Somehow I woke up early on Saturday morning and was half lying on my iPad, where I must have fallen asleep. Before I put it away, I did what every Millenial does instinctively in half sleep: I looked at my notifications. The sonde alarm had gone off, the night sonde from Essen had landed in Meckenheim. Somehow I dozed off again, and after my unsuccessful hunts yesterday I dreamed that this probe had been taken by an unknown sonde hunter.

When I woke up I was astonished that there was no report yet, because I couldn’t quite tell the difference between dream and reality at this point. When I had caught myself, I checked the situation again and the village, in front of whose windmill the sonde was to lie in the grass, was quite easily accessible. On the way back, one could perhaps collect the Essen midday probe, which was supposed to come down between Brühl and Euskirchen.

Said, done. The local RB25 brought me to Cologne, after a short stop at McDonalds (the breakfast had only consisted of a chocolate bar due to lack of time) I continued with the RB26 to Bonn Bad-Godesberg. Normally I am full of praise for the guidance system of the German railway, which rarely disappointed me with short changeover times in unknown stations. But here someone came up with the grandiose idea to write “BUS” without any further specification, e.g. after lines, in the direction of both exits of the underpass. Fortunately I guessed correctly and caught the bus to Villip.

NO4 Essen – Villip
Vaisala RS41-SGP / P2610246 / 23.02.2019 0000Z
🔗 lost despite thorough search
🔗 public transport

There I went up the way to the mill, but saw nothing on the meadow, which was next to my footpath in the landing corridor. At the top there was a paddock for horses. In the whole landing area there were no clues, only something white distributed in the grass, which looked like bird feathers on closer inspection. The inhabitants of the mill did not open even after ringing the bell several times. I wanted to drop a note, but had to find out that I didn’t have a notepad with me. Soon a ready-made flyer will be prepared for those instances, for such things you always need the right impulse. I still had time, so I looked again from the other side of the adjacent row of houses, and rang the doorbell one last time at the mill, before I decided in accordance to the flight of the noon sonde, which was about to burst, not to go to Euskirchen, but back to Bonn. Still in the bus the balloon burst and a landing between Hürth and the south of Cologne seemed possible. The Rhine side was still unclear. After the RB26 had been cancelled for no reason and without an announcement, I drove back on the left bank of the Rhine with the RB48 and was in good company with Cologne fans who wanted to attend the FCs home match and premature carnivalists.

NO5 Essen – Köln-Poll
Vaisala RS41-SGP / P2840564 / 23.02.2019 1200Z
🔗 lost despite thorough search
🔗 public transport

From Cologne West I went via Neumarkt to Poll by tram. The sonde had landed in Salmstraße, either on the street itself or, more likely, in the gardens behind it. When I arrived about an hour after landing, there was no signal. There was nothing to see on the road itself. A resident of the apartment buildings to which the gardens belonged allowed me to enter and another neighbour led me through the gardens. No trace of a sonde landing. A landing behind the houses on the other side of the street seemed very unlikely to me and I had to hurry to get the next train home. So I went frustrated on the way home, didn’t reaching the train either, because the tram back was late. If only I had listened to my premonition and hadn’t started at all.

EDIT: As it turned out, Nils from Bonn apparently found both probes after me, both of which flew more than twice as far as in my prediction. The midday probe also had a frequency drift up to 411 MHz, which I find very surprising.