Vehicle-based WIFI chase data server available

Dan Robinson

I wanted to let everyone know about something new we are trying this year that will hopefully be of use to other chasers. This season, our vehicle will be equipped with an onboard WIFI hotspot and server. The server will maintain a current cache of frequently used chase data (updated as long as we have a cellular signal), such as SPC outlooks, satellite imagery and mesoscale discussions. The cached pages will be stored onboard the vehicle on one of our laptops acting as a web server, so that the pages will be available regardless of whether or not our cellular internet is up. If our cell connection has been unavailable for a long time, the data might not be very current, but it will still be there for viewing.

To access our network, park near our vehicle (or just get behind us at a safe distance on the highway) and connect to the ' Mobile Network'. It is an open (unsecured) network. Then, open your web browser and you should see a 'mobile' version of From there just follow the 'internet access' link to the cached data. If our cellular internet is working (if we are within a data coverage area) you can browse the web or check email, although it will probably be slow, especially if we are moving. If you connect to us while we are in motion on the road, all we ask is that you do it safely - that is, stay behind us at a safe distance (not alongside us) and have one of your passengers operate the laptop. Our vehicle is a silver 2005 Ford Freestyle wagon/SUV crossover with lettering.

If we meet you at a chaser convergence, you are welcome to connect to our network for as long as you like. If we have internet, feel free to check your email and browse light-bandwidth weather web sites. Of course, we ask that you not try downloading anything huge (video, large photos, FTP, etc) as the bandwidth is limited.

A big thanks to my friend Tom for setting this system up and making the idea a reality. We did a test-drive of it today (along with trying out a bunch of other gadgets) and it works nicely.

Here are some photos of our new setup. In addition to the WIFI server, we added a second Jotto desk for the second-row seats, and three LCD monitors to help make GPS and ThreatNet easily viewable for everyone in the car. A DVD player can be switched in to the two rear monitors, as well as TV cards on any laptop, for passenger entertainment the long drive from West Virginia. This has been a lot of fun to set up.

:D Great job guys. I have a wirless cell in our weather van as well but am still waiting on a cell modem to finish up the job.
This is related to your cell phone data - WiFi router deal, so I'll post it here...

Kyocera came out with a wifi router with a built-in EV-DO PCMCIA card slot. If you use Alltel, Sprint, or Verizon, you can use the PC card directly with the router.

Check out PCMag's Review of the Kyocera KR1 Mobile Router
Wow, way to put the ol' noggin to work guys!
So after a good year of waiting on phased-array satellite Net ( believe someone on this board mentioned it late last year--still waiting on FCC approval), I finally purchased a Kyocera PC card with a Verizon Broadband Access unlimited plan. Let me tell you, this is one investment I wish I had made WAY earlier!! Sure beats the heck outta WAR driving, LOL! :rolleyes:

Anyway, I've been trying to setup a similar mobile Wifi system & was wondering how u got the data flowing from the laptop to the router. Does it kick in automatically as soon as you connect the ethernet cable to the router (crossover, I'm assuming?), or did u need to change any settings on the PC?? I'm pretty sure I got the other wiring down thanks to those awesome pics!
Again, great work guys!