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Weather balloon frequencies?

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k9rzz

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Any sources for weather balloon frequencies? I think they run in the 400 - 407 mhz range, but I'm not sure.

73,

John K9RZZ
Milwaukee
 

k9rzz

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Found this at the NOAA web page, but still could use some frequencies and locations - K9RZZ

<What is a Radiosonde?

For over 60 years, upper air observations have been made by the National Weather Service (NWS) with radiosondes. The radiosonde is a small, expendable instrument package that is suspended below a 2 meter (6 feet) wide balloon filled with hydrogen or helium. As the radiosonde is carried aloft, sensors on the radiosonde measure profiles of pressure, temperature, and relative humidity. These sensors are linked to a battery powered, 300 milliwatt radio transmitter that sends the sensor measurements to a sensitive ground receiver on a radio frequency ranging from 1668.4 - 1700.0 MHz. By tracking the position of the radiosonde in flight, information on wind speed and direction aloft is also obtained. Observations where winds aloft are also obtained are called "rawinsonde" observations.

The radiosonde flight can last in excess of two hours, and during this time the radiosonde can ascend to over 35 km (about 115,000 feet) and drift more than 200 km (about 125 miles) from the release point. During the flight, the radiosonde is exposed to temperatures as cold as -90 o C (-130 o F) and an air pressure only few thousandths of what is found on the Earth's surface. When the balloon has expanded beyond its elastic limit and bursts (about 6 m or 20 feet in diameter), a small parachute slows the descent of the radiosonde, minimizing the danger to lives and property.

Only about 20 percent of the approximately 75,000 radiosondes released by the NWS each year are found and returned to the NWS for reconditioning. These rebuilt radiosondes are used again, saving the NWS the cost of a new instrument. If you find a radiosonde, follow the mailing instructions printed on the side of the instrument.

Although all the data from the flight are used, data from the surface to the 400 hPa pressure level (about 7 km or 23,000 feet) are considered minimally acceptable for NWS operations. Thus, a flight may be deemed a failure and a second radiosonde is released if the balloon bursts before reaching the 400 hPa pressure level or if more than 6 minutes of pressure and/or temperature data between the surface and 400 hPa are missing.

Worldwide, there are nearly a 900 upper-air observation stations. Most are located in the Northern Hemisphere and all observations are usually taken at the same time each day (00:00 and/or 12:00 UTC), 365 days a year. Observations are made by the NWS at 92 stations - 69 in the conterminous United States, 13 in Alaska, 9 in the Pacific, and 1 in Puerto Rico. NWS supports the operation of 10 other stations in the Carribean. Through international agreements data are exchanged between countries. >
 

mciupa

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k9rzz said:
Any sources for weather balloon frequencies? I think they run in the 400 - 407 mhz range, but I'm not sure.
73,
John K9RZZ
Milwaukee
I believe NASA uses 403.0000 . It may be a worthy question on the SPACE forum here on RR as those guys montior extra-terrestrial comms.
 

ScanManQSL

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I’m glad this topic was brought up. I was at the NWS-Sterling open house for a SKYWARN training class and one of the demonstrations was letting the weather balloon go.

I have some pictures…

The Balloon
http://image28.webshots.com/29/6/32/50/2226632500089821997VfuOzx_fs.jpg
The Transmitter/ExperimentPackage
http://image59.webshots.com/59/6/95/67/2011695670089821997kBrkIR_fs.jpg
The balloon going up up and away - The orange looking object is a radar reflector
http://image22.webshots.com/22/5/13/45/2674513450089821997cFmmTq_fs.jpg
 

k9rzz

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ScanManQSL said:
I’m glad this topic was brought up. I was at the NWS-Sterling open house for a SKYWARN training class and one of the demonstrations was letting the weather balloon go.

I have some pictures…

The Balloon
http://image28.webshots.com/29/6/32/50/2226632500089821997VfuOzx_fs.jpg
The Transmitter/ExperimentPackage
http://image59.webshots.com/59/6/95/67/2011695670089821997kBrkIR_fs.jpg
The balloon going up up and away - The orange looking object is a radar reflector
http://image22.webshots.com/22/5/13/45/2674513450089821997cFmmTq_fs.jpg
YEAH! That's the target.

I just need to find out where the nearest launches are and what frequencies they use.

I emailed the weather people at one of the TV stations here, but no answer yet.

Other outlets may be selected Skywarn folks on the ham repeater, or the NWS service itself.

I want to hear a weather balloon! (probably not very exciting in itself, but it's the challenge that's appealing to me).

John K9RZZ
Milwaukee
 

k9rzz

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Q101ATFD said:
I quick look at the manufacturer specs for the radiosonde in the picture shows a tuning range of 400MHz to 406MHz (403MHz nominal), which is the standard frequency for the NWS and Navy balloons.

http://www.sippican.com/stuff/contentmgr/files/6f597c276e01b5e1f76a5fed153a0117/sheet/gpsmark2.pdf

You won't have any luck decoding the onboard GPS data because it only broadcasts doppler data, not its actual location.
Right you are, it's a start:

o c e a n systems d i v i s i o n
SPECIFICATIONS
TRANSMITTERS
Nominal Frequency: 403 MHz
Tuning Range: 400-406 MHz

Output Power (Nominal): 240 mW
Modulation: FM
Nominal Frequency: 1680 MHz
Tuning Range: 1680-1700 MHz

Output Power (Nominal): 300 mW
Modulation: FM
DATA TRANSMISSION
Type: Digital Bi-Phase
Transmission Rate: 400 Baud
Subcarrier (Loran) 100 kHz
DATA CHANNELS
Pressure, Temperature, Humidity plus 4 spare channels.
SAMPLING RATE
All parameters once per second. Each data set
transmitted twice for added reliability.
POWER SOURCE
Single water-activated battery.
SENSOR CALIBRATION
Polynomial coefficients resident in sonde EEPROM are
transmitted continuously in digital data-stream.
PRESSURE SENSOR
Type: Continuously variable
capacitance aneroid
Measuring Range: 1080 mb to 3 mb
Accuracy: ±0.5 mb (rms)
Resolution: 0.1 mb
TEMPERATURE SENSOR
Type: Thin rod thermistor
Range: -90ºC to +60ºC
Accuracy: ±0.2ºC (rms)
Resolution: 0.1ºC
HUMIDITY SENSOR
Type: Carbon type
Range: 5 to 100% RH;
+40ºC to -50ºC
Accuracy: 2% RH (rms)
Resolution: 1% RH
DIMENSIONS
144 x 102 x 193 (mm)
WEIGHT
300 grams (including battery, dereeler, & cord)
MODEL
1540 1680 MHz, P, T, U
1543 403 MHz, Loran-C/P, T, U
1547 403 MHz, P, T, U
1548 403 MHz, GPS
Sensor information is transmitted in
digital form at a 400 baud rate. The
prior meteorological sampling is
attached to the end of each new frame
of data. If a frame of data is lost in
transmission, the W-9000 system
replaces the missing data using this
redundancy feature.
The Mark II MICROSONDE series uses
two methods to address the problem of
radio frequency interference in the
meteorological band. First, multi-stage
transmitters at both 403 MHz and
1680 MHz frequencies provide highly
stable signals over the entire range of
operating temperatures. For critical
applications, high stability transmitters
are available. Secondly, the Mark II serial
number is transmitted continuously in
the digital data stream.This feature
allows the W-9000 synthesized receiver
to lock-on to the Mark II data
transmission throughout the flight.
PRESSURE MEASUREMENT
The ZEEMET Mark II series of
radiosondes features a capacitive
aneroid for continuous pressure
measurement. Precise manufacturing and
calibration processes minimize effects
due to temperature, hysteresis, and drift.
Calibration information is encoded in
the radiosonde EEPROM and
transmitted continuously.
TEMPERATURE MEASUREMENT
A thin ACCU-LOK fast response rod
thermistor is employed to measure
temperature. The thermistor lock-in
resistance value is part of the
radiosonde data stream, eliminating
the need for preflight baselining.
HUMIDITY MEASUREMENT
A small ACCU-LOK fast response
carbon hygristor is utilized to measure
to optimize the accuracy of humidity
measurement. Each hygristor is
permanently installed in the radiosonde;
a protective vial is removed prior to
launch to expose the sensor. Here again
the lock-in values are included as part of
the radiosonde data stream.
WINDS
The Loran-C Mark II MICROSONDE
retransmits radionavigation signals to
the W-9000 System. The W-9000
System then processes these signals into
winds data.These Mark II
MICROSONDES incorporate a low
noise integrated circuit receiver tuned
to the respective frequencies to amplify
signals before applying them to the
modulator/transmitter. Receiver gain is
designed to pick up the weakest signal
of Loran-C networks so that the sonde
can be flown virtually anywhere suitable
coverage is available.
The GPS Mark II MICROSONDE
includes a full code correlating, all-in-view
GPS receiver and antenna.The GPS
receiver processes signals from all
visible satellites and is integrated into
the radiosonde electronics. Raw GPS
data (LOS) from the receiver is encoded
and added to the serial PTU data.The
sum of these two data streams is then
sent as a single digital transmission
within the 400-406 MHz bandwidth.The
W-9000 system receives, filters, decodes
and processes these signals into
accurate winds data.
DEREELER
The Mark II has an internal automatic
dereeler (with 30 meters of cord) to
facilitate launch in high winds, on board
ship, or with only one operator. A
centrifugal clutch governs the payout
rate of the cord.The operator needs
 

AES-256

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And this is what it looks like when it lands. This one was recovered from the Woodrow Wilson Bridge (495 outer loop Washington D.C.) last month. View attachment 4877
 
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ScanManQSL

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kb4kro said:
And this is what it looks like when it lands. This one was recovered from the Woodrow Wilson Bridge (495 outer loop Washington D.C.) last month. View attachment 4877
Shoot! I could have picked that up, That is near by where I live. J/J ;) Good find John!

The Radiosonde package (the small white box) typically have a return address on them. I'm just carious... Does the white box in your picture has a return address on it? Where was the balloon launched at?
 

AES-256

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It's an Ozonesondes, they are launched during code-red events at a site in Beltsville, MD (39.054o W, 76.877o N). Launchings are held in conjuction with Howard University and NASA/GSFC.

The package shown from my previous post was the reason for the WW bridge being shut down last month. Fairfax County Police Bomb Unit did the recovery.

Here ia a link:
http://croc.gsfc.nasa.gov/shadoz/index.html Look at the photo gallerys on this one.
 

OpSec

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k9rzz said:
I want to hear a weather balloon! (probably not very exciting in itself, but it's the challenge that's appealing to me).

John K9RZZ
Milwaukee

I can help you with this...our local NWS does not launch balloons. The closest is the Green Bay office.
 
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