RE: [BSA] Weather station discussion
- OK.... I couldn't stay out of this one... since the task was delegated to me
some months ago.
I did contact the 'sailor' responsible for the implementation of the famous
'max headroom' wind sensor from the late 80's/early 90's. No offense, but
he was clueless as to what was put in, where it was put in, who installed
it, who maintained it, and where it went. I think he did say it was taken
out of commission by a lightening stike.
So I did several hours of research myself. I feel qualified to do this
since my career is the design and implementation of industrial control and
data acquisition and reporting systems. There are several factors that must
be considered. You can't just buy a wireless windsensor and have it
transmit it's information back to people in Boise. Here are some factors:
1. Power - All electronic devices need a power supply. Needs 120VAC or
2. Communications - How is this thing going to transmit the windspeed to
people who need to see it? Phone Line (land line), Cell phone, radio
transmission, smoke signals.
3. Location - Were is the best place to measure windspeed during the entire
season. A location that works at normal lake level might not work at lower
level. Not a simple one. Where can it be placed as to not get vandalized?
Where will it get power (solar not an issue)? Where can it be connected to a
phone line (wireless and cell phone not an issue)? Where can it be easily
accessed for maintenance? How about the lightening issues?
4. Interface to users. Are we going to call this thing or is it going to
push it's data to a website for our consumption.
5. Cost - I have found things from about $2500 (not installed) and higher
that would do the trick. You have to consider all the equipment. It is not
enough to just mount some spinning windmeter. You need the anemometer,
signal conditioner (reads the anemometer), communication device (modem, cell
modem, radio on both ends, power supply, mounting pole, lightening
protector, mounting base, fence to limit access, cabling, solar panels,
batteries, etc. Now you can see why I have not made any progress. The
price scares me away. How much money do we have for this? Who paid for the
original one? Where the heck is the original one? Can other users access
the information. Would the TV stations help defray costs? Should there be a
pay to access. Should the feds fund it?
6. WebCam - Yeah Betsy. If we go to the trouble of putting this in, a
cheaper webcam is a great idea. I think we could get some other people to
help pitch in for a cam as well.
So... Let me know your thoughts or feelings. Any input is valuable. I will
start compiling this information into a living document. Maybe we can move
on it someday.
I really wish I knew where the original unit was located and what happened
to it. Anyone???
From: BoiseSailors@... [mailto:BoiseSailors@...]
On Behalf Of Gman
Sent: Friday, July 21, 2006 4:55 PM
To: Boise Sailors Association
Subject: [BSA] Weather station discussion
I would also be willing to donate $100. I can also lend what little
expertise I have as I work with software and hardware regularly.
However, Bill brings up a good point. Technology is fun, but
inevitably needs an admin (maintenance guy).
Not sure what the lesser of 2 evils is but:
- if we leave it up to the Park Service to spec, buy and maintain the
station, we will be free of maintenance, but likely won't be fully
satisfied with the results. ("F'ing thing is down AGAIN!")
- if we do it ourselves, someone will be burdened with the mainteance
responsibility, but we'll have more control over the situation.
Not even sure if both of those options would be available to us but...
Regardless of who maintains what, I'd bet that a robust station that
does what we want will probably not be cheaper than $2k. Anyone
researched the hardware??? I would be interested to see what's
available and how much it costs.
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- Yes, COST, COMMUNICATIONS and MAINTENANCE are the hard issues,
and the reasons we don't already have this in place after (most
of) 20 years wanting it.
I don't see power as an issue if we have the Corps' cooperation.
There's plenty of electricity there (including a power plant,
last I checked :). The Corps can likely
The issues of location and interface are easily resolved once
you take care of the "big three." A webcam's a lovely idea,
and again, easy and cheap to add on after you resolve cost and
comm, but its initial cost is insignificant compared to the
maintenance issue. A webcam is way higher maintenance than an
anemometer; think about every website you know of that has
one--much of the time, it's broken or down.
So, let's talk about funding. For sake of argument, suppose
a suitable quality instrument with transceiver hardware can be
obtained for $2k. A couple folks have chipped up for $100
contributions. All we need is... about 17 more?!
One of our prospective donors wrote "All the fisherman, boaters,
etc would love a weather station up there." Mmmaybe, but would
they love to PAY anything for it? I kind of doubt it. The
weather needs for most lake users are satisfied by the 10:00
news or the morning newspaper.
The Magic Valley group has a subscription-based call-in thing.
I hate paying for weather data, given how much great information
is out there for free. (That said, I've invested a LOT more
than $2,000 worth of my time in the last decade in aggregating
the "free" data for myself and others. There's cash involved too,
although nothing incremental over the computer and website I'd
Figure 10% annual maintenance cost (probably low-balled), and
a 5 year payback, and we (or some other business, such as iWindsurf
or Ikitesurf) would need 3000/5 = $600 a year with no cost of
capital, or financial ROI. Can we find 20 subscribers ready to pay
$30/year for 5 years? (Assuming we have an angel who will front
us the $2k!)
(BTW, if I were iWindsurf, I would be looking for a 1 or at most
2-year payback. 5 years is for a not-for-profit business model.)
JUST PENNIES A DAY!! (Say... 10 pennies. For the next 1,826 days.)
Tom von Alten http://fortboise.org
- Oops, didn't finish my editing before sending my essay.
> I don't see power as an issue if we have the Corps' cooperation.provide a communications link as well. It might be no (or
> There's plenty of electricity there (including a power plant,
> last I checked :). The Corps can likely
negligible) incremental cost for them.
Tom von Alten http://fortboise.org