I had been waiting for my first hat-trick for quite some time, but until now there had only been two consecutive sondes. That changed when I was awakened on Wednesday morning by manoeuvre sonde from Baumholder who were just approaching my QTH. I quickly got out of bed and took the next train to Marienheide, where the first 0630Z sonde had just landed in the forest near Listringhausen. While I was waiting for the bus there, the next sonde already landed behind Marienheide.
After the position of the first sonde had been decoded at the bus stop, I went 2 km into the forest in the best weather, only to find out that the chute was hanging on the edge of the forest at a height of about 7.5 m, and the sonde was not visible. So the parachute was quickly caught and pulled down, and lo and behold – the robust DFM could be pulled over the treetops, and eventually abseiled.
Further on to the second sonde, this time by bus to the Bruchertalsperre, there across the dam wall and this time about 3 km into the forest, beforehand the position was decoded. This time the parachute was hanging on a high spruce, which bordered on a spruce conservation, and I had to climb along the slope to the landing site. Again the parachute was just within reach of my pole, again the sonde could be abseiled. But this time I had to extend it’s string with the string of the previous one. New tool in the sonde backpack: DFM string.
In the meantime the following sonde had gone down faster and had only made it to Nümbrecht. Short investigation on the way back revealed that the landing site could be reached by foot from the central “bus station” aka road with many branches and bus shelters, Homburg-Bröl in the southern county past Wiehl. Therefore quickly into the TH in Gummersbach to empty the now full backpack in my lab and refill my water bottle. The new “express bus” 302 took me there. The sonde had already stopped transmitting and was not visible in the clearing where the forecast saw it. I stomped a few steps into the high undergrowth, which was full of ferns, and saw the sonde as ready to be picked up on the ground. The hat trick was complete. So quickly back to the bus stop, where I could also stop three ticks from getting too comfortable on my calves… and another tool for the sonde backpack: tick card.