• THE METEOROLOGICAL DATA SYSTEM (AN/GMD-5) A METEOROLOGIST’S POINT OF VIEW

      HOBBIE, JOHN; SPACE DATA CORPORATION (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1986-10)
      Engineers developing specialized telemetry systems do not always have the vantage point of the user of their systems. The requirements of an upper air sounding system may seem straightforward at first; but, when the meteorologist’s viewpoint is considered, the engineering problems become more difficult than originally perceived. This paper discusses the Meteorological Data System (AN/GMD-5) manufactured by Space Data Corporation for the U.S. Air Force. The GMD-5 is designed to be a militarized, rugged, portable replacement of the World War II vintage GMD-1. It can be set up in the field and provide automatic, real-time data reduction of a rawinsonde flight within two hours of arrival at a site. The system has an extensive self-diagnostic capability such that a trained meteorological operator could troubleshoot faults and correct them down to the circuit board level. This paper presents the problems involved in designing a telemetry system that will work in field environments and will be easy to use by meteorological technicians. The whole system, including the sonde (both sensors and telemetering system), the tracker, telemetry decoder, and data processing systems, is presented, and the problems associated with the system’s performance and accuracy are discussed from the meteorologist’s point of view, followed by the engineer’s solution to these problems.