Weather and Environmental Monitoring

- Some Notes -



With the great increase in interest and participation by radio amateurs in APRS ( the Automatic Position Reporting System radio network ) and the expansion of Canwarn into Eastern Ontario in the summer of 2000, several West Carleton Amateur Radio Club members decided to put up weather monitoring stations.  In my case, in addition to the weather at home, I wanted to be able to remotely check on certain physical conditions at my cottage (humidity and temperature in several places, inside and outside, and some water levels).  

Whatever your reason might be, a weather station is a neat thing to make and operate, don't you think ?

Making weather data available to Environment Canada and the Canwarn Project from many points in the Eastern Ontario region ( or to Skywarn in the United States ) would be very useful, especially during periods of nasty or even dangerous conditions.  You may think it doesn't happen in the northeast, but we had a small tornado in the Ottawa Ontario area in August, 2000.  My wife and daughter happened to be within meters of it.  And, perhaps you remember the winter ice storm of 1998.

This site will provide some information, links and jumping-off points for those who are thinking about monitoring some aspects of the weather, or who may just be interested in weather in a general way.  


Do you want to learn more about weather characteristics and forecasting ?  The on-line Meteorology Guide at the University of Illinois in the USA provides basic instructional modules in the atmospheric sciences.  These include Light and Optics, Clouds and Precipitation, Forces and Winds, Air Masses and Fronts, Weather Forecasting, Severe Storms, etc., etc.

Also, you might have a look at the Meteorology FAQs which include notes on some unusual or puzzling questions related to Meteorology.

Here's a site that has a lot of links to weather subjects.  It is really a treasure trove of interesting information relating to weather: 
 
http://www.mjjsales.com/articles/a-severe-weather-handbook.html .
This was brought to my attention by Sarah Smith of Jericho, Vermont.  
                                - Many thanks, Sarah -

And here is another great site that is loaded with links to weather and related subjects:   The 'Online Weather Learning Center', at  http://www.waterfiltersfast.com/Online-Weather-Learning-Center_ep_97-1.html .
Zoey Price of El Paso County, Colorado wrote to me about this one.  
                                - Thank you, Zoey -


What can you monitor or measure ?  

Well, lots of things - for example:
Temperature, inside (something) and outside - air, soil, water, your shed or greenhouse, etc. Barometric Pressure, other pressures
Wind Speed and Direction Humidity
Wind Gust Speed Rainfall
Water Depth and/or Flow Lightning Strikes
Ambient Light Cloud Cover
Seismological Activity Intrusions, and the state of security sensors
Snow Depth The state of pumps, fans, lights and other circuits

 ... and so on.  
You can send the information to your home using small radio transmitters and receivers.
Then too, there is the opportunity to control things, based on the monitored conditions.


While quite a few members of the radio club had expressed interest in weather stations, this never coalesced into a club 'project'.  Some members are going their own way on monitoring with the Dallas Semiconductor 1-Wire or other approaches, some have purchased commercial stations, and a number have deferred action for the present.  However, there is a lot of interest in weather stations and environmental monitoring, and in sensors for this purpose.  These pages can be a resource for those who may wish to look into weather and other measurements and perhaps control functions  (for whatever reasons).  If there continues to be interest, I will add to these files as useful information and links come to hand.  Obviously, these files are not intended for meteorologists, digital electronics engineers or for software experts, but you may find them of interest and some value as a starting point for your own weather monitoring.

Please note that the additional pages in this site, linked below, are out of date and need a great deal of  revising.  Also, some of their further links are no longer correct.  I apologize for not getting these updated, but I will try to get back to them sometime soon.  In the meantime, you may find some interesting leads there.  

See the Links and Notes - Stations  page for information and notes on commercial and kit  Weather Stations. 

The Links and Notes - Sensors page covers a variety of sensors you can purchase or construct, including references to microcontrollers and related things to form the basis of a station to meet your needs.  Sites linked from this page show various designs and approaches that can be taken.

If you are interested in the Dallas Semiconductor approach, see the DALLAS 1-WIRE page.  This will point you to resources on using the 1-Wire technology.

  Graham Ide   VE3BYT