What's your equipment philosophy?

What's your equipment philosophy?

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My camera is my pride and joy. I would say 80% of my equipment funds have gone to lenses, bags, filters, tripods,and of course my body. Besides chasing, photography is a hobby of mine, and even when there is a bust, I usually come home with a photographic non-bust.

Aaron
 
Once I get a digital camera/video camera, they'll be my baby. My laptop is a POS as it is, so I don't really care much about it. :)
 
When I chase alone it is pretty much just me and my camcorder, maybe a 35mm if I feel like it. I tend to go pretty visual when I chase alone as well. I do not like to be overly dependent on tech stuff. :) Plus college students don't make much money so I can't buy all the toys I want. :cry:

However, when I chase with my buddy we have quite a few toys from radios, to cameras, to a DirectTV set up. So that is when I chase all tech. :D It makes it more fun then just watching the sky all the time. But then you learn what the computer says and not the clouds. :roll:
 
Just the basics for me.

The aspect of chasing I have enjoyed most over the years is the challenge of determing rather early in the day where I need to be by mid afternoon and then adjust by visual clues (and a little help from NWR or local radio stations.) Since I chase alone most of the time, more gadgetry would simply take my eyes away from where I want them to be most of the time (the sky) and put them on dials, knobs and displays. I can set right here at a computer desk and do that. :)

That being said, this year I am finally dragging myself kicking and screaming into the 21st century by using GPS. I do think it's a valuable tool when reporting storms, either in situ or post event. It also beats trying to thumb your way to the right Delorme map while trying to drive and observe a storm at the same time. :)

Regards,

Mike
 
Don't forget the paper towels for when someone spits coffee all over your windshield... :shock:

I have a GPS, wx scanner and small TV that I use on a chase. I like to try to have some sort of still camera and my dv cam. I've tried using other things like a weather station but it wasn't worth the trouble to me.
 
Don't forget the paper towels for when someone spits coffee all over your windshield... :lol: :lol:

My pride and joy is my digital camera, as well. I have the Canon EOS10D with 3 lenses. I also carry my Sony TRV-900, two ham radios, CB, weather radio, ruler-for when i'm lucky enough to get a good hailstone, reference materials, and a host of other goodies. 8)
 
I don't like to be overwhelmed with gadgets, but I voted for a "fair amount". I had to, I've got plenty of radio equipment that stays with me year round since ham radio is a big hobby of mine. I like to leave computers and other things at home if I can.

Like Aaron and many others, photography is a hobby also so I carry the camera and film when I travel most of the time anyway. Always looking for that perfect shot :)

Like Mike, I like to look more for visual clues and what's going on around me than to try and check the computers every 30 minutes. Just makes it seem more like me against nature I guess, more rewarding for me. Of course my accuracy probably suffers more because of this :lol:

Tim
 
Don't forget the paper towels for when someone spits coffee all over your windshield...

Hey, I forgot about "The Cup" back in 98. Remember that one? We got it from that rest area near Wichita Falls and it rode the bumper from there to Lubbock and eastern NM, all the way back up to Quincy, IL and beyond? Don't you have some footage of that? :)

If the cup was still around it would be a valuable piece of equipment: Squeeze the coffee from the paper towels into the cup and "WHAMO!" instant recycled caffeineted beverage!

Regards,

Mike
 
My philosophy is quite simple....if I think that it is a piece of equipment that I may need at some point during chase season...even rarely or just once... it goes in the truck. Better to carry extra items that might not get used, than to be in a situation that it's needed in, but not available.

Chris Sokol/KD5ILI
Mobile Weather Concepts
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
 
how much is too much

I have 2 radios, a still camera, a video camera, cell phone, and a laptop, which I think is about average. I know many chasers with less gear and plenty with more. I enjoy toying around with this stuff; it's good SDS relief to think about wiring radios to batteries and mounting detachable faces in clever locations. I like sitting in my truck and thinking about how it will look all decked out with the dashcam mount deployed and the wires tucked away. I wonder what the season will be like and what I'll see.

Yet I get too distracted by it all while in the field. My second biggest goal this chase season, behind taking full advatange of June and northern / high plains chasing, is to spend less time looking at my laptop screen or watching weather phenomena through a viewfinder. I don't want to find myself listening to 2 ham radios, a local AM station, and talking on the cell phone all at the same time ever again.

My philosophy is that I need to press the OFF button more.

Amos
 
Simply put, the minimum required to complete the required task.
in my case a 2 meter rig, a WXrx, scanner (for monitoring local authorities) and a digital camera.
 
Ryan said it well, the minimum required to complete the task. Being a ham and an EMA volunteer, the radios, scanners, and switchbox I have mounted in the truck are basically a neccessity. Laptop, GPS, data connection aren't neccessarily required for chasing, but as a newbie I could use all the help I can get finding the right storm, and keeping safe at the same time. Video cam to document everything.

This will be the first year that I've used all of the above at the same time, so we'll see how it goes. I think it might become a burden if everything is on at once, only because I chase solo and that's just too much to absorb sometimes!
 
Having to factor in how much equipment I can realistically carry on a plane I am very critical as to what I take with me. Apart from the camera stuff I would be lost with out my cellphone/laptop/GPS - I am a weather data fiend and part of chasing for me is to see the situation unfold on my laptop. Of course computers are my living so I am naturally a nerdy gadget type of person.

Interesting the discussion on the HAM side of things - I use a scanner for NOAA radio and this can be tuned in to listen to the HAM conversations - but I feel bad about doing this as I feel that I am snooping!
 
listening in

this can be tuned in to listen to the HAM conversations - but I feel bad about doing this as I feel that I am snooping!

Stu, not at all! Those bands are open and free to the public and all hams are aware that many listeners are 'lurking' in quiet mode, both on scanners and other ham radios, too. That's part of the greatness of having those frequencies reserved for amateur use. Listen all you like!

Amos
 
Stu, I agree with Amos 100%!! Tune in all you can, that's how I got into ham radio. I used to listen to them all the time during severe weather back in the day. That's how I got so interested and eventually got my license, haven't looked back since. Those bands are open as can be and all are welcome to listen along. :)
 
I voted Just the basics. That would include cell phone, vid cam, SLR, binoculars, road map, and scanner. I am perflectly happy with that little equipment.
 
I voted "Just the Basics," because too much gear does two things to me on a chase: confuses me and distracts me.

I've chased with friends who run a lot of gear, and I've sat down with them in motels/stores/ect etc waiting for info to load on a computer. One time in 2002, the connection was really bad, and after 5 or so minutes of waiting on a radar update, I just finally looked away from the computer and up at the sky. I told them what they needed to know without the radar image. I understand what an assest the gear can be, but in most cases it's more hinderance than help, at least for me.

I also understand that many chasers are out on one-time vacations, and need to "make the most" of their investment for chasing. But for me, the idea that more times than not I will fail is what keeps me going. Long odds make for much sweeter victories than "insurance," IMO.

I have a pretty respectable track record over my entire chase career, and I know it could be even better with the gear stuff. But I also know that chasers today have it so much easier than the guys did back before computers and SPC...and even though chasers like me today (basics/visual) make strides to keep the field "even" and not inflate the odds too much, it's still not what the guys had to deal with back in the day. And for me, it's important to keep as much of the "sport" in chasing as possible.

There's no denying that most chasers (myself included) are often-times more led to tornadoes than they actually find them on their own, but I like to keep the "being led to" factor down as much as possible. Besides, I spend less on an entire chase season than most gear guys have invested in their vehicles before they chase once.
 
Stu, snoop away, I (and I am sure others) will be glad to provide you with some frequencies to listen to.
 
Mike,

"The Cup" made it as far as Washington, PA. I had to drive over some large pot-hole caverns to get to the gas pumps and more than likely it was the jolt from those bumps that finally did our good friend in.

ps. Interesting avatar image...but I thought you were partial to King Vitamin?

-Shawn

As for the topic of equipment. Coming from someone who once lugged the entire DTN unit out into the field, I must say that my own personal trend is towards less equipment towards a more old school Bieda-esque visual-only strategy.



>Hey, I forgot about "The Cup" back in 98. Remember that one? We got it from that rest area near Wichita Falls and it rode the bumper from there to Lubbock and eastern NM, all the way back up to Quincy, IL and beyond? Don't you have some footage of that?

If the cup was still around it would be a valuable piece of equipment: Squeeze the coffee from the paper towels into the cup and "WHAMO!" instant recycled caffeineted beverage!

Regards,

Mike
 
Mike,

"The Cup" made it as far as Washington, PA. I had to drive over some large pot-hole caverns to get to the gas pumps and more than likely it was the jolt from those bumps that finally did our good friend in.

ps. Interesting avatar image...but I thought you were partial to King Vitamin?

-Shawn

I'll be damn if it ain't the K-Man! Welcome aboard homey! :)

I remember you telling me the cup make it a ways back, I had just forgot how far.

I did like King Vitamin until I found out he is was a far-left member of the democrat party. Had to go with "T" after that. Hella good choice!

I might have eneded up eventually with ole' Swag, but it's nice he has a presence in the forum now.

As for the DTN, I think the generator was the worse part. But those certainly were the halcyon days of chasing (and we did have a heck of core punch experience that first day of the infamous DTN field trial!) :)

Regards,

Mike
(Henchman for the Tennessee Pork Product Producers Mafia)
 
I keep my equipment pretty simple, mostly because I'm too broke :). Cell phone, Scanner for NOAA, HAMs, and Local Authority, Digital Still cam, and my Mini DV cam with still cam built in. Hopefully I can get me a nice window-mount tripod for my cam this year.
 
I did like King Vitamin until I found out he is was a far-left member of the democrat party. Had to go with "T" after that. Hella good choice!

I might have eneded up eventually with ole' Swag, but it's nice he has a presence in the forum now.

As for the DTN, I think the generator was the worse part. But those certainly were the halcyon days of chasing (and we did have a heck of core punch experience that first day of the infamous DTN field trial!) :)

I didn't know that King Vitamin was a big supporter of the Kerry campaign.
I'm already boycotting Heinz ketchup, so I reckon we'll have to add the ole' King to the "Do not buy" list. Shame. The small size restriction to the avatar image procludes me from including any other good pix of Swaggerty, like some of the ones you made, one of which features a cameo appearance by our favorite member of the TWC forecast team ;)
As for the halcyon days of chasing...I have to be Reagenesque here and state that the best days are still on the horizon, although that was a pretty good year.

Sorry I could not make it to the Denver Wedgefest, but I have been hammered at work. I have a golf trip to SC penned for the weekend of the 12th next month, but even that is in jeapordy. I've reserved the week before Memorial Day for this year's excursion, but Mr. Barnes informed me that Mr. CoPunch wants to explore your neck of the woods the first week of June.....which is ok in my book, climatologically speaking...but nearly impossible to schedule a free 12 day block that time of the year....June is bad for me.

-Shawn
 
Shawn,

Yeah, hooked up with CoPunch in DEN and he videotaped a good bet of the proceedings so he might be willing to share some of it for a price. It was a nice diversion during the winter glum. I told him I'm planning more off-the-cuff excursions down into KS and possibly OK this season (we're fixing to free up an extra $500 a month, so that'll help feed the habit) and that we should plan on some excursions up here in the NE/SD region. This area certainly has been very kind to many chasers the past few years and there's still a lot of unexplored territory and many opportunties to create great sea stories in the years to come.

As for Heinz, I guess I'm on my last bottle right now so we'll have to revert back to Hunt's :-(

Regards,

Mike
 
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