Beating a dead horse, Wx Worx vs. Wireless Card.

Which would you use if given a choice of one or the other?

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fplowman

Last year i used wifi at the truckstops. We all know this is very limited and challenging postitioning yourself within proximity of a storm and a wifi connection.

I am torn between what to invest in this year. Wx worx or a Cingular internet Air card.

I have already invested in Grlevel software.. I am seriously considering the Cingular solution. We know of course that it is really only useable on major highways and towns in Western Kansas (primary chase area) but thats easy enough maybe 80% of the time.

The Wx worx system on the other hand has a coverage area without gaps other than its own inherent flaws (doesnt connect every once in a great while)

I know people talk smack about their dislikes of Wx worx. i have chased with others that have had it and had some good success.

Strangely most everyone will talk bad about Wx Worx and in the same conversation they will sing its praise. lol

Im torn with a budget i dotn want to swing both this year. Others opinions are appreciated.


One consideration is

Wx Worx = 1100$ for equipment and 99$ for the downfeed. no contract Im aware of.. aproximate cost first season is 1400$ ( 3 month service)

Air Card = 50 - 100$ plus 59$ a month plus 150$ contract cancellation fee.. Total cost about 430$ (3 month service)
 
not sure if you can change the poll but you might want to just say Wireless instead of AirCard cingular....I picked that but that's only because it was the closest to Verizon ;)
 
Fred, pluses and minuses on both counts. Here's my experience. WXWORX, available ALL the time, anywhere in the US. That's the huge plus. Radar is sufficient as long as you aren't expecting it to be 88D. It does what it's designed to do, and does it well. Biggest negatives are the EXTREME equipment cost and monthly fee. I found it a very useful tool and that are my sole objections to it for the quality of data you get.

Running a cellular connetion air card....have one of these too. Biggest issue with that is many areas on the plains I couldn't get a digital connection, and therefor it didn't work. When there was service (mine is Sprint), it works wonderfully. Use it with COD, or Weathertap or GRL3 and when you have service it's great. The added benefit is full internet access to anything else you want, something you won't get with WXWORX.

Personally, if I can find a cellular service that has coverage that will offset my holes in Sprint service, I am going to get a second account with that company, and run GRL3. If I can't find satifactory coverage (and that includes western KS) I would probably use the WXWORXS again to compliment the aircard service.

Really comes down to what you want to spend and what level of data you can live with. I have to say the live radar all the time was very nice. In a perfect world, you could have both. :wink:
 
Both are very good options, esp. Wx Worx if you have the money. I am actually going to get Wx Worx and Cingular both. Monthly costs will be pricey during April-June, but I can always drop down to the $30 package for Wx Worx and the $20 package on Cingular during non-chase months which isnt that bad at all. I have heard some good things on Cingular, but some bad as well. If anybody has any experience using it please let me know as I am still trying to make a decision whethere to get it or not. I know Sprint air cards are good, but from what I understand not a very wide area as opposed to Cingular. Oh and by the way, my vote is for Wx Worx :D
 
I use Cingular for my data (I get data through my phone, not through a pcmcia card though). The data coverage, on the whole, is better than Sprint. In the southern plains, pretty much everywhere you have voice coverage, you'll have data coverage. A lot of the southern plains area has EDGE coverage, so it's not too slow. It's not EVDO or UMTS, but those technologies only cover a dozen or two cities nationwide -- certainly not applicable for chasing 99.999% of the time.
 
Originally posted by Jeff Snyder
I use Cingular for my data (I get data through my phone, not through a pcmcia card though). The data coverage is MUCH better than Sprint. Basically, where you have voice coverage, you'll have data coverage. A lot of the southern plains area has EDGE coverage, so it's not too slow. It's not EVDO or UMTS, but those technologies only cover a dozen or two cities nationwide -- certainly not applicable for chasing 99.999% of the time.

You get data coverage in the western half of KS Jeff?
 
Originally posted by David Drummond

You get data coverage in the western half of KS Jeff?

David,
My original post was a little ambiguous, and I have edited it to make a bit clearer. I was meaning to say everything in terms of the southern plains (OK/TX). There is still plenty of data coverage void in rural KS, NE, etc. Fortunately, Cingular is filling in their voice coverage in KS (had large voids between I70 and the NE/KS border, and hard other voids west of a Wichita to Salina line. For what it's worth, I had good data coverage northwest of Pratt last August, despite the fact that Cingular's online map would indicate otherwise.
 
Originally posted by Jeff Snyder+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Jeff Snyder)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-David Drummond

You get data coverage in the western half of KS Jeff?

David,
My original post was a little ambiguous, and I have edited it to make a bit clearer. I was meaning to say everything in terms of the southern plains (OK/TX). There is still plenty of data coverage void in rural KS, NE, etc. Fortunately, Cingular is filling in their voice coverage in KS (had large voids between I70 and the NE/KS border, and hard other voids west of a Wichita to Salina line. For what it's worth, I had good data coverage northwest of Pratt last August, despite the fact that Cingular's online map would indicate otherwise.[/b]

That's why I asked because Cingular data was one of the secondary services I was considering. I get nothing Sprint-wise from the time I leave the NW border until I hit I70 west of I35. Surprisingly, even DDC doesn't have Sprint coverage!
 
Originally posted by David Drummond+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(David Drummond)</div>
Originally posted by Jeff Snyder@
<!--QuoteBegin-David Drummond


You get data coverage in the western half of KS Jeff?


David,
My original post was a little ambiguous, and I have edited it to make a bit clearer. I was meaning to say everything in terms of the southern plains (OK/TX). There is still plenty of data coverage void in rural KS, NE, etc. Fortunately, Cingular is filling in their voice coverage in KS (had large voids between I70 and the NE/KS border, and hard other voids west of a Wichita to Salina line. For what it's worth, I had good data coverage northwest of Pratt last August, despite the fact that Cingular's online map would indicate otherwise.

That's why I asked because Cingular data was one of the secondary services I was considering. I get nothing Sprint-wise from the time I leave the NW border until I hit I70 west of I35. Surprisingly, even DDC doesn't have Sprint coverage![/b]

At least in my area, Sprint is offering a plan that includes unlimited roaming ($79.99). Thus with a DUN capable phone, you can use it anywhere. If you're under Sprint towers, you can siphon off the Vision network.
 
Originally posted by Edward Ballou


At least in my area, Sprint is offering a plan that includes unlimited roaming ($79.99). Thus with a DUN capable phone, you can use it anywhere. If you're under Sprint towers, you can siphon off the Vision network.

You must be talking about the Sprint Aircards Edward. Graham and I both have one of these. They work fantastic when you have coverage. The coverage here on the South Plains is really pretty good, but we found some holes last year. It's getting better along the highway from Lubbock to Wichita Falls, but there is still about a 75 miles hole there. Get north of I40, aside from Dumas and there is no coverage until you hit I70, ANYWHERE west of I35.

I was hoping maybe cingular or another service might have data coverage in that area, but the outlook is bleak.
 
Originally posted by David Drummond
The coverage here on the South Plains is really pretty good, but we found some holes last year. It's getting better along the highway from Lubbock to Wichita Falls, but there is still about a 75 miles hole there. Get north of I40, aside from Dumas and there is no coverage until you hit I70, ANYWHERE west of I35.

Yep, even today cell coverage is pretty sparse in the places you're likely to be chasing the most. Even roaming is spotty in those places. Coverage is good in cities and along interstates, but if you really need something from the internet then (hires sat pics, SPC outlooks), you always have libraries, truck stops and hotels.

For this reason WxWorx is the only real option for full-time data. It's not perfect but it doesn't have to be. It gets the job done.
 
Originally posted by David Drummond+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(David Drummond)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-Edward Ballou


At least in my area, Sprint is offering a plan that includes unlimited roaming ($79.99). Thus with a DUN capable phone, you can use it anywhere. If you're under Sprint towers, you can siphon off the Vision network.

You must be talking about the Sprint Aircards Edward. Graham and I both have one of these. They work fantastic when you have coverage. The coverage here on the South Plains is really pretty good, but we found some holes last year. It's getting better along the highway from Lubbock to Wichita Falls, but there is still about a 75 miles hole there. Get north of I40, aside from Dumas and there is no coverage until you hit I70, ANYWHERE west of I35.

I was hoping maybe cingular or another service might have data coverage in that area, but the outlook is bleak.[/b]

No, these aren't air cards at all.

David, I think the phone I sent you had some software called FutureDial that enabled you to use your phone as a modem - dialing a phone number to connect to the internet. That required you to have a dial-up ISP.

Dial-up Networking is a feature on the actual phone itself that takes out the need for third party software. The Treo 650 (with a firmware update) comes with Bluetooth Dial-up Networking. I have not yet tested it with a dialup ISP as I have usually been on Sprint's network.

HOWEVER, if you are not on Sprint's network, your only option is to pay roaming charges and use that as your method of connection to the ISP. Now Sprint has added their unlimited roaming for $79.99 a month (this also includes your anytime minutes, etc). So effectively, as long as you have the ability to roam, you can hook up to your ISP. Note though that if you are using Sprint's network to surf, then you can surf much faster.

One can find a Treo 650 for around $150 - 200 on ebay or $300 at a Sprint place I think. That's much less than what you'll pay for a WXWorx system.

Then all you need for your computer is a bluetooth adapter to talk to your phone which costs about $40.

This is the way I am understanding how things work. I have yet to add that unlimited roaming onto our plan yet but I will soon. I will keep you updated with how things turn out.
 
The network coverage map at the Cingular website is a little on the not updated side. If you can find in a store or on the web site the Push to Talk coverage map it is actually more updated showing the areas in Kansas being filled in. I can tell you that UMTS was put on hold for a little bit longer, and as for the Oklahoma City Metro area, in training I was told it would be fall 2006 and then the ruarl areas would be filed in during 2007. I have the Sony Ericsson Gc83 aircard and it is ok. I run with what I can afford. I am wanting the Novatel U730 simply cause when UMTS is put here i will already have the air card. Just need a 3G sim.
Not sure if anyone here is aware of wireless repeaters, but I have spoken to a few people that have used them, and they praise them. They are kind of expensive though. But they put you back to the good ole 3 Watt bag phone power days! I am holding off till they have one that supports UMTS as well. Just my thought.
 
This spring will be my first good test with my Alltel setup. I bought the Kyocera air card and the monthly Axcess Mobilelink service back in October. I gave it a test for one month with the unlimited service which is nearly $80/mo... kind of steep, but it roams on Verizon's network which is good, and I've since downgraded my billing to $8/mo restricted 2MB download for the winter. Since this is CDMA technology, fewer towers are needed since the signal goes out about 20 miles or so... right now, Alltel has a tower in every KS county that is non-Verizon. here is a map of Alltel's Mobilelink coverage .

I did a lot of research on this for the best service for my chasing, and this was what I settled for. Testing it out, I drove up and down highway 283 from Dodge to Ness City for about an hour and a half and didn't miss a single volume scan running StormLab. The software doesn't "disconnect" when the signal is gone, it's like on standby... very important feature for running auto-update radar. That pretty much sold me right there. Of course, the southern plains is a pretty big void right now, which is probably why Alltel is a "sleeper"... plus alltel is typically available only in smaller market communities, like Dodge City, so I guess that's a benefit :) [/url]
 
For this reason WxWorx is the only real option for full-time data. It's not perfect but it doesn't have to be. It gets the job done.

Dan hit the nail pretty good right there. WX-worx fills the gap perfectly. I just hope new technology doesn't make it pointless to purchase anytime soon. I guess if I was looking at getting it now I might be somewhat concerned the service will go bye bye as various wireless internet services come about. If that doesn't come to be anytime soon then I'd say it is a pretty decent tool/buy.

I just got it this last year and never once had to use my cell phone(except for the November chase as xm was turned off). I honestly don't know what else one would need if they had xm and a wifi card for their laptop. Wifi gets you all that important early stuff and then xm keeps you covered as you leave the localized areas with wifi coverage(or even a library). It is pretty nice not ending up with those excessive cell phone bills. What is better yet is not having ANY holes while you are out there. All my xm plan costs is $30 a month for constant data(imo there really isn't much need in getting the other packages for more). It is also nice not having to mess with it once it is on. This leaves no need to keep using the cell phone to see if something has gone up out of sight...you'll know right away. At $30/month and for what it does it seems silly not to have it along if you can afford the one time cost of the equipment(I got mine for $829).

All that aside I still keep asking myself if I should sell it, lol. With wifi and a decent cell plan you can have plenty of data to get the job done. I wouldn't mind having that $829 back for things, but at the same time it is pretty nice knowing you have info that you don't have to mess with and only costing $30/month while chasing now. So I guess my answer would be xm since I plan to keep it this year and have thought about selling it over and over. If I had other things I needed to buy and didn't have xm yet I'd certainly get the other things and just use the wifi stops and a decent digital cell plan.
 
I have not yet had the chance to, first handedly, using my WX Works system yet, so I can't give a truly honest rating at this point. Prior to me buying my Works unit I was torn between cell phone services, plans, and providers and I simply got fed up with it so I chose the WX Works system for simplicity. I have herd it has it's drawbacks, but I really don't need it for anything other than know where the cells are that I can't see visible if that is the case.

I am going to turn my unit on in March so I can get used to learning it before the season hits in full force come April, May, and June.

Mick
 
Mick,

I just recently purchased Wx Worx and will also turn it on in March to get used to it. I have seen it in use on chases though and it is an excellent piece of equipment. I am also getting some more equipment and hope to have everything in place by March to get used to running it all. With Wx Worx and Wifi it would be hard to go wrong in my opinion(unless you pick a poor target area or pick the wrong cell to chase), which will happen its fair share of times

Chris
 
Chris, I think the Wx Works system will be a very powerful tool for the field providing it is used with a little common sense and not heavily relied upon while on a storm. For me it’s just about getting to a cell, once I am there I will rely on the eye.

I am not real sure how much it will help me this season but I am going to give it a good try though, but I will let you know the second week of June when my season is over. lol If I don’t like it I will just sell it.

Mick
 
If not for WxWorx, I would have missed 7 tornadoes on June 12 in Kent County Texas. As the initial junkfest started to morph into discrete cells, I first wanted to stop at the Dickens cell which was looking good visually as we passed its base on the eastern side. But, with WxWorx I could see the massive tail-end charlie just 20 miles to the south, within easy reach but out of view in what looked like a indistinguishable mess of precip ahead of us.

That day I was starting to think that we were going to be dealing with a grungefest and was ready to take that first decent-looking storm, and I would have if I hadn't seen this:

june12radar1.jpg


WxWorx is perfect for those kinds of final intercept decisions that can make or break the day. It is then that you don't have time to stop and look for WIFI or hope that you have a cell signal. You need the info now and WxWorx gives it to you.
 
Ok, I'm the expert on Cingular, so here goes....lol Cingular data connect works GREAT in 90% of the areas I chased last summer, and this included western Kansas, Oklahoma, all through Missou, Illinois, except the NNW 5%, Kentucky, Eastern Tx, 85% Arkansas, ALL SE states, and I used my laptop to download current doppler, etc. With the addition of more towers, this year should be even better. There is NO software to buy, just have the data connect added to your plan, and buy the data connect cord, and then go to Cingular.com...register...and download for free the cingular manager to connect on your laptop. The cord runs from $30-60 depending on your phone. I have the Motorola RAZR, and use the didital video to send pics to other puters and cell phones, all within 30 seconds of videoing. Some phones work better than others, but nearly ALL have the data connect properties. Cingular has plans to add hundreds of more towers in the Southern Plains, so service should just get better. BTW - I own 4 Cingular exclusive stores.
 
Originally posted by SteveCarter
BTW - I own 4 Cingular exclusive stores.

Steve, could I expect similar connectability with an aircard (rather than a cell phone) on the Cingular Network? If not, which phone do you recommend for that?

Also, perhaps you can give me the trick to getting service in my zip code. They have coverage here, and I can get service with the nearby Lubbock zip codes, just not mine for some reason. Heck, they even have a call center in Lubbock. I know it can be done because neighbors here have Cingular.
 
Steve,

I also have the RAZR and have found the signal lacking due to no external antenna and no jack to allow an external antenna. How did you sove the reception on it. My partner also has Cingulare but a different phone and when I had no signal she had 3 bars at least. how do I increase the signal on it. Do you recommend those internal antenna stickers? I may have to activate my old Nokia if I cant get my RAZR to work.

I already have signed up for data and have my data cable so all i need is a signal.

I will also be using WxWorx this year. Only drawback is only 5 levels of color. If they would increase that it would be hard to beat since they already offer current warnings, satellite, winds, surface obs, GPS, etc..
 
(JMHO) - make sure you have something like a wilson trucker antenna hardwired to your phone (or air card) - assuming this hasnt been brought up in this thread already

by the way - I was not happy with the blue tooth wireless transmission so Ive got my phone (motorolla v400) hard wired cabled to my laptop using Cingular unlimited plan at $98 a month (was without contract last year)
alot of wires to manage but worked really well for me....
 
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