The story so far...

It's probably very important that I say this right up front: I don't know an awful lot about the weather, weather recording or the use of personal weather stations. If you're looking for help and advice about this subject on the net and you happened upon this blog please keep this in mind — you probably want to be looking elsewhere for answers to your questions.

It started earlier this year when I got back into observational astronomy. Something I made a point of doing as soon as possible was keeping a written log of my observations. I'm still working on the form and content of my logs (both the paper-based and the web-based versions) and, where possible, I try and look for useful information that can be added to them to place them in a useful context.

One thing I wanted to try and do was add some indication of the weather conditions at the time a session took place; where possible I wanted it to be something a little more useful that "it's a bit chilly" or "it's somewhat breezy". Back in October I acquired and set up a simple wireless indoor/outdoor hygrometer/thermometer that I acquired from Maplin and, since then, I've been recording the temperature and humidity with each of my observing logs.

This, of course, wasn't really enough. What I really wanted was something that could feed data to one of my computers so that I could keep constant weather logs.

As of last week I'm now the owner of a WS3600 personal weather station. Not only does it measure temperature and humidity it also measures atmospheric pressure, precipitation and wind speed and direction. Even better, you can pull a data feed off it onto a computer.

After giving it a test indoors last week (it seemed to work just fine) I quickly realised that I needed to have a good think about where I was going to site the instruments — especially the anemometer. My back garden is reasonably sheltered and the best place for the anemometer would seem to be above the roof of my office. So, with this in mind, yesterday I ordered an installation kit from Skyview. This will allow me to attach the instrument to the side of the office and have it above the line of the roof. I'm expecting delivery in the next day or so.

I'm not sure when I'll get the chance to do the installation; with some luck (and if the weather plays ball <g>) I might get the chance to do it this weekend. If I don't get the chance any time soon I'll probably make it a little project for the xmas break.

After installation the plan is to give it all a good test and see how well the readings compare with other personal stations in my area. At the same time I'll also have a play with the computer link and see what sort of software is available for talking to the base station. The WS3600 comes with software for Microsoft Windows but, ideally, I'd quite like to hook it up to one of my GNU/Linux boxes.

Once that's all working I intend to build a website for displaying the logs and, if all goes well, I'll see about setting up a feed to The Weather Underground.

File Under: Personal Weather Station, WS3600, Installation, Weather website.

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