CHEPSTOW WEATHER STATION
GW7ERI AMATEUR RADIO
TUTSHILL - CHEPSTOW - UNITED KINGDOM
51.38.22 N 02.39.48W - 25 m ASL
MADIS ID: MAS579 - Met Office Site ID: 5001
* Providing Live Weather Information for the Chepstow Area since 2001 *
Click on the pictures above to visit "Stay in Wales" or "Chepstow Racecourse" web sites. (New windows.)
Measurements from Netio Geiger Counter and Mini Cyclone PC
Station Description And History.
From 2001 weather data monitored at my amateur radio station in Tutshill near Chepstow was supplied to a dedicated pc by a Huger (Oregon Scientific) home weather station. A photo of the main console and sensors is accessible from the link below. An anemometer to measure wind speed and direction was mounted outside on the main station radio mast. Temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure data were produced by a combined outdoor sensor. A rainfall gauge completed the sensing equipment.
Information collected by the outdoor sensors was fed via cables to the main console. This in turn connected to the computer's com port via a standard nine pin serial lead and USB adapter. Buttons on the console allowed various data to be displayed in the panel. In the picture linked above, barometric pressure information is shown, along with the present weather forecast, as determined by the station itself. Forecast data produced by home weather stations is not particularly accurate, and is really only an indication of a change in conditions.
Connecting the weather station to a computer allowed logging of weather data over time, and also the uploading of current information onto the internet, using at that time 'FreeWx' software developed by Andy Kerr.
In addition to data being sent to this web site, FreeWx software also had the ability to interface with UIView, an APRS (see APRSISCE below) program written by the late Roger Barker G4IDE. FreeWx generated a file containing data received from the weather station in a format common to APRS, which was then picked up by UIView. This file was broadcast over the APRS radio network, and could be received, decoded and relayed, by any other APRS equipped station within radio range of my transmitter. Through the use of Amateur Radio / internet gateway stations, this data was also re-broadcast onto internet APRS sites. The weather conditions here could be viewed on various APRS enabled web sites around the world.
In May 2011 a second weather station was installed as the Huger had been operational for over 12 years and was showing signs of age. The Huger station was subsequently decommissioned and replaced by an Oregon Scientific WMR-968. The new wireless equipment provided near 'real time' data on this web site, uploading wind speed / direction information as well as temperature and rainfall data every 15 seconds. This new system was powered by more modern Cumulus software, from Sandaysoft. Cumulus has the same capabilities with respect to APRS. The APRS software was also updated in 2015 to APRSISCE as UIView was no longer supported. The weather data was also being forwarded by Cumulus to CWOP servers under the GW7ERI-1 call sign. A full description of Cumulus and APRSISCE software can be viewed from these web links:
The temperature and humidity sensor was mounted in a Met Office pattern Stevenson Screen. The graphic display from Cumulus requires Microsoft Silverlight software, therefore text based weather information was also made available on my web site. Archive data was switched to the Cumulus system from reports commencing June 2011. Whilst the two archive text files differ in composition, main weather elements continued to be recorded within the station archive.
Following a major failure of the WMR-968 a third weather station was installed. The current equipment is a Davis Vantage Vue system. This new set up works well with Cumulus and APRSISCE software described above and the transition of data was seamless. The Stevenson Screen has been retained for manual instruments to monitor the accuracy of the Davis. A photograph of the Davis Vantage Vue may be viewed here:
A sustained period of high pressure moving away can provide enhanced VHF radio wave propagation. This 'lift' in propagation enables VHF communication over greater distances than normal, so a knowledge of current weather conditions is useful. The weather data collected here and broadcast on the internet also forms part of the Citizen Weather Observation Program (CWOP). In addition to Radio Amateurs, many weather enthusiasts are uploading their data as part of CWOP. Information from this central database is used by several professional bodies, including NOAA, to produce weather forecasts and historic trends. Data from personal weather stations is also used for international studies into possible climate change.
The CWOP home page, which gives details of the project may be found at:
With effect from November 2011, data was also sent via the internet to the UK Met Office Weather Observations Website (WOW) and is shared with other participants. Details of the project may be found at the UK MetOffice web site, along with all of the official weather data for the UK. Follow the link below:
The latest APRS data packet sent from GW7ERI-1 along with historical weather graphs can be found at:
The above link is the central site for information transmitted via the APRS network, and is an excellent starting point for all things APRS.
More information on APRS and UIView software, which does a lot more than just transmit weather information, can be found in the Ham Radio section on this site.
A full description of the weather satellite receiving equipment installed here can be found by clicking here or follow the main link from my amateur radio pages to the 'Space' section of my site.