Knowing the weather makes a pilots life easier, so why not buy a weather station?
What pilot wouldn't like a better understanding of the weather? There are many weather stations on the market, suitable for installation either on a boat or at home, offering useful local data to supplement and help us interpret the official aviation and marine forecasts we rely on.
Some are pretty basic, others measure wind speed and direction and rainfall. Some have a USB port to transfer data to a computer for analysis.
Most units come standard with a barometer. The basic models have a base station and a wireless, battery-powered temperature and humidity sensor. But for those with wind and rain sensors as well, the word wireless is somewhat blurred.
Some are entirely wirelessly linked, each sensor having its own power and transmitter. Others link by cables to a central transmitter, which is also the temperature and humidity transducer.
"A weather station at the chart table gives useful data to supplement the flight plan"
These units are not specifically designed for aviation or boats, but I've installed similar ones on boats and my aircraft hanger, with no problems - you just have to be sensible about how you mount things.
Most of the sensors are waterproof; there's no 12Vdc input but the batteries last at least a year, often closer to two. A fully marine-spec weather station with comparable features would cost more than $1,000.
First, to set up these units, some of the basic sets just have a single temperature/humidity sensor, which only needed pairing up with the base station - pretty simple provided you remember to boot up the sensor before the display.
The multiple sensors of the more complex units needed to be assembled onto a pole, plugged together (unless wholly wireless) and powered up.
"If you set up a weather station at home, it needs to be high up to measure wind speed/direction"
It's not difficult if you carefully follow the instructions. Most stations came with all the mountings required, other than a tall pole to get them clear of obstructions.
With the sensors sorted, we programmed the base units with local data, altitude offset, alarm thresholds and preferred units, then ran them alongside each other, noting any anomalies, and compared them with observational data from a nearby professional weather station.
Barometric pressure A barometer tells you three things: what the air pressure is, at what speed it is rising or falling, and by how much. From that, we can deduce a lot about the weather to come.
Air pressure is measured in millibars (mb) or hectopascals (hPa) - the two are actually identical, like centigrade and Celsius.
Relative' barometric pressure is adjusted for altitude, 'absolute' is the actual pressure on the sensor.
The warmer a body of air, the more moisture it can hold without condensing out (forming fog at sea level and clouds at height). The point at which it can hold no more moisture is known as the dew point.
In a body of air that is cooling, the relative humidity (the amount of moisture a body of air can contain at that temperature) is rising.
Cooling of the air will generally take place when there is a gentle breeze close to the water surface. The water, if it is colder than the air, acts on the air to cool it.
If you can monitor relative humidity and temperature, you can, to an extent, forecast fog. When the dew point meets the water temperature, advection fog - the commonest type over the sea - occurs.
Heat/comfort Index This is a figure derived from temperature and humidity readings. Essentially, it is a 'comfort' reading.
High humidity and low temperature isn't too bad, nor is low humidity and high temperature, but high humidity and high temperature combined are not comfortable.
It isn't really important for weather forecasting, but it goes some way to explaining why we sometimes feel uncomfortable on warm, moist days.
Oregon Scientific has a wide range of weather stations for all levels of forecasting. This is a mid-range model, with wireless link-ups between the sensors and base station.
The sensors, common to several of Oregon's other models, comprise a combined wind speed and direction unit, a rain catcher and a small, weatherproof temperature and humidity sensor.
The lack of wires simplifies mounting, but each sensor needs two AA batteries. They are said to last for two years, if you use good-quality dry cells.
"It's fully wireless, so each sensor needs batteries"
The base station is silver plastic with an LCD screen the size of a modern smartphone with large, easy-to-read digits and icons, and a selectable orange backlight.
It has a 16-point wind compass and wind speed that can be set to knots, kph, mph or m/s. It also has a wind chill factor readout. A flag icon shows wind strength at a glance and you can select either max/min or real-time modes.
"It has the same sensors as some of Oregon's pricier units"
Air pressure is measured in hPa, inHg or mmHg and there's an historic bar graph going back 24 hours. You can also toggle between rainfall and UV Index graph with historic data.
It's not immediately obvious what all the buttons do, nor in which sequence you need to press them, but we got there in the end and found this unit to be a useful tool.
Using the same wireless sensors as the WMR86, the WMR89 has a different display that can be mains-powered (power plug supplied) and it also sports a USB port for downloading data to a PC for later analysis, using one of many dedicated weather logging software packages.
The display is small and neat, with all the primary information such as time (radio-controlled), wind speed/direction, weather, indoor/outdoor temperature and humidity, moon phase and time permanently displayed.
"If you want to run weather-logging PC software, this unit comes up trumps"
The viewing angle is wide and the contrast is good, so the data is easy to read and it also has an orange backlight on an easy-to-find bar switch on the top for gloomy surroundings.
Once again, learning which button does what takes a while I wouldn't put the manual away for a few weeks.
What makes this the most costly model we tested is partly the ease with which the completely wireless 10m-range , transducers can be installed, and partly in its ability to connect to a PC using a USB lead and software that can be downloaded from the OS website.
"Small and need, with all key data displayed"
The base station records the past seven days' weather data, which can then be downloaded to a PC running compatible weather logging software.
This means the PC can be disconnected and taken away, except when it is briefly transferring its data. This is a nice unit with all the required data for semi-pro use.
A very useful tool for the cruising sailor and it's easy to set up, too!
|MAKE||BATTERIES||WIND SPEED||WIND DIRECTION||DEW POINT||UV INDEX||HISTORY||RAIN||SUN||MOON||PC LOGGING|
|Maplin A01QX||3 AA/2 AAA||Y||N||N||N||12h||N||Y||Y||N|
|Maplin N25FR||5 AA||N||N||Y||N||12h||Y||N||N||N|
|Technoline WS6750||2 AA/2 AAA||Y||N||N||N||12h||N||Y||Y||N|
|Maplin N96GY||5 AA||Y||Y||N||N||12h||Y||N||N||Y|
|Oregon Scientific WMR86||5 AA||Y||Y||N||N||12h||Y||N||N||N|
|Technoline WS-1600IT||9 AA||Y||Y||Y||Y||24h||Y||N||Y||N|
|Ytora TPW899||5 AA||Y||Y||N||N||12h||Y||N||Y||N|
|Oregon Scientific WMR89||6 AA||Y||Y||N||Y||24h||Y||N||Y||Y|
Most other stations offer barometric pressure, outside humidity and dew point, daily and yearly rainfall, wind speed and direction, wind chill and outside temperature. Some also offer inside temperature and humidity, and a few even give you extra outside temperatures and rain rate. Only Vantage Pro2 or Vantage Vue give you those features, plus:
With most competing stations, you need to install each sensor separately, which adds complication and takes time and effort. Vantage Pro2 and Vantage Vue are factory-assembled to make setup as easy as possible. Just complete a few minor assembly steps, insert the battery, and you're ready to mount the sensor suite. Mounting is further simplified by using our optional tripod. On Vantage Pro2, gain further accuracy by detaching the anemometer from the sensor suite and mounting it separately.
The wireless transmission range for most competing stations is generally quite limited. Although range is highly variable (depending not only on the physical features of the land and structure but also on RF interference in the area), Vantage Pro2 and Vantage Vue will almost always outperform the competition. And we offer wireless repeaters and Vantage Connect should you wish to extend the range even further.
Most other stations simply give you the current readings. If highs and lows are available at all, they are usually quite limited. Only Vantage Pro2 and Vantage Vue give you the highs and lows (and/ or totals or averages) for just about ail weather conditions, with time and/or date for the last 24 days, months or years for Vantage Pro2, and current and last 25 days, months or years for Vantage Vue. No other stations on the market even come close. And not only can you view the data numerically, you can also view on-screen graphs, for instant visual representations of long-term trends.
The Vantage Pro2 and Vantage Vue transmitters send data to the console every 2.5 seconds. Highly variable conditions (such as wind speed and direction) are updated with each packet, while less variable conditions are updated every 10 seconds. With most competing stations, the update interval is much longer: 30 seconds, or even up to 3 minutes. This may not seem important, but try watching the wind gust or the rain suddenly come pouring down. It's very disconcerting to look out the window, see something happen weather-wise, and not see it reflected on the console right away.
The competition generally bases their forecast on barometric pressure alone, which results in none too accurate a prediction. Vantage Pro2 and Vantage Vue use a sophisticated forecasting algorithm which takes into account not only barometric pressure, but also wind, rainfall, temperature, humidity and longitude and latitude. The result? A much more accurate forecast. Not perfect, but even the guys with the satellite pictures don't always get it right!
Competing stations use icons to show the forecast. Vantage Pro2 and Vantage Vue have similar icons, plus Vantage Pro2 has over 80 different forecast messages that scroll across the bottom of the display. None of the other stations have this. The Vantage Pro2's ticker tape also gives additional information depending on which key you press. Both Vantage Pro2 and Vantage Vue are able to display 10-minute average wind speed, the last 15 minutes and last 24 hours of rain. These are only a few examples of Davis stations' unique features. Competing stations don't have anything like this.
With Vantage Pro2 and Vantage Vue, you can graph just about every weather variable, with averages and highs and lows for most, and go back in time for minutes, days, months and years. The competition typically graphs just one variable-barometric pressure—and typically just for the last 24 hours. With all the graphs on Vantage Pro2, and with the Weather Center feature on Vantage Vue, you can do tons of analysis, even without purchasing a software package. You'll find that the more dramatic the weather is, the more fun it is to look at the graphs. Just how windy is it and how does it compare to the last wind storm? How much rain did we get this month as compared to last month?
Our stations can be used up to 15,000 ft. (4570 m) in elevation. Many competing stations are limited to 6,000 ft. (1829 m) or below. If you're lucky enough to live and work—or perhaps enjoy a vacation home—in the mountains, you'll find that our Vantage Pro2 and Vantage Vue weather stations work just fine, no matter what the elevation.
If you'd like to do even more analysis, add our WeatherLink data logger and software package. The data logger stores data at the interval you choose (from one minute to two hours) for up to six months. Transfer the data whenever you like, or leave your computer on to have it transfer automatically every day. For some competing stations, no software package is available. Other stations do offer software, but don't include a data logger—so your PC must be on and the software running at all times.
With Vantage Pro2 and Vantage Vue, alarms can be set for just about every weather variable, for just about any reason imaginable—up to 70 alarms for Vantage Pro2 and 22 for Vantage Vue. The alarms found on competing stations are generally quite limited.
Vantage Pro2 and Vantage Vue generally beat their similarly-priced competition in accuracy, resolution and range. It can be difficult to find the specs for competing stations. When we do find them, our testing shows that they are a bit, shall we say, optimistic. We are proud to publish our specs in our catalog and on our website, and stand behind them 100%.
There are many, many thousands of happy Davis weather station users around the country and around the world. You'll find that many Davis weather station owners participate as volunteer observers for the National Weather Service, the National Hurricane Center, and numerous local TV and radio stations. You can also visit www.weatherlink.com and see a worldwide map of Davis weather station owners who use our WeatherLinkIP software, which along with other features, creates its own weather website for your weather station.
Established in 1963, Davis Instalments opened up the home weather station market back in 1989. Our weather stations are assembled and tested right here in Hayward, California, where we have a full staff giving the best customer service and aftermarket support in the business. In addition, Davis Instruments Quality Management System is ISO 9001 certified.
What To Look For In A Digital Portable Weather Station
If you are a person whose daily activities include many hours outdoors, then a portable digital weather station will be a great compliment to your life. These nifty weather monitoring devices are primed to measure such parameters as the temperature, wind speed and direction, rainfall, barometric pressure as well as relative humidity in the air. The following are some factors to look out for before buying one of your own.
These devices are a relatively new development and although you can still purchase old fashioned weather instruments, modern weather stations can provide the same information in a much easier to interpret format. This digital alternative lets you read the weather from the comfort of your sitting room and assist in understanding the current weather forecast. It is not only much more convenient but has greater sensitivity and therefore more accuracy in readings.
The weather station itself is a combination of different systems for measuring different weather attributes. Most of the basic models can at the least display temperatures, humidity and wind speed. Top of the range models also include components that can measure rainfall, wind direction and even barometric pressure. The needs you have will determine the type of station you purchase and therefore the features it needs to have included.
While many consider just the monitoring unit as the essential component, this is not the case at all. The accuracy of readings displayed on the indoor unit will depend on the sensors that are recording the actual weather phenomena outside the house. The sensors will be connected to the indoor monitoring and display unit by either cable or wireless means. This is an essential factor to consider before opting to buy a particular device or not. If the sensors are located within easy distance from the house, using a device that depends on wireless connectivity makes perfect sense. However, where the sensors are far much more removed from the location of the monitoring unit, a system that depends on cable connections may make more sense.
The availability of choice in terms of the means of interconnection also means that there are some essential differences in the cost of the units. The major factor that determines how much a digital weather station cost is the features it has. In other words, the more capable the device is, the more costlier it will be. The means of connection between the weather condition sensors and the indoor unit also play a great part in pricing. Invariably, you will find that wireless units cost more than you would pay for a cable connected unit of a similar capacity.
A basic indoor humidity monitor may serve the purposes of a homeowner who has to take care of an invalid patient but that is just about all. If you are an avid sports person looking to identify the perfect conditions for a morning cycle regimen, the best device will have to include more features. There are as well some people who need a unit that is capable of keeping a lengthy record of the readings in order to establish a pattern. Some units are therefore built with capacity for integration into a computer system where monitoring can happen with greater ease.
Another factor to bear in mind before buying a device of this capability is how rich the data it generates is. While a some of the best weather stations have a digital display of the numerical value of the quantity you want measured may be enough for some applications, it is way too inefficient for other application needs. It is often necessary to gain more insightful details like how the patterns have changed over days, weeks and months. For such a purpose, the device needs to have some more inbuilt computing power. It is only then that it can prove sufficient to calculate and make comparisons over a period of time as the user would need. The display feature must also be adequately capable of showing such type of information.
As technology advances are made, so does the convenience of every day tools and equipment increase. Even more significantly, some innovative devices also rise up which serve to make our lives more convenient and our decisions more effectively informed. The rise of very capable digital weather station devices is one such development that has brought welcome relief to many people. The weather station becomes a great companion to the barometer for safety and survival. Because they are available in different specifications and capability, it is essential that you only go for one which has the capacity to deliver the services you are in need of at the present as shown above.
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The Fody Tempus Pro provides a full range of outdoor and indoor weather information The hardy, precision-engineered outdoor pickup can be mounted in a few, simple steps.
Rainfall is measured by a smart cupping mechanism with self tipping bucket. The equipment will also provide you with inside and outside temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, rain and a lot more. A special shield covers it from radiated heat guaranteeingaccurate readings from +70 down to -40 degrees.
You don't have to get up and check the reading from the screen on your wall or desk. The Fody transmits real-time information to your smartphone.