Weather software

After 3 years, I finally took the plunge and bought myself a laptop. A Compaq 3120 w/ integrated WiFi running XP Pro. Now that I have my own (not having to try and find libraries w /access), I'm going to take the next step in setting up software (ex. Digital Atmosphere).

I'd like to know who has had luck with what software. My choices before have been obviously limited since I had to rely on library computers while chasing. I've chased with others using Wx Worx, which I think is great, but that's a little out of my price range, unless you can go month to month, which I don't think you can.

How about WiFi? I know very little about it. Anyone have anything to offer on that subject?

Anything would be appreciated. Thanks.
 
Hey terry whats up

Just answering your XM WX question you can pay month to month. But id go with a truck first like you were talking about. :)
 
Thanks Kurt, I figured you couldn't pay month to month. That might change things. As far as the truck goes, I'm going to a Ford dealership up in the suburbs tomorrow. They have good incentives going with the Auto show in town. You wanna see one hell of a chase truck, check out the International CXT. Wow! That's all I can say. A BMF, that's for sure :D
 
I am pretty bad with technology. :oops: I was wondering how everyone gets data in the field. (Right now I use libraries to get data.) I have a lap top but I don't have any kind of mobile internet access on it. I have been looking at a wireless internet card (such as the one put out by Verizon or T-Mobile). Is this a method that you would recommend? Also, I saw some of the weather software advertised at the storm chaser convention. You do need internet access in order to access this, right? Thanks.
 
Charles, there are a few ways to this. If you are made of money you can go the wxworx route which is full time connection via satellite. If your poor like me :wink: and have a laptop (which you do) you have a few cheaper options.

1. Buy the data plan from your cell provider (usually 60 to 80 bucks depending company) and air modem that plugs into your cdma slot on the laptop.

or

2. Cell phone thats capable of data, and a usb cable that fits your phone. Check here for cables that fit various phones.

http://www.cellphonemall.net/wireless/store/home.asp

With this you can use dial-up isp (at much slower speeds) and get a radar image or Metar data. I'm sure there could be some snags here with various cell phone companies allowing you to use the cell for data dl's so be cautious. Many here seem to be using cingular for this sort of thing. I am stuck on a verizon national calling plan, so I use that for now. When I am in verizons data coverage, (which is sparse :roll: ) I can use mobile office and connect at decent speeds. When I'm in the boonies (and have any signal), I can dial up a cheapo isp and get slower speeds more like 14.4. This does count against my anytime minutes, but with the national plan at least I'm not charged long distance. BTW this is not a data plan either.....but I had to buy mobile office to be able to get verizons digital network when I am able.

3. WiFi card for the laptop. Again to use this you must be close to a wireless access point to use it, usually in a town somewhere. A few threads on this topic can be found on the board also.


Hopefully this will at least give you a few ideas to work with. One of these days after I'm either rich, or the price comes down, I would like to try the wxworx deal. Remember this though....back in the day, folks were storm chasing without any cell phones or laptops and still made it to the show. Its nice to have mobile data, but not absolutely necessary.

Good luck and stay safe!
 
Originally posted by Tim Johnson
I am stuck on a verizon national calling plan, so I use that for now. When I am in verizons data coverage, (which is sparse :roll: ) I can use mobile office and connect at decent speeds. When I'm in the boonies (and have any signal), I can dial up a cheapo isp and get slower speeds more like 14.4. This does count against my anytime minutes, but with the national plan at least I'm not charged long distance. BTW this is not a data plan either.....but I had to buy mobile office to be able to get verizons digital network when I am able.

That's what I do.

I dont use a cheapo ISP though. I just use Verizon's "Quick 2 Net (14.4kbps)". It only costs me airtime minutes. I figure for a $9 a month el cheapo ISP I can bump my calling plan to the next level and get a bunch of airtime minutes.

Funny thing is Verizon says *NOTHING* about the above on any of their websites. I had to close my eyes and spend the money on the mobile office kit and then...well what do you know....it works. Verizon kept telling me I had to buy one of their data plans for $100 a month or something crazy.
 
I have written this in another thread some time ago but i also have verizon but its the americas choice plan, Got it cheaper with three other family memebers tagging along. so my bill is like less than 15 a month. You can get unlimted data during nights and weekends if you want to get data during peak hours your going to be using minutes. But their data coverage isnt as big as Cingular from what i can see, but it still has a descent coverage and is suposedly growing. If your out of the verizon network area you can use Quick2net. I asked the provider if i needed a data package she said nope it uses airtime minutes and it's free on weekends and after 9 pm
 
I have always had trouble using the quick 2 net feature when I'm outside of their coverage. Not sure exactly how that works, but usually when I cannot get the digital network, I can't get the quick 2 net either :? Maybe q2n only works somewhere between the digital area and roaming?

Last year I signed up for earthlinks 6 months free trial deal and canceled before they charged me, so that worked out pretty well. This year I will probably just pay for a few months of dial up somewhere....unless I find another free trial offer :lol:


Funny thing is Verizon says *NOTHING* about the above on any of their websites. I had to close my eyes and spend the money on the mobile office kit and then...well what do you know....it works. Verizon kept telling me I had to buy one of their data plans for $100 a month or something crazy.


I can't decide if this is intentional, or lack of knowledge on the topic by the sales reps. (probably a case of both) They really are not a big help when it comes to teathering a cell to pc. The data plan (last time I looked) was like 80 bucks a month for unlimited, and requires an air card which runs another hundred or two.
 
Thanks for all of the information, Tim. I have been chasing without any kind of mobile data for a long time and this year I was hoping to finally get some help! (since my record is not very good :lol:) No matter what happens I can't wait until the season starts! Thanks!
 
Verizon's website for around here (southern Illinois) states that with thier Data plan and PC card..you can get an average speed of 40-80 kbps and bursts up to 114 kbps and then Broadband speed in select cites around the nation. This is what I plan on backing my Wi-Fi up with this season. (Switching my cell phone over to Nextel)

And speaking of Nextel, has anyone used thier Data plan? Uses your regular cell phone, but you add this $50 plan and its unlimited internet. (and doesnt get on your talk minutes)Could be intertesting if it actually worked.
 
I don't know anyone who has used their data plan. I use Nextel, but primarily use the 2 way radio to talk to the other guys who work for my company or the escort cars following us hauling wide loads. Nextels plans have gotten better during the last year and their coverage is slowly improving. Down where you're at, you may find trouble finding a signal. Watch their billing, too. You coverage goes by "zones". Example, I live in Ottawa, 90 miles southwest of Chicago. I can talk to the wife while she's at home and I'm working downtown (Chcago) and be covered as "local calling or local Direct connect (2 way radio)" because we're in the same zone. However, I can be 15 mi east of the Quad Cities, make a call to the Quad Cities, and be charged long distance because of where their zones start and stop. Basically you can call anywhere within any zone and it's considered local. But, make a call from zone to zone, and it's long distance. Get all that? Hope that helped!? :roll:
 
Appreciate it Terry...Found out so more about Nextel in out region tonight. REAL Patchy...(friend at my dad's work has it) Service just runs up and down the interstates..I run in the boonies too much for that kind of stuff. Also complained of some trouble with his phone number being switched with a buisness out of Des Moines?? (Dont know for sure there) Think I might be better staying with Verizon around here for now. They seem to have bought the "monopoly" around here. :roll:
 
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