Category Archives: Function

Hydrolynx 5096 – Upgrade to ALERT2

The following are the basic steps required to set up a 5096 A2 transmitter.  These steps are for rain and stream sites only:

  • Upgrading 5096 Transmitter hardware (adding ALERT2 board and new radio)
  • Adding additional components to site
    • GPS antenna
    • Polyphaser
    • Solar Panel (if site does not have adequate power already)
  • Programming 5096
  • Novastar5 needs to have new ALERT2 point added (Scott will do this)

Equipment Needed

  • Laptop with RS-232 cable
  • Drill with 3/16”, 1/4” and 1/2” bits and hole saws
  • GPS antenna, mount, hardware and cable
  • Polyphaser with mount hardware and cable
  • Upgraded ALERT2 5096
  • 21 amp-hr battery
  • Wattmeter
  • Scanner
  • ALERT2 field decoder
  • Spare antenna
  • Spare cables and cable fittings (N-type connectors, BNC connectors, adapters)

Common Commands

  • SET-STAID – Sets the station id. For Ventura County, this is the station number (e.g., 188, but with a “20” prefix: 20188)
  • SET-RF – Adjusts the parameters for the radio (Maxon 125E-v2 is inverted (1), all other radios (0))
  • SET-TDMA – Used to program frame length, offset and delay of TDMA transmissions
  • SET-EV – Used to adjust parameters for Event sensors
  • SET-A2 – Sends all previously programmed parameters to the ALERT 2 board


  • Attach antenna or dummy load to antenna port before the 5096 is powered up
  • Attach GPS
  • Connect Power

Line Gun

The goal of using the line gun is to create a taught line across the creek by which to pull the Sontek Hydroboard back and forth to make a discharge measurement. The projectile is fired across the creek from the “shooting side” and retrieved on the “receiving side.” The main line is then attached to the gun’s temporary line and pulled across the creek by staff on the receiving side.  In most instances, the main line is then attached to existing eye bolts using carabiners and other ropes; in other instances, trees, vehicles and other sturdy objects may be used. Below are the steps for pressurizing and firing the line gun.

  1. Use an allen wrench with key cut to make sure the valve on projectile is open (this will allow residual pressure to bleed out of projectile tank and allow pressure from SCBA tank to enter when desired)
  2. Attach yoke to SCBA tank and projectile
  3. Close bleed valves on the SCBA tank side and gun side of the yoke
  4. Open SCBA tank valve and allow pressure to build to 1800 PSI, then close SCBA tank valve
  5. Close projectile tank valve using the allen wrench with key cut, then bleed residual pressure from the lines using bleed valves at each end of the yoke
  6. Removed yoke from SCBA tank and projectile
  7. Pull black line tight, align the projectile and slide the projectile into gun
  8. Attach black line to release pin using carabiner
  9. Unfold stock on line gun
  10. To charge line gun, close valve and check pressure
  11. Release safety (if safety doesn’t release, close valve and bleed off extra pressure)
  12. Fire projectile at approximately 30-degree angle


Load Tester


  1. Test battery voltage without load, as described here
  2. Remove the test leads from the battery and connect the load tester (pictured) alligator clips or hooks to both the red and black test leads
  3. Again, touch the red and black test leads to the proper battery poles
  4. Resistor should warm considerably and voltage should drop from original reading
  5. If the voltage drops less than 0.5 volts and then stabilizes, the battery is good
  6. If the voltage drops rapidly and more than 0.5 volts or fails to stabilize, the battery should be replaced


Schlumberger Diver – Download Data

equipment_baroAt several locations, Mini-Divers have been installed as a redundant water level sensors to the existing gas purge systems. With a 5-minute data logging setting, the internal memory of the Divers will be full in ~83 days. There is no memory wrap feature and the Divers must be stopped/started in order to erase existing data. Data for the Mini-Diver and BaroDiver must be downloaded individually.

  1. Connect the threaded end of the USB interface cable to the Baro-Diver
  2. Open Diver-Office

HydroLynx 5096 – Transfer Data

  1. Locate appropriate SA1, DAT and SA2 files on laptop and transfer to network drive (e.g., Q:\StationDocs\199 – Fillmore Sanitation\Records\2015)
  2. Open Hydstra Explorer (HYEXPLORE) and select from the menu tree: Programs by Function > Hydstra/TS – Time Series > Hydstra Data Management > HYDMWB – Data Managers Workbench
  3. Press the Open folder icon or select File > Open
  4. In the Open Time Series Site dialog box that opens, enter the site number in general format (e.g., 199) in the Site Specifier field and press the Lookup Site button
  5. Select the specific site (e.g., 199A) that appears in the dialog box and then press OKprogram_hydstra_5096import1
  6. In the Open Time Series Sites dialog box confirm that the proper site is shown, then press OK
  7. Single-click the site icon that has an A at the end (e.g., 199A A) and select File > Copy
  8. Select File > Import Data.
  9. It is likely Hydstra will still “remember” importing ML1 data from previous site visits; therefore, you need to change the data type. Press Back until Logger is highlighted and select HYD from dropdown
  10. Press Next to highlight Variant and select RAININCH from the dropdown
  11. Press Next to highlight Filename and Browse to proper DAT file on network driveprogram_hydstra_5096import2
  12. Press Finish and a new B file is created on the Data Manger’s Workbench
  13. Drag the C file to the B file and release
  14. In the Merge Files dialog box, select the Resolve Overlaps: Split blocks if necessary, preserving C File data radio button, verify the Delete Source box is checked and press OK
  15. Double-click the B file to open the work file
  16. In the dialog box that opens, double-click the row 11.00 Rainfall (inches) – High-Resolution
  17. Open the block of newly imported data by selecting the block and pressing the Text tab
  18. Highlight all data points and  press the Quality edit buttonprogram_hysdstra_ml1_qualedit
  19. In the Quality Edit dialog box that opens select 20 Coarser dataset used to fill gap in dataset (ie. ALERT data) from the New Quality dropdown and press OK
  20. Fill data gaps and continue processing data as described in Hydrological Services ML-1 – Transfer Data

HydroLynx 5096 – Download Data

Downloading ALERT data is often performed once per year. The process described below creates three files: (1) a diagnostic file prior to the data download (SA); (2) the data file (DAT); and (3) another diagnostic file after the data is downloaded (SA2). For this, you will need a laptop with RS-232 cable for communicating with the Hydrolynx 5096 unit.

Radio transmission strength is also tested at this time. For this, you will need a wattmeter and radio scanner. Also,  battery voltage and solar function should be tested.

Test Radio

equipment_hydrolynx5096_wattmeterMake sure either an antenna or dummy load is always attached to the transmitter to prevent damage to transmitter.

1. Use wattmeter set at the following:
• FWD and 15 watts – should read > 5 watts
• REV and 5 watts – should read < 1 watt. If reverse power is greater than a few watts (1-2), check the following:
  → Antenna at correct length for frequency (ALERT2 – 171.925 MHz) – adjusted antenna = 33.75″; omni with radials = 28″)
  → Antenna damage (bent, dented, excessive corrosion, etc.)
  → Damaged cable or fittings
2. Use scanner to confirm transmission
3. Use Novastar5 and to confirm arrival at base station

Download Data


  1. Unscrew two black nuts from top plate
  2. Grasp handle, lift slightly, then rotate 90 degrees to ensure that wiring does not catch on threads before lifting fully out of the can
  3. Connect unit to laptop via RS-232 serial cable and with 9-pin connector
  4. On field laptop, open PuTTY
  5. Under Session, confirm that the serial line is set to COM1 and the speed is set to 9600 baud
  6. Further under Session, select Logging and then select the Session Logging: All session output radio buttonequipment_hydrolynx5096_download1
  7. Browse to the appropriate location (data folder on the hydrographer’s laptop), enter name in  SiteMonthDayYear format, followed by the letters “SA1” (e.g., 199111515SA1), then press Save
  8. Press Open to activate a terminal session
  9. Enter command showall
  10. Confirm and record the following:
    • Real Time
    • RAW Reading
    • Reset Count
    • (Memory) Percent Used
  11. Close window
  12. Reopen PuTTY and repeat steps 5 and 7; however, the file name shall be followed by the letters “DAT” (e.g., 199111515DAT)
  13. Again press Open to activate a terminal session
  14. Enter command get-mem
  15. Press Close when finished downloading data
  16. Reopen PuTTY and repeat steps 5 and 7; however, the file name shall be followed by the letters “SA2” (e.g., 199111515SA2)
  17. Again press Open to activate a terminal session
  18. Enter command showall
  19. If necessary, change time on 5096 to match computer’s time in 24-hour format with hours and minutes separated by a comma (e.g., time= 13,15 for 1:15 PM) and press Enter
  20. Enter command align to synchronize all internal sensor timers
  21. After confirming that all files (SA, DAT and SA2) have been downloaded, enter command clear-mem
  22. Enter command showall to verify memory has been reset (Percent Used should read 0.00%)
  23. Press Close
  24. Tip rainfall bucket 3 or 4 times to confirm transmission via radio scanner (which should be set to same frequency as transmit signal from site)