To assist other weather amateurs to install home/amateur weather stations, the various recommendations regarding the proper methods for installing the various sensors have been extracted from: FMC-S4-1994, "Federal Standards for Siting Meteorological Sensors at Airports", and meet both FAA and NWT guidelines.
A pdf version of the full document
In following these standards you will ensure your weather station is
providing the most accurate readings possible. Obviously, you will need to
adapt these guidelines to your particular installation and may not be able
to obtain the exact results listed. These standards, at minimum, should
provide guidance in the mechanics involved in obtaining accurate sensor
The sensors most commonly found in a home unit are addressed:
surface wind speed and direction
ambient air temperature
dew point temperature
(this does not address manufacturer specific installation issues)
Should usually be installed in a weatherproof building or enclosure (most
home units include this sensor in the main display). Avoid areas that are
affected by pressure changes caused by compression due to closing doors in
small rooms, avoid jarring, vibration and rapid temperature changes. Avoid
direct sunlight, drafts from open windows, and air currents from heating or
cooling systems. Air flowing over a sensor can cause artificially low
readings. It should be at least 3 feet above ground level, but less than
100 feet above average terrain. If installed in a closed room, venting to
the outside may be necessary.
Wind speed and direction:
Should be oriented to TRUE NORTH, not magnetic north! BE AWARE that in
areas true north may vary by 15 degrees or more from a raw compass reading.
Call the nearest Coast Guard unit for your local magnetic variation. The
site should be relatively level but small gradual slopes are OK. This
sensor should mounted 30-33 feet above average terrain, EXCEPT it should be
at least 15 ft above any obstruction within 500 feet. If installed on a
tower, it should be at the top, but a side bracket can be used and should
be at least 3 feet away from the tower side. Towers should be of an open
design to permit free air flow. This will be the hardest sensor to install
at a home location to meet the intended guidelines. Don't cut down your
neighbors trees to reduce obstructions! Achieve the best compromise
possible. You should also check this sensor at least monthly to ensure free
movement of the wind cups and vane, as well as proper orientation to true
Temperature and dew point:
Should be at 5 feet (+/- 1ft) above ground level, or 2 feet above average
maximum snow depth. It must be adequately ventilated but needs protection
from direct sunlight, earth radiated heat, etc. Also it should not be
influenced by artificial conditions like concrete or blacktop, heat
radiating from buildings, heating/cooling exhausts, etc. Avoid placing
above house roofs or near windows, doors or roof eaves. Vegetation near a
sensor should be clipped to 10 inch height or less.
Install according to manufacturers directions. Metal obstructions should
be no closer than 2 times their height.
Must be level (measure the upper rim or orifice). Surrounding terrain
should be as flat as possible. It should be as close as possible to ground
level, and free from surround obstructions (no closer than twice their
height). Avoid hard surfaces which may allow splashing into sensor. To
avoid losses due to wind, install an "alter-type" wind shield. In areas
with rain or sub-freezing temperatures, it must be heated to measure snow
or freezing rain. In home units, this is usually the least accurate sensor.
Check periodically to ensure sensor is free of debris.
Consult the manufacturer for guidelines in extending cables. You should
also keep RF sources as far away as possible from sensor cables and the
processor unit. Cable shielding may be necessary. You will also need to
set your corrected sea level pressure. Call the nearest airport and ask
the control tower for CORRECTED SEA LEVEL PRESSURE, not airfield local
The positioning requirements of a radiation detector are self evident in that it
must be in a location that is exposed to full sun throughout every day of the year and not be shaded
at any time by anything. The detector surface must also be horizontal.
Specific recommendations regarding the siting of the various components of a weather station are given in the sections on individual
devices whereas this page described the general setup of my weather station.
The station comprises the following components:-
- Modified 'HobbyBoards' Anemometer Controller Board
(see below for the modification to add radiation sensing).
- 'Inspeed' anemometer.
- 'Inspeed' wind vane.
- Radiation sensor.
- 'HobbyBoards' Lightning detector.
- 'RainWise' tipping bucket rain gauge.
- 'HobbyBoards' Humidity and Temperature sensor.
Items 1&2 are attached to 1.5m tall 50mm diameter thick-walled PVC pipe (do not use 50mm diameter PVC waste pipe which is too flexible for this application) with a 200mm parallel pipe attached to the main mast using T-pieces. Both
the mast and the parallel pipe are closed with pvc-welded end-caps. The short parallel pipe houses the lightning detector(4) and a radiation
sensor(3) which is press-fitted and sealed into the top end-cap.
The T-pieces used to connect the two pipes are not welded but fitted with rubber 'O' rings for sealing. This allows the short pipe to be rotated
to ensure that the radiation sensor(3) is perfectly horizontal. Similarly, the main mast is attached to the parapet of the garage roof using 'U'-bolts which
allow adjustments to ensure the anemometer(1) and wind-vane(2) are horizontal. The final position of the anemometer is 5m above ground level.
The T-pieces are also adjusted such that the radiation sensor(3) is due North of the main mast and the horizontal conection piece sized to
to provide sufficient seperation to avoid any shadows from the anemometer(1) and the wind-vane(2). North because this system is in the southern hemisphere.
The 'Rainwise' rain gauge is fastened to the garage roof.
The 'Rainwise' rain guage was supplied with 20m of exterior grade 3-core wiring and this was use to connect the system to the GHowSA one-wire system.
The wiring is run from the office interface to the temperature humidity sensor and then to the anemometer wind vane interface card without any joints. The
lightning detector unit is connected to the anemometer interface using a short (150mm long) CAT5 RJ45 connector cable. All the wiring is run in
20mm diameter electrical conduit even though the 'Rainwise' cable is exterior grade.
The only other wiring required is an earth connection for the lightning detector for which a 60 amp earth cable was used to connect the
detector directly to a specifically installed earthing rod.
Further information on the wiring of the one-wire network is available