Spring is nearing and so is the 2013 Sonde season. Landings are still in the dark so not too good for video or pictures but that will soon change. This is Sonde #4 (SN 7037645), it was launched from Oakland California on March 7th 2013 at 3pm and retrieved the same day at 7pm while still transmitting it’s position from a field near Elk Grove California.
The Sonde was received on L-Band (1682 MHz) using a 1.2m dish and tracked using r00t’s RRS Sonde Decoding software (shown below).
Here is the recovered Sonde.
As you can see it had bit of a hard landing.
Here is nice 3D position track of Sonde from point of first signal acquisition to the last received position before going mobile to retrieve. The position near Elk Grove is landing area.
The elevation profile is shown below, as you can see it was a quick and steep descent.
As you can see from image below, r00t’s predicted landing spot was pretty close to the actual one. This was critical because once the Sonde lands the signal is attenuated quite a bit. I picked up the signal about 1.5 miles from actual landing position and luckily it was very close to a road in between fields.