A brief seasonal introduction


My name is Lisa Beal. I’ll be touring with Tempest for my 15th trip this year. Where has the time gone!

I’m nearing retirement, but still have plenty of energy for storm days. I’ll need it: I usually carry a hefty assortment of gadgets, earning the name Gadget Girl on tours past.

I live in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, in Bolingbrook, Illinois, and I work as an IT middleware engineer (that means I make big servers go, go, go). Like my buddy, Owen, I’m tied to a keyboard most of my waking hours — and sometimes those hours run really long. To maintain my sanity, I will NOT be answering calls from work on vacation. Would you?

My typical chase-cation starts with a drive to Oklahoma city, usually with a stopover near friends on the way. And I take about 3 days to get home afterwards, if severe weather is around for chasing. I have a dedicated chase vehicle (“Gadgetmobile II“, as the first one was gracefully retired in 2007), and like chase in groups, with a friend or two, or solo. “Gadgetmobile III” is coming soon, probably at the end of the model year (and, yes, I’m leaning toward SUV for the next one).

I’ll be arriving in Oklahoma City on the Saturday evening before the trip so if anyone is wanting to explore locally, let me know!Usually, I make a trip to WalMart on the Sunday before departure, and it is pretty usual to have 2-3 others with me for that store run. let me know if you need to do that.
Text me … to connect for that store run, a lunch or dinner on Sunday, etc. I welcome the company.

II cannot say enough good things about the Tempest crew, especially Bill Reid. He is the storm whisperer, and has put me in front of at least 30 of the tornadoes I’ve seen, among the 50 total I’ve seen. Bill is also an excellent photographer. Don’t be shy if you need camera advice. His his very solid advice.

I will be blogging each evening (or early the next morning) after each chase day. Look for updates at
(once I set it up, in the next few days) . I’ll also be posting (after the fact) to Facebook &/or Twitter. I’m user polarpal99 on both.

See you soon!

12 July 2003 – Comms/Navigation/WX Systems Cleanup

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

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!


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.

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