cellphone weather applications

Patrick McMahon

With the data capabilities of cellphones getting better all the time, I was wondering if anyone uses one of the weather applications offered through the major cellular carriers as a significant and/or primary source of radar data in the field, especially for short-run, local metro area chases. I received a trial version of the My-cast service ($4.25/mo) upon signing up w/sprint a few months ago, and I must say I was impressed with the speed and resolution of the data. I know there are other providers out there, (accuweather, twc, weathernews), and would like to hear pros/cons of each. Just to avoid any confusion, I'm not talking about tethering to a laptop here, just using the handset's display to view the data. For my 2 cents worth, the things I liked about My-cast were(I have a non- EVDO phone), speed of downloads, fact that radar animates automatically, one-click access to current Ts, Dp, wx, sat, wind direction, windspeed. Dislikes: no velocity data, no barometric pressure, no storm cell data, no detailed background map data(cities, roads,etc.)
Hey Patrick, I feel the same way as you. I used this about eight months ago(Mycast) and thought it had lots of cool features, just not enough features. When your chasing, you definitely need storm cell data, and that is the one big key feature Mycast is missing. I posted a thread a while back in Equipment Workshop in this bad boy, it has everything you need, if you have the money to get it.

I used the Pilot My-Cast last year at $13/mo. This ap had a lot more to offer than the cheaper version. One huge positive is there is no activation or cancellation fees (for Verizon). I could quickly and easily switch radars by plugging in any station identifier. Animated and zoomable Nexrdad, 1km VIS and IR, lightning, surface data, etc. This was a very cost effective solution but with any digital data there are gaping holes in coverage. Fortunately Verizon digital coverage is rock solid in the Dakotas where I do most of my chasing. Even then there were still areas where a signal was not existent or so weak that the radar would not render. Good luck using StormHawk or data cards up here. Perhaps a digital amplifier would do the trick but for the cost I'd just go with satellite weather. I've used other trial packages offered on the phone and the Pilot My-Cast was far superior to the rest. I am considering jumping on the Garmin GPSMAP 376C which is essentially a GPS, WxWorx, and XM Radio all bundled into one unit (see existing thread). Retail for $800-900 but on eBay in the $650-700 range. $30 for the lowball XM Weather that should be far more reliable than the $13 My-Cast or more expensive land based wireless technology is probably worth the additional cost. Now if you are just hanging out near a metro area and not actively chasing in the sticks than this unit may be overkill.