Mississippi is home. But from the late 1970s, until we moved to Water Valley in 2004, home was California’s Mojave Desert, about 150 miles north of Los Angeles. My hobby was hiking in the desert back country. You find strange things in the desert, from plane wrecks to petroglyphs to mule shoes to grave markers.
Early on, I would come across what appeared at first to be broken 1960s-vintage transistor radios, far, far out in the desert, often miles from the nearest road. What was this?
It didn’t take long to learn that these were radiosondes, most of them released from nearby military bases (the Navy’s base at China Lake and Edwards Air Force Base). I started hauling the relicts home. Over time, they filled a bookshelf in my office, and soon a wall of my garage. I hung a little sign over the collection: The Radiosonde Hall of Fame.
In the ’90s I started collecting in earnest, buying from military surplus houses and obscure junk stores. EBay opened up a whole new level of activity, and I branched out from radiosondes to radiosonde-related items; photos, magazine ads, books, test equipment and radiosonde-related artifacts. In 2005 I bought the Warren Brader radiosonde collection. When Ramona, my wife, presented me with an album of radiosonde postage stamps, I started chasing radiosonde first-day covers and the Museum has grown exponentially since then.
Now, it is time for us to move on to other adventures, and we are offering the Museum for sale. If you are seriously interested, please contact us.
Cliff Lawson & Ramona Bernard