OT: Google Project Loon in Puerto Rico

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... and now for something completely different.

There was some discussion in S.E.D. on Google's Project Loon, where
balloons flying at 50,000+ ft altitude were deployed to provide
internet access to Puerto Rico until the terrestrial cell sites could
be rebuilt.  There was some question as to whether balloons would be
able to maintain their position over the island for any length of
time.  It would appear that they can:
<
http://www.learnbydestroying.com/jeffl/crud/Loon-HBAL029.jpg

The red line is the ground track of one of 3 balloons hovering over
Puerto Rico now (Nov 4, 2017 at about 6:29 PDST).  The screen grab was
produced by:
<https://www.flightradar24.com
You will possibly need a paid version, which cost me $10 for a year.
<https://www.flightradar24.com/premium/

Find Puerto Rico on the map.  Add a filter for "HBAL" which limits the
aircraft displayed to Google's balloons.  Click on one of the yellow
balloons and the red ground track should appear.  Enjoy.

The balloons are launched from Nevada and move across the continent
rather quickly.  If you leave the "HBAL" filter enabled, and view the
entire USA, you might see some of these balloons in transit.

--  
Jeff Liebermann     snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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Re: OT: Google Project Loon in Puerto Rico
wrote:

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Neat, You dont need a subscription.
Select the Filter Icon and you can add up to 1 filter for the free
version. Use 'Callsign' and Use a filter 'HBAL*' to show all the
ballons over Puerto Rico.

Cheers

Re: OT: Google Project Loon in Puerto Rico
On Sun, 05 Nov 2017 00:20:58 -0400, Martin Riddle

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Thanks.  I was too lazy to logout and test it.

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The "*" isn't needed and doesn't seem to do anything.  I don't think
that FlightRadar24 can do regular expressions.  Just "Callsign = HBAL"
is sufficient.  One can also filter for balloons using the ICAO
designator.  Filtering for "Aircraft = BALL" will show only balloons.

Some details, docs, and examples of filters:
<https://www.flightradar24.com/blog/using-filters-in-flightradar24/
<https://blog.flightradar24.com/blog/using-the-new-flightradar24-mobile-filters/


--  
Jeff Liebermann     snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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Re: OT: Google Project Loon in Puerto Rico
On 11/4/2017 9:29 PM, Jeff Liebermann wrote:
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Fascinating! I wonder how they maintain the position so well. No wind at  
61,000 feet? It must have solar power so maybe some fans?

Re: OT: Google Project Loon in Puerto Rico
On Monday, November 6, 2017 at 5:00:36 AM UTC-5, John S wrote:
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The wiki article,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Loon
says they can predict the winds and move the balloon up or down to go  
where they want.  

GH

Re: OT: Google Project Loon in Puerto Rico

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Yep.  It was a great way to waste a weekend trying to figure out how
it works, whether it works, and now how well it works.  Well, until my
DSL connection went down yesterday.  I'm not on the neighbors
xfinitywifi wireless connection.  Must be a hint that I'm suppose to
be working, not playing.

As George Harold mentioned, the wind blows in different directions at
different altitudes.  You can sort of see how this works using:
<https://www.windy.com/?18.109,-65.896,7
That should show Puerto Rico in center screen.  On the right side of
the screen, you'll see a slider currently labeled "Surface".  Slide
this up and down to see what the wind is doing at different altitudes.
Unfortunately, it only shows winds up to 13,500 meters (44,000 ft) so
we can't see what's happening at 50,000 to 70,000 ft, where the Loon's
are flying.  However, it will give a good idea of how it works.  Right
now (8AM PST), the surface winds are blowing from the east, and at
44,000ft are blowing from the south west.  Ideal would be going
through a 360 degree change in direction with altitude, but that's
probably unlikely.

There doesn't seem to be much information on the hardware Google is
using to communicate with the ground.  At an altitude of about 13
miles, and a slant range or maybe 20 miles, that's a bit far for
ordinary smartphone LTE handsets operate reliably.  My guess(tm) is
that they're using ground stations with tracking directional antennas
and local LTE repeaters, but I have no info or evidence of this.
Eventually, the details will be released or leaked.  I can wait.


While I'm expounding on great ways to avoid doing useful work,
watching world lightning hits might also be interesting:
<http://en.blitzortung.org/live_lightning_maps.php
Turn ON strikes, detectors, and sound in the lower left corner.  The
colors represent how long ago the lightning hit.  The green lines are
the  propagation time delays between the lightning hit and the various
3-30KHz VLF receivers.  The location is determined by trilateration or
more properly, multilateration.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trilateration
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multilateration
A somewhat different map (using the same data):
<http://en.blitzortung.org/live_dynamic_maps.php
Click on the "gear" in the upper left for settings.  
More lightning maps:
<https://www.lightningmaps.org/blitzortung/america/index.php?lang=en
<http://wwlln.net/new/map/lightning_map.html
Some info on how it works and what's involved:
<http://en.blitzortung.org/cover_your_area.php
<http://en.blitzortung.org/Compendium/Documentations/Documentation_2014-05-11_Red_PCB_10.4_PCB_12.3_PCB_13.1_PCB_14.1.pdf
Note that the maps do not show all lightning hits.  My guess(tm) is 5%
or less.  The problem is that at any give time, there are about 40
strikes per second world wide.  No way to display all of them in real
time.

We return you now to reality.


--  
Jeff Liebermann     snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
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Re: OT: Google Project Loon in Puerto Rico
On Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 10:29:24 PM UTC-4, Jeff Liebermann wrote:
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Cool!  (thank you.)
George H.  
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