Tracking KK6PNN-5 High Altitude Balloon

People often ask what my amateur radio interests are. That’s actually a very tough question because amateur radio as a utility, is my interest. It’s no secret that I’m very fond of digital modes, I’m very fond of man portable field operations, qrp weak signal work on HF and VHF, and the list goes on. Everything I do with amateur radio,  prepares me for the next adventure,  whatever that Adventure might be. Something that doesn’t get said enough, is how much I enjoy inspiring young people to experiment. That’s what this article is about!

Receiving aprs reports from “strange” stations is another interesting use of 2m bandwidth. So a few days ago, when a HAB beacon appeared on the Kenwood TM-D700 solar powered APRS rig in the shack, I was very interested. It’s callsign KK6PNN-5. This is its fourth day over Finland, and at 12,000 meters, it’s developed an intimate relationship with my D700.


The project SBS-13, callsign KK6PNN-5 was launched by a team of students at the University of California San Diego, back in February 12 2017. At the time I’ve written this article, the balloon was on its third time circumnavigating the globe. 

So why am I writing this article? Well, there’s two reasons really. Firstly, when I started my search for information about this high-altitude balloon, there was very little information on the internet. Writing a small article to connect the various project resources, sharing them to my readers and viewers could help others searching for information on this high-altitude balloon project, find it. 

The other reason is to say thank you to the students who launched this high-altitude balloon. Letting them know their launch is putting a smile on someones face on the other side of the plannet. Hopefully, this gentle remindet of their achievements, might inspire them to continue their experimentation with amateur radio and science.


I would like to add more to this article, so if you have any information about the project members, pictures or videos, please get in touch. I’ll update this article with more background details from the project as I get them.

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