[aprssig] WX and Wind and mountain tops...

Robert Kirk isobar at bcpl.net
Tue Apr 25 20:47:49 CDT 2006

Bob... A couple of pessimistic comments:

At 09:18 PM 4/24/06 -0400, Robert Bruninga wrote:
>Squirrels chewed through my entire APRS WX station
>stuff years ago, and so I am pondering whether
>to re-weather or.... not?

A home weather station is great for your own entertainment, and as an 
ex-meteorologist, I have two myself - one mechanical, one digital. As far 
as putting the weather data on APRS, looking at a weather report does beat 
looking at a boring QTH symbol, as long as you don't go overboard on 
updates and bandwidth. But in your case, your data won't add to the greater 
public knowledge since you live only 3nm from the 1st class reporting 
station at BWI plus a couple of local CWO stations. But what the heck, go 
for it.

>Since my current interest is beating the 72% electric
>rate hike looming this summer due to deregulation,
>I have been looking at the cost of wind generators.
>Interesting to note that a 400W wind generator is only
>about twice ($599) what a new WX station costs...
>I'm considering  spending my $$$ on getting back some pennies
>rather than just watch the wind go by...  Just wish
>I lived somewhere where there was more wind....
>ARGH....  Oh well...

A better investment for your money would be to take the kids' college fund 
and buy lottery tickets.

Look at the specs for that 400W generator you're considering. I bet that 
400 W is at something like 25 knots wind speed. Power is a ***cubic*** 
function of the wind speed so at lesser speeds you're lucky to generate 
milliwatts if the blade turns at all. Look at one of your neighbors CWO 
weather report at:

and see what the wind really is at your place. (There's thunderstorms 
forecast tonite, so he'll probably go thru the roof. But his steady winds 
over the past few days have been around 5 kts when they weren't zero. That 
wouldn't even turn the blades on a $599 generator. And spring is one of the 
breeziest times of year. I've been sailing on the Bay for days without wind 
in the summer. An expensive system with 20 ft diameter blades would have 
computerized blade pitch and AC-DC-AC converters to optimize the power.

Cruising boaters use the type of  generator you're considering. Their main 
use is to charge 12V batteries and operate a few amps of shipboard power. 
And they are at sea wherevthere are decent winds available. None of the 
folks I know who have them, love them. They are ugly on a sailboat, noisy, 
and break a lot.  Another problem is overspeed in storms which can tear the 
blades off and fry the generator unless you manually feather the blades and 
secure them. Your neighbors will love the noise which sounds like a 
helicopter in the yard.

For the best spin on wind generators see

put out by the manufacturer's association, and see what  $40,000 can buy 
you. Then the neigbors will really have a field day.

>Or more sun..... or more running water... anything...

Solar panels are neat and you might be able to extract a few milliwatts on 
the average, or from the tidal action in your local creek. But the 
governing factor in any alternate system is, what is the energy density 
available. It's not in the wind around here.

Bob Kirk

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