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Hesham could not be at the SCPA meeting held on 2/12/03 because he moved to San Diego. Hesham was chariman of our committee to look into putting a wind sensor on top of Pine Mountain. His final report below was red into the minutes.
Hello Mr. President,
I will not be able to come to the meeting tomorrow but I wanted to let the club know that we found out that the Torrey Pines weather station operates over the same type of APRS data link that I had in mind for Pine MT. Dan is getting in touch with Rich Parry who put that station together.
The cell phone idea is of course much simpler. And would allow people to call in and get a report while being mobile with no web access. Since the Pine MT road has been open, I think someone should hike out to the front knob and get a sense of cell phone coverage from different companies in that part of the mountain. I think this is the most logical spot as it would be well hidden but would also mirror the conditions on the south launch.
I think we have established that the project is technically feasible. Before we go ahead and spend the money to buy the weather station, sensors (wind speed and direction, temperature and relative humidity), power source, weather proofing and data communication system (radio or cell phone), we should now seek formal approval from the Forest Service stressing that there will be no environmental impact. Using a solar panel may not be the best power source from a technical standpoint (compared to a gel battery) but it is a selling point as far as the environmental impact.
Once we obtain the approval, we should go ahead and assemble the station and test it for a few weeks in an easily accessible location (someone's house) to iron out the bugs before we put it up on the mountain.
The tasks required to complete the project can be divided up into manageable chunks as follows. Each volunteer can take up one or two tasks. I recommend that Dan be placed in charge of overall implementation as I can not be very effective now that I have moved and he has already been helping me out.
- Liaison with the Forest Service for the permit.
- Measuring cell phone signal strength at the proposed location.
- Final decision on the data link and putting together a schematic for the whole system.
- Procurement of the basic system and sensors from Pete Brothers.
- Procurement and integration of the communication system weather it will be a cell phone and an appropriate cell phone interface that allows the station to pick up (like with Debby); or an APRS capable digital radio.
- In the event of using APRS, setup of the website and internet to APRS gateway. Rich Parry has already figured out this part and I am sure he will let us have the source code if we give appropriate credit.
- Procurement of the power source (solar panel system or gel battery)
- Weather proofing design
- Assembly and integration
- Testing at an accessible location.
- Placement on the mountain and safe keeping of the GPS coordinates of the station for those who need to know it.
- Maintenance of the system (and web site upkeep if the APRS option is used).
I would suggest we allow 4 months for implementation. A nice target date would be the 4th of July. I think there are enough technical people in our group to pull this off. As long as there are individuals who have the time to work on it. It has taken me far too long to study the "feasibility" stage and I apologize for this. I could not be sure that the APRS radio link idea would work until I saw that it has been done and is working reliably. Ironically, I may have never discovered this if I didn't move to San Diego. We need to make sure that there are the individuals who will be willing to take this on and spend their time on it to get it done before we actually go out and spend several hundred bucks of the club's money on buying the components. I think it will be very worthwhile.
I miss everybody and wish I could be at the meeting.
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