Saturday Sept 13, 2008 - Made a few modifications on the weather menu - The Wefax link is now going directly to the web distribution page at NOAA for the wefax pics. We still are maintaining the capability in house to receive the informaiton however we would like to take the receive unit and put it to use on some other tasks....like slow scan television reception. Also the weather satellite reception will be shifted to a different machine in an attempt to improve the overall picture quality. So you may see some interruptions with this switch. The changes are coming about in order to better utilize the resources on hand especially with the traditional severe fall weather coming up soon. New gear is simply not an option at this time due to the increased fuel costs and overall increase in operating expenses expected over the winter months due to a colder than normal winter.
Sunday July 27, 2008 - Mother Nature keeps us on our toes....we get rain (Sat) and no wind and we get a branch (pine tree) that drops on our long wire antenna for the wefax. Now the long wire antenna is heavy duty copper wire not the ordinary thin stuff....snapped like a wire cutter. So currently the quality of the wefax pics is weak....we have a temporary repair in place but the height of the antenna is exceedingly low which affects recption. This should be remedied late Monday weather permitting.
For the past week you may have also noticed a degradation in the quality of the satellite photos via wxsat. We lost the mother board on our main file server computer here in Petal last weekend. This meant that all data storage had to be transfered to another machine in record time (4 hours off line). In some respects this was good - the machine we transfered to was just outfitted with new hard drives and the Ubuntu Linux operating system and was sitting online ready to function. Response is about 300% faster now. We also transfered the automated weather station to a smaller machine (from the main file server that went down). We are still fine tuning settings for distribution to Hamweather and two other sites. We also need to adjust the APRS location coordinates - we appear to be off by about 300 feet on the map.....still studying the problem. The satellite photos were also getting received on the main file server....and they are now running on a third computer. The audio level needs some adjusting for the clarity of the pictures to return. The goal is to try and get this properly adjusted this week. The main file server?....haven't had a chance to even look at it to see the exact issues...soon. The 4 hard drives should be fine and the data logs will be put back online as soon as repairs can be completed. Normally no machine here handles multiple jobs however we were in the process of making modifications to improve output to replace some aging machines.....so we just speeded up the process. Considering that the outbound data flow to our website server was only off for 4 hours the turn around was a good test response. BTW we did not loose any data with the main file server offline.....the data is stored locally for each application on its respective computer.
Bear with us as we make the modifications necessary to improve the quality. There will also be some additional computers that will take over some of the tasks that were transferred to the standby machines. And of course this all takes place as we study the weather 24 hours a day 7 days a week...
Sunday June 1, 2008 - Lots of improvements over the past 6 months in the operation just in time for hurricane season 2008. Newly improved facilities with improved climate control have been the primary focus as well as having two daughters graduate from college, both got married back to back in 3 weeks, and my wife has retired - all this in the past few months. Also we have a new server online and continue to speed the processing of data - the new server is a 64bit machine with the Linux Centos 5 operating system; connectivity to the internet is now on 5 level one backbone connections.
I now have completed installation of the HF TitanDx antenna coupled to the Yaesu FT-450AT 160-10 meter HF rig. This give capability now to communicate anywhere on the planet. This new system has gone online almost a year to the date of the previous VHF/UHF installation. Here is a picture of both of the systems for station KE5JJC:
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