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 since Feb. 2003

 WX - Telegraph abbreviation for weather often used with Morse code
 The Wire - Name once given to the telegraph

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July 16, 2005

Davis Vantage Pro2/WeatherBug Backyard personal weather station review

There is no lack of local weather data in my part of the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, Metroplex. I’m located about 5 miles due north of NOAA’S National Weather Service, which serves the North Texas area. I’m about 5 miles due south of Alliance Airport, and only 15 miles from the official reporting station for Dallas/Fort Worth at DFW International Airport. That’s nice, but much different weather can be happening just 5 miles away, and yesterday is a perfect example. My house didn’t get a drop of rain yesterday, while DFW Airport got almost a quarter of an inch, and Alliance Airport, just 5 miles away, got almost an inch of rain! Having a personal weather station now lets me know what really happened at my house, which is good for practical reasons such as knowing whether to shut the sprinklers off for a couple of days. [Note: Images link to large versions in new windows]

David Vantage Pro2 materials. Links to large version in new window Why Davis Vantage Pro2?

I purchased a wireless Davis Vantage Pro2 from the WeatherBug Backyard program, which lets users upload their weather station’s data to WeatherBug, allowing all with Version 6 or higher to view their weather conditions. I did some research and found that reviews were positive for the model I purchased. There are more expensive models out there, including a higher-end Davis Vantage Pro2 Plus that measures solar/UV radiation, but the model I have does everything I want and does it for a total cost of $500. Best value, that’s what many wrote about Davis Vantage Pro2 as I was researching.

Installation

Not too difficult. It took me about two hours to piece the rain bucket and anemometer (wind gauge) together to the point that it was ready to be mounted to, in my case, a steel pole. The instruction manual was easy to understand and had plenty of illustrations to help me along.

David Vantage Pro2. Links to large version in new windowI could have mounted the station to my fence, but opted for a pole installation since it would make the station more level, and since the solar panel should be facing south and the anemometer north, and my neighbor behind me might have had something to say about this white panel hanging over their side of the fence.

I had a pole with an outside diameter of 1-1/4 cut to 8 feet at Home Depot and bought some Qwik-Crete. With a post-hole digger, the whole process took a couple of hours, mostly because I chose to do this in the middle of a 100-degree day and I was taking frequent water breaks. Basically, I received the weather station in the mail Tuesday and had the thing mounted and sending data to my computer, Web site and WeatherBug by the next night.

David Vantage Pro2. Links to large version in new windowConsole

I love the console. Among other measurements, it displays every 2 seconds the temperature inside and out, heat index/wind chill, wind speed/direction, lunar cycle, barometric pressure, humidity in and out. rain rate/day, 24-hour forecast, and it has a neat little graph that plots, by hour, any of the mentioned features over the past day. The console also has many options for different units of measurement and a nice backlight that will stay on permanently if you tell it to. Three C batteries are placed in the back for a backup power supply, and a port in the back feeds data to your computer via a serial port or USB. The data can be updated to WeatherBug or your own web page every minute.

David Vantage Pro2. Links to large version in new windowSoftware

WeatherBug Publisher installs quickly and, once installed, it runs quietly in the background, uploading data every minute or so depending on the connection setting you choose. The actual WeatherBug application does not need to be open, even in the tray, for the data to be sent to WeatherBug. You can also install and run the WeatherLink software Davis provides, which allows all of the data (or whatever you choose) from the station to be uploaded to a web page. You can use one of their templates to create a page, or create your own, which is what I did here. It doesn’t take long at all. There are simple HTML tags for each measurement, and the page you create on your C drive can be easily uploaded to a web server with some simple FTP settings in the WeatherLink settings. I have mine set up to upload once every 5 minutes, though I am doing it as two different publishes to make sure that WeatherLink and WeatherBug are not fighting for my computer’s COM port. It seems to work best that way, and both servers are getting new data at least twice every 5 minutes. (more…)

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Jamaicans brace for Hurricane Emily; Mexico plans evacuation of tourists from Cancun; Why so many storms so early in hurricane season?; Long-time Gulf Coast resident says people panicked by The Weather Channel; Do-not-call rules eased after storms pass; NASA delays Discovery launch indefinitely; 5.2 quake shakes Hawaii; Quake rattles Mt. St. Helens; Trip I need to take

Friday Night Weather News: Jamaicans brace for Hurricane Emily | Mexico plans evacuation of tourists from Cancun | Latest info in the red box (right)

Why so many storms so early in hurricane season?

Long-Time Gulf Coast Resident: Don’t Panic! A man who has lived on the U.S. Gulf Coast for 30 years says residents are more panicked by hurricanes since watching The Weather Channel… Article. Did you watch coverage of Hurricane Dennis on TWC, or listen to Matt Drudge‘s show last Sunday where some callers had similar comments? I have to admit, I was paying more attention to the excellent online streaming coverage from two local TV stations in Mobile/Pensacola (WPMI and WKRG). I wish I had taped TWC Sunday afternoon. From what I did see, they were pretty excited …

Weather Channel’s storm chaser

‘Do-not-call’ rules eased after storms pass

Space News: NASA delays Discovery launch indefinitely

Quake News: 5.2 earthquake shakes Hawaii residents | Magnitude 3 earthquake rattles Mount St. Helens volcano … as always, the quake wire is in the left column of this page, and additional quake resources are in our National/International page

Off Topic: I need to go see the mysterious Marfa Lights one day. They’re in my state, but it’s Texas, where traveling from the north-central region to the west is still a long hike…

Top 5 WXnation.com city weather and webcam pages visited on Top 5 WXnation.com city weather and webcam pages visited on Friday: 1. Dallas/Fort Worth 2. Houston 3. San Antonio 4. Atlanta 5. Indianapolis … See the top 20 so far this month in the center column of our home page.

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