Looking for help setting up real-time GPS tracking for high altitude balloon.

I was pointed in this direction by the people over at Arduino and Adafruits forums in regards to some help about a project I’m starting. I have already launched a couple of high altitude balloons with great success but now I am looking to step things up a bit. For the launches we’ve done so far, we’ve been using the SPOT2 GPS satellite messenger which has done the trick, but one ping every 10 minutes and losing it after 60,000 feet just isn’t going to cut it. I went out and picked up an Arduino and an Adafruit ultimate GPS to be able to have constant contact with the payload throughout its entire journey but now I need some help getting that signal sent back to me on the ground in real time. I managed to get the GPS programmed and running but my knowledge and experience with this kind of thing are about as basic beginner as you can get.

I have the GPS and Arduino programmed to pick up and send the relevant data I need but what do I need to purchase to be able to get the signal sent back down to the ground in real-time?? I was told by Adafruit that something like this:


was what I needed but what else do I need to go with that? Right now we are shooting to have the balloon cut away at around 100,000 feet so I know the range is fine, but will my Arduino that I’m currently using be able to power that or will I need another microcontroller? Will I need anything else to connect this to my current Arduino if it is? If I am understanding correctly how this is supposed to work, I’d need an antenna on the payload to send the signal to the ground, and another antenna on the ground to pick it up, but if this is correct, what kind of antennas do I need? If it isn’t, what am I not thinking of??

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide in helping get this beginner off the ground and tracking, I look forward to the help!


This is something you really need to call into Digi Sales and ask. The Support Forum is a place for customers helping customers and what you need is help determining the proper product to order.