Sunday, July 20, 2014

Emergency Preparedness - The Skies Above

As the sun dips low on the western horizon, I am out on the plains northeast of Calgary keeping an eye to the skies, as conditions are favourable for the forming of tornados.
 This system that passed from west to east just North of Calgary, dumped hail in places the size of golf-balls.

Fortunately this Canola field  was spared Nature's wrath.

Environment Canada had issued a weather bulletin to that effect earlier in the evening through radio transmitters located here in Alberta.

These transmitters provide continuous broadcasts of weather information and instant updates when weather threatens.

  When severe weather threatens as it did on this evening, the transmission of a Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) code ahead of a warning message activates my Kenwood D710A, and changes the right side display of my radio from the voice frequency that I normally operate on, over to the weather specific frequency of 162.400 Mhz.
When I have finished listening to this emergency bulletin pertaining to the areas effected, I then manually change the weather frequency back to my normal operating frequency..

The radio display of my Kenwood D710A above is showing the weather information in real time, as being generated by my ROVER-15 weather station mounted at the rear of my mobile.

You may notice that the display of my Kenwood D710A varies in color, depending as to which photo you are looking at in this gallery. That is because the 710 allows for a change of the display color. I normally run with it set in the green color mode as seen here.

On any given day, my mobile may also be running with my weather station sensor array in place of the HF antenna, as I have my ROVER-15 weather station electronics package mounted in the cargo area of my mobile.
Also if you wish, you can check out the weather being provided by my ROVER-15 weather station here by entering in ROVER-15 in the search box.
If you wondering how the weather information from my mobile is delivered to the Internet, it goes something like this.....

My ROVER-15 weather station module is connected to a terminal node controller (TNC), that is connected to a VHF radio that communicates with a distant digipeater--digital repeater-- that is connected to the Internet.

When the digipeater receives the data from my ROVER-15 station, it forwards it to where the information is placed on Google maps for your viewing pleasure.
Its somewhat more complex than that, but I'll save it for another day.

In this photo that I shot on field day, my ROVER-15 mobile weather station array temporarily mounted on the tripod at the rear of my mobile, and connected to the electronics package in the cargo area of my mobile, was kept busy as this storm cell made for interesting weather.
Once the storm passed, and even with a half day to dry out,  the backroad that I had to drive down to
get back to the main road was somewhat muddy to say the least.
While the roads dried out, I had fun participating in the ARRL 2014 field day.
Made a lot of good contacts, all the while keeping an eye to the sky what with all the storm cells popping up on the horizon.

All photos expand

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