Author Topic: NWS ham radio weather net automation?  (Read 703 times)

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Online vreihen

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NWS ham radio weather net automation?
« on: March 06, 2017, 07:52:50 PM »
Hams in a neighboring county have a daily weather net on a 2M repeater.  This morning, net control was being handled by an artificial woman's voice with a British accent.  I missed the start of the net, so I don't know if they announced what was going on.  I don't think that it was an early April Fools prank, and the machine mistakingly re-called at least two stations who had already submitted their daily observations.  Is this an NWS initiative, or the local coordinator trying to automate the net function?????
WU Gold Stars for everyone! :lol:

Offline miraculon

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Re: NWS ham radio weather net automation?
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2017, 08:57:59 AM »
This is interesting. (I am a Ham, KE8DAF).
If you can catch the call sign of the net operator, maybe there is something on QRZ.
I wonder if it takes in CWOP/APRS data. Is this an actual 'net', or more of a 'broadcast'? (I would question the legality of the latter...)
Do net participants add their own observations? Maybe APRS makes it a two-way communication.
I would be interested in learning what they are doing, what software and infrastructure.

Greg H.






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Re: NWS ham radio weather net automation?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2017, 07:34:28 PM »
They went back to humans running the net today, and several people had comments about their experiences with "Rachel" on Monday.

It is an actual net of people, with an alternate net control.  Anyone who checks in provides their max/min temps from the day before, rain total, and 7:00 AM temperature with observed sky code.  (If you know anything about hams, they spend a lot of time living in the early 20th century and not giving up on the art of radio just in case the Internet, telephone, and cellular grids spontaneously melt down...and takes APRS with it.)  :lol:  Following the collection phase, a long-time member gives the day's historical averages and records.  After that, the net control station reads the forecast synopsis and anticipated Skywarn spotter activation info before wrapping up.

My county sits at the northern edge of the New York City NWS region, and neighboring counties are serviced by Binghamton, Albany, and Philadelphia.  Their net (county north of me) is reporting to Albany, so my data would be useless to them even if I could hit their repeater.  None of the other nearby counties have a similar net that I know of.

FWIW, my station (K2BIG) posts data via that new-fangled ;)  APRS technology via the Internet.  I have a TNC and everything in place to send data via 2M APRS, but sadly live at the bottom of a terrain bowl that makes hitting the APRS igates challenging.....
« Last Edit: March 07, 2017, 07:37:48 PM by vreihen »
WU Gold Stars for everyone! :lol:

Offline miraculon

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Re: NWS ham radio weather net automation?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2017, 08:41:07 AM »
Quote
If you know anything about hams, they spend a lot of time living in the early 20th century and not giving up on the art of radio just in case the Internet, telephone, and cellular grids spontaneously melt down...and takes APRS with it.

I got a kick out of this. So true. (except that it should be in CW, since "real Hams use Morse"...) Dad is a Ham (not active, but does some SWL still), so I grew up around Amateur Radio, but only recently became a Ham last year. I am still working on the Morse myself and my attempts at copying code are usually a disaster...  :oops:

Living in NE Lower Michigan, I am the only one attempting to run APRS for many miles. The closest repeaters are well beyond my reach. I calculated that I would need a substantial tower and a Yagi pointed at the nearest repeater for a chance of hitting it. Sometimes, the VHF conditions allow reception of APRS signals. So typically I just upload weather data via APRS-IS. If I hear packets on my 2m rig while scanning, I'll switch over to the Wx2in1 and digipeat. Although it is fruitless on the RF side, I can upload packets. There is a guy who travels over here every so often and I can pick up his mobile tracker.

There are some APRS and D-Star station over on the other side of the "tip-of-the-mitt" near Traverse City. APRS.FI shows a lot more activity over there.

Other than APRS, I am into JT-65 and WSPR. I have tried PSK-31 from time to time, but it seems difficult to get a QSO going sometimes. Maybe I give up too easily.

73 Greg KE8DAF




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Re: NWS ham radio weather net automation?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2017, 08:09:34 PM »
Quote from: vreihen
If you know anything about hams, they spend a lot of time living in the early 20th century and not giving up on the art of radio just in case the Internet, telephone, and cellular grids spontaneously melt down...and takes APRS with it.

I got a kick out of this. So true. (except that it should be in CW, since "real Hams use Morse"...) Dad is a Ham (not active, but does some SWL still), so I grew up around Amateur Radio, but only recently became a Ham last year. I am still working on the Morse myself and my attempts at copying code are usually a disaster...  :oops:

My history is about the same, except that my code skills aren't much above recognizing an SOS. :lol:  My late grandfather was a ham, my late father was a ham, and I wanted absolutely nothing to do with the illness.  I could write a (funny) book about all of the ways that ham radio ruined my life as a kid, and fancy myself as the founder of Hams Anonymous.  "Hi, my call sign is WX9HRA, and I have a problem."  :lol:  On the bright side, my knowledge of orbital mechanics and Keplerian elements from tracking OSCAR satellites and automating the rotor system to track them in pre-PC days is responsible for my life-long employment, and also a great ice-breaker at a nerd/geek party.  :-P

Two years ago, someone at work stopped by my office (I work in IT) and asked me if I could help him to pass the Ham Tech license exam.  He apparently failed the test three times before, and for some reason he thought that I could explain things to him.  Long story short, he pointed me to an online sample test...and I scored 31 out of 35 (passing) without even studying one minute.  A quick look at the band plans and $15 later, and I had a 35/35 score and a Tech license two weeks later.  Passed the General test on a whim a few months later after only a few hours of reading.  I want to do the Extra at some point, but I would actually have to study for that.

For the most part, I'm only feeding WX data via Internet APRS.  I have a mobile 6m/2m/70cm radio in my pickup, but there's zero usage on any of the 39 local repeaters other than the morning weather net one that I can't hit from 40 miles away due to terrain.  I really want to start playing with 900/1200Mhz voice, but there would probably be less people there than on the current repeaters.....
WU Gold Stars for everyone! :lol:

Offline Aussie Susan

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Re: NWS ham radio weather net automation?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2017, 09:40:00 PM »
As the punchline of the old joke goes (sort of):
"you dit dit because your dah dah dit dit" (you did it because your dada (father) did it)!
Susan VK3ANZ

Offline Scalphunter

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Re: NWS ham radio weather net automation?
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2017, 12:53:05 AM »
Nice thing about CW is you can actually do an qso with out a bunch of stations interrupting. Old bug and model 28 as with old ST-6 for rtty. Was first Alaskan station on the Oscar Sat when 6 and 7 was going strong.

John

Online vreihen

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Re: NWS ham radio weather net automation?
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2017, 06:46:22 AM »
Nice thing about CW is you can actually do an qso with out a bunch of stations interrupting.

The other nice thing is that you don't have to deal with broken english and foreign accents on CW.  One of our local repeaters has a 10M FM input, which is interesting when the band is open.  Lots of Caribbean/South American calls, and I usually can't even understand their call signs.  There was a guy from central England on Echolink last week (speaking English!), and he had to spell his call sign out phonetically at least three times before *anyone* could understand him.....
WU Gold Stars for everyone! :lol:

Offline miraculon

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Re: NWS ham radio weather net automation?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2017, 08:35:52 AM »
As the punchline of the old joke goes (sort of):
"you dit dit because your dah dah dit dit" (you did it because your dada (father) did it)!
Susan VK3ANZ

That is too funny! Love it!

Greg H.




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Re: NWS ham radio weather net automation?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2017, 07:38:53 PM »
I heard an old-timer reflecting back on his 70th birthday:

When he got his ham license, frequencies were in hertz.

When he got married, frequencies were in kilohertz.

When his last kid moved out of the house, frequencies were in megahertz.

When his first grandchild was born, frequencies were in gigahertz.

Now that he turned 70, *everything* frequently hertz!!!!!  :lol:
WU Gold Stars for everyone! :lol:

Offline miraculon

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Re: NWS ham radio weather net automation?
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2017, 08:25:03 AM »
My Dad who is 92 years old, still refers to "kc" or "Mc" and cycles....
He also calls picofarads, micro-micro farads (ĩĩF) or "mikey-mikes".
He has been a Ham ever since I can remember when I was a little kid back in the '50's, but I know that he was into it before I came around.

Greg H.




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Re: NWS ham radio weather net automation?
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2017, 07:12:28 PM »
Just as a footnote to this post, the weather net was rather somber this morning.  NWS Albany sent a letter to the coordinator yesterday, thanking everyone for their service and telling them not to submit any more data after Friday.  Their excuse was supposedly that the data being collected was too inaccurate to use any more, which led to post-net debate about the equipment that NWS apparently provided to net members.  They also mentioned that they were shutting down the PC-based software that was being used to submit these reports every day.

In reality, I suspect that this net was unique in the country after not seeing any comments about other local nets in this thread, and it out-lived its usefulness.  They probably meant that the "inaccurate" data was due to only covering high/low/rain totals per-day, and a one-time 7:00 AM observation.  With PWS data at much higher frequencies being readily available from ASOS and PWS via CWOP, they could get better data from other sources without any human interaction.  We all know that the budget axe fell on the NWS, and I'm guessing that this program was the first to be cut due to obsolete automation and next to useless data.  NWS did not shut down their Skywarn roles, so hams get to still have a role in that.

The net was somber today, and I suspect that Friday's last net will be a tear-jerker.  Some people were saying that they have been doing this since the 1970's, so it is a huge kick in their family jewels to be put out to pasture with a letter and three day's notice.....
WU Gold Stars for everyone! :lol:

 

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