CHEPSTOW WEATHER STATION
GW7ERI AMATEUR RADIO
TUTSHILL - CHEPSTOW - UNITED KINGDOM
51.38.22 N 02.39.48W - 25 m ASL
SkyWarn UK ID: MM001 - 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.)
Prior to May 2011, weather information here at the GW7ERI station QTH 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.
Data collected by the outdoor sensors was fed via cables to the console. This is in turn connected to the computer's com port via a standard nine pin serial lead and USB adapter. Buttons on the console allow 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 is not particularly accurate, and is really only an indication of a change in conditions.
Connecting the weather station to a computer allows logging of weather data over time, and also the uploading of current information onto the internet, using FreeWx software developed by Andy Kerr. Information relating to the system requirements and use of FreeWx software can be found at:
In addition to data being sent to this web site, FreeWx software also has the ability to interface with UIView, an APRS (see Amateur Radio section) program written by the late Roger Barker G4IDE. FreeWx generates a file containing data received from the weather station, in a format common to APRS, which is then picked up by UIView. This file is broadcast by UIView over the APRS network, and can 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 is then re-broadcast onto internet APRS sites. The weather conditions here can then be viewed on various APRS web sites around the world.
Commencing 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 provides near 'real time' data on this web site, uploading wind speed / direction information as well as temperature and rainfall data every 15 seconds. This system is powered by more modern Cumulus software, from Sandaysoft. Cumulus has the same capabilities with respect to APRS and UIView, and a low power weather beacon (10 watts) is broadcast every 15 minutes. This uses the SSID GW7ERI-1 to avoid duplicate packets at the APRS internet servers, with the main data being forwarded to APRS network by CWOP under the GW7ERI call sign. A full description of Cumulus software can be viewed from this link:
The temperature and humidity sensor has been mounted in a Met Office pattern Stevenson Screen. The graphic display requires Microsoft Silverlight software, therefore text based weather information is also available. 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 continue to be recorded within the station archive.
Other weather related information, ie. Weather Maps etc. are provided by Meteorologica through their web site which can be reached at:
Why bother? Well, apart from the usual British obsession with the weather, and the fact that is always good to know when to start panicking that the antennas will come crashing to the ground in strong winds, a sustained period of high pressure moving away provides a 'lift' in VHF radio wave propagation. This enables VHF communication over greater distances than normal. The weather data collected here and broadcast on the internet forms part of the Citizen Weather Observation Program (CWOP). In addition to Radio Amateurs, many private individuals are uploading data as part of CWOP. Information from this central database is used by several professional bodies, including NOAA, to produce weather forecasts and historical 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, Weather data is 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, plus the latest satellite images. Follow the link below:
Assuming the local computer FTP link here is functioning, the last APRS data packet sent from GW7ERI and its translation into plain language, along with historical weather graphs, can be found at:
This particular site at www.findu.com, is the central site for information transmitted via the APRS network, and is an excellent starting point for all things APRS. By following the links on the left hand of the page , you can see information transmitted from other APRS enabled stations. Independent APRS web servers can be found through a web search using 'APRS' as the search string.
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 at GW7ERI can be found by clicking here or pay a visit to the Space section of my site.
Weather maps are obtained from www.meteorologica.co.uk, and are dependant on their server being active. My thanks to them for providing this info free of charge!
Forecast information is provided by the UK Met Office.
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