Keeping track of the weather
Jul 25, 2013
|A beautiful morning here in Minnesota,
When you live in a motorhome, you're just a couple of inches from the weather, and I've learned it is important to keep up on what is happening out there. Over the past few years, I've added a digital indoor/outdoor thermometer, a digital humidity gauge, a couple of inside digital thermometers here and there, and even have an old classic barometer back in the captain's quarters, Recently, I installed the weather station my dad had at the bank, putting it up front, finding a spot above the co-pilot area.
I have a portable radio with weather channels in the head (bathroom to you land-lubbers), dual power, and it even has a crank generator when times get serious.
A couple of years ago, Hazel and I were driving back North from a trip to Florida, going through the St. Louis area, and the sky was getting pretty wild looking. A scan of the local radio stations confirmed our suspicions, there were tornado sightings in the area. I remember thinking that a decent weather radio up in the cockpit would be nice. I wasn't planning on outrunning anything, but maybe a right-turn or a reverse course would keep us out of trouble.
I was in Walmart recently, and happened by a display of weather paraphernalia, some impressive digital measuring devices, they even had an electronic rain gauge for $20 bucks, right next to the trusty old glass test tube model for $2.95. What caught my eye was the $30 weather radio, and I had an instant image of it mounted up-front in the RV. Digital, scans for the strongest of the 7 national weather channels, audio and visual flashing for weather watches and warnings, battery power and a 110 volt power base. Hey, maybe I could mount that base and run it from my 12 volt system.
I watched from above, as my right arm extended to pluck it from the rack and put it in my shopping cart, right next to the baked beans and brats.
The 110 volt supply produced 4.5 volts DC, so I was going to need a cigarette lighter type of power to wire in under the dash. I went to Radio Shack, they didn't have 4.5 volts, only 5 volts. Checking on the internet, I quickly learned that 5 volts was readily available, not 4.5 volts. Then I found exactly what I was looking for, from a company in China for a whopping $3.50 including free shipping.
The cord arrived this week, and the installation happily killed the better part of a day, with at least two trips downtown to get the right nuts and bolts, wiring, and a "cigarette lighter" type plug-in to wire under the dash.
I was sitting here on Wednesday when the weekly test of the national weather radio system triggered. A two-tone beep, a colorful light came on, and a computerized voice announced a weekly test of the system. It was great, a real "Watson, come here, I need you" moment.
My grandfather Doyle was an electrical engineer, a real tinkerer and inventor of nifty things. He didn't have much opportunity or inkling to tell others about his projects, he didn't have the internet. But, I do, proving once again it doesn't take a lot to keep someone my age entertained.