Tag Archives: technology

29 May 2011 – Fast Movers!

Chased after some fast moving storms, but could not circumnavigate the south Chicago metro area and keep up at the same time.  These storms produced tornadoes around Kalamazoo, MI, but I was 2 hours away as this happened.  At least I got a good look at some dramatic daytime  anvil crawlers. Sorry, no photos. But the GoPro camera is on my Christmas list.  After seeing Chris Gullikson use it so effectively, I want one! I may even go 3D (http://gopro.com/hd-hero-accessories/3d-hero-system/).

The good news is that I passed my Spotter Network exam and have the software for real-time reports set up.  The near real-time positioning works as long as I have a broadband connection up (and the laptop does not hibernate, as it did when I stopped for a quick McDonald’s run).

Was I wasting my time? Maybe. Was it a good storm day? Yup. Check this storm reports excerpt:

000
NWUS53 KLOT 292344
LSRLOT

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT...SUMMARY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO/ROMEOVILLE IL
644 PM CDT SUN MAY 29 2011

..TIME...   ...EVENT...      ...CITY LOCATION...     ...LAT.LON...
..DATE...   ....MAG....      ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
            ..REMARKS..

1145 AM     TSTM WND GST     DUPAGE AIRPORT          41.92N 88.25W
05/29/2011  M58.00 MPH       DUPAGE             IL   ASOS
            1135 CDT.

1224 PM     HAIL             KINSMAN                 41.19N 88.57W
05/29/2011  M1.00 INCH       GRUNDY             IL   AMATEUR RADIO
            WEST OF THE TOWN ON GARDNER ROAD.

1253 PM     HAIL             JOLIET                  41.53N 88.12W
05/29/2011  E0.25 INCH       WILL               IL   TRAINED SPOTTER
            INTERSECTION OF ROUTE 30 AND GOUGAR ROAD.

1259 PM     HAIL             NEW LENOX               41.52N 87.98W
05/29/2011  E0.75 INCH       WILL               IL   TRAINED SPOTTER

0103 PM     FUNNEL CLOUD     KANKAKEE                41.12N 87.86W
05/29/2011                   KANKAKEE           IL   TRAINED SPOTTER
            CROSSING I-57

0105 PM     TSTM WND DMG     KANKAKEE                41.12N 87.86W
05/29/2011                   KANKAKEE           IL   LAW ENFORCEMENT
            12 TO 16 INCH DIAMETER TREE UPROOTED ON COBB ST. TREE
            FELL ON CAR. DRIVER NOT INJURED.

0105 PM     FUNNEL CLOUD     HERSCHER                41.05N 88.10W
05/29/2011                   KANKAKEE           IL   TRAINED SPOTTER
            AT COUNTY LINE RD 8000 S AND RT 45.

0105 PM     TSTM WND DMG     KANKAKEE                41.12N 87.86W
05/29/2011                   KANKAKEE           IL   LAW ENFORCEMENT
            TREES DOWN ON CAR ON COBB BLVD

0115 PM     TSTM WND DMG     KANKAKEE                41.12N 87.86W
05/29/2011                   KANKAKEE           IL   TRAINED SPOTTER
            3 LARGE TREES DOWN ON MAIN ST NEAR HOSPITAL

0115 PM     TSTM WND DMG     KANKAKEE                41.12N 87.86W
05/29/2011                   KANKAKEE           IL   LAW ENFORCEMENT
            TREE LIMBS AND POWER LINES DOWN CITY WIDE

 

 

I am also running with the $25/month AllisonHouse data service subscription.  It’s WAY easier to make chase decisions when you can see fronts quickly (like the warm front below), take the tornado risk ‘blob(s)’  — the purplish contours, below — into account, see dew point contours (green), etc.:

NOTE: This particular screen shot shows why Tempest Tour’s Bill Reid chose to stay at West Point, NE (near KOAX) last night: short drive, big storms right on the doorstep.  His passengers even have time for a Walmart run this morning and a sit-down lunch before scoring a big storm. Good call, Bill!

 

12 July 2003 – Comms/Navigation/WX Systems Cleanup

DESCRIPTION
This
cleanup involved getting rid of unnecessary wires, rerouting the
existing wires and adding cable ties and/or Velcro to tidy things up. Everything
was torn out and set on the passenger’s seat or the dashboard. The end result looks
like the picture at thr right:

  1. Magellan Meridian Gold GPS unit
  2. Panasonic PV-DV402 digital camcorder
  3. Kenwood TH-D7 2 m/440MHz ham radio
  4. Sylvania SSC090 13 in. television
  5. Davis Weather Monitor II
  6. three-outlet, 15 amp multiplug adapter
    (a second one is not shown in the photo)
  7. RadioShack 500 channel scanner
  8. RadioShack citizens band/weather band radio (8A: radio, 8B: microphone)
  9. (not shown) Nokia 6162i cell phone

What
a difference! Prior to the cleanup their wires everywhere.now everything
is in neat bundles, and I could move the console as a whole given about 10
minutes.the two main things are:

  • I can turn everything on it once now.
  • I am not tripping over a bunch of wires and neither is anyone else.

Now I just have to clean the rest of the van!

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS

The key technical challenge in redoing the electrical system was to properly
balanced the load between the left-hand power outlet (20 amps) and the right
hand power outlet (15 amps) in the front of a van.on several occasions ,
the onboard television was turned on and the fuse on the 15 amp circuit was
blown after about the third time this happened . I took a closer look at
the circuit diagram for the van and realized I had a 20 amp circuit right
next door.  Now the 20 amp circuit has on its the following: the onboard
television, the camcorder, and a two  outlet. adapter that powers ,
both the GPS  unit and the ham radio.the 15 amp circuit runs everything
that is mounted in the lower console: the Davis Weather Monitor to display,
the CB radio, and the 500 channel scanner.

As a matter of documenting the electrical demand in the van and also establishing
a good load balance . I diagrammed out , where everything needs to go in a separate document.

COST I  spent $22 on an assortment of fuses,though
I only replaced a single 3 amp fuse, since I managed to lose one when
one of the adapters broke open.  That little glass fuse may be somewhere
under the seats, but I’ll be darned if I can find it. This is a good general
maintenance investment, as I have no spare fuses for the van at all.  The
$22 also included four single use tubes of superglue.

TIME SPENT I spent pretty much every moment from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. (when
I lost the light of day) cleaning things up. About six hours total,
including a brief dinner break.

OTHER REMARKS The
next challenge is figuring out how to get the laptop computer into comfortable
spot in the van and integrate the APRS software and the output of the Weather
Monitor.  The idea is to be able to take moving weather measurements
and relay those out to the Internet using the ham radio.I have not decided
whether to use the modified hospital tray(that I picked up at a garage sale)
or improvise some sort of pedestal to let the laptop . swing over the passenger
seat or over the existing center console that holds the radios and the weather
Monitor.