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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 2/14/2004 00:00 (Entered as : 02/14/2004 0:00)
Reported: 2/19/2004 8:36:14 AM 08:36
Posted: 3/2/2004
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Shape: Unknown
Duration:
i WOULD LIKE TO CLARIFY WEATHER BALOON SHAPES, ETC. THE CURRENT WEATHER BALOONS USED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ARE COLORED FROM A LIGHT GRAY TO A BROWNISH COLOR.

THEY ARE MADE OF THIN LATEX, AND CAN, AT HIGH ALTITUDES GROW TO ABOUT 100 FEET IN DIAMETER. THEY CAN APPEAR TO BE SILVERY SEE THRU OPAQUE, SIMILIAR TO A JELLY FISH ! UPON RELEASE THEY ARE ABOUT 10 TO 12 FEET IN DIAMETER, AND ASCEND AT ABOUT 1,000 FEET PER MINUTE, AND CARRIED BY THE WINDS IN A HORIZONTAL MANNER. THE STRING IS STANDARD WHITE STRING, ANYWHERE FROM 20 TO 100 FEET IN LENGTH, TYPICALLY WITH A RED PAPER PARACHUTE ATTACHED TO THE STRING, AND FINALLY A RADIOSONDE, ABOUT 14 BY 8 BY 8 INCHES.

THE RADIOSONDE IS PACKAGED IN FOAM, INSIDE A PAPER BOX, AND INCLUDES A RETURN MAILING BAG, POSTAGE PAID. PLEASE RETURN ANY THAT YOU FIND.

THE BALOONS ARE NORMALLY INFLATED WITH HELIUM. THERE IS NO DANGEROUS MATERIALS USED IN THE RADIOSONDES. THE BATTERY IS A WATER ACTIVATED BATTERY USED TO POWER THE TRANSMITTER, WHICH OPERATES AT 1680 MHZ. AT NITE OR DARKNESS. TYPICALLY A LIGHT STICK, CALUMYNE, EITHER BLUE, WHITE, GREEN OR YELLOW IS USED. THEY ARE SIMILIAR TO ONES YOU MIGHT BUY AT A STORE, AND ARE NON-TOXIC.

I AM SUPPLYING THIS INFORMATION FOR REFERENCES ONLY. I HAVE A 40 YEAR BACKGROUND ON WEATHER BALOONS, WEATHER RADAR, INCLUDING DOPPLER, AND RADIO SONDE TRACKING EQUIPMENT.

IF I CAN BE OF ANY HELP, PLEASE CONTACT ((e-address deleted)) CURRENT WSR-88D DOPPLER WEATHER RADARS HAVE NO MANUAL SCAN MODE, AND IT WOULD BE VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO LOOK AT A SPECIFIC AREA IN THE ATMOSPHERE, ALTHOUGH IT DOES HAVE A RANGE OF SOME 200 NAUTICAL MILES EVEN OUT INTO NEAR SPACE, IT IS RARELY USED ABOVE AN ELEVATION ANGLE OF 30 DEGREES. OLD RADARS SUCH AS THE WSR-57 WERE CAPABLE OF MANUALLY TRACKING A SPECIFIC AZIMUTH AND ELEVATION UP TO ABOUT 85 DEGREES.

((NUFORC Note: We are grateful to the individual who submitted the information to our Center. We may, indeed, use him as an information resource, in the future. PD))