Minimalist Chasing Setup

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Kyle Lockhart, Apr 23, 2018.

  1. Kyle Lockhart

    Kyle Lockhart Lurker

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    Hello, all...

    This is my first post on Stormtrack, so bear with me as I might be in the wrong section. A while back, I was drawn to storm chasing the way many people nowadays are: by watching the movie Twister and studying storms religiously from the time I was three years old and continuing to this day. As such, I decided to convert my run-of-the-mill 1989 Chrysler LeBaron into a beginner's chase vehicle, with the setup being easily transferrable between vehicles. This is still a work-in-progress, but here's my thoughts so far:

    1. Suction cup phone mount for iPhone
    2. Suction cup phone mount for amateur radio handheld transceiver
    3. Suction cup GoPro mount
    4. Bluetooth FM transmitter for iPhone (for charging and music)
    5. iPhone 8 with RadarScope, Spotter Network, and GPS
    6. Baofeng BF-F8HP 8-watt handheld transceiver (temporary until I can get a TYT TH-9800 50W radio)
      1. Radioddity RD-203 handheld mic with hook and Command strip for mounting
      2. Battery eliminator
      3. Nagoya UT-308UV mag-mount whip antenna, SMA connection
    7. GoPro Hero 5 Session (dash cam)
    8. Run-of-the-mill weather radio and extra AA batteries
    9. Lightning cable
    10. 12V splitter for running the FM transmitter and radio off my sole power port on my car
    As you can see, the two main eye-catchers are my phone and the radio, with the rest kind of lurking in the background. I know the handheld transceiver won't go too far, but I can still listen in and try to make reports. As for the phone, that's my only source of data since space in my car is really limited (it's a tiny coupe) and I don't have room for a laptop mount. The phone is held with a suction cup mount in the middle of the windscreen, and the radio will be held on the left side of the windscreen in front of an air vent for radio cooling, with the antenna connector ran down behind the driver's seat and out through the driver's side door and the handheld mike above the radio on the spar between the door and windscreen.

    What do you all think? This is still a work in progress and I only have the phone, Lightning connector, and phone mount installed. Is there anything else I might need? Since I've only been on one successful chase in the last five years, I'm really out of practice and will only be chasing non-tornadic storms to get back into the practice. Any and all input is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in advance,
    Kyle
     
  2. B. Dean Berry

    B. Dean Berry Moderator

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    A couple of thoughts -

    - This loadout is about on par with, or even more than, what most chasers today use.
    - From Discord, I know this car's history and background. Chasing puts tons of miles and damage on a car.
    - Not talking bad about your car, at all. You are relying on a 30-year-old Chrysler product to keep you safe. Are you sure you want to do that?

    Honestly, save the car. Sufficient work has been put into it to keep it moving, and to keep it in good condition. Subaru Outback wagons can be had for $1000 or less, and if you're handy with the wrenches, will carry you a long way.
     
  3. Todd Lemery

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    You can use your iPhone to supply data to any notebook or iPad. A phone screen, with it’s small screen, can take your eyes off the road for a long period while your eyes focus (which I know you won’t do while driving). Any notebook can mounted in about a minute if you have a cup holder between the front seats. https://www.amazon.com/ChargerCity-...4583170&sr=8-5&keywords=ipad+mount+cup+holder This is one such holder that I personally use. It can be adjusted for any viewing angle. Since your car doesn’t have navigation, you could use one for RadarScope and one for mapping.
     
  4. Marc R. O'Leary

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    Aside from the directly chase related equipment, you should look into having a good emergency/tool-kit. Your phone and camera will do nothing for you if the car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, where storms usually happen.

    There are some good threads in the equipment forum to read through.
     
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  5. Devin Pitts

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    Honestly that seems a bit overkill, but I'd consider myself a fairly minimalist chaser with just running my cellphone, cell booster, tablet, and camcorder and that's worked out fine so far. I do take a laptop with me as well, but that's mostly used for editing and not in use during an actual chase.

    Not that there's anything wrong with running a setup like that, but calling it minimalist seems a bit off.
     
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  6. Kyle Lockhart

    Kyle Lockhart Lurker

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    I only call it minimalist because when set up, the things one might notice is the radio and the phone. The rest they'd likely just stumble on. The two main components are the phone and radio, compared to other setups which have a behemoth laptop or something.
     
  7. Kyle Lockhart

    Kyle Lockhart Lurker

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    As for the car, I designed this setup with the ability to transfer between vehicles in mind. Most of the equipment is stuff I already have and which has place in my car. My mom's car is a 2011 Chevy Equinox and the one she and I usually go chasing in. I figure if I can get a working setup in my car, it shouldn't be too hard to set it all up in hers, where space is much easier to be had.
     
  8. Warren Faidley

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    One suggestion is to invest in a good battery. Some car makers are going to 24 volt power supplies (not 24v systems) because of all the electronics. I also ran a separate fused line from the battery to a 12v cigarette outlet with 4 outlets so I don't have to hard wire most connections.

    Back in the day, our TIV's (we had two - mine seen below) were so loaded with electronics, the battery and alternators had to be carefully watched for failure. One suggestion, if you are mounting anything to the interior you have to make sure it will not impact you in the event of a accident.

    CH-25-sample.jpg
     
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  9. Kyle Lockhart

    Kyle Lockhart Lurker

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    I have a brand new battery in my car. 800 cranking amps and a little over 700 cold cranking amps. I'm not completely sure what the alternator's rated at but I've ran more electronics than this on a road trip with my dad and it worked fine.
     
  10. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    I bought a hybrid deep cycle battery for my car a few years ago, and it has worked great. I once left my full chase systems circuit on (laptop, dashcams, chargers, etc) for 36 hours, and the starter still cranked normally. With a standard battery, my chase circuit would drain it fully in about 8 hours, and I'd need a jump.
     
  11. Kyle Lockhart

    Kyle Lockhart Lurker

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    How much was that battery?
     
  12. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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  13. Jeff Duda

    Jeff Duda Resident meteorological expert
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    Talk to Simon Brewer and Juston Drake if you want to see a truly "minimalist" chase setup. If you have a radio and battery you already have more than you need.
     

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