Hold the sonde up in the air and let the balloon “take” the sonde.
If winds are a problem, it is recommended that two people work together to launch the balloon—one to release the balloon, another to release the sonde. The person holding the sonde should stand downwind of the person releasing the balloon. Due to strong winds, the balloon may also have to be released very quickly.
Once the balloon has travelled a reasonable distance outward from the launch point, go to the CDU and press the “4” key. This will put the TRS antenna into Auto search mode. Lock up the inflation shelter and go back inside to the RWS workstation.
If the balloon is travelling directly overhead, DO NOT put the TRS in Auto mode yet. If the antenna is placed into Auto mode while the balloon is overhead, the TRS antenna will move a great deal attempting to keep a solid lock on the sonde. This can cause a known error with the antenna locking up, requiring a TRS reset, which will result in a loss of signal and a failed flight. Lock up the inflation shelter and go back inside to the RWS workstation.
If a thunderstorm is ongoing or is in the immediate area, DO NOT RELEASE THE BALLOON. Wait until the storm passes. If the storm continues past the launch window, log it as a missed flight. There are several reasons why you cannot release during a storm. Upon release, the flight train becomes a lightning rod with you holding the end. Also, the data collected in or near a thunderstorm is generally bad and not representative of the synoptic environment. Strong downdrafts or balloon icing will often cause an early flight termination.