MESO's OZ Instrument
(Observation Zero)

OZ, or Observation Zero, is MESO's patented video acquisition unit (affectionately called "The Tin Man"). It is designed to be placed (and anchored) in the field under intense thunderstorms... hopefully even under a tornado. It can be deployed in 45 seconds, from the roof of the Trooper to an anchored position on the ground. In the most basic sense, it is a compact digital camcorder inside a protective dome. If the robust anchoring system fails under severe conditions, it is equipped with a homing device that will allow the team to locate the unit.
OZ was designed and built by Allan Detrich, Steve Chambers, and Dale Detrich. It follows the techniques introduced in the 1980's and 1990's with the "Turtles" and "Dillocams" (see webpage), but the current version of OZ is not instrumented. Although the chances of placing the device directly under a tornado are incredibly small, it can't hurt to try!

O.Z. had its humble beginnings during a brainstorm after Chase '99, and it began to come together in physical form in the basement shop of Dale Detrich's home. The shop is cluttered with every possible mechanical thing in the world. The aluminum parts were fabricated by his friend John Schultz, who has a metal fabricating shop in Clyde, OH.

Dale Detrich welds one of the brackets that will hold down the dome to the base.

O.Z. looks through its Lexan dome and sees its creator Allan Detrich.

O.Z. has most of the parts attached, before the brackets are painted and the finishing touches are applied.

O.Z. is carried outside for its first peek at the sky, the finished product has a Sony DCR PC100 video camera mounted inside the dome along with a homing beacon... just in case.

A finished O.Z. sits on top of Allan Detrich's Isuzu Trooper; it will be mounted on the hood for moving video and transportation. During deployment attempts, it will be placed in the back of the truck. The finished cost including all materials, video camera, and electronics, is around $2500.00.

You can visit Allan Detrich's full page on OZ here.

If you would like to send feedback about O.Z., please contact

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