Need help deciding on weather station/anemometer

Aaron1100us

I'm looking into getting some type of weather station or anemometer for storm spotting. I've read up on a few made by lacrosse technology, oregon scientific, the weather channel weather station and the inspeed anemometer. After doing a little research on here, it seems that most weather stations don't measure and record wind speed constantly. Does the inspeed anemometer give constant wind speed? I've heard some good things about that but all it gives is wind speed. I want to be able to have current wind speed plus average, and high gust speed, wind direction, rain fall amount, outside temp and humidity/dew point. I'm looking to spend up to $230. I know some people like the davis weather station but those are a little too pricey. I did find that the lacrosse technology WS-1610U-IT Professional Weather Center transmits on 915 mhz and sends a signal to the main unit every 4.5 seconds. That seems like that would work good. Does anyone have any thoughts on that unit? I heard that you need to spend lots of money on a weather station that transmits within that time frame. How can this one only be $149 and transmit every 4.5 seconds? Sounds too good to be true for that price. If I went with the inspeed anemometer, is there something else that I can get to measure rain fall and temp, humidity? This is going to be for mobile use. I want something that will hold up fairly well. Any suggestions? Thanks

Oh, I just found another weather station. GG-9150RP New Wireless Wind & Weather Station has "Rapid Pulse" Data Transfer Rate -$94.50. from here http://www.dasdistribution.com/products/anemometers/index.htm#GG9150RP
Is this any good?
 
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Of course this is totally my opinion so take it for what little it's worth...

I'm looking into getting some type of weather station or anemometer for storm spotting.

Unless you know how to find drylines or other pressure gradients you will have very little use for a full weather station. To be of any value on reporting the rain rate you'll need to stay stationary for a long enough time to overcome the error rate of your device. 30 maybe 60 minutes in a single location, no moving around.

Does the inspeed anemometer give constant wind speed? I've heard some good things about that but all it gives is wind speed. I want to be able to have current wind speed plus average, and high gust speed
It provides all the above.

wind direction
Difficult to do while mobile as your heading changes constantly as you drive around. You'll have to stop and set the direction of the wind vain per manufacturer specs. You move...you have to reset.

If I went with the inspeed anemometer, is there something else that I can get to measure rain fall and temp, humidity? This is going to be for mobile use. I want something that will hold up fairly well. Any suggestions?
If it were me...I'd buy the Inspeed so I could send in accurate (or at least better than my visual estimates based on tree branches moving around) wind reports and not buy the rain/humidity/pressure/etc units until next season. Get a feel for what you will actually use in the field, by going without it for a season.

I was thinking the same thing you were and decided to just skip it for a year. Now I realize I wouldn't be using it even if I had it, but that may say more about my personal spotting/chasing style and weather education (or lack there of) than anything.

-Tyler
 
Thanks for the replies. I guess I didn't know that in order to measure rain fall, I'd have to stay in one place for a long time. I figured that the weather station would measure the amount of rain falling at any given time and convert that to inches per hour. I know during skywarn classes, they teach us how to guess rain fall per hour by observing how hard it is raining. I just thought having a rain gauge would be more accurate and would be able to measure instant rain fall put that into inches per hour. I was also wanting to be able to measure temp and humidity so I can monitor those rising or falling. And for wind direction, I was just planning on having the front of the vehicle north and then adjust the measurement via a compass in the vehicle. So, for example, if I was facing west and the weather station said the wind was comming from the north west, I'd know that it was comming from the south west instead of having to postition the wind vane at true north every time I stopped. That way, I could report correct wind direction instead of having to step outside the vehicle or look to see which way the grass/weeds/whatever were blowing, especially if it is dark or getting dark outside. Before, all I had for storm spotting was 144/440mhz ham radios, scanner, cb and television for monitoring radar over the tv channels. Most of the time, it was difficult to verify exact wind speed, direction and rain fall. Most of the time that I went out spotting was late afternoon to late evening. The inspeed anemometer does look like a very good product but I'm just not sure if only having wind speed will be enough to fit my needs. I might start out with the inspeed but I'm going to try and find out all the info I can. There are several months before storm season is here again. Any one else have any thoughts or suggestions?
 
Any one else have any thoughts or suggestions?

Hi Aaron,

I guess a lot depends on your motivations. Since you specifically mention spotting (vs. chasing), I'm assuming that you're more interested in collecting information to be reported to the NWS etc. instead of getting to storms for pictures/video.

In my experience, weather offices are mostly interested in getting your reports of what you can see (cloud formations, hail, damaging wind/tornados and so on) and somewhat less interested in what you're getting from instruments. Getting accurate weather data inside a vehicle from instrumentation is a very tricky task (take a look at some of the research vehicles to see the lengths they need to go to for this).

I guess what I'm saying here is that having a bunch of weather equipment on your vehicle might be a lot of fun and educational, it is certainly not required to be a successful spotter. I would echo what Tyler said above and try to keep it simple until you figure out exactly what equipment will aid you in your activities.

Cheers!

P.S> I was under the impression that we were supposed to use full names in here (or at least an initial and last name)....
 
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Here's a couple of things to think about on using weather instruments.

The anemometer: This will need to be mounted a certain distance above your vehicle to get reasonably accurate readings. Do a search on Bernulli Effect and you should find some information. The update times on the Oregon Scientific equipment is really not that good. 4.5 seconds and you will miss gusts. I miss gusts with the 1 second update for the Davis Equipment. I use one primarly to get reasonably accurate wind reports back to a station and public reports.

Rain Measurement: Most consumer weather intruments use a "tilting bucket" for measurement. This is a deal that has two small bucket that tilt a switch as each side becomes full. The number of times the switch moves across it's sensor gets the amount of rain fall measured. Unfortunately, these do not do very well on vehicles. They really need to be level to work properly and movement also moves the switch across the sensor. I know a guy who measured 10 inches of rainfall in one mile on a clear day on a "smooth" highway. It simply isn't worth it.

Temperature/Humidity/Dew Point: These really need to be placed in a quality radiation shield to be reasonably accurate. As a "Spotter" versus "Chaser" do you really need to have these? Unless you are actively looking for a Dryline or other weather feature, your office you report to really has no need for the information.

Again, try a search for "Mobile Mesonet" and you should find all sorts of information in the archives.

Now all that being said, be aware that the more junk on your vehicle, you WILL call attention to yourself. In my particular situation, I want that. It means more listeners, more listeners means more advertising, and more advertising means more money. So there is a business end to what I do.
 
The anemometer: This will need to be mounted a certain distance above your vehicle to get reasonably accurate readings. Do a search on Bernulli Effect and you should find some information. The update times on the Oregon Scientific equipment is really not that good. 4.5 seconds and you will miss gusts. I miss gusts with the 1 second update for the Davis Equipment. I use one primarly to get reasonably accurate wind reports back to a station and public reports.

I'm not disagreeing..for the most accurate possible you would need to mount the anemometer feet above the car...but if you want something "good enough" to send into the NWS....a hand held unit or one placed on the vehicle will work just fine. Of course you could just estimate it..but gadgets are more fun, unless they make my car look like a mad max movie.
 
Of, course, you are correct:mad: . NWS and SPC get estimates all the time and use those as a guage for Severe Weather. I'd forgotten about the little Kestral Units. Reasonably prices and accurate enough for a good call on wind speed.
 
Thanks again for the replies. Maybe I'm better off having a weather station at home and just an anemometer and outside temp on the vehicle. I do like having lots of things on my vehicle though. My 97 red neon that I used to have had all sorts of cool antennas, cell phone, several ham, cb, scanner, huge white TV antenna. I storm spot more so because I really like to help the communities and the NWS out by reporting sever weather and I'm fascinated with severe weather. I'm not out there to get that perfect picture although I sometimes bring a single 35mm camera. It was pretty cool, a few years ago, I was on top of an overpass just west of West Des Moines, Iowa waiting for some weather to come in and the News Channel 5 car stopped on the other side of the road and came over to see if they could interview me (they saw my car which looked like a porcupine and figured I was storm spotting). Anyways, that is pretty cool when people see you out there and know what you are doing just by the looks of your vehicle.

One other question, it seems that all the storm spotter/cahser vehicles that I see pictured on the internet have these pretty wild looking weather stations on top of their vehicle, some even with CCD cameras, lights, and all sorts of goodies. Do these people not know that all that stuff isn't needed?

Last question for today:) Does the inspeed anemometer give current data or does it only transmit every once in a while like most weather stations? Will it pick up quick gusts? Thanks

I used to belong to the Mid Iowa Skywarn Associaton back when I lived in Des Moines and I had such a great time with that. There is a Ham Station (K0DMX) right at the NWS in Johnston. We also had repeaters in the central 51 counties of Iowa linked up, some of them via the Iowa Telecom Fiber Optic Network. I really miss that. I live in Cedar Rapids now and they report weather information to the Linn County Emergency Management which then sends info to the Quad Cities NWS. Thanks again

Aaron

KC0FTC
 
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News Channel 5 car stopped on the other side of the road and came over to see if they could interview me (they saw my car which looked like a porcupine and figured I was storm spotting). Anyways, that is pretty cool when people see you out there and know what you are doing just by the looks of your vehicle.

If that's what you like about spotting, that is one way of being noticed.

One other question, it seems that all the storm spotter/cahser vehicles that I see pictured on the internet have these pretty wild looking weather stations on top of their vehicle, some even with CCD cameras, lights, and all sorts of goodies. Do these people not know that all that stuff isn't needed?

need is a subjective decision. I don't need them...because I have no use for them. Some folks need them..because they can use them. For various reasons (science, news crews, videography, etc) Nothing wrong with that. Just don't get the impression that everyone needs one.

Last question for today:) Does the inspeed anemometer give current data or does it only transmit every once in a while like most weather stations? Will it pick up quick gusts? Thanks

The inspeed does not 'transmit'. It's hardwired into a small display in your vehicle. It gives constant readings.

-Tyler
 
One other question, it seems that all the storm spotter/cahser vehicles that I see pictured on the internet have these pretty wild looking weather stations on top of their vehicle, some even with CCD cameras, lights, and all sorts of goodies. Do these people not know that all that stuff isn't needed?

Well, "need" is pretty subjective. I was referring to simple "spotting" in my earlier post, which in my opinion doesn't require much more than the person themselves (plus the knowledge). Chasers might require a bit more, and from there you can diverge wildly. Some will argue that they need a specific piece of equipment while others will disagree.

I'm pretty gadget oriented myself, and the thought of stuffing my ride with all kinds of equipment is pretty tempting.. however in practical terms I've only found a use for certain items while actually chasing.
 
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I'm glad I came on here to investigate this stuff instead of just going out and buying something. I think I'm just going to stick with the inspeed and have a temp sensor.
 
I have been seriously watching weather for more years than I care to mention, first as a ground to air communicator for test pilots in Fort Worth, then as a sailor on the Texas Gulf Coast, then as a rancher in Central Texas hoping for a dark cloud in the middle of a long dry summer and now as an old codger running a weather net.

I have a love of gadgets and have a bunch of them but when I am spotting I use my eyes and knowledge of clouds and winds. If I am stopped I might pull out my Kestrel unit just for fun.

My communications is another story, the old beat up 1990 pickup, with battle scars from storms found, has radios, GPS units, and scanners that far exceed its basic value. The amateur radios and local emergency service scanner gives me a lot more information than a mile of PVC pipe on the roof would.

I had a little fun a couple of years ago watching three loaded up 'chase vehicles' go whizzing past me, discussing their great insight on their radios, as I watched a severe storm move toward me. Five minutes later they were running the other way fussing about the hail and not knowing where to go.

I did a core punch on this one based on the info I was getting on the radios. A year or so later, I was pleased to see Al Moller (master chaser)show photographs of the storm at one of the SKYWARN sessions. I was a couple of miles behind him.

The same Al Moller spoke at the Super Storm Spotter Chaser and spent a bit of time speaking to watching the storm instead of the gadgets. If I recall his chase vehicle has a ham radio, a 35mm camera and him. (I would expect that he also has a cell phone that puts him in contact with his home base, the NWS in Fort Worth.)

With that said... My home operation is loaded up with multiple monitor screens running most of the fun programs and a PEET Brothers weather station blasing out local conditions to the internet. I have at least six radios scanning, APRSing and EchoLinking.

All too often I am watching the computer screens when my wife comes in with the real weather. (She has been shotgun on the sailboats, the ranch and the pickup and has a good weather eye.)

My eyes have grown weak and that limits my chasing capabilities thus my service to the weather community is giving good information out on our wide area repeater covering twenty counties in Central Texas. Tune in if you are in the area... 147.14,pl 123

I have long contended that a farmer on a tractor with a wet thumb in the air has a better insight into local weather than all of us weather nuts with our toys.
 
Thanks for the replies. (I finally got around to correcting my user name) Atleast I'll have some thing to think about this and learn even more. I first need to get the important stuff first like a VHF rig, TV (for radar), scanner and a few other things, then by next spring, I hope to have figured out what will be the right weather equipment will be. Trying to save for new tires before snow right now. Whats with this weather, its way too cold for me this time of year. Its only October and we've had frost and light snow. I have a feeling this winter is going to be a little more snowy than it has been in the past few years. Could be wrong though. I plan on learning as much as I can about weather this winter to get ready for next spring since I haven't done this for a while. I've only storm spotted two seasons and that was back in 2001-2002 so I need to do alot of refreshing and learning. I consider myself fairly new to all this and need to learn as much as I can. I went to our local ham radio club meeting the other day and really liked that and plan on joining at the next meeting. Thanks again for all the replies and if you like, I'd be glad to hear more opinions too.
 
Thanks for the replies. (I finally got around to correcting my user name) Atleast I'll have some thing to think about this and learn even more. I first need to get the important stuff first like a VHF rig, TV (for radar), scanner and a few other things, then by next spring, I hope to have figured out what will be the right weather equipment will be.

Pleased to meet you Aaron. If you're into Ham Radio and weather you might want to get involved with Skywarn in your area; in some cases it might be associated with ARES activities as well. Your Ham Radio club will likely know more about it for your area.
 
Hello. There isn't a local Skywarn club here in Eastern Iowa, wish there was. I used to belong to the Mid Iowa Skywarn Association but I can't reach any of those repeaters from here. They are with the Johnston NWS and over here, we have the Quad Cities NWS. There is a ham station there but Iwas told that there usually isn't anyone there when we have sever weather since its far away and their repeater can't get into the Cedar Rapids Repeater. There aren't any repeaters linked over here like there is in central Iowa, too bad, such a good thing. We do have the Linn County ARES that we report to and they report directly to the QC NWS. I went to the local ham club (Cedar Valley Amateur Radio Club) last week and plan on joining. Next month, I plan on going to the Linn County ARES meeting.
 
Any one know of any single weather vanes such as the one in this picture? I can't find any info on the one in this picture. I'm thinking that if I go the Inspeed way, I'd really like to have wind direction also. I really wish Inspeed made an anemometer with the directional vane too.

A75-302.jpg


I'm not looking to spend much, just something simple. Not sure if there are any others made besides the one in the picture.
 
If I go with a weather station, I had two in mind. The Davis Vantage Pro as I've heard good things about this one. And the other one is the Ultimeter 2100. The Davis seems to be pretty reliable and transmits at a decent rate. The only reason I'd go with a weather station rather than the inspeed is to have accurate rain fall measurements. When I used to do this, I was never good at guestimating rain fall per hour. I haven't heard much about the Ultimeter 2100 but it seems like a pretty good one. The unique thing about the Ultimeter is that the rain gauge isn't one of those tipping bucket ones that all the other companies use. Yes, they do have that verson also but the the Ultimeter Pro rain gauge has no moving parts and operates on a drop-counting principle. That would be perfect for mobile use. I just need to call the company and find out about data transmissions and stuff like that.
 
If I go with a weather station, I had two in mind. The Davis Vantage Pro as I've heard good things about this one. And the other one is the Ultimeter 2100. The Davis seems to be pretty reliable and transmits at a decent rate. The only reason I'd go with a weather station rather than the inspeed is to have accurate rain fall measurements. When I used to do this, I was never good at guestimating rain fall per hour. I haven't heard much about the Ultimeter 2100 but it seems like a pretty good one. The unique thing about the Ultimeter is that the rain gauge isn't one of those tipping bucket ones that all the other companies use. Yes, they do have that verson also but the the Ultimeter Pro rain gauge has no moving parts and operates on a drop-counting principle. That would be perfect for mobile use. I just need to call the company and find out about data transmissions and stuff like that.

Are you planning on putting a rain gauge on top of your car? Honestly, it's not gonna help you catch tornadoes and it's probably not going to work. The tipping bucket styles are very sensitive. If you shook the car too much the bucket would tip. Also, they are notoriously bad at measuring high rain rates.
 
I am the Assistant Emergency Coodinator for Wayne County, MI Skywarn, if you need any help or materials in getting something going locally, just let me know. I'm going to the NWS in about 2 weeks for a Skywarn EC meeting and if you need/want any materials to get you going, let me know and I'll see what I can get to you.

Hello. There isn't a local Skywarn club here in Eastern Iowa, wish there was. I used to belong to the Mid Iowa Skywarn Association but I can't reach any of those repeaters from here. They are with the Johnston NWS and over here, we have the Quad Cities NWS. There is a ham station there but Iwas told that there usually isn't anyone there when we have sever weather since its far away and their repeater can't get into the Cedar Rapids Repeater. There aren't any repeaters linked over here like there is in central Iowa, too bad, such a good thing. We do have the Linn County ARES that we report to and they report directly to the QC NWS. I went to the local ham club (Cedar Valley Amateur Radio Club) last week and plan on joining. Next month, I plan on going to the Linn County ARES meeting.
 
from B Ozanne "Are you planning on putting a rain gauge on top of your car? Honestly, it's not gonna help you catch tornadoes and it's probably not going to work. The tipping bucket styles are very sensitive. If you shook the car too much the bucket would tip. Also, they are notoriously bad at measuring high rain rates."

My goal isn't to catch a tornado since I spot and don't really chase. Back when I was a skywarn spotter, we were to report rain fall in inches per hour to the NWS along with the other information such as wind speed/direction. I remember, in the skywarn classes, they gave us an idea on how to tell how much rain was falling but I was never really good at that. The electronic rain gauge that is made by Peet Brothers does not use the tipping bucket rain gauge. From the Peet Brothers website.
"Operating on a drop-counting principle, the PRO Rain Gauge senses every one-thousandth inch of rain and reports each one-hundredth inch back to the ULTIMETER Weather Station. In spite of its amazing resolution, the PRO gauge can handle "world record" class rain rates of more than 10 inches per hour!"
No tipping bucket and no moving parts. It just counts the water droplets. To me, that sounds great for mobile use. I probably don't "need" this but just thought it would be handy. I suppose I could probablly get by for now with just wind speed and direction. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can and see what others have to say about all this before I buy something which probably won't be for a few months yet.
 
I like the Davis stuff. It's a little pricey but your friend is eBay. I've found some that were great and I've rarely seen them go over $200. That is unless you are looking at that Vantage stuff, then yeah, look for a lot. I think the Weather Wizard III would be the best for you and those will go for 100 or a little more. Just my 2 cents!

Jason
 
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