At 19°F outside today, inside was the place to be. So I dug into a problem that’s been frustrating me for a long time: getting my home APRS station to work properly with my weather station.
Here’s the deal: I, like many others, use the very old, unmaintained UI-View software on an old computer, in my case a Compaq Armada 1573DM laptop. The software is connected via RS-232 to my AEA (now Timewave) DSP-232 TNC, which in turn is connected to an Icom IC-2100 2-meter FM radio, operating on the usual APRS frequency of 144.39 MHz.
And…I also use the laptop to run Davis Weatherlink software to run my Davis Vantage Pro 2 weather station (see here for near-real time weather and here for the reasons for switching away from VWS). The problem is that the UI-View software would love to add the weather to my APRS beacon. I’ve crawled through the Weatherlink documentation and dug through the files, but it simply does not generate the required file—a simple one-line text file. I know it creates the string, because it shows up in the log file.
Fortunately, after several hours of research today, I found a very cool “expansion module” for the Weatherlink software written by Brad, VE3BSM. The software is available here and includes both the expansion module and a text file with installation instructions. What it does is simple. It resides inside Weatherlink and every minute writes the one-line file to disk. UI-View picks it up and transmits it to any ham who is interested. Another ham, using UI-View on the same frequency, can see at a glance what the near-real-time weather is at this location, or see it on the Internet here (it’s relayed via a ham radio-to-Internet link).
My special thanks to Brad for creating this additional capability. I put this post here in the hope that others with the same problem can hook their APRS base stations to their Davis weather stations.