Weather Station Hardware > Boltek/NexStorm Lightning Detectors

Why is the data different?


Here are four sites in Florida. All use Boltec Detectors and Astrogenic Software. All are current with the day and time. Why is the data different for each site? The only ones that seem to match are the site in Cape Coral and Melbourne. I have  wanted to get one of these but lack of consistant data always turns me away. I realize that noise and where the detector is located may account for the variation in data but this seems like too much of a spread.

The inconsistencies are caused by the following.

1. The Boltek system: You are dealing with single antenna ranging using signal strength to determine distance. This is very imprecise at best. The software just makes an educated guess at the range.

2. Antenna siting: The location and/or height of the antenna significantly affect detector performance.

3. Antenna alignment: It is very difficult to mechanically align the Boltek antenna so it faces true North. Even with software offset it is very difficult to get it right without a real time reference from a known good source like the NLDN.

4. Calibration: Calibrating ranging is a very tedious and time consuming effort especially with Nexstorm.

5. Site difficulties: Surrounding terrain can play a big part in the overall performance of the system. I have mountains 9 miles to my North. They cause all kinds of anomalies when storms are to the north of the mountains. Local electrical noise can cause headaches. Leaves on nearby trees coming out in the spring can have a significant effect on system operation.

So why install one?

1. If you like to tinker with technology these things are a tinkerer's dream.

2. You can get a good idea of storm strength from the system.

3. They are a good draw for your website. Your lightning pages will be among the top hits for your site.


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