Sparv Embedded is proud to announce we have been awarded a 400.000 SEK development grant from Sweden’s innovation agency VINNOVA. Our project was among the few selected from an unusually large amount of applications. Over 700 applications were submitted from small and medium-size Swedish companies.
Our project regards a novel way of using a UAV for weather measurements, where we also applied for a patent. If successful, this will form a new part of the expanding Windsond radiosonde system, to give users more flexibility when performing meteorological soundings of the lower atmosphere.
Windsond continues to be used in Mexico for big, traditional sky lanterns.
A special adaptation measures both ambient temperature, ambient humidity and internal temperature inside the heated paper balloon envelope. This is used to monitor, track and recover the lanterns but also to develop a model predicting how high and how long the lanterns fly.
This was also reported about in June.
We are preparing for the Meteorological Technology World Expo in Brussels in October. So far we received a lot of interest, which is great!
We are also busy developing new options for ground station. New features will include diversity antennas, water-proofing, etc.
Currently the Windsond system is being used at the Kosan Gas Nordic Hot Air Balloon Championship, July 1-5. The organizers release a sonde before each briefing to help the event director Les Purfield (UK) to set the tasks for the upcoming flight. Before the launch period the organizers release another Windsond to provide the latest winds for the 13 competing pilots + 5 Fiesta balloons.
The weather conditions so far have been really good for balloon competition and many pilots state that they are very happy with the Windsond soundings that are being provided by the organizers.
Right now Windsond is being offered at a special price for hot air balloonists. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are a balloonist and are interested of buying a Windsond system at a reduced price.
A user at Stockholm University attached Windsond to a high-altitude balloon with special scientific instrumentation. The balloon rose to 27 km MSL before bursting. Windsond served as backup tracking system. The crew maintained contact with Windsond up to 10 km altitude using the regular whip receiver antenna. When the package was returning to earth suspended from the parachute, the crew got contact again and Windsond helped them to find and recover the package.
Here’s the long video showing the whole flight:
The firmware wasn’t adapted to these high altitudes and got confused. The beeping of Windsond can be heard throughout the whole flight — meaning Windsond was still active at 27 km altitude.
The crew is now planning more launches that will include Windsond and we’re discussing special adaptations for this kind of mission. A detailed report from a previous trial, that didn’t include Windsond, is available in Swedish here.
A Brazilian team has started using Windsond to track big sky lanterns. The construction and launch of these massive balloons are a traditional festivity in Portugal, Brazil, Mexico etc. The size can be ten meters and require several persons to launch. Here’s an example, though not from the same team:
For this occasion, Windsond was equipped with dual thermometers and a thermistor to measure not only the ambient air temperature but also the temperature inside the balloon envelope. During the first measurements it turned out the internal temperature rises to over 220 ºC.
The organisers were happy about the novel combination with Windsond:
I congratulate the excellent equipment developed! As this is a very significant cultural activity, many “globeros” were moved to see for the first time as their balloons move like snakes in the sky.
Windsond will track the balloons to improve airspace safety, to find and clean up balloon remains and to predict the flight path and landing location of the balloons. There are also plans to let Windsond control the balloon.
Anders is back from the ISARRA conference in Norman, Oklahoma, USA. The conference was hosted on the University of Oklahoma campus drew around sixty meteorology researchers from Europe and USA. It was very interesting to see the ongoing developments in UAS for weather measurements.
Oklahoma is actually a center for weather research and forecasting. One explanation is how Oklahoma is a hot-spot for extreme weather as it is in the so-called “tornado alley“. Storms, tornadoes, floods, large hail, lightning. Anders passed by areas that had previously been hit by ferocious tornadoes which killed people. The week Anders spent in Oklahoma saw more than its fair share of extreme weather. It was the rainiest month on record and the TV channels were busy showing weather radar pictures and following forming tornadoes. It was very clear how important the weather is to everyday life in Oklahoma.
The Windsond radiosonde met with great interest, both for use as-is and as potential part of bigger systems. We will follow up on the contacts and we hope for many exciting use cases — and to help predicting the dangerous storms of central USA.
Sparv Embedded is working on extending the Windsond system to also support using a UAV as vehicle for measurements at altitude. This will allow meteorological soundings without utilizing balloons or helium, making the equipment even more portable and making soundings even less expensive than with the Windsond radiosonde. We believe this holds great potential for both existing users of radiosonde technology as well as new markets and we have filed for a patent for our method.
As a step in this development, we will participate in a conference by “International Society for Atmospheric Research using Remotely piloted Aircraft”, ISARRA. The conference will take place in Norman, Oklahoma, USA from May 20 to 22. Oklahoma has a long and rich tradition in both weather research and aviation.
At the conference trade show, we will also showcase the Windsond miniature radiosonde. Maybe see you there?