Dec 11

Global Space Balloon Challenge – HABEX Joins the FUN – Serious Challenge for 2015

Global Balloon Challenge


The Global Space Balloon Challenge (GSBC) is the coming together of people around the world to simultaneously fly high altitude balloons from every corner of the globe, celebrating an age where anyone can reach the edge of space for a few hundred dollars and a few weekends of work. By providing a specified launch window and central online platform, the GSBC enables teams to showcase their unique cultures while working together to educate the next generation and push the boundaries of what is technologically feasible.

During the inaugural GSBC, 60 teams from 18 countries on 6 continents flew together, helping each other and sharing their stories every step of the way. People of all backgrounds, ages, and walks of life participated, many of whom had never touched a high altitude balloon or studied engineering before the GSBC. Now it’s your turn – join the fun and show the world what you can do!


HABEX Has joined their journey and you could too!


Go to and sign up.


Then join the HABEX Team you are in. We will reconvene in 2015 to get this balloon aflight!


Check out

This 15 minute video depicts the whole of our adventure in an excellently edited video.

Thanks to the guys of HOUSE 4 HACk for this AWESOME vid……


Jun 27

Photo Contest Winner Announced

Congratulations to our winner of the HABEX 09, picture contest. Shown is Michael Roodt, ZS6BHF and his teenage daughter tracking the HABEX-09 on APRS and talking via a handie talkie to other radio hams.


This picture wins because it showcases three aspects of amateur radio which we subsribe to:

  • Portability / Mobility – IN the vehicle with a handie talkie – Now tha is HAM radio.
  • Menotring & Coaching – A dad showing the apple of his eye the ropes in amateur radio.
  • Technology – Blending different technologies together and enjoying the hobby on the move.
The winner of our HABEX-09 Photo contest

The winner of our HABEX-09 Photo contest

We will be sending Michael his Timewave DSP 59+ addition for the shack soon.

Congratulations Michael and best 73



HABEX -09 signing off!!


Jun 12

Assistance Needed: HABEX -09

I am urgently looking for a Pretoria based radio amateur to assist a school in participating in the HABEX-09 Flight on 14 June 2014.


Please contact H/S Langenhoven to make arrangements:HELP


Teacher Name: Mr. Conna Dreyer – ZS6CHD

Head of Department: Mr. C Cavanaugh

Principal: Mr. JE Delaport


Contact Details:

Tel: 012 – 328 3466

Teacher Cell Number: 082 680 5323


Also contact me if you are willing to assist and let me know so I can stop looking.


best 73 de

Chris Gryffenberg ZS6COG


Jun 11

31 May Test Flight HABEX-08 Pictures

Jun 11

Guidelines to Radio Amateurs wishing to Launch Balloons into High Altitude in SA

Guidelines to Radio Amateurs for launching High Altitude Balloons carrying Amateur Radio Payloads


  1. Introduction

Air Space in South Africa is regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and managed by the Central Aviation Monitoring Unit (CAMU).ATNS_logo


The Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) are responsible for the efficient running of South Africa’s airspace environment.


Regulations does allow for flexible use of airspace by users, but a process of application and cooperation is regulated and controlled by CAMU.


The purpose of this document is to assist Radio Amateur Radio operators with the intention of launching meteorological balloons and other experiments into high altitude with guidelines on best practice.


It may be revised from time to time and has been negotiated with the management of CAMU who will guide amateur users on the correct methodology for engaging air space.


  1. Procedure for applying for permission of Flexible Use of Airspace

Any applicant wishing to launch a high altitude balloon should apply for flexible use of airspace (FUA) via the CAMU website at

FUAThe regulated area of airspace known as controlled airspace ranges from 20 000 Ft to 46 000Ft above ground level (AGL).

In this band commercial air traffic are controlled by ATNS and airspace has to be sterile for commercial air traffic to pass.

The following conditions for consideration should guide any applicant:

  • Your flight should take place from a registered airfield.
  • You should launch no less than 60 km outside of TMA (Terminal Maneuver Area)
  • ATNS no longer only makes use of corridors as they did in the past. Flight corridors are GPS orientated and covers the length and breadth of SA.
  • The direction and speed of prevailing winds for the intended launch area and time of year.
  • Generally balloon launches should target areas in the North West towards Vryburg as this is the least active air traffic corridor in South Africa.


  1. Launch Procedure

On the day of the launch the launch coordinator is required to be in regular contact with the assigned CAMU specialist.

Intention to launch should be given as per the provided guidelines on the CAMU application. Contact details and names will be provided.


    1. Ascent

Once permission is obtained from CAMU and ATC to launch, the payload can be released. The ascent rate should be  such that maximum ascent rate can be obtained by the payload.

When the payload hits 18 000 Ft, CAMU should be advised via phone of the position and height of the payload.

If a glider is attached to the payload it must be released before 20 000 ft.  Release must be coordinated with CAMU so they take not of the increased ascent rate of the payload and the area wherein the glider is moving.

When the balloon payload passes through 46 000 ft CAMU needsto be advised as this will allow air traffic to flow freely in the area.

If there is an intended seperation of the payload this must be communicated to CAMU with the application.


    1. Descent

When the payload has hit its ceiling hight CAMU needs to be notified that the payload is at apogee and returning to terra firma.

Some payloads may make use of neutral buoyancy to increase the flight duration of the payload. AS long as the payload remains above 46 000 ft this is not a problem.

When the payload however descends, CAMU is to be advised at 60 000 ft that the payload is coming down. After CAMU has liaised with ATC that the payload is to be dropped, the payload must be placed in a direct descent at 50 000 ft, bringing it through controlled airspace as soon as possible. This implies that parachutes and streamers used should be deployed at this stage.

Once the payload or glider has touched down CAMU must receive a final notification in order for them to close the NOTAM and allow for normal continuance of ATC activities.


  1. Conclusion

Although flexible use of airspace is allowed, it should be noted that this is a privilege and not a right.

Flexible use of airspace impacts on air traffic control over the whole controlled air space spectrum. Flights have to be delayed and diverted. A balloon over Vereeniging in controlled airspace impacts on the departure of several commercial flights from Durban and other destinations.

Radio amateurs and any other agencies wishing to make use of flexible use of airspace should liaise closely with the CAMU unit at ATNS.

For more information please feel free to contact the HABEX team as we volunteer our experience and invite any opportunity to launch a balloon in the stratosphere.


  1. Glossary of Terms

Controlled Airspace – 20 000 ft – 46 000 ft.

HABEX – High Altitude Balloon Experiment

BACAR – Balloon Carrying Amateur Radio

HAG – High Altitude Glider

ATNS –Air Traffic Navigation Services

CAMU – Central Aviation Monitoring Unit

Jun 05 2014

HABEX-09 set for 14 June 2014

On 31 May the HABEX and HAG team performed a final test for the HABEX-09 flight targeted for 14 June 2014


A sideways glimps of the Stratosphere from one of the onboard CAMS

A sideways glimps of the Stratosphere from one of the onboard CAMS

Tests concluded positive and a number of shortcomings were identified.

These issues will be rectified for the flight on 14 June 2014.

Radio Amateur Operators are requested to call their local schools and arrange for groups of learners to come to their shacks and participate in the HABEX 2014 exercise.

The purpose of HABEX-09 in 2014 is to raise awareness of the Electrical Technology Curriculum in schools and to showcase amateur radio as a research and development platform for communications.

Details of the planned flight are as follows:


Date of HABEX-09: 14 June 2014

Time:  06:00 – 14:00

Venue: Launch at Klerksdorp Airport FAKD

Communications from individual Amateur Radio Stations all over South Africa.


Please be patient on the day as ATNS clearance from Air Traffice Control is obtained before the release of the balloon.


 Frequencies for Communication:

437-900 FM –           Parrot Repeater: Wait for the “Beep-Beep” before you call CQ.

144-800 FM APRS:             Follow the Payload on RF using the following callsigns:


Camera Payload: ZS6ERB-08

Main Payload: ZS6ERB-11


Also follow the payload on Internet: (Search for ZS6ERB-11, ZS6ERB-08)


Another exciting development is the inclusion of the High Altitude Glider (HAG) developed and built by House4Hack from Centurion. Visit for more information.House4Hack




To make things more exciting radio amateurs are requested to send in pictures of the children in their radio rooms. There are two categories for which radio amateurs can enter:

1: The most learners in my shack – The picture must contain the learners in the photo and show the APRS tracking in the back ground. The name and call sign of the radio amateur involved, the names of the learners and the schools represented must be included in the entry.


2. The coolest HABEX – 09 Shack Picture – This is a picture where the radio operator and learners are shown in the most innovative manner – with the focus being on High Altitude……HiHi. The name and call sign of the radio amateur involved, the names of the learners and the schools represented must be included in the entry.


The best picture in both categories will each receive a Timewave 59+ DSP Audio Filter valued at R1500-00. Entry into the contest is free.


Send in your Cool Picture to win this DSP 59+...a must in your shack

Send in your Cool Picture to win this DSP 59+…a must in your shack

The closing date for pictures to be sent in is on Monday 16 June 2014.

The winners will be announced on the SARL national bulletin.

All entries must be sent to Pictures must not exceed 1MB in size.

 A special word of thanks is extended to our sponsors and collaborators.

GDE LogoRF Design LogoSARL Logo

Jun 02

Updated Website

Welcome to the new Habex website. When this project was first started, it was not expected to grow to the point where it is now. At the time it was fine for a single person to add the various pages and data as necessary via a straight forward HTML editor. However, it has grown to where it is now ,and additional persons need to add data as and when required.

Thus this blog where info can be added more easily and often by anyone.

Also, this version of website has a RSS feed. so any updates can be seen as soon as they are posted.

The old web site is still available by clicking the link at the top of the page.


The evolving HABEX team

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