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Today we put up a new weather station at our sports ground at Hartswood outside Reigate. This location will complement our established town weather station located at Reigate Grammar School. Hartswood is an out of town location with more exposure from all wind directions. It is already recording different conditions to the town (see links below).

The new weather station is a robust self-contained Davis Vantage Vue automatic weather station (AWS).  This model was chosen for its ability to cope with exposed sites and it has a reputation for being relatively maintenance free for longer periods.  It is commonly put on masts on rooves, as we have done here.


This AWS is unusual because it uses the new Vantage Connect system.  The Connect system uses the mobile phone network to transmit data at 15 minute intervals to the Weatherlink website where it is pushed onwards to other websites, such as Weather Underground.  There is also a handy local live read out of weather on a console in the Tea Hut window.

The Vantage Vue weather station is simple to set up being a single housed unit. Attaching the anemometer and wind vane involves tightening screws with a tiny allen key. The Connect System is also easy to set up. Insert and connect batteries, start both systems up and they will endeavour to discover each other with little intervention.

The console unit also discovers the AWS and starts displaying data almost immediately with little user input.


Once the systems are working and data is uploading reliably to the internet then assembly and fitting onto the roof is the next step.  An aerial expert was employed for this bit.


Orientation to the South is important for both the Vantage Vue and Connect systems. Not only do they both use solar panels to maintain battery power (used at night of course) the Vantage Vue also requires a southerly orientation to ensure that wind direction readings are accurately recorded by the wind vane.  This is all explained in the manuals.


Roof top sites for AWS are popular but they have pros and cons.  Whilst wind readings benefit greatly from a clear wind run at height (so long as the mast exceeds a metre or so above the roof line to avoid eddies and turbulence), the accuracy of rain recordings can sometimes suffer with greater wind speed rendering totals somewhat less reliable than traditional ground based rain gauges (although ground based AWS often do not entirely satisfy strict meteorological conditions for rain gauge placement either).  Roof locations benefit from better security and connectivity.  Overall, with single-unit compact weather stations a roof top location is a good compromise and the most effective use of this technology.  Our Vantage Pro 2 AWS in town allowed us to divide the rain gauge and temperature sensor units on the ground from the anemometer on the roof, a better solution.


“Live” weather data from Hartswood can now be viewed on the internet in these locations:

Weatherlink summary

It is hoped the data will prove to be useful for checking the weather conditions before matches for staff, students, players and spectators preparing for their match or visit.


Eventually a ground frost sensor can be added to issue alarms when ground temperatures fall to near zero. This will save some guess-work and early visits to check if pitches are frozen or not. Data will also be useful for students doing weather studies in urban micro-climate and the data can also be used by computing and maths students amongst many other applications.

RGSweather will also be able to compare data between town and edge of town locations.

28-03-2013 14-36-39RGS weather blog is closing for Easter week.  While we are off-air please remember that the best view is often up, be inspired by the clouds and atmosphere around you and wonder at the record breaking Spring 2013 weather…continuing cold and dry through next week, at least!

In the meantime, please read our “Climate Cluedo” posts investigating “Who Killed Spring 2013?” to get more details and a more convincing explanation than our word-cloud above on what has caused the extraordinary spring weather.  Comments via this blog or @RGSweather on Twitter are, as always, most welcome.

Happy Easter!

Weather station: set-up!

August 7, 2012 — 2 Comments

The installation of a Davis Vantage Pro2 automated weather station at Reigate Grammar School, Surrey, UK.


Geography put in a bid to RGS  PFA for the funding of a wireless automated weather station (AWS) to run an RGS weather station and website. Some of the aims of this project are as follows:

  • to provide the school community with educational data (for Geography, Maths, ICT etc);
  • engage student involvement in a weather club to collect data (for calibration purposes?) and perhaps provide amateur “forecasts” for school events, display summary data and raise the profile of weather interest in the school (assemblies, Open Day displays etc?)
  • over time back-up good quality weather data about RGS weather;
  • log data over forthcoming years and months;
  • provide an online LIVE weather data summary for RGS;
  • register the site on Weather Underground and NOAA.


March: £800 funding agreed for AWS purchase, with help from Sean Davey and Martin Hallpike: shared cost with Geography department agreed with HOD: Malcolm Cline

April: Choice of weather station finalised after much research: Davis Vantage Pro2 wireless model.

Potential locations for weather station enclosure and anemometer mast investigated with Malcolm Cline (Head of Geography), Fred George and Carmel Grater (maintenance and groundstaff).

May: Purchase of VP2 from Prodata: £980.75 serial model; shared cost with Geography department

Funding for security fencing (costly) and mast erection (for anemometer) agreed by bursar

Testing of wireless range from proposed locations on school roof for anemometer and ISS: used 2-way radios to establish wireless strength with console in Geography office (no signal) and then DofE office (D1) – good signal. Help from Peter Kline and Mark Hadley and Malcolm Cline.

PC requirements discussed with ITS: help from Graham Redfern, Keith MacPherson and Peter Townsend.

June: Fred George organises installation of anemometer on school roof: aerial company attach 5m aerial pole to top of lift shaft: good exposure, especially to SW winds; pole can be dismantled quite easily for maintenance of anemometer.
Anemo is up; signal is good, real wind data streaming to console; main ISS unit still sits under the desk in office! Question to Prodata regarding difference between indoor and outdoor temperature readings (despite both being in same room at the time).

July 4 -5 Security fencing constructed for ISS: completion of weather station enclosure.

August: ISS mounted on tripod and installed in weather station enclosure.

Weatherlink software installed on pc: console communication established with pc: complete weather data display seen on pc monitor for the first time!

Some troubleshooting of console data logging: Prodata solution = switch it off and switch it on again!

Grass mowing inside enclosure discussed with grounds staff.

SAC develops weather blog & discusses build of live weather page with ITS using Cumulus software.

August 13: Cumulus software installed and set-up completed.  Exploration of webpage set-up through ftp and cumulus.  Peter Townsend supplies webspace through & ftp upload.

September: ongoing problems with Weather Underground access through Firewall and proxy-server.

Sept 22: Installation of manual rain gauge and max-min thermometer.

Sept 26: Success! FTP upload of basic cumulus weather data to display LIVE school weather at

Considering changing wind units from kmh to mph while initial September data can be adjusted early and easily.

01-October: changed units from kmh to MPH for wind speed.  Will probably DELETE september data and start over with October data.  Archives of August and September 2012 data on csv & excel file formats will be available.