The Station

Current System

"Kirkcaldy Weather" was set up in 2011 at Lat 56° 07' 17"N Long 03° 09' 49"W (altitude 58m), near to the Victoria Hospital. The station currently consists of a Davis Vantage Pro 2 (VP2) system which connects wirelessly with its base unit. The system has (outside) an anemometer and an Integrated Sensor Suite (ISS) consisting of rain gauge and a thermometer/hygrometer unit, and (indoors) a base unit. The data from the base unit is then accessed using a dedicated netbook running Weather Display software.

History

Initially, I had chosen the WMR100N set from Oregon Scientific to supply my data. This was an inexpensive set, providing wireless capability allowing the sensors to be placed in optimal locations and where running cables may be difficult. It also provided the flexibility of adding a range of extra sensors (UV, leaf moisture, etc). Unfortunately, we found that the base unit refused to retain its lock on the remote sensors.

This was replaced with a WS2357 from La Crosse. It was only fractionally more expensive, provided a cabled connection, but did not have the expansion possibilities. It served very well for 8 years.

In 2019, the La Crosse started to become unreliable, so it was replaced with the Davis. This is a professional quality unit with the capablility to add extra sensors if desired.

Anemometer

Picture of Anemometer, close-upThe anemometer measures the current windspeed and direction. It is mounted on the peak of the gable-end of the house so that the structure of the building creates minimal interference with speed or direction. The data is wirelessly sent direct to the base unit. The transmitter is solar powered but has a back-up lithium battery. I have elected to use knots as my basic measurement, mostly because of my background in the Merchant Navy where knots are still used.

Integrated Sensor Suite

Picture of Sensor SuiteThe ISS fulfills several functions. It measures the outside temperature; it measures the outside humidity; it measures the rainfall; and it wirelessly relays all this data back to the base unit. The ISS is sited on the back fence, clear of artificial heat-sources such as central heating boiler flues, not in the immediate shelter of any building or trees, and not affected by any dew forming at ground level.

Rain gauge

Picture of Rain gauge, close-upThe rain gauge collects rainwater in the funnel and channels it into a small counter-balanced bucket. As the bucket fills, it tips the counter-balance, which empties it and records one "unit" of rain "collected". The base unit counts the number of tips made and calculates the quantity and rate of rainfall. I have elected to use the old British unit of inches as my basic measurement.

Thermo/hygro unit

Picture of Thermo/hygro unit, close-upThis unit measures the outside temperature and humidity. I have elected to use Celsius as my basic measurement of temperature as it is the standard in Europe.

Base unit & netbook

Picture of Netbook screenPicture of Base Unit screenThe base unit (right) wirelessly collects all the data from the sensor and anemometer and displays current details on its screen. Buttons on the right allow the user to select different aspects of the current weather to view. There is also provision for alarms to flash/sound when certain maxima or minima are exceeded. It also contains a thermo/hygro unit for indoor temperature and humidity, and a barometer to record the atmospheric pressure. Pressure at any given point on the Earth changes with altitude (the higher you are, the lower the pressure). In order to compare different locations and create a pressure chart, it is necessary to use a "standard" altitude - this is set at Mean Sea Level and all readings are corrected to refer to this level (see conversions page for more details). This station's readings have been corrected for its altitude of 58m (a correction of +7.0 hPa) and all values quoted are for Sea Level. I have elected to use hPa (hectopascals) as my basic measurement of pressure as this is the modern equivalent of millibars (mb) - 1 millibar = 100 pascals. A page of conversion factors is available.

The screen display on the netbook (left) provides more information than on the station base unit without pressing buttons. It also includes graphs of the last 12 hours trend for (my settings) temperature, humidity, wind direction and speed, rainfall, and pressure. By clicking on-screen buttons, other graphs and tables can be viewed. The software also provides a facility to create web output from the data in graphic form - some of these can be seen on other pages in this site.

 

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Conditions

Time: 19:00 UTC
   
Temp: 12.4°C
Hum: 79 %
Wind: 8.7 kts
Dir: WSW 254°
Press: 1005.0 hPa