Author Topic: September, 2005 - featured website -  (Read 4896 times)

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Offline saratogaWX

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September, 2005 - featured website -
« on: October 29, 2006, 01:08:32 AM »
Forty-four year old Brendan Pratt, or “weatheroz” as he’s known to weather forum participants (and not just this one!) all over the world, operates an Internet Service Provider firm from his home on a 20-acre property in Logan Village, about a half hour’s drive from Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, in Australia. His home is also home to a menagerie of wildlife, including Magpies, Butcherbirds, Kookaburras, and some presumptuous wallabies, who rap on his sliding glass door every few days looking for a handout!

Brendan, like many weather enthusiasts, got the “bug” early on as a child, and has had an assortment of weather instruments much of his life. When he went high-tech, his first station was an Oregon Scientific WX-918 cabled unit, that he later upgraded to a WMR-918N wireless unit. He recently took the big leap, and got an Australian version of the Davis Vantage Pro 2 Plus (which includes solar and UV) from an Australian dealer who converts the VP2 to work on Australian-legal frequencies in the 915-928 MHz band. He’s impressed with the accuracy of the VP2 compared to his earlier stations, as well as the solar and UV sensor capability. We’re impressed with what the VP2+ costs down under – a steep $AUD2300 ($1,747 USD - $1423 EU - 970 pounds) – which includes the anemometer transmitter kit, the datalogger, and WeatherLink!

Brendan’s site,, first went live some time in 2000, and got its own domain name just a few months ago. Brendan also registered other variants of the name (.net, .info, etc.) to keep away “predators” who might want to snatch his branding. (He also wisely counseled us at to do the same, which sound advice we took.) He also has beaudesertweather domains registered as well to further protect his “brand.” The site went up to promote his ISP service, but also to provide a service to the local community with live weather data, and of course his site gets visits from around the world. He also notes fairly frequent visits to his site by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the equivalent of the US’s National Weather Service, the UK’s Met Office, or Environment Canada and the like.

Not one to be satisfied recording “only” those data available from his Vantage Pro, Brendan has also added a Boltek lightning detector with Nexstorm software from Astrogenic. He also has a Hamtronics R139 WeatherFax receiver that directly grabs images from NOAA satellites as they pass overhead. He built his own quadrifilar antenna to improve reception of the rather weak satellite signal.

Brendan uses Ambient’s Virtual Weather Station (VWS) software. It was the first weather station software of which he was aware, and does everything he wants it to do. His web development takes place in either Windows Notepad (the mark of a true pro!) and Macromedia’s Dreamweaver. Brendan started out with a page template and modified it from there. He doesn’t consider himself much of a web developer, but those of us who have visited his site might beg to differ!

Brendan says there was no particular site that inspired his, but that he frequently gets ideas for his site from visits to other weather sites. One of the particularly interesting aspects of his site is the inclusion of his plans for building a Stevenson screen for his weather station, which he has generously shared with the worldwide weather enthusiast community. His well-documented plans have been a source of inspiration and information to many, and Stevensons built from Brendans thorough plans shelter weather stations around the world. These plans have been so popular that another site was poaching them and presenting them as their own. Brendan, in his typically straightforward fashion, promptly dealt with this unethical practice.

Weather data from Logan Village makes its way to the Citizen Weather Observer Program, where it assists NOAA in their numerical forecast models, and to Weather Underground. Future plans include sending data to Weather For You as well.

Brendan’s counsel for someone interested in setting up a home weather station is typically sound and succinct: “Don't cut corners and buying the cheapest bit of crap you can find that has the words 'weather station' on it. It might be cheap dollarwise, but there's a good reason why it is cheap. Don't be afraid of asking questions, as the only dumb question is the one you don't ask ! Take your time, you don't need that weather station yesterday either!”

He also has good advice for those wanting to put their weather data on the web (though the advice is equally sanguine for any other type of web page as well). He recommends that you not fill up your page with bandwidth intensive graphics, as those on dial-up will quickly get frustrated with a slow-loading page. They’ll tell their friends that your site isn’t worth a visit, and you’ll harm your traffic. He suggests that you start out by stripping out the default “garbage” added in by your weather software, and keeping your site plain and simple to follow. If you want to post big images or a lot of them, Brendan suggests putting those images on a separate page, with a warning to users that that page contains large files. Good advice, and a good example for us all to follow!

Brendan also generously shares his knowledge with other weather station enthusiasts through active participation in this and other online weather forums.

Brendan’s many other interests include other things high-tech. He serves as a senior motor racing official at such events as the Gold Coast Indy 300, V8 Supercars (which are about as wildly popular as is NASCAR in the US), and the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, which he calls the “ultimate high tech motorsport!”

Congratulations, Brendan, on your well deserved recognition as’s Featured Weather Web Site of the Month for September 2005, and congratulations to all the nominees as well on your outstanding weather web sites!

Writeup by Gary Oldham, posted Wed Aug 31, 2005 10:23 pm on original
Ken True/Saratoga, CA, USA main site:
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