Weather Station Equipment Tips

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Do I need weather station "backup" equipment?

Backup Weather Station Equipment

You have extra umbrellas. Extra computer backups. Extra sandwiches. So of course, you have extra weather station equipment. Don't you? Well...no one can be completely prepared all the time.

Weather station kits typically don't include backup thermometers and other backup weather station equipment. It won't cost just a few dollars more to purchase extra anemometers or thermometers, but this is, after all, the weather we're talking about, and you don't want to be caught in the rain when you didn't bring surplus umbrellas.

Your backup weather station kits might include:

* Thermometer
* Hygrometer
* Thermo-hygrometer
* Anemometer or wind direction/wind velocity sensor
* Barometer
* Duplicate wireless repeater
* Rain gauge (optional)
* Solar radiation sensor (optional)
* Soil and leaf moisture sensor (optional)

They don't give out merit badges after you leave the Boy or Girl Scouts, but your reward is being warm and dry when everyone else is sopping wet. Break out the extra umbrellas!

   
Do I need a handheld wind sensor in addition to my weather station?

Windscribe and Wind Direction Monitors

You like to know how fast the wind is blowing, even when there's no wind at all. But the wind can't possibly change that much in your own backyard, can it? Actually, it can--just ask Dorothy from Kansas. Surely, since your weather station equipment comes complete with a wind direction and velocity sensor, you couldn't possibly need a handheld device?

Weather station kits can't supply your every need, includign a preoccupation with wind speed. It's not unusual...all right, perhaps it is. But you have a cell phone in addition to your home phone and a laptop as well as a PC. A handheld wind sensor such as the Davis Windscribe won't monitor the winds of change at home, but it will help you when you're mountain biking or hiking.

A wind sensor can be helpful too in the backyard under cloudy conditions when you can't see your stationary wind sensor. Backlit displays help you see that there's a gale coming...as if your hat spinning away like Dorothy's house wasn't a clue.

Dorothy Gale could have used your wind sensor...but then, of course, she'd have missed the trip to Oz. Sometimes you can be too prepared...and too obsessed with the wind.

   
Do weather statiion kits include soil and leaf sensors?

Soil and Leaf Sensors

You're growing grapes and creating your own wine label. The Andrews' Special Reserve. Or should you design a grander name? How about WeatherWise Wine? You'll need heavy-duty weather station equipment, whether you live in Napa Valley or not. The least variation can affect your grapes, including:

* Wind--check, you have wind sensors
* Humidity--check, you have a hygrometer
* Storms--check, you have a barometer
* Rain--check, you have a rain gauge
* Conditions in separate areas--check, you have up to nine remote sensors
* Historical trends--check, you have software
* Soil and leaf moisture for the root stock--uh oh.

Complete pro weather station kits usually don't include soil and leaf sensors. Even Davis weather station kits sell soil and leaf moisture probes separately. If you're determined to grow grapes, you need a weather station that offers soil monitoring weather station equipment, which Davis sells but Oregon Scientific doesn't. The exception is the Cable Free All Weather Thermo Sensor with Waterproof Probe, which is a viable general moisture sensor for hard-to-monitor areas.

After all, you've spent the time and energy to grow the grapes and let the wine mature. The last thing you need is the sneer of a sommelier or wine steward who says, "No soil and leaf moisture sensor, I see." But if you invest in the proper weather station equipment, you can be the toast of wine tastings.

   
How can I use weather instruments at my beach home?

Measuring Equipment at the Beach

Ahhh...you relocated to the beach at last, Palm Beach or Laguna Beach or the coast of Maine. Other than hurricane advisories, you think, you don't need to know the weather. You'll know if storms are coming (particularly if you live on Pawleys Island in South Carolina, where a local ghost named the Gray Man reportedly foretells storms with a God-given accuracy that the most sophisticated weather station equipment can't match.)

Wrong. Life may be a beach, but you still need to know about high tide, low tide and sand/soil moisture. Just ask anyone recovering from a mudslide in California.

You can check sand erosion or possible erosion by monitoring the humidity and rainfall. You'll know whether you need to shore up the foundations of your beach cottage if you've had rainstorms. Wind can also displace sand, so check the wind direction and velocity.

You spent half your life working towards your dream to live at the beach. Weather station kits and weather station equipment will help you enjoy your oceanfront haven.

   
Do Philippe Starck clocks come with powerful measuring equipment?

Philippe Starck and Measuring Equipment

You love the style and function of Philippe Starck. But wait--aren't you supposed to be thinking about measuring equipment rather than an attractive-looking clock? After all, the whole point of weather stations is to measure.

It's a mistake to think that only a heavy duty pro weather station can give you the best forecasts. Atomic clocks are weather station kits in themselves. Philippe Starck is no exception. The Philippe Starck Large Multi-Red display atomic clock can support up to four remote sensors: one indoor and three outdoor.

But can it connect with barometers and other weather station equipment? No need. It already measures indoor and outdoor humidity from its remote sensors, and even the Large Basic version gauges barometric pressure as well as high, medium and low tides.

So don't worry about wanting designer weather station kits. Just make your decision: yellow, red, or gray display?

   
Do weather station kits include tripod telescoping mounts?

Weather Station Tripods

Your roofing contractor needs to move your antenna and wind direction sensor for several weeks. While your home is being reroofed, you don't want to mount your Davis Vantage Pro weather station equipment on the wall...especially since you're repainting the house. Your weather forecasts keep telling you, so far, so good, the fine weather is holding.

But what will hold your sensors aloft? If you're a photographer, you know the answer: Tripods. A telescoping tripod, a minimum of 2-3 meters high, positioned at a straight-line distance from your wireless receiver, will lift your anemometer and temperature sensor.

In most weather station kits, tripods are optional, but they're a great investment. Now you can thank your roofer for working so hard when you ensure that weather conditions are safe.

   
Are there weather station kits for children?

Children's Weather Station Kits

Kids today, you think, have everything. Including weather station kits. Why, when I was their age, I had to walk ten miles...sound familiar? It should, you heard it from your parents, who couldn't understand why you had to have that shiny new bicycle.

Even though our kids have a multitude of toy choices, they still like the simple things. It's not always safe to go outside and play, but anything that helps them learn is worthwhile.

You may not be ready for a full home weather station, and you don't have to buy advanced weather station equipment just for your children. There are many excellent junior science weather station kits available--the Discovery Channel Store is always a valuable resource. Or you can ask your children to make a weather station kit and watch what your Marie Curie or Max Planck invents. Who knows, you might be motivated to buy yourself a basic weather station--maybe even shiny chrome, just like that two-wheeler. You've earned it.

   
Do weather kits help me monitor my freezers?

Freezers and Weather Station Kits

You have a deep freezer that would make Martha Stewart jealous, but unlike Martha, your deep freeze can easily evade monitoring.

It's difficult in a shielded area for weather station equipment to monitor temperature. After all, you want to know if the beef you're saving for your chateaubriand or hamburger special has freezer burn.

Weather station kits may not come with deep freeze sensors, but you can buy the Oregon Scientific THC268 Cable Free All Weather Thermo Sensor with Waterproof Probe, which cuts through freeze signal interference and cold as easily as Martha slices through cloth for decoupage.

If you want to monitor your beef when you're away from home, program a temperature alert for your weather station software that you can access from your laptop. After all, you want to get Martha's advice on how to best cook chateaubriand, and she wants to learn about your weather station equipment.

   
Do I need to measure the humdity inside as well as outside?

Indoor Humidity Gauges

What is that green stuff on your bathroom wall? Is it an alien invasion? A Wes Cronenberg movie? No--just mold, which can damage your walls, floros and ceilings. Mold means the humidity in your home is higher than it should be.

An indoor humidity sensor is vital weather station equipment for the home. Believe it or not, low humidity or too little moisture in your house can cause as much damage as too-high humidity. Carpets can dry out rather than rot.

A rule of thumb: The ideal iside humidity is bewteen 30 and 60 percent, so insist on an indoor humidity sensor in your weather station kits. Many atomic clocks and weather station home monitors include indoor humidity readings.

After all, when that green slime appears in the sink, you want to be sure that your bathroom needs cleaning rather than that you need to move out. It's also a relief to know that you aren't the B-movie victim of the week.

   
How do I screen my weather station equipment from the sun?

Sun Shields for Your Weather Station Equipment

Is it hot out here, or is it your weather station equipment?

You're getting readings of a heat island in your garden that your plants ought to be writing their obituaries, but they're thriving. What's wrong with your new weather station equipment?

If your thermometers don't have radiation shields or aspirating fans, you need to build protection for your weather station equipment. You don't want to go shopping for new weather station kits.

An outdoor screen or plastic enclosure should guard your weather station equipment from the ravages of the sun. Preferably, your sun shades should be ventilated.

After all, you can't stand the heat, but you and your weather station equipment aren't getting out of the kitchen. Or the field.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.