Inuvik Radiosonde Launch

Now that the pandemic has tapered off a bit, I took another short trip up to Inuvik, NWT. While I was up there, I visited the Environment Canada Weather Station, and participated in a radiosonde launch.

Dempster Highway sign

The big news out of Inuvik during this trip was that the road from the airport to the town has been paved! The road is much smoother, and I don't need to worry about windshield cracks every time a big truck passes.

Since my 2016 visit, the site has been upgraded with modern equipment. The old Electrolyser Corporation hydrogen generator was replaced with a Proton Hogen unit, all housed in a modern building with explosion-proof light switches, electrical outlets, etc.

Hogen Hydrogen Generator

I arrived just before the Midnight UTC launch, and Chris already had the balloon inflated and was working on the radiosonde transmitter. As I saw in Newfoundland, Canada has transitioned to the Graw DFM-09 radiosonde.

Balloon inflation

To my surprise, he actually let me release this radiosonde. This was my first radiosonde release, and it's very similar to a bursting HAB release. One interesting aspect of holding a ready-to-go radiosonde was the lifting force of the balloon was pretty strong.

Radiosonde release

I had my laptop running radiosonde_auto_rx inside a container and I tracked this radiosonde. The serial number was 20048645.

Sondehub screenshot

Final Sondehub screenshot

This radiosonde rose for 111 minutes at an average rate of ~5.4 meters/second, and burst at 36,153 meters (~119k feet). This ascent rate is pretty close to the target of 5 meters/second, but what's interesting is that this balloon burst at 36k meters. The radiosondes launched from my home site have the same ascent rate but burst at 30k meters, so their flights are typically 2 hours total, from launch to landing. I wonder if this burst altitude is standard or this was just a special balloon.

Next to the weather station is the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility (ISSF) site. In addition to painting the dish surfaces of their 13 meter L3 Datron dishes with local themes, they also installed a Viasat 13 meter dish.

Radiosonde release