Weather-spotting and weather data
One of the interesting things we do with ham radio is to participate in "Skywarn" weather-spotting activities. (More Skywarn information is available through the MSU Amateur Radio Club's web page; click here for that link).
Weather-spotting has led to more interest in
learning about weather in general. I
have installed a home weather station, a Davis Vantage Pro, at our residence just north of
A subset of the weather data is also transmitted in a beacon on ham radio "APRS" channels. This is a "packet radio" mode; the local APRS frequency is 144.390MHz, and more information on operating this mode is available on the radio club web site and on Scott Thile K4SET's web site (follow the link from the radio club's page). I have used both WinAPRS and UI-View for APRS software; both seem satisfactory, though I prefer the “feel” of UI-View.
APRS data is collected and compiled from many participating local stations into an impressive on-line database. You can see the national data by going to:
and scroll down the page to the View APRS Weather Stations Data section. In the Table summary from call section, enter my callsign, KJ4W (or another participating ham's callsign). You can restrict the data to the last hour or two to reduce amount, if you wish. A cgi-script dialog results, giving a unique URL. For later fast lookups, that URL can be used to go to the table directly. For example, the URL for KJ4W for the last 1 hour's data is:
Another available dialog script, by zip code, allows viewing data from other stations in the area, for most-recent reports only. That entry is available in the first link given; or, directly, the URL is:
Receiving the APRS data directly by radio is, of course, the most fundamental method! Participation in the Skywarn program is very interesting, and a rewarding way of using ham radio to benefit the community.
Generally I upload data to radio and this web page every 15 minutes. I do so more often when stormy conditions make fresh data more valuable, if I'm home in advance to make the setup change.
There are any number of good links for additional weather information.
Another good local and statewide weather data
source that is posted to the Internet is the “Kentucky Mesonet Project”. This is a network of weather stations
sponsored by the State. One station is
Another local ham radio operator has his weather station data posted: this is Dale WB7D and Valerie KG4OCJ, at:
There are other local and regional hams that upload data to the APRS channel but not to the Internet. The FindU link above can show these.
"Weather for You" has lots of info:
In our immediate area, the
Finally, I keep a nifty program running in the background on my weather computer, called “WeatherBug”. This displays current temperature constantly in the taskbar on the lower right-had portion of the screen, and provides an alert chirp when the NWS office issues a severe weather watch or warning. The program is free if you accept advertising, or for a reasonable fee you can purchase the “WeatherBug Plus version” which eliminates the ads. The program is not so valuable for users without an always-on Internet connection. Information and download at:
For a log and notes of station updates, changes and problems, click here.
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Last page update: October 12, 2008