Author Topic: Anyone replace their ISS or console antenna?  (Read 8354 times)

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Offline jaded

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Anyone replace their ISS or console antenna?
« on: August 04, 2006, 01:26:12 AM »
Has anyone replaced their antenna with one with higher gain?  Any suggestions from anyone on replacing their antenna?  I'd kind of like the console to remain omnidirectional since I have the wireless anemometer on the roof in the opposite direction from my ISS.  But my ISS reception is "craptacular" only on the best of days -- most days its worse.

For whatever reason, the anemometer transmitter seems to fare better, averaging maybe 70% reception.  But the ISS frequently just drops out of existance.  Replacing the ISS' CR-123 battery every two or three months seems to help, but that's really a weak solution, too.  I'm thinking perhaps a whip antenna on the console would work better.  Comments?

Offline W3DRM

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Anyone replace their ISS or console antenna?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2006, 01:49:02 PM »
How about giving us a little info about your equipment and setup. i.e., What model wireless VP do you have (VP1 or VP2). Distances between your ISS, Remote Anemometer and Console, and obstacles between these units that may be antenuating the signals (i.e., home with metal siding or roof, etc, etc).
Don - W3DRM - Minden, Nevada --- Blitzortung ID: 808 --- FlightRadar24 ID: F-KRNO2
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Offline jaded

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My setup
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2006, 12:31:54 AM »
[ Sorry, I thought my setup was in my profile and should have been displayed under my name. ]

I have an original Vantage Pro console setup, and I have an ISS set to station 4, a remote anemometer on station 2, and I'm retransmitting to a WeatherEcho Plus on station 8.  The reason the numbers are so weird is I've been switching stations in an attempt to find a setting that would improve performance.  Nothing's helped so far, and my Weather Echo is still offline (it had been working on station 1.)  I believe the station numbers represent actual frequencies and not just station ID numbers, but of course I could be wrong about that.

The ISS is where I notice the bulk of my problems.  The console reception is very spotty.  The symptoms are:  it's OK for about the first month after changing the CR123 battery in the ISS, but after that night reception gets bad and progresses to worse.  Davis replaced my ISS board once, but the symptoms were similar.

I'm pretty sure part of the problem is the ISS is at a very steep angle to the exterior wall of the house -- it's almost straight in line off the end of the wall -- so a direct line of sight isn't possible, and my estimate at a straight line would likely pass through at least three or four wooden studs.  It's ordinary masonite siding over a foam backer board.

I seem to always have fairly good reception from the anemometer, which is mounted on the roof.  A straight line shot from the anemometer would pass through the fiberglass shingles and roofing, a ceiling, a kitchen cabinet, a wall and a wooden bookshelf (full.)

My cordless phones are 2.4GHz (I replaced the 900MHz phones.)  I replaced my 900MHz cordless headphones with a Bluetooth pair, just in case that base emitter ran even when the TV was off.  I have an 802.11b/g base station.  Other than that I have no other deliberate sources of RF energy.  And my neighbors aren't especially close.  The PC is near the Vantage Pro console, of course.

I do have a 500KV high power line running east-west about 50 feet to the north of my ISS (and some 50 feet up in the air.)  And yes, I have played with neon light bulbs in my back yard near where the ISS is.  AFAIK, 60Hz lines shouldn't interfere regardless of voltage.

What I'd like to do is run a cable to the antenna from the console, so I could keep the console near the computer and mount the antenna in a better place (perhaps the top of the bookshelf, or even outside under the eaves.)  I've seen 900MHz "ceiling mount" antennas that would allow me to place it in the middle of the room, giving me a better shot through the wall to the ISS.  They also might have a slightly improved gain over the stock antenna.

Another option, of course, would be to find a way to get 110VAC to a transformer outside near the ISS.  But that's digging and wiring and I don't want to go that route, especially for a "wireless" system.  I suppose I could hang an inductive coil on the ISS's post and leech off the power line!   :twisted:

John

Offline Anole

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Anyone replace their ISS or console antenna?
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2006, 05:49:15 AM »
Have you tried adjusting the position of the console and transmitter antennas? Sometimes a little tweak to the antenna angles is all it takes.

Offline talbert1952

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Anyone replace their ISS or console antenna?
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2006, 09:04:13 AM »
Does the foam board have an aluminum foil backing? The foam board used in my house does. The foil makes a very effective Faraday cage which blocks signals from both getting in and getting out of the house. I haven't had any significant problems with my VP2 but my old WMR968 was very marginal. My wireless network and cordless phones don't work very well outside either.

Unfortunately I can't think of an easy solution. You might consider moving your console to a location that works reliably and then running a serial cable back to your computer.
Tom
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Hardware: Davis 6153 wireless VP2 with 24 hr fan aspirated radiation shield, WMR968, Boltek Stormtracker PCI,
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Offline ocala

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Anyone replace their ISS or console antenna?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2006, 12:08:58 AM »
John, I know what you mean about a good signal from the annie trans. It's consistantly higher then the ISS but fortunately for me the ISS isn't as bad as yours. What about installing a repeater between the console and ISS?  May be the ticket.

Offline jaded

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I think I have it mostly sorted out now.
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2006, 06:53:46 PM »
Well, I elevated my console a bit higher up on my desk, hopefully avoiding the framing  boards surrounding a window.  And I reread the Davis troubleshooting guide, and found that there are "gain" settings, and mine were off!  I flipped those on, and my reception is now reporting a respectable 86%.  While 86% seems like it's still pretty crappy, for my setup that's a huge improvement.

I did see that my anemometer hasn't been doing so well overnight, so today I climbed up on the roof and replaced the CR123 for the first time in over a year.

With the improved reception and the addition of a kitchen sink strainer inside my rain bucket, it makes me feel like I have a whole new system!  I just hope it lasts.

Of course, I'd still like to have some alternative answers for external antennas in my pocket, just in case.

 

anything