Storm Hawk vs. WxWorx

Back when we were still writing articles in this joint, I started researching an article comparing various software packages available to chasers and came up with a lot of interesting stuff. Now I'm interested in comparing Storm Hawk and WxWorx.

I haven't talked to anyone in here using Hawk yet, but was curious about the results folks have been getting with it. I see a few advantages/disadvantages in both systems, but would really like to hear from anyone currently using Hawk - or who has had the opportunity to check out both setups.

Thanks -
 
I don't know anyone who has it or has tried it... The fact that the complete system is $1500 + $20/mo would seem to keep the vast majority of folks away... I mean, I can maybe see $800+$25/mo for XM WxWorx, but for $1500+20/mo you get something similar to WxWorx, but with radar and other products only viewable on a small PDA screen... I can maybe see this if you already have a PDA, but they market the software alone for an incredible $600. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather analyze a radar image on my 15.7" laptop screen than a 2.5" PDA screen, especially given that the StormHawk option is nearly twice the price! :shock: I'm doing just fine with my Cingular MediaWorks + Motorola MPx220 tethering option, for which I only pay $20/mo for the unlimited data on the old MediaWorks plan...
 
I looked into getting StormHawk last year before I decided XM would be the best way to go. As I understand it, you need a satellite phone for the StormHawk. If you are going to get a satellite phone you might as well just get the data cable and get on the internet for radar. I am pretty sure that you can use a regular cell phone to get data on it too, but coverage would be a problem that way. If you chase very much that satellite phone bill would be outrageous. I prefer unlimited usage with a flat bill every month. Like you guys already mentioned, I also don't want to be staring at a palm pilot while driving. I would much rather have radar on a laptop. A guy I met who uses the StormHawk said that he loses his signal from the satellite phone if he changes lanes fast or makes a turn. XM can be a bitch sometimes, but for the most part you can depend on it to work. I am not sure whether or not the StormHawk has a GPS option with it, but if it doesn't, that would be a serious downside IMO.
 
I got to see the Storm Hawk in action during Air Mass 2005 a few weeks ago in Wichita. Believe it or not, I was pretty impressed. The satellite phone is an option for getting the data, but not the prefered option. It uses cell phone data as well. It has some pretty slick options as the PDA can be used to send photos (I suppose even movies if it's capable) back to someone. GPS is another option as well as tracking the location of the PDA via the internet.

The radar, weather, and Map software appear to be very close to what WxWorx have though the software is proprietary. Basically, what it displays is similar. I think you have BREF1 and CR for the display. There isn't any BV or SRM.

They aren't half bad units especially if you don't want to lug a laptop around and have a small vehicle. Granted, teh PDA disply is much smaller than a laptop, but the display was pretty clear and certainly workable during a chase. You shouldn't be doing more than glancing at the display for positioning anyway.

On the bad side, it's certainly pricey. At amost $1500 a pop and an average of $40/month for data, it is certainly out of reach for many chasers. It's primarily aimed at Skywarn, and Governmental controlled spotters, as well as Fire Departments, and other Governmental agencies that have a direct interest in current weather.

Mike Smith can tell you more as he visits the board quite a bit. I think over the long run, it's better price wise than WxWorx. It doesn't appear to be fraught with the issues WxWorx has been. Those that I've spoken with that have it all say it appears to be pretty stable and generally works out well. Plus you can stick the thing in your pocket or call your wife to tell her where you're at and get the grocery list. It has all the other normal PDA functions as well.

John
 
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