[aprssig] APRS Weather hops and rates

Boyd Prestwood K5YKG k5ykg at arrl.net
Sat Mar 1 01:34:02 EST 2008

As the former ARRL SEC for Southern NJ for 22.5 years as well as the 
station trustee for WX2PHI, the NWSFO in Philadelphia (actually located 
in Westampton, NJ), we had many meetings over the NWS's use of amateur 
radio and how APRS benefited the SKYWARN program.  The powers-that-be 
respected and looked for input from the hams.  We also looked for input 
from the NWS officials regarding what they expected from the hams and 
specifically what they wanted to see when they checked the status 
provided by the manned/unmanned APRS terminal, which was located right 
alongside their "commercial" consoles and workstations.

They informed us that they read their sensors every 10-minutes but would 
appreciate status updates every 5-min from the APRS display, thus 
insuring they had the latest observational data available, never older 
than 5-minutes.  We set all standalone Peet Bros Weather Stations around 
the sections of SNJ and EPA for 5-min transmission intervals as well as 
the objects placed manually during episodes of severe weather, depicting 
conditions from other various locations around the area.  These were 
done with a conscientious effort and were removed when outdated.  So, 
5-minute intervals is what the NWS asked for... the horses mouth, 

We never discussed paths since we had developed a good digi network and 
low-power reporting stations with one or two hops would suffice.  The 
NWS considered all info & observations supplied by amateur radio to be 
important and used it in their forecasting operations.

I retired back to Texas in 2004 and do not know what's going on there now!

Boyd Prestwood, K5YKG (W2HOB 1970-1998 back then)

Robert Bruninga wrote:
> I need to make sure I am best representing the Weather
> contingent in APRS.
> Does the following statement best capture the best interests of
> both the weather guys and all the rest of APRS users combined?
> "Generally WX stations should transmit weather data once every
> 10 minutes in the local area only.  A Weather station should
> transmit using a local path either direct or at most one hop.
> Under the unusual situation where 2 hops may be required, then
> the update rate should be reduced to once every 30 minutes.  If
> two hops are needed just to get to a NWS station or an Igate,
> then a generic/directed path of WIDE2-1,DIGIX should be used in
> that one direction."
> I recognize that early on stations tended towards a 5 minute
> rate, and I am not making any suggestion that they be taken off
> the air.  But for the basis of new designs, is the above
> statement fair to everyone?
> I assume that if a specific WX station is that important, then
> there should be an igate nearby to get the data direct rather
> than reducing the reliability of all other users and wather
> stations by using long hops.
> Is the above generally agreed by all parties?
> Bob

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