Never base important decisions that could result in harm to people or property on this weather information.

Equipment - Hardware
Weather Station
Davis 6153 Davis console


(Davis Instruments Photo)

The weather station is a Davis Instruments Vantage PRO2™. I purchased the wireless 6153 model with the fan-aspirated radiation shield. I thought I would give the fan-aspirated version a try because my earlier weather station, with a passive radiation shield, had difficulties maintaining the proper temperature when the sun shown directly on the shield. I went wireless to allow maximum flexibility in siting the station's sensors. The station's ability to add more wireless sensors is an additional bonus that I hope to be able to take advantage of at a future time.

Weather Server
Dell Optiplex 790


(Dell Inc. Photo)

The weather server is Dell Optiplex 790. It has 16 GB of main memory. I upgraded the video card to a ATI FirePro V4800. The power supply was upgraded to 400 watts to support the video card. The video card upgrade was necessary to be able to load high resolution backgrounds into the software that I use to generate RADAR images for this site. Windows 7 Professional is the operating system and it is a fresh installation with the bare minimum of software packages installed that is necessary to run the server.

Network Camera
LG LNV5100 video image

(LG Electronics Photo)

The network camera used to provide live snapshots of the sky during the day is a LG LNV5100. The camera has the advantage of being a full featured network IP camera that does not need a dedicated server to upload images to the web site.

The camera has automatic iris control and sense up capabilities that extends the dynamic range of the camera beyond that of the earlier camera used on this site.

All Sky Camera

All Sky Camera

The Niteskys all sky camera provides 180 degree views of the sky 24/7. The camera is connected to the weather server and uses the Moonglow Technologies All Sky Camera Uploader Kit to periodically upload images from the camera to the web site. The camera is very versatile and has been used to monitor cloud cover, capture meteor showers, capture satellite events, capture lightning events, and monitor precipitation.

The camera is a standard low light security camera; a PC-165DNR. A Fujinon YV2.2x1.4A-SA2L with iris focuses and controls the amount of light entering the camera. This allows the camera to provide images of the day and night sky. The top half of the camera housing is a Arecont Vision dome mount with heater. The bottom half is a custom built prototype I machined up for proof of concept purposes.

Equipment - Software
Weather Station Automation
WxSolution

WxSolution is the weather station automation package that powers this web site. Data from the weather station is collected by WxSolution and sent to various agencies including this web site through FTP transfer. In addition to real-time transfer of data, WxSolution generates various reports and graphics using the data. These include Local Climatological Data (LCD) reports similar to those produced by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and wind rose and strip chart graphics.

Radar

GRLevel3

GRLevel3 is a viewer for live NEXRAD level 3 data from NOAA. The software alows you to zoom to a street-level view of storm data. In addition to a viewer, the software allows you to publish radar images to a web site.

By using a weather data provider, like Allison House, you can use GRlevel3 to view and publish local lightning data, spotter reports, weather warnings and watches.

PHP Scripts
PHP

Many pages on this web site are powered by PHP scripts. PHP scripting allows web pages to have dynamic content by using the web server to create the page content when the page is accessed.

Script ideas, working scripts, and complete web site templates can be found on various weather web sites. If you are interested in PHP weather scripts, you may want to visit the following sites: Carter Lake, Iowa Weather, Saratoga Weather, and St. James City Weather.

Weather Sensor Siting
Anemometer
anemometer siting

The CWOP web site provides a guide that describes ideal weather station sensor siting. This is a must read for the weather enthusiast. Additionally, the manuals provided with the Vantage PRO2™ and a siting application note on the Davis Instruments web site provides specific details on siting their product. However, many of us have to deal with less than ideal circumstances when siting the sensors.  Here are my solutions.

The picture at left shows the anemometer boom siting. Using an extra satellite TV antenna post assembly, I have placed the boom on the roof of the house where it is exposed to wind from all directions. I used a 6332 Anemometer Transmitter kit to eliminate the need for wiring.

Integrated Sensor Suite
ISS siting

The picture at left shows the siting of the ISS (Integrated Sensor Suite). The ISS contains the rain, thermometer, and humidity sensors. The ISS is mounted on a vinyl fence post at a height of 5 feet off the ground. I discarded the 1/4" mounting hardware in favor of 5/16" hardware. In addition to the larger hardware, I placed a large piece of .061" aluminum plate inside the post to provide additional support.

UPDATES: Shortly after installation of the ISS, a 6450 Solar Radiation Sensor was added to the instrument array. In the fall of 2010, a 7720 Rain Collector Heater was installed.