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Upper-Air Sounding System Checkout

Description of Systems

Our department has two upper-air sounding systems. These DigiCORA MWUP41 systems, manufactured by Vaisala, consist of the following components:

The MW41 system, which is the latest generation of Vaisala sounding systems, is compatible with the latest generation of Windows operating systems and hardware. It can be used with either the Vaisala RS92 or RS41 sonde and Vaisala’s Ozonesonde. The sondes transmit in the frequency range from 400-406 MHz and have a typical reception range of 350 km. The system provides consistent high quality vertical profiles of pressure, geopotential height, temperature, relative humidity and winds at 1-2 second resolution.

Additional information and technical specifications for system

Cost for Using the System

$50/day for field campaign deployment for users within the university and ATS department (no additional charge for transit time). For those outside Colorado State University interested in using our system, please contact Russ Schumacher ( for details and possible collaborations.

The sounding system is free for use involving instructional purposes. The department also has a limited number of radiosondes for free instructional use; please contact us to inquire about availability.

Cost for Sonde Launch (as of February 2017)

~$300 ($250 for a RS41 sonde, $30 for 200 gr balloon, $20 for helium)
A number of sondes have been purchased with student funds and are available to students to be used at their discretion (e.g., launches during interesting weather events). Please contact Paul Ciesielski for details.

Typical Sonde Launch

Preparations take about 1/2 hour and include deployment of antennas, connecting system components, preparation of sonde (burn off impurities and sensor calibration), and filling of balloon. The 200 gr balloon is filled till it reaches a diameter of approximately 4 ft. This will result in a sonde rise rate of ~4 m/s. Sounding can be stopped manually or automatically when balloon burst (typically from 80-100 minutes after launch).

Department Sonde Team

Our sonde team conducts 4-6 demonstration launches each year for instructional purposes. If you are interested in performing a launch or helping with launches, please contact coordinator Paul Ciesielski at Faculty adviser is Russ Schumacher.

What the Sonde System Looks Like

Sounding processing subsystem, system laptop, ground check unit
Sonde launching cart
Sonde launching cart
Sonde Launch
Sonde for MPEX