Weather Site update and station problems

Just a quick update message, since it’s been a few years since the last few words here. Unfortunately during that time, a hell of a lot of data has been lost due to network and station problems. I am far from happy about the loss of data, but I think in all honesty, it’s partially my own fault for not opting to use far better weather reporting software from my weather client hardware receiver.

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately, regarding a way to try and improve data flow from the senors to the receiver, and the biggest problem or hurdle is something so mundane it gives me a little headache but its one in which is the major cause or loss of data.

Let me try to briefly explain. Weather station out in the garden all have around 100 metres of line of sight WiFi. This in principle is good, in fact great. It means no physical wires and stuff hanging out of constantly open windows etc. However this comes with a fairly big caveat. Notice I mentioned line of sight? WiFi is great in line of sight of the router or the WiFi repeater, but if it’s not directly opposite or within radius of it (outside of, or where the signal is the weakest) then your going to loose the signal, especially in any moderate to heavy precipitation such as rain. Snow can be intermittent but like satellite television it can render the incoming signal use-less because its being temporarily blocked by snowflakes. The worst of the lot though apart from torrential rain, is Fog. Fog is about as bad as it can get for outside WiFi, especially when the transmitter is not in the line of sight. Even light fog can mess with the signal sent from the transmitter to the receiver.

This is the problem I have. It is in line of sight of the receiver, however in the past few years, that signal has been patchy to the receiver, which has meant a loss of data from the sensor transmitter. The other problem is, as far as I can tell, there is no way to physically add a WiFi (WiFi 6/7) repeater to the transmitter, because I can’t or do not see any Ethernet port out of the main transmitter. If it had one, then it would be such a simple case of getting a good WiFi transmitter with log range hooked. Since the repeater can be used outside in all kinds of weather, it would have been the absolute best solution. Simply hook up the repeater, which means no matter how heavy the rain it will still send a strong enough signal it will get to the transmitter, it should also be strong enough to get through any falling snow (except blowing and blizzards since the location of this station is in a relatively protected place from the weather, snow is generally light to moderate, but rarely ever heavy, rain is similar in it’s strength but very rarely torrential (60mm/pH+), but the biggest problem is fog. And the only solution for that would be attempting to wire the station up via Ethernet from sensors to receiver, which is not a solution, since there is no Ethernet connection on the transmitter, and having wires out of the window, or through the sill onto the walls etc is not something I would want to do nor would I be able to anyway.

The only solution I can think of, is a new station that has the ability to be used with an external WiFi repeater, unfortunately for the time being most of these stations are using low bandwidth WiFi transmitters, and the receiver is only low bandwidth compared to WiFi 6 and 7. Not that there is any channel being used, only the weather station, so it’s not an issue. There will be a time I do buy a better setup solution with WiFi 7, and a much better station that does support wifi 6 or 7 since all WiFi connections are interchangeable.

Up and down, up and down, has been the WiFi signal from the transmitter. often times it goes down when i am not physically there which is a real annoyance. This is the reason that over the years the service has been patchy at the best of times.

The station is now reaching 5 years old, they kind of don’t tend to last very long, no matter who makes them. 5 years, 24/7; 365 in all kinds of weather, wear and tear is typically quite high with all outside setups. Unless they are hidden in a Stevenson screen, which of course these sensors are not sadly.

I have been thinking about trying to buy a Stevenson screen, and then having other extra sensors too. As the years have passed, the one thing easily noticed most of the time is the temperature and due points often being out of sync with the nearest metar, sometimes pressure can be out of wack too…however, what you have to bare in mind and remember is, that metar’s only display data that is often an hour or more old. A weather station reports from anything from 30 minutes down to a few seconds, so which ever way you look at it, especially this station, is that it is constantly reporting data every single minute. This means there can be a lot of variation from the original weather forecast from the metar to the actual forecast 5 minutes after it has been made.

Another consideration to make is this, the airport is lower than the station location. The airport is right next to the river Mersey which leads out in the Irish sea. This means that the wind is stronger, the temperature can be more variable, so to can the dew point etc. There are lots of variables to consider with the airport’s location.

On the other hand the station is in a more protected environment outside, it’s built up because other houses surround the station, this affects both wind speed and wind gusts. Winds can hardly blow through a brick house if all the windows and doors are shut, also a thing to bare in mind the houses are in a terrace. So they can act as a wind shield, but because of the way the station is setup, it’s been calibrated to take this into some consideration when being set, so it’s as close to as accurate as possible. The anemometer is too low, it should be at 2m, it is at 1 metre which is far too low, meaning even closed garden fencing can stop and slow the wind down.

The rain is very accurate, when it bothers to collection precipitation (the other day the I had to resit the anemometer 3 times because for some reason it had managed to get itself stuck. It has been fine since.), the wind measurements appear to be correct given I have measured the wind using a portable device and it gives the same wind speed. The Barometer can be fickle sometimes, but it’s generally correct within a few —hpa.

Finally you need to bare in mind the above conditions and that the station is beginning to show it’s age. I am working on getting the newest davis advantage pro station or whatever the newest version will be called. It will mean I will have to buy all the sensors separately, and they don’t come cheap in this country unlike others. I may have to have them imported, so long as the import tax is negligible. They have select free ports in the UK now. Liverpool is one of those free ports, which means it benefits the people living in the city for imports as long they are then not selling whatever it is they have imported outside of the city. That’s all for now, in time, hopefully not too long, there will be a complete overhaul of the weather station and its senors, and a nice WiFi 7 repeater added to the sensor transmitter, plus re-sighting the station anemometer, precipitation collector, solar / radiation panel and the other sensors.