To hunt for such an ozone sonde already appealed to me, and on the Friday before the first advent the forecast was favourable. In the morning I helped with the preparations for the christmas market in my old school, where I am still in charge of the PA equipment, and so it was obvious to ask the boys and girls if they wanted to join me. Jason, Jan and Martin where interested and came with me. We made sure to leave on time to reach the train at 12.23 pm; the sonde should land somewhere around Cologne. While we were still paying for lunch at the McDonalds at the Deutz train station, the balloon burst and it became clear that we were heading for Wuppertal. Jan and Martin didn’t go there anymore, because their student ticket is only valid in the VRS, Wuppertal is already in the VRR. Together with Jason I jumped into the RE; we didn’t want to be too late, I didn’t know what the competition for ozone probes was like in the Cologne area. Jason is a Sheldon, at least as far as railway transport in NRW is concerned; he knows the routes and departure times of the railways from memory. So we didn’t need the app to find out that we went back to Vohwinkel with the S-Bahn and then with a Wuppertal speciality, the diesel-powered Solingen trolleybus to the landing area, a residential area near the autobahn, where the sonde should lie in a garden.
Macbook out, SDR# on, no signal, 45 min. after landing. Knocking Doors it was. The residents on the western side of the garden knew nothing and from her garden nothing could be seen either. So we wen’t to the houses on the other side, not without first having looked from the nearby motorway bridge to rule out the worst. When we rang the bell there, the door was opened. We presented our request. “It was already picked up two young men half an hour ago”. Unfortunately they hadn’t left a note or anything, so they remained anonymous for the time being.
With mixed feelings we went back to Gummersbach. Who were the sonde hunters, were they responsible for other lost probes as well? I made a find report, in which I asked the finder to write me. Some days after the finder, Kevin from Troisdorf, contacted me. He had been on the road with his friend Kai and had been hunting sondes since 2017. As it turned out, he had already taken the DFM in Spich a few weeks earlier, but had not been able to report the find.