Friday, March 16, 2012

New Weather Station

This is something I have been planning for a while, and finally got around to doing.  I setup a weather station at home.

The weather station itself is made by "Fine Offset", and sold and marketed by several different brands, including Ambient, Zepher, WeatherWise, Tycon Power, dr Tech and others.

The specific one I purchased is sold as the "Zepher PWS-1000TD-TZ".   The reason I purchased that kit is because it comes with TWO wireless remote display units, and I have one in the house, and one in the shack connected to the radio for sending weather data out via APRS.  It is functionally the same as the WS-1090 model weather stations marketed by the other brands.

It provides wind speed, wind direction, rainfall, barometric pressure, wind chill, in/out humidity, and in/out temperature.

It also has a built in USB Computer interface, which is something that many other stations charge $100+ additional for.

I had considered purchasing a Davis Vantage unit, but your talking $500-$800, by the tame you purchase a base system, their expensive proprietary computer interface, and software.

There is a huge jump in price from the $100-150 for the Fine Offset type of weather stations to the expensive Davis Vantage weather stations, and I decided since its my first time trying this I would keep it simple.  Not to mention that while people say the Davis Vantage systems are a little more reliable, there is no denying I could purchase a whole handful of the fine offset replacement type stations for the cost of a single Davis station.

I mounted the station around 25+ ft. hight on a 6 foot mast mounted to the peak of the roof.  This gives it a clear view to every direction except for a large tree to the NW which is my antenna tree, so I am not going to complain.  That tree is about 60 feet away, which I think it meets the minimum obstruction distance recommendations, so it should not be an issue.  The temp/humidity sensor is mounted on the north side of the building under the eves and should be protected from direct sunlight as required, and still have sufficient airflow for accurate measurements.  I read the information on the Citizen Weather Observer Program website to help figure out where to place the unit.

Here is a photo of the station mounting:

Inside the shack, one of the remote consoles collects the data from the wireless sensors.  I am using the free Cumulus software to capture the weather data from the station, and it then feeds the weather data to the UI-View APRS Software running on the shack computer which sends the data out over VHF APRS using the TNC built-in to the Kenwood TM-D700 radio in the shack which sends the weather data out every few minutes over the air.

Here is the various places you can view my weather station data:

It turned out to be much easier than I thought it would be to get this stuff going.  But, I have only had the station a week so far, so I will have to watch it to see how well it works where I mounted it


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WiFi Weather Stations

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