In early 2012 I bought a cheap weather station from a major UK amateur radio supplier. It lasted a few months before failing. They replaced the broken parts, it failed again a while later and they replaced the parts again. When it failed for the third time, I got fed up with it so I took it down and chucked it into a nearby skip.
Earlier this year, I decided to get another station but this time I wanted something that would hopefully be a bit more reliable. After some research, I decided on an Ecowitt GW1003 for a number of reasons, the main one being that the wind and rain sensors are separate. I didn’t want the rain sensor to be 25ft up in the air and I didn’t want the anemometer to be just a few feet off the ground otherwise it’d be affected by nearby objects.
I made contact with Ecowitt in August and after multiple emails backwards and forwards discussing various options, the weather station was delivered to me early last week. I unboxed and checked everything and two days later, the weather was good enough for me to be able to lower the centre support for my 30m dipole and install the anemometer sensor package. At the same time, I installed the rain gauge on top of a nearby washing line support pole.
The anemometer is ultrasonic so I’m hoping it will be maintenance free compared to the old one I had where the cups finally seized up. Here you can see it mounted by the centre of my dipole. I’ve tested it running 100W of FT8 and there’s no issue with interference in either direction.
With the hardware installed, I just had to set up the WiFi gateway which only took a few minutes. With that done, I could see weather data via the app on my phone and I was uploading to Weather Underground direct from the gateway.
That wasn’t enough for me – While my old weather station worked, I had some software called Cumulus which uploaded to a website. The old version of Cumulus isn’t supported any more but there’s a new version called CumulusMX which is actively being developed and has a Raspberry Pi version.
I dutifully followed the instructions here using a Pi4 and very quickly had CumulusMX up and working. I then transferred the SD card to a Pi Zero and confirmed it was still working perfectly. It really doesn’t need a Pi4 because the load is very light and only using between 10% and 15% CPU on the Zero.
I’ve added a link to the navigation menu above called ‘WX” which takes you to the output of my weather station, showing current conditions, gauges, records and graphs.
Another reason for wanting a weather station was so that when the wind reaches a certain level, I can automatically rotate my aerial to point into the wind. Normally with a hexbeam, this doesn’t matter but as I installed the tilt-plate, I wanted to make sure that it’s always aligned properly when it gets gusty outside. I do this using the excellent PstRotator software. I’ve had this set up for a while, taking a feed from a nearby weather station but it’s good to know that it’s working using wind measurements from within my own garden.