What's the deal with Mobile Threatnet?

Joey Ketcham

While chasing recently, Chris Wilburn (ST member) had his Mobile Threatnet system with us and we continuously ran into problems with the system. The problems were the exact same problems I had when I had Threatnet back in 2004.

The system would work for a period of time, then suddenly you would stop recieving data and the ingestor would say no Radio Signal. Upon restarting the Baron software it would toss up a com port error. Chris would reboot and I believe he would still have problems with it starting up.

We hooked the hardware up to another laptop and it ran on that for a while but then it encountered the same problem, after a while it would come up saying No Radio signal.

Does anyone know what the deal is? This is 3 laptops (Mine in 04', Chris and the other laptop) that I've seen this happen on.

Anyone else have this problem?
 
While chasing recently, Chris Wilburn (ST member) had his Mobile Threatnet system with us and we continuously ran into problems with the system. The problems were the exact same problems I had when I had Threatnet back in 2004.

The system would work for a period of time, then suddenly you would stop receiving data and the ingestor would say no Radio Signal. Upon restarting the Baron software it would toss up a com port error. Chris would reboot and I believe he would still have problems with it starting up.

We hooked the hardware up to another laptop and it ran on that for a while but then it encountered the same problem, after a while it would come up saying No Radio signal.

Does anyone know what the deal is? This is 3 laptops (Mine in 04', Chris and the other laptop) that I've seen this happen on.

Anyone else have this problem?
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Nope, I have not had that problem. I did experience something kind of like that when I would start my vehicle and the power would dip I would lose the signal and I would have to restart the program.

Yesterday however I had a major failure, ERR deactivation signal receive, called XM and they said everything was current and activated. They even sent a new activation signal and that did not help. I am going to try and replace the antenna as some have suggested that as a weakness in the system, if that doesn't work I guess I'll have to call the threatnet people. Any thoughts?
 
Odd.

Threatnet seems to have random issues like that where it suddenly just stops getting signals. It's a great system, but it always seems to go down during a time when you need it the most and that's the most frustrating part... especially when it ran flawlessly for several hours and then right when *$*%* hits the fan and you're navigating to get into position to intercept a storm and then suddenly your radar signal suddenly dies out.

This happened to me on almost every chase back in 04' when I had the system.
 
Odd.

Threatnet seems to have random issues like that where it suddenly just stops getting signals. It's a great system, but it always seems to go down during a time when you need it the most and that's the most frustrating part... especially when it ran flawlessly for several hours and then right when *$*%* hits the fan and you're navigating to get into position to intercept a storm and then suddenly your radar signal suddenly dies out.

This happened to me on almost every chase back in 04' when I had the system.
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yesterday it went down on me for about a 40 minute period when trying to drive to my target.. i hadnt paid much attention to the update time in the lower left hand corner.. so i must have thought i was looking at live feed that wasnt doing much for 30 minutes or more.. lol

Also when i finally got on the storm and was chasing it after it passed over me... it went down twice with radar data for 2 10 minute intervals and again fro a 20 minute interval.. It is an awesome tool but doesnt seem to be without its bugs.. i too think it has something to do with the car being turned off or on or the laptop hibernating after a period of time.. Im still learning its quirks..
 
The ship I am on has the Water version and it has been down since yesterday afternoon. Everything in the data reciever is working ok.......not sure what is up?
 
Joey,

Only thing I can think of is the problems with the new power cord for my laptop. It had a loose connection and my battery life is like 5 minutes or less. The screen kept dimming and the battery went almost dead several times. For anybody that knows, would not having a battery being charged cause it not to receive a signal and not receive radar? That is the only thing I can think of is the battery didnt have enough power to process all of it. Have used it several times this year and never had a problem except having to reboot every 3 hours or so then it would just fire back up.

Chris
 
Yesterday, I called XM. Had my radio activated within 2 minutes of me getting off the phone with XM, and it worked great all day yesterday. I used it last year, and never had a problem with it.

I've never had a problem with my XM, and have only great things to say about it....cartooney graphics and all.

*correction*

I take that back. I blew a fuse one time last year.

-Eric
 
Nope, I have not had that problem. I did experience something kind of like that when I would start my vehicle and the power would dip I would lose the signal and I would have to restart the program.

Yesterday however I had a major failure, ERR deactivation signal receive, called XM and they said everything was current and activated. They even sent a new activation signal and that did not help. I am going to try and replace the antenna as some have suggested that as a weakness in the system, if that doesn't work I guess I'll have to call the threatnet people. Any thoughts?
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http://www.stormtrack.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=10416


I've heard of some having problems with the wx worx reciever. You might try sending it back Joey. I had mine on all day yesterday and maybe missed one scan is all. It's very reliabe for me(though we all went down March 12 at night).
 
I don't know if threat net is the same thing as wx-worx, but Mickey's went down twice yesterday.
 
Didn't have any trouble with mine yesterday, except for when the range circles around the auto got stuck in one place while the auto moved along. I shut down threat net and restarted it and everything was fine.
 
Guys I never have problems with Threatnet unless there is a problem with the power connection. That is what you are having. Never have it set up in a way that the cord can get bumped. As soon as it does it loses radio connection and will give you those errors requiring reboot. If you stop for gas beware and have a plan for Threatnet. Be aware of parking under overhangs that block the signal. Basically I have heard the DC connector sux. Don't use it. Hardwire your invertor to the batter and run your Threatnet (Wxworx) off the invertor in AC mode. That is much more reliable. I've only had mine go out a few times and every time it had something to do with loss of power to the unit - so figure out a way to prevent that from happening and you will be gold.
 
I had to exit the software twice yesterday because I was not receiving updates for over a few scans. It is interesting about the power supply issue Bill. I had my powered by the DC not the AC so I will try that on the next chase.

I was real excited about doing some night chasing this season but I am not real sure I am impressed with the accuracy of the system and I defiantly don't trust it 100%. Granted one has to take into consideration that these past storms have been trucking and on average if a storm is moving 50mph and the WX Works only updates every 6 minutes (at least mine does) the storm, in relation to your GPS location, has already traveled 8 miles. So a little common sense plays a part in that but when your unit is not updating, well that is a freak'n headache especially when it matters the most.

My over all rating of Threat Net: 75%

They need to do a LOT of updating on the software to make it a more informational portal.

Mick
 
I had to exit the software twice yesterday because I was not receiving updates for over a few scans. It is interesting about the power supply issue Bill. I had my powered by the DC not the AC so I will try that on the next chase.

I was real excited about doing some night chasing this season but I am not real sure I am impressed with the accuracy of the system and I defiantly don't trust it 100%. Granted one has to take into consideration that these past storms have been trucking and on average if a storm is moving 50mph and the WX Works only updates every 6 minutes (at least mine does) the storm, in relation to your GPS location, has already traveled 8 miles. So a little common sense plays a part in that but when your unit is not updating, well that is a freak'n headache especially when it matters the most.

My over all rating of Threat Net: 75%

They need to do a LOT of updating on the software to make it a more informational portal.

Mick
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Your comments are correct.. i would like to expand though.. Knowing the limitations of this software is the key. Which im sure most here know

I assume everything I am seeing is about 5 - 10 minutes old.. So i must assume as i have experienced that the storm is 5 - 10 mintues forward of the last scan.. thus it appears the storm is 10 miles away but in reality, "visually" its right on top of me..

I will say though as previous.. there were some times that it did stop giving me data whilst on the storm yesterday.. :) Nonetheless I bagged 3 tornadoes and got AWESOME video footage..
 
Nonetheless I bagged 3 tornadoes and got AWESOME video footage..
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Congrats Fred I hope you used the DVX! A least your vcam go some action :)


It just seems the longer my unit stays on the more it gets behind on the updates. It is a good tool but I would never relace it with my eyeball. Yesterday proved that very well along with many other leasons learned.

Mick
 
I had to exit the software twice yesterday because I was not receiving updates for over a few scans. It is interesting about the power supply issue Bill. I had my powered by the DC not the AC so I will try that on the next chase. [/b]

That was a tip from Charles Edwards that told me about it. Even if you use DC you might want to hardwire it to the battery direct - well make sure it is 12volt and not converted to 9 volt or something first. I think the best deal is an inverter to the battery direct and then plug a power strip into that. That's the way I'm doing mine. Gene helped me hook mine up last weekend because my other inverter wasn't as strong as I needed and previously I was going through the cig lighter. As Gene says, 'Nothing serious should be plugged into the cigarette lighter". I picked up a 750 watt inverter with 2 plugs at Freys for about $59. You should be able to find them anywhere though. If you use it a lot you might want a more powerful alternator.

I was real excited about doing some night chasing this season but I am not real sure I am impressed with the accuracy of the system and I defiantly don't trust it 100%. Granted one has to take into consideration that these past storms have been trucking and on average if a storm is moving 50mph and the WX Works only updates every 6 minutes (at least mine does) the storm, in relation to your GPS location, has already traveled 8 miles. So a little common sense plays a part in that but when your unit is not updating, well that is a freak'n headache especially when it matters the most.

My over all rating of Threat Net: 75%

They need to do a LOT of updating on the software to make it a more informational portal.

Mick
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Threatnet is ok as long as you understand it's limitations. Mine is reliable as long as it has power so the main issue is whether it's updates are timely enough to reflect reality of where a storm is. I started a new thread here at ST just for that so that we could all compare our experiences. Mine usually updates every 6 min but sometimes it seems that it may be behind 6 minutes before it sends that out making it 6 to 12 min off reality. With faster storms - yeah it can be tough. I was wondering how it compares to GRLevelx and Weathertap also, and looked at it last night on a local storm. It appeared to be about the same placement as GrLevelx but a bit differently drawn. However accuracy related to the position of my vehicle and storm versus landmarks seemed reasonable. I think it needs more testing though and input from others such as yourself here: http://www.stormtrack.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=10898. Last year at night Gene and I drove almost right under a low hanging tornadic wallcloud at night because we thought we had spacing from the storm and by the time we got there no other road options. So, make sure you give yourself some leeway. If movement is from west to east and you are east 5 to 8 miles (or more/less depending on storm speed) then consider you may be on the leading edge of precip. Shear markers (whirlies) are not always completely accurate. They always do seem to reflect shear, but they may not detect weaker shear. Last night I thought I saw a tornado but no shear was indicated until about 20 minutes later. Last year at South Plains after the tornado had gone east and I was in the large hail / RFD and driving north further into the rain core it said the whirlies were above me and all around, but I'm pretty sure that area was a number of miles to my east by then.

EDIT: PS When you are using it keep an eye occasionally on XMLink that it's products are coming in regularly and on the Data Inspector inside Threatnet to see when the last update for a particular product came in.

Bill
 
Congrats Fred I hope you used the DVX! A least your vcam go some action :)
It just seems the longer my unit stays on the more it gets behind on the updates. It is a good tool but I would never relace it with my eyeball. Yesterday proved that very well along with many other leasons learned.

Mick
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Again your correct. it is just a tool.. And when it works it works well.. Going by site is always best when your there.. :blink:

As you did, i learned alot and questioned what i know in the field yesterday.. As i posted in the chase reports.. I was in fear at a point in time when that Hanover producing storm went overhead on my west flank.. and began to produce its wrath... Id say 150 - 200 meters to my west..

It was accurate at that moment.. it showed me and it right there on screen...

Fred

PS I did use the DVX :D How do you like yours Mickey?
 
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