Mobile ThreatNet vs. Cell Phone Data

Hello, everyone. Great to be a part of your forums, and I'm looking forward to learning a lot here.

I am from Canada, and went to Kansas last year to chase, but persistent upper ridging only gave me a suntan.

Looking forward to chasing this year; planning on using Wichita as a base (good choice?). I wanted to know what would be best for me for data. I was thinking about ThreatNet, and understand you only have to pay WX subscription by the month, which sounds like a good deal.

For me, the cost of the hardware looks substantial, based on the premise that I'll only be using it while on the Plains. I don't think it will be much use when I return home.

Would ThreatNet still be a worthwhile investment, or should I look at using my cell phone, and loading up with software like Digital Atmosphere?

Any input would sure be appreciated.
 
John,

Threatnet's up-front cost is the biggie, but once you get that out of the way, its nice cause you're not locked into contracts and cancellation fees.

However, unless you plan to spend more than a couple weeks chasing a year (especially since you live outside of the US, let alone Tornado Alley), I would suggest going another route other than threatnet for your mobile data. I'm not sure you can justify the upfront costs to use it only a month out of the year. At that rate, it would take 5 years of connection card costs (80 for data, 150 for termination fees annually) to catch up to what you would spend on Threatnet's up front costs ALONE (assuming only one month of use for either).
 
Here is a cost comparison for Threatnet vs. Cell Phone... THIS IS ONLY FOR COSTS (not pros and cons of each)..

*Retail prices only (be aware some better deals can be found elsewhere)

This is assuming you use either service only for chasing from April thru June (3 months)

Mobile Threatnet Premium
Initial cost: $1179.00 (hardware only)
Monthly cost: $99 x 3 = $297/season
Cancellation Fee = $0.00
Annual Price: $297

Sprint Connection Card
Initial cost: $99.00 (usual price, sometimes free)
Monthly cost: $79.99 ($59.99 for Sprint Voice Customers) x 3 = $239.97 ($179.97)
Cancellation Fee = $150
Annual Price: $389.97 ($329.97)

It would take three seasons (3 months each) of Connection Card service before you would reach the price you paid for the equipment alone in WXWorx. Obviously you can get the WXWorx hardware as cheap as $700/$800 privately (I've seen) and maybe as little as a grand brand new.

Financially, your choice would be best made pending on how often you chase in a year. WX Worx is hard to compete with for a variety of reasons, so it definately is worth the money for the service.

And again, this is PURELY based on financial situations... not the pros and cons of each. Cause there are plenty to be said for both avenues!
 
Would ThreatNet still be a worthwhile investment, or should I look at using my cell phone, and loading up with software like Digital Atmosphere?

Hi John,

Nice to see another Winnipeger in here!

Last year proved that Wi-Fi is a viable option for getting reasonable access to data. I was able to get access to all the data I needed in the morning/evening for forcasting.. and in some cases a stop here and there during the day gave me an update on radar via GRLevel3 without having to use the cell. I do use cell data a few times, but you'll find that gets very expensive due to the excessive roaming charges.

Where a full-time internet connection comes in handy (or a constant stream of data like Threatnet offers) is when you want to have live-radar to chase with. It's a luxury no matter how you look at it... just depends on whether you want to pay the cost.

My tendancy is to favor GRlevel 3 with whatever Internet you can get... threatnet looks too cartoonish and expensive for my tastes. I'm also looking at some of the extra data available from AllisonHouse to complement this combo.

Cheers,
 
Here are a couple of recent threads about this:

http://stormtrack.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9719

http://stormtrack.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10021

I think the real issue with these two options is what will help you get to the storm in the final hour or two before an intercept.

Threatnet is expensive, has an inferior radar display and limited data products, but it works *everywhere*. Cell internet is cheaper, gets you better radar and more data, but is useless where there is no signal. A lot of Plains chase territory has no cell service, so in essence your cell connection will not be something you can rely on all that much.

Cell data is fine until you're in the middle of nowhere and need a radar update to give you critical last-minute info. ThreatNet's radar may be primitive and smoothed, but the bottom line is that it's *always* there. That justifies the cost and makes it, in my opinion, the better product for a chaser.

You can always have both, but if I had to choose, WXWorx is the better option. If you need pre-chase internet data (SPC outlooks, etc), you always have libraries and WIFI hotspots for that.
 
Thanks so much for all the replies; there's definitely a lot of pros/cons for each.

Something else I can use to weigh my desision with: my cellular carrier (Rogers Wireless) requires a one-year contract for using their data services. Also, there's the issue of not being familiar with the road system in the Alley. Maybe the GPS overlays would be helpful.
 
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