Weather stations


g4ilo
 

I noticed a couple of weather stations near me on aprs.fi which don't appear in APRSISCE. The only thing I note about them is that they don't have ham callsigns, their IDs are like CW1234. Is there something I can put in the filter box to get them to show up?

Julian, G4ILO


Lynn Deffenbaugh
 

Julian,

Short answer: No.

More helpful answer: These are not amateur radio weather stations, but are part of the "CWOP" or Citizens Weather Observer Program (http://www.wxqa.com/). These stations directly send their weather updates to the Internet using the APRS protocol. Way back when (before I was into APRS), these stations were separated from the main APRS-IS servers after what was known as "the great blue flood" (or something like that). CWOP now runs its own set of APRS-IS-like core server which accepts a full feed from the amateur radio APRS-IS servers, but doesn't feed anything back to those servers (except messaging which, by some reports, isn't working very well recently).

aprs.fi recently (http://oh7lzb.blogspot.com/2009/12/cwop-traffic-view-and-service-status.html) added the CWOP stations to their maps causing some discussion and fears on some mailing lists that the "blue flood" is coming back. Others really like the CWOP information to the point that they're switching their (hopefully view-only) feeds over to the CWOP server.

Personally, I'm concerned that some of the CWOP data will find alternate routes back into APRS-IS and subsequently out to RF in areas which can cause channel degradation. I'm also concerned for the CWOP server(s) as well because if bunches of viewers switch over to them, they could quickly be overwhelmed (which, if I understand it correctly, was one of the reasons for the segregation, the (non-amateur radio) CWOP traffic was a significant percentage of the whole APRS-IS traffic causing stresses on the -IS backbone at points).

With that all being said, the APRS-IS server to which APRSISCE/32 connects is configurable in the XML file. You can see what you're currently configured to use by bringing up "Me"'s Info box. The APRS-IS server is shown near the bottom (sneak preview: the next release will also show the ACTUAL IP address currently connected).

To change the APRS-IS server from which your feed is coming, you need to close the client and edit the APRSIS32.XML (or APRSISCE.XML) configuration file. You're looking for the <APRSPort> and <APRSServer>. If you're not familiar with APRS-IS connections, leave the port at 14580. This is the default filtered port and is offered by nearly all APRS-IS servers. The <APRSServer> can be changed to whatever server you'd like. For ideas on values for <APRSServer>, see the following URLs:

http://www.wxqa.com/activecwd.html - CWOP servers

http://www.aprs2.net/#regional - Tier 2 Regional Servers

http://www.aprs2.net/ - The whole APRS-IS Tier 2 server list

http://www.aprs-is.net/APRSServers.aspx - Core APRS-IS servers

http://www.aprs-is.net/Connecting.aspx - Programmer's APRS-IS perspective

The default server for APRSISCE/32 is rotate.aprs2.net which automatically selects a random server from the Tier 2 network. This works well as a general solution. However, you might see a slight improvement in network response if you use one of the regional rotate server names as described in the second link above. As always, your mileage may vary.

You'll also see a recommendation for using rotate.aprs.net. This is a random selection of one of the CORE APRS-IS servers which have limited connections available. I actually do NOT recommend this connection for most clients. If you're running an IGate in a busy area, yes, this might be suitable. But for most of us mostly watching and possibly beaconing a station or two, the Tier 2 network provides more than ample response and capability. In actual fact, you won't notice the difference.

If you want the CWOP data, just change <APRSServer> to one of the servers listed at the first link above. Please either save a copy of your original .XML file or at least write down what the setting was before changing it. If all else fails, just delete the .XML file and restart the client. A new one will be created automatically with default values.

Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ - Author of APRSISCE for Windows Mobile and Win32


g4ilo wrote:

I noticed a couple of weather stations near me on aprs.fi which don't appear in APRSISCE. The only thing I note about them is that they don't have ham callsigns, their IDs are like CW1234. Is there something I can put in the filter box to get them to show up?

Julian, G4ILO


Lynn Deffenbaugh
 

Lynn W. Deffenbaugh wrote:
http://www.wxqa.com/activecwd.html - CWOP servers

http://www.aprs2.net/#regional - Tier 2 Regional Servers

If you want the CWOP data, just change <APRSServer> to one of the servers listed at the first link above. Please either save a copy of your original .XML file or at least write down what the setting was before changing it. If all else fails, just delete the .XML file and restart the client. A new one will be created automatically with default values.

Oh, and if you DO switch to a CWOP server, your station's beacons will probably continue to appear on aprs.fi, but I don't think they'll show up on other APRS-IS server and mostly like will also not be available for gating back to RF should you be in a position to get that done by an IGate operator somewhere. Remember, APRS-IS data flows INTO CWOP, but my understanding is that only messages flow from CWOP back to APRS-IS.

(Pete, if you're on this list, can you decloak to confirm or correct my understanding of the APRS-IS/CWOP separation?)

Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ


David Shrum
 

Lynn,
Do you know if there is a way to 'remark' (REM) out a line in the .XML file
so we could experiment with different filters or stuff like that without
having to remember what was changed? In olden' days when batch files were
the thing you could 'rem' out a line without deleting it so if you didn't
like the changes or whatever you could un-rem the line and everything back
to the way it was.

Inquiring minds want to know, :)

Dave N8PU

-----Original Message-----
From: aprsisce@yahoogroups.com [mailto:aprsisce@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
Of Lynn W. Deffenbaugh
Sent: Wednesday, January 06, 2010 9:45 AM
To: aprsisce@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [aprsisce] Weather stations

Lynn W. Deffenbaugh wrote:
http://www.wxqa.com/activecwd.html - CWOP servers

http://www.aprs2.net/#regional - Tier 2 Regional Servers

If you want the CWOP data, just change <APRSServer> to one of the
servers listed at the first link above. Please either save a copy of
your original .XML file or at least write down what the setting was
before changing it. If all else fails, just delete the .XML file and
restart the client. A new one will be created automatically with
default values.

Oh, and if you DO switch to a CWOP server, your station's beacons will
probably continue to appear on aprs.fi, but I don't think they'll show
up on other APRS-IS server and mostly like will also not be available
for gating back to RF should you be in a position to get that done by an
IGate operator somewhere. Remember, APRS-IS data flows INTO CWOP, but
my understanding is that only messages flow from CWOP back to APRS-IS.

(Pete, if you're on this list, can you decloak to confirm or correct my
understanding of the APRS-IS/CWOP separation?)

Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ

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02:35:00


Lynn Deffenbaugh
 

Dave,

Yes and No. XML supports comments in the form:

<!-- This is a comment and can have anything inside it -->

but if you want to knock out a tag, I think you do something like this:

<!-- <APRSServer>rotate.aprs2.net</APRSServer> -->

That's the Yes part. The No part is a resounding NO because currently
my client simply re-writes the XML file whenever parameters are changed
within the program and especially when the program ends. The XML file
is not modified, but is parsed into a binary form when the program
starts and is completely recreated from scratch with only the
program-aware tags re-written.

So, you can feel free to put comments in the file but it's like an ant
trying to move a rubber tree plant, it'll have no effect as they'll just
disappear the next time the client is executed.

I'm not even sure the xml parser even shows the comments to my program,
but I'll see if I can do some experimentation in that regard.

In the meantime, just make a copy of the .XML file, play with it, and if
you don't like the results, just copy the original file back in to the
proper name. At least it's better than the "new" Windows programs that
store everything in the registry where it's hard to see, change, and
certainly save/restore a set of parameters!

Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ

David Shrum wrote:

Lynn,
Do you know if there is a way to 'remark' (REM) out a line in the .XML file
so we could experiment with different filters or stuff like that without
having to remember what was changed? In olden' days when batch files were
the thing you could 'rem' out a line without deleting it so if you didn't
like the changes or whatever you could un-rem the line and everything back
to the way it was.

Inquiring minds want to know, :)

Dave N8PU


David Shrum
 

Thanks Lynn,
I noticed it got re-written that's why I ask.

Dave N8PU

-----Original Message-----
From: aprsisce@yahoogroups.com [mailto:aprsisce@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
Of Lynn W. Deffenbaugh
Sent: Wednesday, January 06, 2010 10:27 AM
To: aprsisce@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [aprsisce] Weather stations

Dave,

Yes and No. XML supports comments in the form:

<!-- This is a comment and can have anything inside it -->

but if you want to knock out a tag, I think you do something like this:

<!-- <APRSServer>rotate.aprs2.net</APRSServer> -->

That's the Yes part. The No part is a resounding NO because currently
my client simply re-writes the XML file whenever parameters are changed
within the program and especially when the program ends. The XML file
is not modified, but is parsed into a binary form when the program
starts and is completely recreated from scratch with only the
program-aware tags re-written.

So, you can feel free to put comments in the file but it's like an ant
trying to move a rubber tree plant, it'll have no effect as they'll just
disappear the next time the client is executed.

I'm not even sure the xml parser even shows the comments to my program,
but I'll see if I can do some experimentation in that regard.

In the meantime, just make a copy of the .XML file, play with it, and if
you don't like the results, just copy the original file back in to the
proper name. At least it's better than the "new" Windows programs that
store everything in the registry where it's hard to see, change, and
certainly save/restore a set of parameters!

Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ

David Shrum wrote:
Lynn,
Do you know if there is a way to 'remark' (REM) out a line in the .XML
file
so we could experiment with different filters or stuff like that without
having to remember what was changed? In olden' days when batch files were
the thing you could 'rem' out a line without deleting it so if you didn't
like the changes or whatever you could un-rem the line and everything back
to the way it was.

Inquiring minds want to know, :)

Dave N8PU



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02:35:00

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02:35:00


g4ilo
 

--- In aprsisce@yahoogroups.com, "Lynn W. Deffenbaugh" <kj4erj@...> wrote:

If you want the CWOP data, just change <APRSServer> to one of the
servers listed at the first link above. Please either save a copy of
your original .XML file or at least write down what the setting was
before changing it. If all else fails, just delete the .XML file and
restart the client. A new one will be created automatically with
default values.
Crikey! You don't just get great software on this group but also an APRS degree education. :)

Lynn, thanks for the answer and explanation. However if I understand correctly, if I do that my visibility on other networks will suffer and also by ability to send/receive APRS messages. I'm very keen on APRS messaging so it would not be worth sacrificing that just for the sake of receiving the weather stations.

Julian, G4ILO


Lynn Deffenbaugh
 

g4ilo wrote:

Crikey! You don't just get great software on this group but also an APRS degree education. :)

Yep, my motto is to learn one new thing each day. And once I accomplish that, I can go back to bed saving the rest of the learning for tomorrow!

Lynn, thanks for the answer and explanation. However if I understand correctly, if I do that my visibility on other networks will suffer and also by ability to send/receive APRS messages. I'm very keen on APRS messaging so it would not be worth sacrificing that just for the sake of receiving the weather stations.
Precisely my understanding and much better said than my dissertation! And it's only the additional CWOP stations. Ham-operated stations are still on the APRS-IS servers.

Oh, and you can run TWO instances of ARPSIS32 if you want. Just start them in different directories, give them different -SSIDs, different filters, and even different APRS-IS server specs. You can even leave the Password as -1 and have a read-only viewer of the CWOP server! But you'll need to use an explicit lat/lon range filter rather that the default Me filter because the server won't know where Me is with a -1 password.

Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ


ae5pl <pete@...>
 

I was asked to weigh in on this regarding what those stations are and why they don't show up on APRS-IS. Considering it is because of my software they don't show up, I guess that is a reasonable qualification.

The CWOP (Citizens Weather Observation Program) is a volunteer weather reporting system implemented a little over 10 years ago using APRS-IS as its reporting network. This was done because it was born out of ham stations already reporting on APRS (and therefore APRS-IS) and promoted by Steve Dimse (findU owner/operator) and a few people in NOAA (the US national weather service).

About 3 years ago (I think), we moved the CWOP stations (CW or DW followed by 4 numbers) to their own network because of some poor programming techiques that caused massive spikes on the core servers and connected downstream servers. They have operated on their own network since then and have grown from about 3700 stations to over 5000 stations.

Now the beauty of this is that while their reports don't show up on APRS-IS (separate network), our weather reports show up on their servers. This is accomplished by a read-only server that takes feeds from APRS-IS and the CWOP servers. It is this feed that aprs.fi is using to populate its database. There is not bidirectional operation here; this is unidirectional to the read-only server and then database applications like findU and aprs.fi can pull their information from there or from APRS-IS (or both).

Hope this helps explain what you are seeing and why it won't affect your everyday operation. Basically, APRS-IS and CWOP go to a read-only server which can only be accessed by a database server or other server software that doesn't feed back into either network. Even if the CWOP traffic was fed back in, it would be blocked at the core servers as they do not use validated logins.

73,

Pete AE5PL