Congratulations to Rick Heming and the DeltaWeatherCam.com Weather Station in Delta, Colorado, for your selection as WXForum.netís Featured Weather Web Site for Winter, 2007!
Rick started his Weather Website in November 2001 in Meeker, CO, on Colorado's rural Western Slope. The site was moved about 120 miles south to Delta, CO (current location) in July of 2007.
He started his weather station with a Davis VP wireless and recently updated to a VP2 with UV and Solar sensors that his wife got him for Christmas [ed note: wonderful to have a supportive spouse!]. For the new sensor suite location he also uses a Davis VP2 Solar Powered Wireless Repeater
Rick uses both VWS and Weather Display software because he finds that "each offers features that I find appealing. I use graphs from each, I use flash objects from WD, and coded variables from each for various php objects." DeltaWeatherCam.com features
two web cams. The most versatile is a Canon VB-C50iR
network camera with exceptional pan, tilt and zoom capabilities, mounted in an all-weather enclosure. The second webcam is a Toshiba IK-WB11A
Network Camera in wireless mode which has great low-light sensitivity. All live feeds, still photos and time-lapse video are processed by a combination of ImageSalsa & MovieSalsa
software, which overlay the video and stills with graphics and weather data.
Audio forecasts and current conditions are created using 2nd Speech Center text to speech software from Zero2000.com
to create MP3 files using voices from AT&T Labs Natural Voices
The Lightning Map is powered by a Boltek StormTracker PCI Lightning Detector
. The raw data is interpreted and mapped on his weather PC and his website using Astrogenic Systems' NexStorm/StormVue
software. Real-time lightning data is forwarded to StrikeStar
, a network of detectors in the US and Canada.
Data is archived using VWSql
to upload real-time data to a MySQL
database. The database archives are accessed using VWSphp
Rick's website is based on an old LunaByte Enigma Portal software package which was a predecessor to the SMF Simple Machines Forum software distributed under the GPL [and used for this Forum]. He's turned off all the forum features but use a modified version of the PHP
script to present all pages and blocks on his pages. Rick codes a lot of the PHP himself although he says "I'm far from a serious programmer". The site is hosted at his home on a WAMP system using Vista Ultimate, Apache, MySQL and PHP.
Rick says "I just like knowing what the current conditions are in my area and I've found that the local public likes it too. DeltaWeatherCam exists as an integration of my interest in Amateur Radio (K6DYC), weather phenomenon and computers My site has always been add-free and is run strictly as a hobby".
"Shortly after I established my site I ran across a non-weather site that used a variation on what is now my 'border', but I lost track of the site so i can't give them credit. Of course there are several sites on this forum that have inspired ideas and provided code and ideas that contribute greatly to the features offered on DeltaWeatherCam".
Rick's plans for his site include repairing his Boltek. He says"Right now my Boltek isn't operating and I need to get that active for the summer
storms. I recently moved my sensor suite to a new location on a pole that gets better exposure at a greater height than previously".
His weather data is sent to Weather Underground, Weather For You, APRSWXNET, Citizen Weather Observer Program, AWEKAS International Weather, and the Amateur Radio Emergency Service.
Rick says "My interest started with a Earth Science course in High School, but I didn't put up a station until I moved from California to Colorado. In Bakersfield the weather is either hot and dry (March thru October) or foggy morning leading to clear and cool the rest of the year". [ed. note: Yep.. CA weather tends to be bi-seasonal]
He say his most rewarding experience with his site was this:
"When my site was in Meeker i would get a lot of hunters visiting. Two years ago one of the out-of-town hunters went missing in October and despite several search and rescue missions, his body was not recovered until the following June. A few weeks before the final search and recovery I received a note in my guestbook that read:
Score : -/10
I have been monitoring this site since last November. My brother, Walter
Benskin, was hunting at Ripple Creek and did not return to camp on October
25, the day a blizzard hit. The family will be returning in June to
participate with the recovery efforts. On nights when I can not sleep I
watch this site, and watch the snow. Thank you for being available. Bren
Rick's advice to someone starting a weather hobby is to start small, get a weather radio and make sure you really want to spend more.
If you decide you do, then get a local weather station and see how that goes.
Finally, if you still want to get more involved, go live online.
Unfortunately, this hobby has an ever increasing price tag and we all "have to pay the piper".
His advice for the single best improvement to a weather website is
"a weather cam or two add a significant attraction value. If you can't afford a IP network cam, get a nice bullet o other cam. The
forum has plenty of good feedback on what works in this area".
Rick is 58 and has been in software development since 1986 when his company developed the predecessor to our forum software, the Bulletin Board System (Wildcat! BBS). His wife Sandi and he live in western Colorado where they raise quarter horses for competition in working cow horse and halter. They have about 60 chickens, 7 geese, 6 ducks, 2 dogs and a buffalo. He says "the buffalo is used for
training in the working cow horse classes since they are faster than cows and don't tire as easily".
Rick also operates USAWeatherFinder.com
, a weather station web directory and ranking site
for personal weather stations located in the USA.
Congratulations, Rick and the DeltaWeatherCam.com Weather Station, for being selected by your peers as WXForum.netís Featured Weather Web Site for Winter, 2007!
Congratulations also, to all our outstanding nominees -- your efforts have not gone unnoticed!