Several unidentified object shootdowns this month over the United States and Canada have drawn attention to amateur balloonists who maintain their inventions are safe.
Three weeks ago, the U.S. A suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina, and smaller unidentified objects over Alaska and Lake Huron were detected in American airspace, and President Joseph Biden has ordered fighter jets to shoot them down.
Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau directed a U.S. fighter plane to shoot down another item over the Yukon.
U.S. government officials have not positively identified the items, but Biden suggested on Thursday that they were likely balloons connected to private businesses, weather researchers, or amateurs.
Tom Medlin, the host of the Amateur Radio Roundtable podcast from Tennessee and an avid balloon enthusiast, claimed to have spoken with an Illinois group that claims the object shot down over the Yukon was one of their balloons.
Messages sent for group members on Friday went unanswered, but Medlin said that the club was tracking the balloon, which vanished over the Yukon on the same day the mysterious item was shot down.
Balloon enthusiasts are attempting to defend their hobby in light of the incidents. They contend that their balloons are too little and fly too far away to be a threat.
The surveillance balloon needed to be shot down, according to Medlin. “It poses a threat to national security. The government then, I believe, became a little worried. The phrase can be “trigger-happy.” I’m not sure. They had no idea what they were when they fired them down. That raises some questions.
According to John Kirby, a White House National Security Council spokesman, the Biden administration could not verify claims that the object belonged to the Illinois club. He added that we “all have to embrace the risk that we may not be able to recover” the debris, adding that it has not yet been located.
U.S. officials announced on Friday that they have given up looking for the objects shot down over Alaska and Lake Huron’s debris.
Biden’s decision to use missiles costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to fire down what were probably balloons that cost less than $20 was argued to be an overreaction, but Kirby disagreed.
Not at all, Kirby replied. It was the correct thing to do at the right moment, given the circumstances, the information, and our military commanders’ advice.
According to him, the balloons Medlin is now flying are around 32 inches in diameter and cost $12.
He explained that the balloons are equipped with solar-powered transmitters that weigh less than 2 grams and transmit a signal roughly every 10 minutes for ham radio operators worldwide to utilize in tracking the balloons’ positions.
He said he currently has a balloon in the sky that has been ascending for 250 days and has completed ten orbits of the earth.
According to Medlin, who added that he needed a microscope to manufacture the tiny transmitters since they are so little,
the fun is watching the balloon circle the earth and build them. According to him, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency has been gathering information from amateur radio operators to monitor wind patterns.