4 September 2013
If You Find One of These- Please Return It!
Posted by Dan Satterfield
The NWS is phasing in a new type of radiosonde that comes equipped with it’s own postage paid envelope to make returning it for reconditioning easy. Note the sticker that says HARMLESS WEATHER INSTRUMENT (Just wait until the chem-trail folks see that!). More from NWS Little Rock:
New radiosonde! Today, the first test flight of a new radiosonde (instrument that goes up beneath a weather balloon) occurred at the NWS office in North Little Rock. These instruments are being phased in at NWS offices, and should be in regular use in North Little Rock in late September.
The object sticking out toward the upper left is a temperature sensor. Sitcking out to the left (and looking like an upside-down measuring spoon) is a humidity sensor. Inside the instrument are a barometer, GPS device, and a battery. By tracking which way the radiosonde goes after it is released, wind direction and speed are determined.
If you look closely at the picture, the instrument says “Harmless Weather Instrument” on the side. The plastic strip just down and to the right of the hand is a folded-up mailing bag. If the radiosonde is found after use, the person who discovers it can put it in the bag (no postage required) and give it to his/her mail carrier. The instrument is then sent to a reconditioning center so it can be reconditioned and reused. (Only about 15-20% of the instruments are ever found nationwide. Most come down in sparsely-populated areas where no one finds them.).
These instruments are launched on balloons at Noon and Midnight GMT everyday. Forecasters like me have the data very quickly and without this data, forecasting would be nearly impossible. There are also instruments on aircraft that can measure the upper atmosphere and increasingly sensors on satellites are becoming indispensable, especially in areas over the oceans where there is little or no data.
The video below is mine (shot in Jan 2010) of the Rawinsode launch at station 89007- Amundsen Scott Station South Pole. The instrument launch there requires heating the balloon because of the intense cold! It was a pleasant 5 degrees above in the building and about -20F outside.
If the sonde has a built-in GPS unit, why are they so hard to find? Does it stop transmitting its position after a set period of time? Would it not be possible or practical to use the GPS to find the sonde after it lands?
The cost to find it would be far more than building a new one. Also the batteries do not last that long, and the signal is not that strong..line of sight is easy when it is aloft but once it falls the signal will not travel far. Also, no parachute on the way down, so the electronics may not survive. FYI, these things can travel hundreds of kilometers before the balloon bursts…
Did the one from the pole have the sticker? Cheers!
Nope…old style and those never get returned! A bit empty down there!
I love in Alberta and my employer ran one of these over with his combine, ha ha ha.
Not really much to salvage from it besides the printed circuit boards and the batteries.
Just curious though as to how much it costs to make one of these units, I’ve already returned the one I found by the way.
Are you filling them with helium or hydrogen? And what’s the rate of ascent of the balloon and instrument? Thanks. Very nice video!
Helium since hydrogen is very dangerous.
I thought so too. But after reading this story, I contacted the author and he said that they were, indeed, using hydrogen for these National Weather Service launches.
I did some looking and indeed it seems that both is used. The last launch I watched was actually at the South Pole and I forgot which he used.. I think it was hydrogen, now that I reflect on it. It was rather cold at the time and I was trying not to shiver while shooting a video of it! Hydrogen would be cheaper and easier to make, since helium is in short supply and the military use gets top priority.
I once saw a disposal notice (not in my collection, http://radiosondemuseum.org/disposal-notices/, since I don’t actually have it) that says something to the effect “if the balloon is partially inflated, approach with caution; flammable gas,” or words to that effect. I don’t recall what country it was from.
I found 1 of these on my home on the roof placed in an inconspicuous place. It was there for 3 months or longer. I was 1 of a few people that could hear a humming sound when inside my home and very quiet inside. Does this device have the capability to transmit data back to its source with the technology it has as long as the battery stays alive??
This was reported to authorities and once the police responded the device was kicked by the policeman and then taken from me as if I did something wrong? Can anyone help me on this?
Battery might last that long but I doubt it! It does transmit data but only for about an hour.
My son found one on the back 40. The balloon was too high in the tree to rescue but the weather
radiosonde was just a few feet from the ground. It will be in the mail as soon as we can send it.
Location: Sherman Township, Osceola County, Michigan
I found one and need an address to send it back. Could you email me the address so I can do so. Thank you.
Take it to the post office. They will likely know.
I found one but I can’t read what it says where to return it kind of Weathered I just want to know where to return the unit thank you q
There should be a shipping bag in the sleeve on the handle. It is marked with prepaid postage and the return address printed on it. Carefully cut the sleeve, so you do not cut the bag.
I found one yesterday.
There is one that has been hanging in a tree behind my house for several weeks, too high for me to retrieve. If anyone wants to get it down, I’ll gladly give you the location. I’m in Little Rock, AR.
So one of theses just fell in my front yard and got a little scared but i read all this and it will be in mail in the am.. time drop from sky 9:18 pm on July 7 2020 in Odessa Texas.
Just found one today, 8/28/20, floating outside the lagoon of Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia and now putting in the envelop for mail
We found one of these on a beach near Saugutuck MI. there is not a return envelope attached. I’ll send it back if you give me the address.
I found one in Thibodaux La.70301 and I sent it back with the envelope that was with it
We just found one that we will be returning. These are a hazard to wildlife with all the string that comes attached to it. Not only was the string stretched across a highway, but it was fortunate it did not land in one of the two lakes that border the highway or the connecting channnel/stream that runs under the highway. What a danger to wildlife! Fish, birds, turtles, etc., could potentially all become entangled with fatal results. We understand the need for science and information, but there must be a better and more environmentally friendly way to do this.
I found a radiosonde LMS6 with a date of 11-1-2020 and SondeID 7405981 on the label. I found it and live in central Georgia. How can I tell where it was launched from?
Should be on the package.