Weather Station Hardware => Blitzortung => Topic started by: b.e.wilson on September 22, 2014, 11:02:43 AM

Title: Optimizing for "Effectivity M"
Post by: b.e.wilson on September 22, 2014, 11:02:43 AM
About a week ago I realized all my efforts to optimize my settings were being directed to maxing out the "Effectivity L" percentage, in part because it is the default of the "Participants" page at Blitzortung.org, and in part because the lightning counts for the medium range are so low out here in the western US to support refining settings for small local strikes.  The station density is just too low out here to support good stats on the smaller strikes, and daily (or even weekly) refinements become impossible.

My request: could some of you who have good "Effectivity M" percentages AND high counts please share your settings? I need a good starting place. Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: Optimizing for "Effectivity M"
Post by: W3DRM on September 22, 2014, 02:08:19 PM
Hi Bruce,

Well, I have played quite a bit with my settings for both my H-field and E-field kits. After much playing, I wound up back at the default settings that Cutty has determined to be a good starting point. Mine are set as follows:
I have attempted to adjust gains when storms were in the M ranges but never was able to really get them to perform like I "thought" they should. So, in the end, I simply set it as outlined above and left them there. My feeling is that until we can get more stations out here in the West, I would only be chasing my tail by making adjustments every time a new storm showed up on the horizon. I still go into interference mode occassionaly.

The past two weeks we have had several good days with lots of lightning activity in the area; however, very few of the strikes (visible from my home location) ever showed-up on the Blitzortung maps. Very frustrating, for sure...  ](*,)

Don't forget to look at the LightningMaps.org pages for your signals charts.
The signals will show you if you have ringing or other issues with your equipment. Compare yours to others and you will notice some stations are having lots of problems with noise and oscillations (ringing) in their circuits. Some also have large spikes and/or oscillations indicating external interference that is impacting their stations. Yours look pretty good except that the green channel isn't showing any signals. Play with the gains (starting with Cutty's recommended settings) and then watch your signals on the website. Deviations should be less than 2km. The lower they are, the better.

I forgot to add one thing about my settings. Whether it is my imagination, or not, I seem to get better results by just leaving things alone for a long period of time. It seems as though the servers adjust to your settings over time. That may not be true but things do seem to settle-down over time.
Title: Re: Optimizing for "Effectivity M"
Post by: scarecrow93 on September 22, 2014, 03:39:10 PM
Hi Bruce-

I used to shoot for the top of the charts and overgain my system.  Reality came crashing down on me when I was away on a business trip and my system was in interference mode for storms out near Chicago.  I envision the system's coverage looking like a donut.  If you set the gain too high, you'll have a large donut with a large center hole (interference zone).  Set it too low, and you'll have a small donut with no center hole.  Hard part is finding the happy medium.

I've been playing with setting my system up based on noise level.  So far the results look promising.

When I put a new antenna on (I have 3 I'm testing), I'll wait for VERY little to no activity in the US before sighting my system in.  On that "clear air day" I'll set up my gains so both channels are running a 30-35mV noise floor.  Typically, they'll both be within 3mV of each other.  I don't get hung up if I'm not running the same gains on each loop to achieve this...typically I'm running different on each channel to get my desired effect.  My trigger will be 4x the noise floor (since we're looking for spikes in the signal)...so I've got mine at 120mV.  I leave myself ALOT of room because the noise floor will raise up as storm activity nears my location.  Typically when there are cells out near the 500km line, my noise floor will be around 60mV.

Premise I work on is noise in my environment is about the same.  YMMV though in case you have a truck axle plant anywhere near you.   ;)

When I applied this principle to the ferrites I was running this summer, the results were amazing.  I was up to about 9k strikes within 500km with a squall line in northern PA and wasn't in interference.

Right now my setup with the 12 inch polyball loop antenna is:
No E-Field yet (in work)

General Settings:
Hope this helps,

#724 - Owings, MD
Title: Re: Optimizing for "Effectivity M"
Post by: Jim-Bob on May 31, 2018, 10:24:12 AM

Right now my setup with the 12 inch polyball loop antenna is:
  • Channel A:  10/8    120mV Trigger
  • Channel B:  10/10  120mV Trigger

I'm curious. What is a polyball loop antenna?
The only reference I can find is regarding EMC testing, where the device under test is placed inside the loops.

Title: Re: Optimizing for "Effectivity M"
Post by: Cutty Sark Sailor on May 31, 2018, 12:30:43 PM

I'm curious. What is a polyball loop antenna?

Title: Re: Optimizing for "Effectivity M"
Post by: Jim-Bob on May 31, 2018, 02:19:22 PM
Thank you Cutty Sark Sailor
It looks like a Styrofoam ball with the windings under gaffer tape.
The two windings are at 90 degrees to each other and one winding crosses the other in a kind of underpass?
Title: Re: Optimizing for "Effectivity M"
Post by: Silversword on June 02, 2018, 01:55:15 PM
Hi All,

I have some issues as well here with only my E Field antenna on line at the moment.  What is a good settings for the ADC for both amplifiers when I can get my H-Field system back into operation?

Thanks for any suggestions and comments.


--Stan Y.
   Maui, Hawaii