Month: May 2007

Redfield Weather

I have become a real big weather buff over the last couple of years.  I have a Davis Vantage Pro2 station on the roof.  All of my data is live on the Internet at www.redfieldweather.com and the Weather Underground at, http://www.wunderground.com/weatherstation/WXDailyHistory.asp?ID=KMINILES3.

I bought the Davis Vantage Pro2 a couple years ago now, and last year I added a Boltek Lightning detector.  That data is also pushed to my web site and to StrikeStarUS.

redfieldweather1

This picture is of my weather station computer and you can also see my FT-8900R radio along with the HRI-100 that connects it to WiRES-II.

The top monitor shows my lightening data and WASP2.  WASP2 is an application that displays data from StrikeStarUS and also display Doppler RADAR images.  WASP2 creates the main image on the top of my web page at www.redfieldweather.com.

The bottom monitor displays all the data collected from the Davis Vantage Pro2.  The software is Virtual Weather Station, not the coolest looking software but it does give me a lot of data and a lot of images that can be used on my web site.

Here is a very cold picture of the weather station in the ice we had earlier this year on 1-15-2007.

redfieldweather2

I also have a weather radio on my desk that is streaming the local NOAA weather radio to the weather underground.  You can listen to the stream here.  The weather radio also has an LED strobe attached to it, so when there is a weather alert the LED will flash.

My wife makes fun of me, but I think all this is cool.  I love computers and stuff that can connect to them.  Not a cheap hobby but a fun one none the less.

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WiRES-II Setup and Running

Well I finally got everything setup and running.  My server ID is 1468, and it is running in simplex mode on frequency of 433.125 MHz and a tone of 94.8.  It is running from a tower on my roof, so not the greatest footprint, but it is a start.  To get a list of active WiRES-II stations click here, http://www.vxstd.com/en/wiresinfo-en/activelist.html.

wiresii

There were some problems along the way and getting information from Yaesu was like getting your teeth pulled.  I would also like to thank WD7F John from Arizona for helping me fix some problems in my configuration and tolerating me tying up his repeaters.

One of my problem was trying to figure out how to connect the HRI-100 to the FT-8900R.  Every diagram I have seen on how to setup WiRES-II shows the configuration I have, so you would think it would include everything you would need to connect these 2 devices.  However when you get the HRI-100 it doesn’t include the expected cable.  It does include a 8 pin DIN connector with about 2′ of wire, so I ended up having to order the CT-39 packet connector for the FT-8900R.  This is a 6 pin DIN connector with again about a 2′ of wire.  You would think that after getting all this hardware that it should go together in a snap.  Well you would be wrong.  I couldn’t find anywhere online where there was a wiring diagram on how to connect the HRI-100 to the FT-8900R.  I just couldn’t believe that the configuration they display doesn’t have a wiring diagram.  Well I emailed the support email on the WiRES-II web site, and would you believe the email address they have for the US is a bad address, so that was no help.

After about a week of emails to any address I could find I finally emailed the main customer service email on the Yaesu site complaining about the lack of support, and would you believe the next day I got an answer to my email.  I finally got my wiring diagram got everything connected together and it wasn’t working.  The system wasn’t transmitting, so I rechecked my connections and I did everything that they showed.  I reviewed the packaging of of the CT-39A and I noticed that the PTT line wasn’t connected in their diagram.  I thought that was strange so I decided to wire the PTTs together and see what happened, and would you believe it worked.  I finally had WiRES-II transmitting and receiving on the Internet and on my local radio.

So nobody else has to go through the headache that I did wiring this up here is the correct wiring diagram (pin outs) that you would need to connect your HRI-100 to a FT-8900R

Wiring Layout
FT-8900R to HRI-100
FT-8900R   HRI-100
PIN Description   PIN Description
1 PKD (Data in)   3 Audio Out
2 GND   5 GND
3 PTT   6 PTT
4 RX9600   8 N/C
5 RX1200   7 AF Input
6 PKS (SQL)   1 Busy/COR

Well I hope that can help someone out there.  Where my headache can be someone else’s joy and easy setup.

You would think that this would be the worst of it, but you would be wrong.  I can’t believe in this day and age that to sign up for an Internet based service you have to snail mail in your application.  I don’t understand why I can’t fill out this application online and then within a few hours I should get my server ID.  I sent in my application and about 10 days later I got an email with my server ID.  The software I had was older so I went to the web site to download the newer version.  To access the download site you need your server ID and the serial number of your HRI-100.  Well my login wouldn’t work, I couldn’t login to the download site or sign-in to the older software that I already had.  The serial number that they had was wrong.  Several emails and many hours later they fixed my serial number on their servers and everything was working.

All that said I am pretty happy with the setup, it is nice to see a manufacture make a full Internet solution.  I do have a couple suggestions that I would like to see.  First I would like to see them put user forums on their WiRES-II web site.  Their email support is so slow and user forums could really help.  I would also like to see them make the software compatible with EchoLink.  There should be no reason they couldn’t do this and it would really widen the reach of a WiRES-II system.

WiRES-II isn’t very popular in the US, so I may have to switch to EchoLink down the road.  I may see if I can cross connect them myself on the same radio and computer, but I am not sure if all this will run on one computer with multiple sound cards.

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