Several key issues arising when an ultrasonic field is used to probe small surface vibrations are presented. Sum and difference frequencies (sidebands) can be produced by the Doppler shift of the primary probe frequency incurred at the vibrating boundary and by the nonlinear parametric interaction with the radiation from the oscillating surface. Carrier and surface vibration amplitudes, the condition of the oscillating surface, and ambient parameters, influence the received signal. Wind critically affects the reliable operation of air‐coupled acoustic sensors. As wind energy increases, the sensor detects a progressively richer turbulent spectrum that drowns the information‐bearing sidebands. Experimental data of the scattering of ultrasonic energy by a turbulent environment is shown, aimed at searching for ways to actively recover the vibration sidebands. [Work supported by ONR.]