Home Weather Station Reviews – Owning, Operating and Maintaining the Best Weather Station

best weather station

I have to admit that I’ve been a huge weather enthusiast for as long as I can remember. The thrill of experiencing Mother Nature at her best – and especially at her worst – is simply addictive. Thus my owning and operating the best home weather station in my own back yard. I’ve done this for almost 3 years now and only wish I’d started earlier. It’s fun, interesting, informative, but also can be frustrating at times (when the station doesn’t want to work right for various reasons).

Besides, since I can’t be a storm chaser and I don’t have a lightning detector, I may as well monitor storms in my own community. Also, by submitting the information provided to various online organizations, it helps the NWS gather, decipher and use the information for current and historical data.

Two of the places you can find info on my wireless weather station is:

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CWOP (Citizens Weather Observation Program) CW4485

 

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Weather Underground – Greenwood AR

Example

There are two examples, one recent and one about 1 1/2 years ago, that proved how important the weather station is.

  • The recent was the massive rains and flooding here in Greenwood. Between midnight and 6 am, my station recorded 6.58 inches of rain, with several episodes of > 1 inch per hour. This is the type of information that I will send into NWS-Tulsa straight way (directly) as an OK/AR Skywarn Spotter. It helps them confirm (and reconfirm) that what they’re seeing on the radars and hearing from others in the area are actual.
  • The other example was during a storm last year when my station recorded straight line winds of 71+ mph (right before the station was abruptly relocated by the wind forces to the neighbors across the street). Since I not only lost my weather station but also my privacy fence and part of my roof, I was able to print out and show the insurance company the data when I made my homeowners claim. I shared this data with my neighbors who also used it for their claims.

Operate the best home weather station

Anyone can operate a weather station. They are actually self-run, with the occasional low-battery, spiders-in-the-sensors or the-dog-chewed-through-the-cable problems. There are many brands and models out there varying greatly in price. I, like so many others, have started with the more affordable La Crosse Technology brand. You can find a fully functional station at Sam’s Club or Costco for under $100. Others brand (example: AcuRite, Davis instruments, Ambient Weather, Netatmo, Noaa, Oregon Scientific) may run in the upper hundreds. Some are solar powered and others battery powered. And you don’t have to have a computer to use one.

You can always consult some weather station reviews to find the information you need when choosing the right one for your needs, the link above is one of my favorite reviews. Just because you have a station doesn’t mean you have to broadcast your data to other sources. Many station owners simply have one to satisfy their own weather curiosity or monitor conditions regarding their crops. If you have any interest at all, I’d highly suggest installing a weather station – you’ll get a lot more out of it than you may realize.

(Before I continue, let me clarify that you do NOT have to run cables across your yard to get the data into your house. It is an option to gather data more rapidly – most are run on radio transmission. So your dog – or your kids – won’t run into trouble by messing up your cable lines!)

Just what does a weather station consist of? 3 essential:

  • Anemometer to Measure wind speed and wind direction
  • Rain gauge (rain collector – calculate rainfall)
  • Humidity sensor
  • Temperature sensor (which is the primary “input/output sensor)
  • Display console, may have a LCD screen

Unless you have one of the extremely higher priced stations so you have these wireless sensors and put all sensors into a radiation shield, these sensors do connect via cable. The length of cable is usually enough to mounting each sensor at different locations and heights of warranted but can be lengthened. If your property has tree cover, you would want to put your humidity and temperature sensors in the shade, and the others in the open. Or, if your place is like mine where there’s only one lone tree that barely stands taller than you are, you can have all sensors in the open. Modifications for solar heating may need to be provided – depends on the make and model.

My weather station has seen many locations around my yard, including fences, makeshift poles, the kids swing set … it now resides all together atop a wooden post in the midst of the yard. The wind sensor needs to be high enough to clear any impeding structures (some put them on the roof), the rain sensor just needs to be in the open and not around items that may block blowing-type winds, and the temp needs to be as high as a person. As I said, if the temperature and humidity sensors shows problems of solar heating, there are many simple ways to avoid it.

As for submitting the data to online sources, you do NOT have to purchase special software. Of course, you could go out and spend money on software, but the stations often come with it. And, there is an excellent software program available for free – and excellent support for it directly from the developer. There are no dues or fees for submitting your data. And the CWOP program provides continuous quality assurance checks for you to use in making sure there’s nothing funny happening with your station. So, after the initial cost of purchasing the station and any materials you may need to mount it on, it is a very cost-effective “hobby” to have.

Areas such as the River Valley really do need more weather stations in place. Watching real-time climate and barometric changes at locations in the path of storms ahead of us is another excellent way to know what’s about to happen here.

My Weather Station Reviews

This station is a La Crosse 2310. It’s the second one I’ve had since the first one was literally blown away. Some folks call La Crosse “the best weather station brand for poor man” but of all the folks I know online, it’s great for the majority of users.

La Crosse 2310 Weather Station

The 2310 sensors are pre-cabled, and I’m currently running mine in wireless mode from the indoor/outdoor thermometer (primary sensor), only because I have a pup that won’t stop chewing the cable that would lead to the console inside the window. The advantage to running wired is that the data is gathered as quickly as every 3 seconds (something really great to have during storms), whereas in wireless the info is gathered every couple of minutes. Plus, in wireless, the batteries (usually AAA batteries or AA batteries) in the temperature sensor are used exclusively. I normally have to replace them every 4-6 months. Otherwise, the primary sensor will use power from the console. Both the primary sensor and console have batteries no matter which mode you run, in the case of power failure.

From the console, the station is wired to my computer via a serial cable. The weather information is collected in a free (full featured) data logger program called Weather Underground / Heavy Weather Uploaded (or WUHU for short). The software’s developer owns an email list (and I co-moderate) and this guy replies to any and all problems, suggestions and comments.

Over the years he has taken what started as a simple program to upload weather data only to Weather Underground and turned it into a multifunction, multi-upload, absolutely wonderful program. If there are upload errors, problems with gathering the data from the console, get data transmits or other potential anomalies, WUHU will let you know. It will also make corrections or adjustments if really strange readings are noted. I just can’t say enough great things about this program. I’m sure another article could be written on upload programs alone.

Also, if you choose to send your data into CWOP, you will receive QA emails if there are possible data errors. These are for guidance only but can come in really handy if your station is having difficulty in gathering correct data. If it is, and you cannot correct the situation at the station itself, chances are you can tweak the program to correct it there instead.

I run my computer 24 hours/day simply to make sure my weather data is collected at all times. I’m hooked to the Internet via DSL but I know some submit their data via a phone modem. It’s highly suggested that you submit via a high speed (or continuous connection), as the info is sent faster, more frequently and it doesn’t tie up the phone lines.

Of course, if you’re not wanting to send in the data but have it for your own personal use (or to report your findings in another fashion), you don’t have to connect to the Internet. But data history will only be collected via computer – most consoles don’t keep historical data (at least, not much). With weather station data, the base station will do some weather forecasting and prediction what is the weather like.

If anyone is interested in having a weather station, feel free to contact me. I may not be the best weather station guru, but I can certainly help you get started!

Related Post: Why Dо We Nееd Thе Bеѕt Wеаthеr Stations?

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How to Install the Weather Channel Widget on Your Friendster Profile

weather channel widget

If you like keeping up with the weather, you may want to check out the new Weather Channel widget for Friendster. The Weather Channel widget allows you to enter your zip code and your local weather will be displayed on your Friendster profile. The widget is very easy to install and if you decide you don’t like it, you can quickly remove it in a couple of steps. In this tutorial, I will show you how to install the Weather Channel widget, how to use it, and how to remove it from your Friendster profile.

How to Install the Weather Channel Widget on Friendster

First, we will install the Weather Channel widget. The quickest way to find the widget is by searching for it. So, go to your applications page and search for Weather Reports. When the results page loads, click the Add to Profile link beside the app. On the next page, click the Add App to complete the installation.

Setting Up Your Weather Channel Widget on Friendster

Now that you have the Weather Channel widget installed, you will need to set it up. The page that you have been redirected to will have a small little widget with a “Click Here” link to setup your widget. Click that link to go to the setup page.

First, you will need to select Celsius or Fahrenheit. Then you will need to select the background you want to be displayed in the widget. The last step is to enter your zip code. After you have finished with the options, click the View Weather button. You can now view your local weather. You can view it from the page you are on or you can view it from your profile page.

How to Remove the Weather Channel Widget from Friendster

If you want to remove the Weather Channel widget, follow these instructions. Go to your profile page and click the Apps button at the top of the page. The Apps button is located in your navigation button. Once you are on the apps page, look for the Weather Reports widget. Besides the widget, you will see the Edit link. Click that link and a box will open. When the box opens, you will need to click the Delete button down at the bottom of the box. You will then be redirected to another page where you will need to click the Delete App button to completely remove the Weather Channel widget from your Friendster profile. Your widget will now be completely removed.

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A 5 Step Tutorial to Create a Faux Antique Business Card with Photoshop

photoshop classic business card custom business cards

Many people still have a fondness for antique items despite the trend of sleek and modern business card designs. Antiques have an elegance that lasts from generation to generation even if trends change.
If you are a fan of antique pieces or if you are an antique collector, then you will love a vintage designed business card. Creating a faux antique business card design to be printed on the paper is sure to attract the attention of other antique aficionados.

Creating such an antique designed business card does not always have to be left to the professionals. With this tutorial, you can save some money by designing your own business card. Follow these instructions to make an antique business card using Photoshop.

business-card-templates

With Photoshop open, let’s start!

Step 1
Create a new file by clicking on ‘File’ and then choosing ‘New.’ Make the document size 14 inches in width and 8 inches in height with a resolution of 72 pixels per inch. Click ‘OK’ or press enter after.

Step 2
Search for old paper textures online by typing “old paper textures free” or “free old paper textures” on your favorite search engine. Choose old paper texture no smaller than 500 x 500 pixels that you prefer most and save to your computer. Try to find and save a paper texture file that looks old and worn and the second texture with torn edges.

Step 3
With your chosen texture, open them in Photoshop, Select All (CTRL+A on PC, command+A on mac) and copy and paste it on to the 14 x 8-inch document created earlier. Re-size the image (CTRL+T or Command+T) until it fits the whole document if needed. If the paper texture you chose has light edges, darken it by using the ‘Burn Tool’ to make it look older.

Step 4
Add the torn paper texture next by copying, pasting, and resizing it onto the 14 x 8-inch document as you did in step 3. Make the layer ‘Hard Light’ by choosing ‘Hard light’ on the drop down menu in the layers panel. The layers panel can usually be found on the bottom, right part of the screen. If the hue of the business card looks too bright, you may adjust it to your desired brightness on the ‘Fill’ amount option on the layers panel.

Once the paper looks “distressed” or “Weathered” enough, ‘Flatten’ the layers and continue to the next step. ‘Flatten can be found on the drop down menu of the ‘Layers’ tab.

Step 5
At this point you can now put your contact information in the layout. When choosing the font for your contact details, pick “antique” styled fonts like ‘Old English’ or ‘Palace Script MT.’ Choosing these fonts can help in adding the look of age to the business card. A suggestion is to choose a faded black-brown color for the font color. Antique papers usually have a faded brown type on them that makes them look old rather than a freshly-typed looking solid black color.

Optional Step
Small design elements on the card can bring uniqueness and the careful detailing you often see on antiques to your business card. Be sure that these elements also compliment the overall antique look and feel of the card. Victorian or old European styled designs work best.

Some Design Pointers
Be sure to save your work if you’re pausing or continuing the project later on! Once you have achieved the look you want, print a sample and check it before printing the rest. For people who find it easier to follow video tutorials, watch the video version of this tutorial here. If you’re an antique collector or trader, this is a great do-it-yourself project that can be fulfilling for any business owner.

 

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Photoshop Tutorial: How to Add and Use Contrast to Enhance Your Photos

Photoshop Guide

Most of the time when taking a photograph, film or digital, it is extremely hard to get perfect contrast. Even for professionals, it can be hard to do. If you have dull, gray, or bright photos, then this tutorial is perfect for you. In this tutorial, you will learn how to enhance the contrast of any photo in Photoshop, quick and easy.

This tutorial is perfect if you’re a beginner to Adobe Photoshop.

Photoshop PS6 Contrast

Here are the step:

  1. To begin with, open up a photo on its own canvas that you would like to enhance and add some better contrast too. It’s best to choose a dull or more gray photo.
  2. You need to sharpen your image first. This makes it easy to determine contrast. Apply Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen to the image, if it’s too strong or sharp you can easily fade it by Edit > Fade Sharpen.
  3. Duplicate the sharpened and background layer and then apply Filter > Blur > Gaussion Blur with a radius of 3.0 or so, depending on your photo you may need a higher or lower radius.
  4. Now change the layer mode to Overlay, and the opacity to 30%. This will up the contrast generously, but keep important aspects and features of the photo in sight.
  5. Next create a new layer and fill it with a light or softer blue, I usually used #79b8eb. Then change the layer mode to Soft Light and the layer opacity to 23%. This will add a nice tone and contrast.
  6. In the Layers drop-down menu, go to New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast. For brightness, select about 9+, and for Contrast, select about the same, 9+. This is the important step that will add the important contrast.
  7. Again in the Layers drop-down menu, make Gradient Map Adjustment Layer by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map. Use a hint of grayish red. The image will now be black and white, but don’t fret!
  8. Change the layer to soft light with an opacity of 25%. Your colored image will now be back.
  9. And then you’re done!

You can also use the auto-contrast tool. This is faster, but it doesn’t always adjust contrast to fit your photo perfectly. The naked eye is what always works best.

 

Now your image is brighter and more interesting from applying some simple contrast and enhancement techniques!

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Best IPhone or IPod Weather Applications

The Weather Channel ios

One thing everyone is interested in knowing all the time is what the weather is going to be like. Lives are literally planned around the weather – picnics, weddings, concerts, dates, and so much more. When you can get instant information about the weather, you know whether you can schedule something or if you have to cancel it. You can plan in advance with the best weather station application!

Below are the best weather application on iOS


best weather station

AccuWeather – This is a free application, showing video forecasts, radar, and severe weather alerts. The user interface is one of the best, although there is no enlarge, so users may feel a little out of sorts. Other than that, there is a ton of weather and climate information provide. Strangely enough, along with predicting the weather, it predicts the UV, air quality, flu chances and arthritis indexes for the day. They truly do have an app for everything, don’t they?


The Weather Channel ios

The Weather Channel – It’s the number 1 weather app in the app store, and that’s for a reason. The Weather Channel is a free application, although individuals can get an upgraded version called The Weather Channel Max that costs a little. The free app gives the same basic and reliable information users can find on the Weather Channel website or channel, but it’s wonderful to have it at your fingertips. This app uses Google Maps and shows clouds, temperature, precipitation, and the UV index. Those who get irritated with the banner ad at the top of the app should consider upgrading to the paid application.


Deluxeware Weather IOS

Deluxeware Weather – This is a paid application, and is one of the best – providing an absolute ton of information. Just a few of the features include the wind direction and speed, the local time, how the temperature feels, the UV index, dew point, visibility, and humidity. There is no radar and maps, however, it’s a very reliable application with both seven and fourteen-day forecasts and a plethora of other information.


Fizz Weather IOS

Fizz Weather – Another paid application, this one is considered fairly expensive, considering all the weather apps that can be gotten for free. Fizz Weather is a great application, though, showing landscape forecast mode, sunset, and sunrise, radar, wind direction and speed, a barometer, visibility, and UV index. The user interface is super great, and unlike a lot of the other applications, this one shows reported and predicted airport delays. The landscape mode is a great feature, which allows you to turn your iPod touch or iPhone sideways, and scan through informative graphs and charts with weather-related information.


My Weather Mobile IOS

My Weather Mobile – This is probably the most expensive weather application available, and there’s a reason. It’s the most feature-rich application available for weather, with radar, wind direction, and speed, landscape mode with graphs and charts, satellite view, precipitation – both estimated and active, UV index, and so much more. A number of features this app has are incredible and if you’re willing to pay for convenience, this is the only weather app you should need.

Whether you would rather just get a great free application or want to pay extra in order to get feature-rich application solutions, you should find a weather application on this list to suit your needs.

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