Original Ground Station

Overview | Software | Operating Instructions | FCC


The Hand-Held Ground Station supports the BalloonSat ISM 900MHz Tracker. This system is used to listed to the RF transmissions of the tracker. This product is integrated with a Yagi antenna.

The operator needs a computer with a USB port available. The drivers are online and install automatically. To see the packets, the computer needs to have a serial terminal software. See information below.


The ground station is a plastic case bolted to the base of a Yagi antenna.


The packaging of the Hand-Held Ground Station is a three element system.

  • The critical part is the radio module which includes a circuit board which hosts the Digi XTend RF Module, an ISM 900MHz radio. The radio here is the MMCX Version.

  • The antenna is a 4 element Yagi antenna. The Yagi is the Laird PC904N with a 6.0dBi gain.

  • The serial data and power are accommodated by a serial cable. Any packets received by the radio will be transmitted to the USB serial port.

Tracking Serial Software

Download the software below and configure to a serial setup.

Hercules Serial Software Site

Hercules Serial Software Download

Program the Radio

The radio is configured with XCTU by Digi for 100mW transmission power. There is no other software.

To ensure compliance with ISM regulation, do not change this configuration, hardware or software.


To operate the Hand-Held Ground Station, plug the USB cable into a computer. This computer will provide the power to the receiver and install a virtual serial port on the computer. Use any serial port software to view the data, such as RealTerm.

Settings Summary

9600 Baud, Parity: None, Data Bits: 8 bits, Stop Bits: 1 bit, Hardware Flow Control: None

Packet Decode

The packets will vary based on the software version. These packets are intended for human interpolation. Users can build a decode algorithm based on these packets.

Data Packet - Click Here


The enclosed device complies with Part 15 of the FCC rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions: (i.) this device may not cause harmful interference and (ii.) this device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation.

WARNING: This equipment is approved only for mobile and base station transmitting devices. Antenna(s) used for this transmitter must be installed to provide a separation distance of at least 30 cm from all persons and must not be co-located or operating in conjunction with any other antenna or transmitter.