SondeMonitor tracks and decodes live weather data telemetry from radiosonde weather balloons
SondeMonitor - Features
Analogue and digital sondes
SondeMonitor decodes the messages from both analogue (6-tone) radiosondes (Vaisala RS80 series) and digital radiosondes (Vaisala RS92SGP and RS92AGP series) using a simple UHF scanner receiver and the soundcard of a PC or laptop.
SondeMonitor generates a data file of the raw sample frequency data from analogue radiosondes and the raw hex data from digital radiosondes.
SondeMonitor displays the raw measurand data in either table form or graphical form as a quick look and to identify the balloon burst instant.
SondeMonitor displays the decoded data in either table form or graphical form (right). A median filter and a smoothing filter are both supplied to improve the signal to noise ratio of the telemetry from analogue sondes that lack the error checking machanisms of the digital sondes.
SondeMonitor can display the decoded telemetry data from a digital sonde in a real-time using a Stueve diagram (below right) that develops as the sonde ascends. The diagram shows temperature and humidity against log pressure (altitude) together with measured wind data if the GPS telemetry decode is armed.
GPS position tracking
SondeMonitor can display a map showing the ground track of digital (GPS) radio sondes during their flight mission or processed from the telemetry data afterwards (right) It can also ouput the current sonde position as a pseudo-GPS receiver in serial NMEA format.
SondeMonitor can display a window showing the real time distance and direction of the sonde. If you have a GPS receiver connected to SondeMonitor, it will display the relative bearing of the sonde with respect to your direction of travel. This greatly facilitates pursuit of the sonde.
Google Earth display
SondeMonitor can create a Google Earth KML file showing the complete path of the radio sonde in three dimensions. It can also display the real-time position of a sonde over a Google-Earth display.
At a click of a button, SondeMonitor can show you the current position of a digital sonde over a MultiMap(tm) display.
Google Map(tm) support
At a click of a button, SondeMonitor can show you the current position of a digital sonde over a Google Map(tm) display.
SondeMonitor can output the current position of a digital sonde in NMEA serial format. This serial data can be connected to other mapping software to show the position of the sonde.
SondeMonitor provides an OLE/COM (Automation) output that gives the current position of the sonde and can be used in conjunction with other software. CombiPlotter from COAA can make use of this data.
SondeMonitor can be controlled with a simple script language contained in a text file. Script commands include starting and stopping processing, downloading GPS satellite date from the Internet or from a local receiver, arming the GPS solution, performing shell operations, time scheduling and looping. If you have a serial controlled receiver, you can even tune the receiver with the script.
MeteoModem M2K2 and M10 support
SondeMonitor can now decode the MeteoModem M2K2 and M10 radiosondes. The position (latitude, longitude and altitude) is decoded with no prior requirement for GSP almanacs and arming. The PTU parameters displayed are qualitative, not quantitative.
OSM mapping support
If you are decoding radiosondes while connected to the Internet, SondeMonitor can now display the sonde track over a map of any chosen scale or area downloaded from Open Street Map with a single click.
Graw DFM-06 support
SondeMonitor can now decode the Graw DFM-06 radiosonde. The position (latitude, longitude), altitude, track, speed, rate of ascent are decoded with no prior requirement for GSP almanacs and arming. The calibration of the PTU parameters seems to vary from device to device but the decoding in the current version gives a reasonable approximation to the temperature trace and a qualitative view of the humidity trace.
Meteolabor SRS-C34 support
SondeMonitor can now decode the Meteolabor SRS-C34 radiosonde. The position (latitude, longitude), altitude, track and speed are decoded with no prior requirement for GPS almanacs and arming. The interpretation of the PTU parameters is still subject to investigation. In version 126.96.36.199 the pressure and temperature are decoded and displayed. The interpretation of the humidity parameter is still under review.
SondeMonitor - Applications
SondeMonitor allows you to preview the upper air data that is collected by radiosondes that are launched near to you. Watch as the sonde passes through the tropopause and be the first to know when the balloon bursts and where it lands.
SondeMonitor turns a dry classroom study of upper air meteorology into a hands-on practical experience for the student. The data collected is at a much finer resolution than the publicly available data circulated after the event. This allows an analysis of the vertical spatial distribution properties of temperatures in the stratosphere, for example.
Air traffic services
SondeMonitor can plot the ground track of digital radiosondes that are launched within radio range. This information could be used to minimize the chance of a conflict between air traffic and the sonde during its ascent and descent phases.
SondeMonitor allows you to see the upper air temperature and humidity profiles in real time so that you can seek the out best convective activity levels and avoid those levels where the air mass is stable. The Sueve diagram (right) includes the dry and moist adiabat curves (green and blue lines) that allow stability to be inferred.
SondeMonitor allows you to follow the ground track of digital radiosondes that are launched near to you. If you are lucky you may be able to intercept its descent to the ground and perhaps recover the device. Some administrations offer a modest bounty to people who return the radiosondes that they have found. In the case of Ozone monitors, the bounty can be considerable.
Requirements to run SondeMonitor
- Pentium level PC running Win95/98/Me/2k/XP with compatible sound card.
- UHF receiver and antenna capable of receiving WFM mode (analogue) or NFM mode (digital) on UHF frequencies between 400 and 406 MHz. For reception of the RS92AGP sondes (currently used in Germany), you need a receiver with a discriminator output.
- Compatible radiosonde launches within UHF line of sight (up to 300km).
SondeMonitor can be downloaded freely and comes in a
self-extracting EXE file which automatically installs itself.
The file size is a modest 1.6Mb.
Registration of SondeMonitor
SondeMonitor can be freely downloaded and used for 21 days. After
that time it must be registered. Registration can be done
swiftly and securely on-line and costs only Euro €25 (plus
VAT for EU residents) for personal use. A higher fee applies to professional
or commercial use of SondeMonitor. We strongly recommend that you ensure
that SondeMonitor performs to your satisfaction before
registering. Please don't consider using a cracked version of the software. Unless I get a small return on the time that I invest in adding new features, I will not be able to continue to do so. Thanks.
Plug-ins for SondeMonitor
CombiPlotter provides you with a low-overhead means of displaying the radiosonde positions decoded by SondeMonitor on another chart view. It will plot simultaneous data from ShipPlotter, PlanePlotter, OrbcommPlotter and SondeMonitor on a single chart.
The JPEG decompression routines employed for the maps in SondeMonitor are copyright (c) The Independent JPEG Group.
The demodulation and decoding of the M2K2 would not have been possible without the encouragement and guidance of users who prefer not to be identified.
The demodulation and decoding of the DFM06 was only possible having seen a slide presentation on the subject by Matthias Amberg and Bernhard Radzio and with the benefit of a preview of a paper to be published by the AmateurfunkForshungsGruppe of the Technische Universitât Kaiserslautern authored by M Amberg, B Radzio and B Schaaf.
There are considerable variations in the legislation concerning radio reception in the different administrations around the world. It is your responsibility to determine whether or not your local administration permits the reception of radio telemetry messages from radiosondes. It is specifically forbidden to use SondeMonitor for any illegal purpose whatsoever. The existence and the availability of SondeMonitor is not to be construed as an incitement to commit any unlawful act. It is for use only in those states and regions where such use is permitted.
The ability of SondeMonitor to plot the ground track of a digital sonde in real time is not to be construed as in incitement to commit an offence in those jurisdictions where to find and keep a lost radiosonde would contravene the law.
Chasing an object using a road vehicle is intrinsically dangerous. We cannot accept any responsibility for vehicle or other accidents occurring while using SondeMonitor to chase a sonde in any kind of vessel, vehicle or aircraft.
The registered company names, trade names, and product names mentioned in this help file are proprietary to their respective owners and are herby acknowledged. The data formats used by the radio sondes are proprietary to the manufacturer of those sondes and the information decoded and displayed by SondeMonitor has been inferred by reference to material in the public domain and after a very lengthy study of the signals themselves and explicitly without any reference whatsoever to any proprietary material or information. As such, it is entirely possible that some inferences that we have drawn about the nature of the data being transmitted, are incorrect and as a result the information displayed by SondeMonitor may be misleading or wrong.
Accordingly, we cannot accept any responsibility for the consequences of using this program or data from it for any purpose whatsoever.
Introduction to radiosondes
BBC program about radiosondes.
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