Setting up your weather sensors in the field

I have a prototype FieldKit Weather that I installed here at the Saint Paul campus of the University of Minnesota, specifically at the UMN Research Weather Station (with permission from the state climatologists). I just re-discovered a video I recorded last year of my process of getting it deployed and thought I’d share it in case it’s useful for anyone else!
I’d love to see, hear, or read how you’re setting up your weather units! If anyone runs into issues or has questions, maybe we can troubleshoot them together.

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@petmar thanks for sharing how you set up your sensors. They seem solidly attached with the fence and zip ties. I wonder if the rain gauge might be obstructed by the fence post at all?

I have two images of my temporary setup. I’m using a Matthews 10.5 foot C-stand with a 40 inch arm. The top cluster of instruments are a little over 12.5 feet above the ground. I have a bungee cord hooked through the top of the instrument box, wrapped around the upright, wrapped around the Cat-5 cable, and then hooked back through the bottom of the instrument box.

I’ve got 120 pounds at the base using umbrella base stands.

I’ll need to either get some proper sand bags or possibly figure out a guide wire and stake option to secure the C-stand if I continue to use it in the field. I’m not sure if I will or possibly use a 2 inch PVC pipe or perhaps some sort of telescoping pole like the ones I’ve seen used for window washing. I’d like to keep the kit as small and easy to transport as possible.

With the Matthews C-stand, I’m wondering if I could maybe bend rebar into a U-shape and pound them into the ground over the three legs of the C-stand like a massive jute netting staple on steroids? What do you think @shah?

@jbentley Fortunately, it seems like the fence isn’t really giving us issues since the rain gauge is on its west (prevailing wind) side.
Those umbrella base stands, well, wow. If you can put the base of that pole into the pipes in the stands, that might be more stable than what you’ve got. I’d also warn that this is why we have the capability of using long cables. You’ll probably want to bring your FieldKit itself down from that height, and just zip-tie a length of CAT5 up to the instrument cluster at the top, rather than having the Field Kit up that high. I also say that because of the amount of drag that the FieldKit enclosure can give you if the winds pick up. Similarly, you don’t need to have the Stevenson screen up that high, so you could handily bring that down along with the FieldKit to be mounted closer to the ground.

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Good points, @petmar. Thanks for sharing your experience. I felt okay with this deployment this time only given the winds were forecast to be light and I had 120 lbs. of weight on the bottom. Yeah, I didn’t think about stretching that CAT5 cable and keeping the box lower. Too obvious, and I didn’t even consider it. I’m thinking cords and stakes to deploy in grassy fields will be better than lugging around sandbags. I suppose I could bring the Stevenson Screen lower. What’s the best suggested height for it @lindsaystarke or @shah?

Is the Stevenson screen holding the temperature sensor? I thought those were supposed to be about 2 meters above the ground? I thought I’d heard that in an AMS course I took in the last millenium.

In our case, yes, the Stevenson has the temperature, relative humidity, and barometric pressure sensors. Those should be around 1.5-2 m off the ground from what I’ve read as well. I’d suggest keeping the main enclosure at around head or chest height so that it’s easier to access for servicing.

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One of the banes of my field Weather installations here in windy Norwich CT has been all the many points where the mast can rotate throwing all the wind direction data into complete disarray, so one tip is to be mindful to tighten everything down.


Some really great guidance from the WMO:

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