Amature Chaser Budget Chasing 2022 Edition

Feb 19, 2018
97
48
6
Dunlap Illinois
So if you saw my two previous threads:
You'll know that I'm a dickweed who claims to be a storm chaser of some sort, despite having no degree (yet), no money, or even a proper vehicle to chase with.
Well this has slightly changed; I'm still broke and still without a degree, but I did just move to "Beautiful" Downtown Aurora, Colorado (that's got to count for something). I left Illinois in order to go to school for Collision Repair (I want to restore cars one day) as well as getting my associates done.
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Despite having 300,000 miles, my so called chase vehicle pulled my '51 Studebaker 1000 miles all the way from Peoria IL to Denver CO.
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I even went up Pikes Peak with it.
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(I'm on the left)
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Anyways, if anyone in the Denver area wants to chase with me this upcoming year.
 
Feb 19, 2018
97
48
6
Dunlap Illinois
So I've started screwing around with old cameras again, and I've decided that I want to use them while chasing.
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After finding this circa 1974 Sanyo VC 500 at a flea market last week for $1, I decided that I want to make some sort of portable recorder for it.

This is what's called a PortaPak camera; many were made by many different manufacturers between 1967-1985, and they all used the same 10 pin connector in order to connect to a portable VCR.
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I don't have a portable VCR, (a working one anyways) so I decided to make myself a digital recorder for it. Whenever I got a portapack camera previously, I'd just chop the connector off, separate out the power, video, and sound wires, and hook it to a VCR (With my RCA CC011, I had a VCR running off an Inverter in my truck.
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This time, I decided to build my own digital recorder using one of those FPV Drone DVR's.
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The only tools I brought with me were from a cheap harbor freight set, so I didn't build this thing to the standard I usually make stuff.
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(That Hot Glue makes this thing look horrible).

Its functional but not complete, as I'm waiting on some panel mount RCA connecters as well as an off the shelf SLA charging regulator (I'd make one myself, but its like $8 off Amazon).

I'm also going to add a pre amp for the microphone, since you can't really hear shit currently.

I also want to weld on some belt loops to I can affix the unit to my belt.
 

James K

EF4
Mar 26, 2019
444
176
6
Colorado
I kinda remember that we went to Pikes Peak (on a family road-trip) a long time ago when I was young.. but I don't remember anything of what it was like up there.

Interesting/neat setup with that old camera!
 
Man, nothing to be ashamed of. Chase in what you own WITH PRIDE. When I was a Junior/Senior in High School I chased storms in Southern Wisconsin in a '91 F150!!!! Then in my senior year, I began chasing storms in a 2000 F250... Chased in 10 different states and put over 100k on the F250 in 5 years before I moved to my current vehicle, that being a 2012 Ford Explorer.
 

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Reactions: Todd Lemery
Feb 19, 2018
97
48
6
Dunlap Illinois
Man, nothing to be ashamed of. Chase in what you own WITH PRIDE. When I was a Junior/Senior in High School I chased storms in Southern Wisconsin in a '91 F150!!!! Then in my senior year, I began chasing storms in a 2000 F250... Chased in 10 different states and put over 100k on the F250 in 5 years before I moved to my current vehicle, that being a 2012 Ford Explorer.
Those are some nice looking trucks, I'm not ashamed in the slightest about driving my truck.
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(This is my absolute favorite body style of Suburban).
Actually if money was no object, I'd still probably would chase in a suburban just like this one
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(Or my '74 gmc/'51 Studebaker)
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Or if I won the lottery, I'd buy the TIV 1.
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(I made a 3d model of it and had it 3d printed).
 
Feb 19, 2018
97
48
6
Dunlap Illinois
2022 is here and I'm finally getting my ass in gear (probably the third year in a row I've said this). This year I'm going with nothing but the best in equipment!
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I picked up a new laptop so I can get updates on the go with the use a pay phone.
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(I couldn't afford one of them cellular units)
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Here's a dramatization of what it should look like in the field for me this season.

But seriously, I've put some investment in having mobile broadband this year along with an upgrade in radar software (I've gone from GR Level 2 to GR level 3). I'm considering doing some sort of live stream thing (I see a lot of other armature chasers do it).

For once I'm in a position where I'm within a few hours of the heart of tornado alley, so I can actually chase according to the weather, not just my schedule.

I'm really excited for this year.
 

James K

EF4
Mar 26, 2019
444
176
6
Colorado
Wouldn't be any use for weather, but nice Win-98 laptop. lol

I hope to get out & see atleast one storm this year.
 
Feb 19, 2018
97
48
6
Dunlap Illinois
Wouldn't be any use for weather, but nice Win-98 laptop. lol

I hope to get out & see atleast one storm this year.
Not necessarily, I got GR Level 2 to run on it and it's totally usable.
(This was under windows 2000 with the extended Kernel).
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I'm probably going to just use my trusty Dell Latitude D630 that I've owned since around 2010.
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I do seriously want to get a real camcorder and retire my long serving HDR-FX1 (I got it for free back in around 2014 while working at a computer recycler for the summer. I don't know quite what happened to it, but it got hammered in some sort of accident. The view finder had been ripped off, the LCD was shattered, the DC port had been damaged, and the magnesium body had cracks/roadrash, but it still powered up using a bench power supply. I ended up putting almost every cent I made that summer into fixing this camera as it was still worth a couple grand back then).
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I'm thinking of going with a Sony HXR-NX5U which is basically a solid state recording version of my current camera. The reason I'm not going with something newer is because my hundreds of dollars worth of accessories for the HDR-FX1 should hook right up to it.

I also plan to find some sort of half decent 4K camcorder (nothing professional) since it's becoming the standard.
 
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James K

EF4
Mar 26, 2019
444
176
6
Colorado
Jack R. Jester said:
Not necessarily, I got GR Level 2 to run on it and it's totally usable.
(This was under windows 2000 with the extended Kernel).
Nice!
I was thinking the original w98 .. sadly not much runs under that anymore.


I too eventually want to get a better camcorder... don't need 4k, just something that does better in low-light. (for lightning, & some non-weather related stuff)
 
Feb 19, 2018
97
48
6
Dunlap Illinois
You might want to move the front view camera off the radio. I believe transmitting RF will seriously mess with any recording or maybe even the camera electronics.
Oh, that picture of it with the camera on the radio is from years ago. This new radio is going under the dash, and the front facing camera is now a windshield mounted dash cam. Also, it's a completely different truck now.
 
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Reactions: Warren Faidley
Feb 19, 2018
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Dunlap Illinois
So, I might not be chasing this year as my drivers license has just been suspended. I got a ticket for going 5mph over here in Colorado, and that somehow came back as a Reckless Driving Charge in Illinois.

I've already cleared stuff up on the Colorado end, but I have to go to a hearing in Illinois where I might have a chance to get my license back.

The soonest I could possibly have it back is June.