few Project Horus High-Altitude balloon launches, you may have noticed the new ‘Horus Binary‘ telemetry payload is making a regular showing. This payload uses a high performance 4-FSK modem specifically designed for High-Altitude Balloon flights by David Rowe (VK5DGR) and Mark Jessop (VK5QI).

Horus Binary Telemetry

After resolving some issues experienced on the first few flights, the Horus Binary payload has now proven itself to be well suited for high-altitude balloon tracking, with fast position updates and high robustness to weak signals and fading. It has considerable advantages over the ‘traditional’ RTTY payload in both reliability, reception range and speed.

RTTY (left) and Horus Binary (right) payloads.

As such, it’s time we start to say goodbye to the RTTY tracking payload we’ve been flying for the last 54 flights. It may still make an appearance on a few more flights, but it is long overdue to be phased out, and the weight budget used for more interesting things!

To help regular listeners make the transition, and help new listeners get set up to receive this new telemetry, Project Horus will be performing a series of small (not-so) high-altitude balloon launches over the next few weekends. These launches will each fly a single Horus Binary transmitter, which consists of a reprogrammed Vaisala RS41 radiosonde. It is expected that each flight will remain in the air for approximately 2 hours, giving ample time to test receiving setups.

How can I get involved?

Getting setup to receive the Horus Binary telemetry is no harder than receiving RTTY – if you have a 70cm SSB receiver, or even a Software-Defined-Radio like a RTLSDR dongle, you can get involved and help contribute to the tracking of Project Horus balloon launches, and the success of our future flights.



We have recently re-vamped the documentation for Horus Binary, and there are now reception guides available for both Windows, OSX and Linux available here:

Follow the linked instructions prior to the scheduled flights, then during the flight tune your SSB receiver to 434.660 MHz USB – our standard Horus Binary frequency. Listeners in the greater Adelaide region should be able to receive the signal from the payload shortly after launch, with those further afield following as the balloon and payload ascend to higher altitudes.

If you have issues with setting up the software, please contact Mark Jessop (VK5QI) at vk5qi (at) .

Scheduled Launch Times & Locations

The following launch times are planned:

  • Sunday 16th February, 10AM CDT, from the Two Wells Football Oval (across the road from the bakery!)
  • Sunday 23rd February, 10AM CDT, launch site TBD

All are welcome at the launches – though unlike most Project Horus launches, these launches are expected to be over with very quickly! Launch crews are expected to be on-site approximately 30 min before the launch time, and may depart to chase the payload depending on flight-path predictions.

Online Tracking

Tracking of the flights will be available on the HabHub Tracker, available at this link. (Note that other balloon launches will also be visible on this page, including the Bureau of Meteorology launches from Adelaide Airport).

Horus 54 – SHSSP 2020 Flight Report

For the past 4 years, AREG has been involved in the International Space University’s Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program (SHSSP) through the launching of High-Altitude balloons – this year was no exception! The Stratospheric Balloon component of the SHSSP allows participants to get hands-on experience in planning and conducting a high-altitude balloon launch. Previous years flights have seen the launch of camera payloads, various sensors, and lots of mission patches!

This year, participants were split into three teams – Earth Observation, Sensor Payload, and Mission Planning. Their roles were as follows:

  • Earth Observation Team – Calculate the parameters (field of view, resolution) of the payload cameras, and determine the achievable imaging resolution (in metres) available at various points throughout the flight. After the flight, use the captured imagery to improve the resolution of freely available satellite imagery (‘pan sharpening‘). This team was lead by Professor David Bruce, from the University of South Australia.
  • Sensor Payload Team – Integrate a collection of sensors (IMU, Temperature, Humidity, Pressure) with an Arduino micro-controller, and log the collected data to a SD card. Package the sensor payload into a box suitable for launching on the flight, then once the payload has been recovered analyse the data. This team was lead by Dr. Justin Karl, from NASA.
  • Mission Planning Team – Using measured payload weights, determine the appropriate parachute/balloon sizes and the amount of lifting gas (helium) required to meet flight objectives, then perform predictions of the flight path in the lead-up to launch. On the launch day, assist with launch preparations, including payload assembly and balloon filling. This team was lead by Mark Jessop (VK5QI).

All of the preparation activities occurred over workshops in the week prior to launch, guided by the team leads. By the Thursday before the launch the mission planning team had decided on a flight profile targeting a burst altitude of 36km. The sensor payload was completed and tested the night before launch.

The following payloads were launched on this flight:

  • SHSSP Sensor Payload, containing various sensors including an Inertial Measurement Unit, temperature/pressure/humidity sensors, and a smoke particle detector.
  • Nadir-Facing Imagery – A Wenet imaging payload transmitting on 441.2 MHz, with a downward (nadir) facing camera. This payload also contained mission patches for the SHSSP participants, and a collection of seeds (corn and watercress), to see if they would still germinate after being exposed to intense cold throughout the flight. (Spoilers: Yes they did!)
  • Outward-Facing Imagery – A Wenet imaging payload transmitting on 443.5 MHz, with an outward-facing camera, to capture the classic black-sky horizon photographs throughout the flight.
  • Vaisala RS41 Radiosonde – A stock radiosonde, transmitting on 402.5 MHz (with permission from the Bureau of Meteorology), capturing calibrated temperature and humidity data for comparison with the SHSSP Sensor payload.
  • Horus Binary (4FSK) Telemetry – Our new standard telemetry payload, transmitting 100 baud 4FSK on 434.660 MHz. This was the primary tracking payload for the flight.
  • Backup RTTY Telemetry – A legacy 434.650 MHz 100 baud RTTY tracking payload, in what may be its final flight!
  • Flight Termination Payload – Remotely controllable payload, enabling manual termination of the flight if required.

This year saw the use of a new launch site at Taylors Winery, just outside of Auburn in the southern Clare Valley region. While being further away from Adelaide, this site offers advantages in that we have much greater flexibility in what flight profiles we can fly, unlike the Mt Barker launch site where we can essentially only launch to the east. As this area is within RAAF Edinburgh restricted airspace, a new agreement with CASA had to be obtained, requiring us to coordinate our activities with the Edinburgh Tower (453 Squadron). Thankfully there was very little activity in the area on our launch day, and launch approval was granted with no issues.

Getting ready to launch…

The AREG and SHSSP teams started to assemble at the launch site around 10:30AM, well ahead of the planned launch time of 12:45AM. The weather was perfect – a nice sunny day, not too hot, and with only light winds.

A few payload issues were encountered in the lead-up to launch:

  • A critical wire broke in the participant-built sensor payload, and could not be repaired on site. Thankfully there was a pre-built backup payload in the same box so data could still be gathered.
  • The downward-facing camera payload failed shortly before launch, and did not take any images during the flight. It did transmit a continuous carrier throughout the flight, which did cause confusion at a few receive stations!

Ground winds did increase somewhat just prior to launch, but not enough to cause issues, and the balloon and payloads were released slightly after the planned launch time, at 12:53 AM.

The balloon and payloads ascended to a higher-than-expected altitude of 37936 metres before bursting and landing to the east of Tarlee.

Horus 54 / SHSSP2020 - Flight Statistics

Flight Designation:Horus 54 / SHSSP 2020
Launch Date:2020-01-25 02:22Z
Landing Date:2020-01-25 05:21Z
Flight Duration:~3 hours
Launch Site:-34.00147,138.70074
Landing Site:-34.25362,138.85347
Distance Traveled:31 km
Maximum Altitude:37,936 m

Thanks to all those who assisted with the launch, in particular the SHSSP mission planning team who did a great job with balloon wrangling!

Live Wenet Imagery

Once again the Wenet payload (at least, the one that was working!) showed its worth by capturing some amazing images throughout the flight:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A big thanks to those running receive stations for the Wenet imagery! If you would like to set up a receive station for the next launch, information on how to set up using a RTLSDR and a Linux computer is available here.

CallsignPackets ReceivedTotal Data Received (MiB)

Comms Bus Ground Station

To ensure we would have good reception of the imagery downlink, Peter VK5KX and Matt VK5ZM set up in Peter’s bus at a high spot to the west of Tarlee, with a high gain tracking antenna. Peter and Matt were able to receive telemetry from just after release, all the way down to landing.

Chase & Recovery

This flight had the most chase teams we’ve seen in a while, and it was great to see a few new faces out on the hunt. The teams consisted of:

  • Mark VK5QI, Adrian VK5QU and Tina
  • Andy VK5AKH, Grant VK5GR, Drew VK5XFG and Dennis VK5FDEN
  • Derek VK5RX, Derek VK5TCP and Steve (not yet licensed, but he’s working on it!)
  • Liam VK5LJG and Terry VK5ATF
  • Steve VK5ST

Most of the chase teams were at the launch site, and set off shortly after launch, with the exception of Steve VK5ST, who travelled up from the Barossa region. Derek and Liam’s teams headed out into the field to test out their chase car software and equipment, while Mark and Andy’s teams dropped in to see Peter & Matt at the bus while they waited for the balloon to burst.

As all of the chase teams were running the same software and using the same flight data, they naturally converged on the predicted landing area, where they were able to watch the payloads descend the last few hundred metres to a soft landing in a recently cut  paddock. Recovery followed shortly thereafter, with all payloads in good condition.

Horus 54 Chase Crew (Not Pictured: Adrian VK5QU)

Tracking & Telemetry Statistics

We had a good showing of telemetry receivers this flight, with the usual suspects, along with a few new callsigns – including some from interstate! Thanks to all listeners who upload telemetry – your contributions ensure we have live tracking for all those following the flight online.

RTTY Statistics

CallsignReceived PacketsPercentage of Flight ReceivedFirst-Received Altitude (m)Last-Received Altitude (m)

Horus Binary Statistics

CallsignReceived PacketsPercentage of Flight ReceivedFirst-Received Altitude (m)Last-Received Altitude (m)

As the Horus Binary payload has been performing so well, we are hoping to retire the RTTY payload sometime this year. To assist with this, we will be launching a few small Horus Binary-only flights so that listeners can test out their tracking systems. Information on how to decode the new telemetry is available here.


Even with the payload failures this flight is still definitely considered to be a success! The SHSSP participants enjoyed the experience, and were able to obtain the necessary data for their post-processing activities.

2019 was a bit of a slow year for Project Horus, with only 2 launches. We are always looking for new payloads to launch, so if you have an idea, consider submitting it for the member payload launch program!

Reminder Horus 54 Flies today!

Update: The launch has now been conducted successfully, with all payloads recovered. A full writeup will be coming soon…

REMINDER: High altitude balloon flight Horus 54 will take to the skies around 12:45pm today from Auburn in the Clare Valley. This flight is carrying sensors aloft as part of the Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program run through the International Space University in cooperation with the University of South Australia.

RTTY, 4FSK and Wenet Imagery payloads will be flying. If you would like to get involved in tracking the balloon and feeding telemetry into the network visit this (post).

You can track the flight live via


Horus 54 / SHSSP 2020 Launch Announcement

Horus 54 – Saturday 25th January – 12:45PM Liftoff!

AREG is pleased to once again be involved with the International Space University’s Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program hosted by the University of South Australia. This year one balloon is being launched from Taylor’s Winery in Auburn as part of the program. Launch is planned to occur around 12:45PM on Saturday the 25th of January. Launch crews will be on-site from approximately 10:30AM.

All amateurs across the state are invited to participate in the flight through collecting the 4FSK and RTTY telemetry. All you need is an SSB receiver on 70cm, and an interface to your computer. The rest is software!


Telemetry Payloads

As always, we’ll be flying the usual assortment of telemetry payloads, including:

  • 4FSK Telemetry decoder

    The new 4FSK Binary telemetry will be transmitting on 434.660 MHz USB. This uses a custom decoder, with setup instructions for this available here.


  • Our usual 100 baud 7N2 RTTY telemetry on 434.650 MHz USB. This can be decoded using dl-fldigi, with a reception guide available here. Note: Recent testing of dl-fldigi’s decode performance has found that the auto-configured RTTY receive bandwidth is too narrow, and can detrimentally impact decode performance (by up to 3dB!).To fix this, open dl-fldigi, and in the Configure menu, select Modems, and then go to the ‘RTTY’ tab. Drag the ‘Receive filter bandwidth’ slider to 200, then click ‘Save’. Note that this setting will be reset whenever you hit the ‘Auto-Configure’ button!

Wenet Imagery Payloads

This flight will feature two ‘Wenet’ high-speed imagery payloads, as have been flown on many previous Horus launches. The centre frequencies for the transmissions are:

  • 441.200 MHz – Nadir-pointing (Downward) Imagery
  • 443.500 MHz – Horizon-pointing Imagery

These will be downlinking HD pictures throughout the flight, which will be available at this link:

Reception of the Wenet signal requires a RTLSDR and a Linux PC/Laptop. Instructions on how to set up the required software are available here.

Online Tracking

Tracking of the flight will be available on the HabHub Tracker, available at this link. (Note that other balloon launches will also be visible on this page, including the Bureau of Meteorology launches from Adelaide Airport).
Follow the #SHSSP hashtag on Twitter for updates from the launch and chase teams on the launch day.