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Author Topic: Balloon SSID location without Wifi shield or GPS  (Read 2272 times)
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Hello everyone!
I'm making one of these:
http://www.solar-balloons.com/howto.html

I could get the SSID of any nearby Wifi from a small keychain Wifi finder.  It wouldn't need to be so sensitive.  It could miss a few and take 5 minutes until it gets the next one from high up.  Then send it via 60mw Xbee.  Without the UNO devel board this could be very lightweight.  About the same weight as the ballast I need to keep the balloon upright anyway.  The value of the hardware in case it were lost would be $50 instead of $150 for GPS.  What other data could I send?

I would know the approximate location of the Balloon!  Enough to find it anyway.
What do you think?  Feasible?
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Chester, UK
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Couldn't you achieve something with a radio transmitter and a really really directional antenna?  (like they use to track tagged animals?)
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For $50 you can get a Boost Mobile Motorola i296: http://www.boostmobilestore.com/bpdirect/boost/PhoneList.do?action=view&id=i296

Then you can install free GPS tracking software from mologogo.com InstaMapper.com or Buddyway.com

If the phone is too heavy you can remove the case some other parts.
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I understand Fox hunting.  So 1970's!

Can you send data with a cheap drone transmitter?  I've left my old DF antennas at my parents house, haven't seen them in 25 years.

1) I fly paragliders in the Andes.  Much bigger than this.  We go as high as we want!  What danger?  Too low?
2) Line of sight.  They will work at least a mile when I'm standing in a clear field.  They make bigger ones too 1w or 20mi.
3) I will be doing this in a residential area, plenty of home Wifi.
4) Normal is boring.  I want to collect data!  MAC addresses?  Windspeed for flying myself later?  
Anything else anyone?
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Actually I've done that already!  Different type of balloon.  Love Instamapper.  This will be much lighter, so I could use a smaller balloon.  I've written much code for Instamapper and Google Maps together.  It will work where there is no Boost coverage, like here 01355.
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Can you receive control data with a cheap drone or beacon transmitter?  Laugh, it's a joke.  But not ROTFL.

It's not going to say "Spy Balloon" on it with big letters.  It will look like a lost kids toy.  Who said low attitude?  I'm going 10k with a stronger Xbee!  Or a timer that brings it back down if it loses the signal for long.  Simple with Uno.  You helped me think of my first control signal.  It's going up to the UNO.  A signal which will tell it to pop the balloon when it's over an area that I can access.  Try that with a transmitter!

Report me?  For what?  They're going to analyze my Arduino code before I get there?
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Sounds like fun.

If the keychain wifinder can't report from a great height you could try a keychain camera!
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Like this!  Easy to trigger.
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbycity/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=11867

I was considering using the Xbee Wifi shield and library to get MAC addresses instead of SSID with a keychain.  A little extra weight and expense but how cool!  More sensitive.  Easier too.  Is anyone familiar with this library?  Does this function exist?  It does NOT in one of the other Wifi libraries I checked.
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Quote
What do you think?  Feasible?

Make the balloon first and see if it is actually capable of lifting a payload.
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$12.99 keychain video camera + 2GB micro-SD card
"This is an archived page. This product is no longer available and has been replaced by a newer product."

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbycity/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=13447
$7.69 keychain video camera (Micro SD card sold separately for $5.59)
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Thanks for that link!  Just realized I don't really need the Xbee 2ghz radio.  Unless I want to control it to bring it down from 1mi away or 6000' up.  Instead I can wait until it's over an open Wifi network.  Then it will tell me where it is!  This will work even if I have to wait until the human finder gets home.  It would have printed instructions take me to an Open Wifi for a prize!  I wish it would work at Starbucks.  Then I'd say take me to Starbucks instead!  Much more funny and they wouldn't understand why until I arrived...
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Where do you live?! people wised up and secured their wifi networks a long time ago around here!
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Also - I developing a strong suspicion that you live near a nudist beach or something.
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In the middle of the Big Woods.  Not many houses around except on the main highway.  But the few with electricity have Open Networks so their neighbors can share!  We don't have cable or phone lines or DSL.  Few have dishes.  Just Sprint Mifi.  It doesn't matter.  Even if I can't find any open wifi, maybe I'm too high, it will have a note on it.  Take me to Wifi or take me to Starbucks.  Then I might know where it is!  Unless the Google database doesn't have the MAC address cuz the road is too small and rarely used...

In Orange County, CA maybe 1 in 100 neighbors have open wifi.  But in a neighborhood with 1000 houses that is enough.  I can store the MAC's along the way.  I don't need to find it until the end.  Then at least it'll be lower.  Hopefully not in the middle of the desert!

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I could get the SSID of any nearby Wifi from a small keychain Wifi finder.  Then send it via 60mw Xbee.

I would know the approximate location of the Balloon!  Enough to find it anyway.
What do you think?  Feasible?

I think there might be a few minor glitches in your plan that may combine to make it infeasible.

1) Keychain WiFi detectors usually just give rough signal strength and not BSSID (MAC address)
2) With a 60mW XBee you would have to be fairly close to the balloon to get a data connection
3) Google seems to have blocked access to the BSSID-to-location database.  At least the two sites I found that used to be able to query the database no longer work.
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