Balloon start: Getting Closer!

The two weeks of autumn vacation are nearly over and I made a huge leap towards the balloon start. My GPS tracker finally arrived after 3 weeks of waiting and this little thing is amazing! And also the weather balloon is ordered and should arrive soon. And one last thing that gave me a huge smile this week was that Meteo Suisse finally answered. I even arranged a meeting for tomorrow, friday (14.10.11), to watch one of their balloon launches so I can get to know how to handle such a delicate balloon.

This is the tracker

But back to the GPS tracker which arrived yesterday. It’s a little yellow device which is about roughly half the size of an iPhone. It runs with a rechargeable battery which lasts quiet a while. Its exact location is sent via the mobile network, that’s why there’s also a slot for a SIM card. So the first thing I had to do was take my bike to the next MIGROS where I bought an MBudget SIM card, which is more or less the cheapest mobile service you can get in Switzerland and it’s run by Swisscom which has an excellent mobile coverage all over the country.
So I setup the SIM card and put it into the tracker. I had my little difficulties at first like not getting any response from the device, but the problem was soon solved when I realized I have to turn off the PIN code.
This whole system works with special SMS codes and they only work as long as they’re sent from the “Guardian Phone”, which basically is just the phone you activate to work with the tracker. After setting up everything I got to try if it really locates me and yes it did, surprisingly accurate too!

SMS messages sent to get the coordinates.

SMS messages I had to send to set up the tracker.

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