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APRS for severe weather spotting.

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  • wuhu_software
    All, I am interested in adding new features to WUHU (or maybe even a new application) that will allow the user to post NWS notices, alerts, and warnings as
    Message 1 of 1 , May 16, 2005
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      All,

      I am interested in adding new features to WUHU (or maybe even a new
      application) that will allow the user to post NWS notices, alerts,
      and warnings as well as other weather conditions via APRS.

      I guess my intention would be to add features that would allow
      various networks of Skywarn (and others) to keep others informed of
      severe weather conditions over Internet based APRS.

      I asked my Skywarn state representatives whether they monitor the
      APRS network during watches and warnings, and they stated they do not
      monitor the APRS. The director stated: "No APRS is up but we do not
      respond (sic) to any messages nor do we monitor any weather
      stations. It gets very hectic during a watch so we have all that we
      can handle with the regular traffic."

      During the last NWS warning, the NWS coordinator had great difficulty
      understanding any of the individuals in the various counties. In
      fact, I think that they were busy because they had to repeat
      themselves over and over due to poor radio transmissions over a 17
      county-wide area. The reliability of the communication was poor at
      best.

      Here is another view point I found on the net that discusses this
      subject in detail, he has some good points although I do not agree
      with his conclusions. See: http://www.skywarn.ampr.org/aprs1.htm

      It seems to me that many in the Ham community reject the value of
      Internet based communications, for various reasons. I suppose that
      some see it as a threat to their hobby as the Internet continues to
      permeate nearly every form of communication (APRS Internet, Voip,
      etc, etc).

      My opinion would be that the more people involved in severe weather
      spotting the better. If people have the time and the needed equipment
      (Computer and Internet connection), they should be able to
      participate in severe weather spotting. Volunteer spotters should not
      be forced in to investing in a Ham radio setup just to participate in
      these programs when they already own a superior communication device,
      a personal computer.

      The NWS in Detroit now accepts severe weather reports via the Web
      although the only major shortcoming I see is that this information is
      not automatically shared with others in the field. Although this is
      fine for one-way links to the NWS, the APRS network is superior in
      this situation as the information is shared not only locally but
      globally as well.

      It seems inevitable (if it already hasn't happened) that Internet
      based communication will ultimately become a primary means of
      distributing all weather related data in real time. This is not only
      true for automated weather station data but for severe weather
      observations as well.

      The number of PWS and spotters with broadband connections will only
      continue to outpace the growth of the radio-based community. This is
      especially true in areas where community wide WiFi installations are
      being implemented.

      Finally, I believe that there is room to accommodate all users in the
      APRS real-time exchange of information (both Radio and Internet
      users). With a few enhancements to the APRS specification, the
      network would be ideal for sharing real-time observations especially
      in severe weather situations.

      If Skywarn as an organization flat out rejects the notion of using
      APRS, maybe it is time to form a new organization that is more open
      to changing technology and methods?

      If you would like to weigh in on the subject I would appreciate your
      opinions.
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