Radio weather stations provide information about the weather, temperature and much more. A sensor attached outside transmits important data by radio from meteorological services, which then appear directly on the screen.
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Frequently Asked Questions: Home Weather Stations
What is a home weather station?
With the radio weather station you not only find out what the weather is like. The device also provides you with a precise forecast for the next few days, which is based on forecasts of collected weather data from the region. A radio weather station receives this data via radio from meteorology services, which in turn receive data from countless measuring points. The meteorological service weather directly transmits the data collected for the respective location or district to the radio weather station in the so-called pager network, which then shows this on its display.
Weather data such as humidity, indoor and outdoor temperature are measured on site from the connected sensor, which is attached outside, and from the built-in sensor inside. Some manufacturers also refer to their weather station as a radio weather station when the weather sensors in the garden send their data to the station in the living room.
Pure radio weather stations, on the other hand, manage without any external sensors. You receive all data, except for the current temperature and humidity, which are measured on site by the weather station, via radio.
How does a home weather station work?
A radio weather station with outdoor sensors from the radio weather station test comparison receives the collected weather data from its sensors, which are placed in the outdoor area. In the case of high-quality weather stations, the sensors can be 100 meters and further away from the station.
The sensors measure:
- the outside temperature with the wireless thermometer
- the wind direction with the anemometer
- the amount of rain with the rain rocker or rain funnel
- the humidity with the hygrometer
Sensors for measuring the UV intensity can often be bought later. Other weather stations measure the CO2 concentration in the air or the noise. The sensors need a battery for transmission to the basic device or they are operated via a solar panel. If the sun does not supply any electricity, an additionally inserted battery provides electricity and buffers the power failure.
For exact meteorological measurements the optimal place is necessary. The temperature sensor must not be placed in the sun without restrictions. Wind vanes or anemometers should be placed at a height of up to two meters and the rain gauge must not be placed under a roof.
There should be no vegetation within 10 meters of the installation site. Only then can you get precise, satellite-based measured values in the outdoor area, which are transmitted by radio to the base in the living room. The determined weather data are used to display the current day.
However, the weather to predict four or ten days is not measured in the garden, but received via radio. For this purpose, the provider collects weather data from several hundred weather stations, evaluates them and then sends the data on to the radio weather station via radio. A Germany-wide provider is Wetter direct from TFA Dostmann. The weather service is free. The forecast is shown on the display, in numbers or in symbols. One manufacturer has gone over to suggesting the appropriate clothing with the Weatherboy. In addition, the gender of the person can be selected on the display.
Satellite-based weather stations explained
There are some satellite-based weather stations, which are explained below.
This station receives weather forecasts via a DCF signal and also gives the radio time. An optimized location is ensured through reception. In order to be able to test the reception in real time, a “test” button is built into the device.
The value is shown with the numbers 1 to 9 on the TFA display. This value indicates the signal strength and the higher the value, the stronger the signal. You should get a value of 8 for the signal strength to be reliable. After you have carried out this test, you have to select your location (the city) and the device is ready for use with the 2 x AA + 2 x AAA batteries inserted.
The radio clock and radio transmitter are then found independently. The following weather forecast takes up to 24 hours before a 4-day forecast can be made. On the display you will then see a symbol for each day, which confirms the receipt of the respective forecast.
Features of the TFA
The base station:
- 0% deviation of the relative humidity in a saline solution test at 75% (according to the manufacturer +/- 5% in the saline solution test between 25 and 80%)
- minus 0.04 ° C average deviation (according to manufacturer +/- 1 ° C tolerance).
- Deviation by -1% of the relative humidity in the saline solution test at 75% (according to the manufacturer +/- 5% in the saline solution test between 25 and 80%)
- Average deviation of -0.28 ° C in temperature (according to manufacturer +/- 1 ° C tolerance).
Oregon Scientific WMH 800
This device works with the Meteotime system. This means that it receives a 4-day forecast made by professional meteorologists. This forecast can be read on the display.
The device is a good size with a high-quality look, and the satellite-based weather station is flatter than some smartphones.
The base gets its energy either from the stand when it is set up or via 2 button cells when it is wall-mounted. A magnet on the base ensures that the weather station base is fixed. With a high-contrast display and the high-quality optics, this satellite-based weather station looks great. The weather station can be operated using four buttons on the back of the device.
With the help of a radio transmitter, you can obtain forecast values as well as the actual temperature values and have both in view at the same time. The transmission value of the reception is 433 Mhz with a range of approx. 30 meters and happens in an interval of 60 seconds.
The relative humidity inside and the inside temperature are measured via the base. The values are switched in a 3-second interval. If the external humidity values are missing from the display, a display with “-” is shown.
The temperature resolution for the measured values is 1 ° C, so measured values with a decimal point are not possible. This device aims more at the weather forecasting. A test accuracy of 0 ° C was achieved outdoors for the radio transmitter and between 0 and +1 ° C indoors. Other features of the Oregon weather station are the alarm with snooze function every 8 minutes and the radio clock.
Bresser weather station
This satellite-based weather station also works with the Meteotime system. This receives the weather data via radio signal via DCF-77. Meteotime divides Europe into 90 regions and creates the appropriate weather data. This can mean a large deviation in the weather data, because the regions are very large.
However, the Bresser weather station must first be tested in the reception area. To do this, you must press the “Test” button so that the location-based reception can be checked. After finding the optimal location, you have to be patient for 24 hours, because during this time the station creates the 4-day forecast.
This takes so long because the individual daily forecasts are transferred to a different period of the day. After these 24 hours you will see the individual daily forecasts in the sub-areas of the display. Here you can see 15 weather symbols, which are shown for day and night.
The weather station automatically switched to night mode in the evening (can also be switched manually) and then shows the forecast for the next 4 days. In the case of critical weather phenomena, this is indicated by text in the lower display field. This enables you to anticipate storms, hail, heavy rain or thunderstorms in good time.
A reception symbol is visualized for each forecast day, which confirms receipt. If this does not happen, the location must be optimized, which can be done by moving the station by a few centimeters. Ideally, the Bresser weather station offers a measuring range from -40 ° C to +75 ° C.
A tolerance of +/- 1 ° C for the temperature and 99% of the relative humidity with a tolerance of +/- 5% of the measuring range from 25 to 80% is absolutely normal. When it comes to low-priced devices, Bresser is one of the few manufacturers who even specify a measurement tolerance.
The accuracy of the temperature measurement is well within this tolerance. The room temperature at the radio transmitter was around -0.7 ° C and the cooling temperature was -0.4 ° C. An average deviation from the reference thermometer of -0.5 ° C was determined for the interior measurement. When measuring the air humidity, we also determined a value within the specified tolerance in the saline test.
[email protected] from Hama
i @ Sky from Hama This satellite-based weather station must be configured on a PC. However, installing the software on the PC is quick and easy. The display variants of the weather forecast can also be set here. You can choose between quartered day views in the morning, noon, evening and night and a 4-day preview.
In addition, the i @ Sky from Hama can also be set to switch automatically. 13 weather symbols are displayed. You can also select a weather parameter to be displayed for the four time units. You can choose four combinations for this.
The displays for the probability of rain and the average temperature, the relative humidity and the average temperature, the wind speed and the average temperature as well as the minimum and maximum daily temperature are shown.
The i @ Sky from Hama weather station offers a higher accuracy in the forecasts than the Meteotime can. It is even better than the forecast of the WS 580 weather station. This applies to both the 4-day forecast and the quartered daily forecast; these are not guidelines, but actual values.
All parameters (temperature values, weather symbols and also the probability of precipitation) never missed the target. Various weather forecasts from the media can thus be omitted. This accuracy to a large extent speaks for weather365.net, not for the i @ Sky weather station from Hama. Another advantage of weather365.net is a high geographical resolution, which finds even the smallest villages.
The only point of criticism would be the presentation of the forecasts. The times of the weather forecasts are missing here. For example, the 4-day forecast only contains today, tomorrow, tomorrow plus 2 and tomorrow plus 3. The day of the week should be specified here instead.
The i @ Sky from Hama weather station works without a radio transmitter and determines the values via a forecast. However, in the test there was no situation in which the outside temperature deviated from the actual value by more than +/- 3 ° C (mostly there was only a deviation of +/- 1 ° C).
Simplicity and ease of use are the principles behind the WS 580 from Technoline. All you have to do is install the software on the PC and plug in the USB stick and the weather station. Now the program works independently and provides the weather data for the next 4 days.
This data and the weather forecast for today are taken from the Internet, although you must of course enter your location beforehand. This data from the Internet is regularly transmitted to the weather station.
The disadvantage of the display on the Technoline WS 580 is poor visibility in frontal light. With the power connection, the black display with the white numbers that are illuminated cannot keep up with the brightness display with the Technoline 6830 or the TFA Lumax.
You can no longer see the digits in the sunshine, especially when the light falls on the display at an angle. However, the display is pleasant when the ambient light is not too bright and at eye level. The location of the weather station should therefore be chosen carefully.
Despite the poor display, the structure of the information has to be praised. At the top left of the display is the current day with the weather symbol. In addition, the 4 additional days are arranged on the right. The display of the weather forecast for the next 4 days is slightly smaller.
Below these displays are on the right-hand side the moon phase in 8 steps, a pair of tights with the speed of the wind and below that the readings of the temperature inside and outside and the radio clock. So there is nothing wrong with the presentation.
Advantages of Home Weather Stations
Wireless weather stations in the weather station test make it easy to choose the right clothing or to plan outdoor events. You can use it as a guideline when bringing delicate plants indoors when frost threatens or when planning a garden party. However, the weather forecast from a radio weather station is not 100 percent accurate, because nothing is more changeable than the weather.
In stable weather conditions, it is easier to rely on the weather forecast from the radio weather station. It is also great fun to be a hobby metrologist. Hobby meteorologists record the weather data with the PC and evaluate them privately for the development of the weather. With longer-term records, the weather can be compared over months or years and perhaps a trend can be derived.
Types of Home Weather Stations
With the purchase of a purely wireless weather station, you only receive a base unit without sensors. The weather data are determined by radio. The wireless thermometer function shows the current temperature in the room. The disadvantage of this wireless weather station is that the forecasts can be inaccurate in comparison and do not match the current local weather, because the weather forecast is geared towards the region or the district.
The weather service transmits much more weather data than could be measured at home, for example the travel weather for selected travel destinations and special locations in Europe or a daily forecast for morning, afternoon and evening. Radio weather stations with outdoor sensors work wirelessly. The external sensors can be in the form of a small square box. The measuring devices of higher quality radio weather stations, on the other hand, take up more space, such as the wind vane or rain gauge. Nevertheless (as with Davis from our comparison), all measuring sensors can be installed in a single block. That saves space.
How are Home Weather Stations tested?
In a weather station test, external testers test the following points, which were included in our comparison.
- Size: How big is the base station and how big are the external sensors? Can they be accommodated well indoors and outdoors?
- Weight, packaging: How can the radio weather station be handled by its weight? Is the packaging appropriate for the contents or is it a sham with a lot of empty space?
- Power source: Which batteries are used? Is it possible to use solar power to limit battery consumption?
- Measurement functions: What data does the wireless weather station determine in the test? Are there any other functions besides the basic functions? Can additional sensors be retrofitted?
- Indoor / outdoor temperature: What is the minimum and maximum temperature range that the wireless weather station covers with regard to indoor and outdoor temperatures?
- Time / date display: Does the display also show the current time and day of the week? Is there an alarm function or a wake-up function?
- Operation: What is the menu structure like? Is the connection between the base and the sensors easy or difficult to handle? Is the display clearly laid out and how are the weather values displayed, in numbers, graphically or with symbols?
- Design / color: Because the sensors are installed outside, the color and design of the base unit are considered. Design wireless weather stations are geared towards a particularly tasteful design.
Important Criteria for Home Weather Stations
The price increases with every additional sensor for weather monitoring. With a simple radio weather station it can be less than US$50 in the test comparison. At the same time, highly professional radio weather stations are available that cost several hundred dollars.
Which weather data is important?
The basic version of a wireless weather station measures temperature, humidity and air pressure. A calendar function and a clock are often integrated into the models from the weather station test. Additional sensors measure the wind, the amount of precipitation, the CO2 content in the air or the UV index. The price increases with every additional sensor. However, it is cheaper compared to several individual devices.
The fact that sensors and radio weather station connect via radio is a prerequisite for weather observation with a radio weather station. The frequency 433 on the 70 mm band is mostly used for this. Newer models use the 868 MHz frequency and a bidirectional transmission method. The transfer then takes place in transaction mode. To use the weather data, some models can be connected to a PC or smartphone and evaluated on the portals of the weather station manufacturers.
The range of the radio transmission is limited when concrete, solid walls and even vegetation lie between the transmitter of the radio weather station and the receiver.
Radio weather stations that display the measured values using symbols and numbers are sufficient for daily information about the weather. For extended weather observation, it is helpful if the course of the weather is shown as a curve in a diagram.
Advantages of a Weather Station with WiFi
Unfortunately, weather stations where the data can be called up via the in-house WLAN are not yet very important on the market. With them, the data can be called up on the go and via the Internet, but these WiFi weather stations are still rarely used. This is by no means a fad, because then you would have to dismiss the entire Internet as a fad.
The advantages of these weather stations are obvious and are becoming more and more visible to everyone as technology advances. Arguably one of the most important advantages is that you can access all data from anywhere, at any time. If a function is offered to transport the data, then this can also be evaluated.
On the other hand, the data transport with the reading out of the data with the classic weather stations via SD memory card or USB stick is to be regarded as ancient. Another advantage of the WLAN weather stations is that the data can be linked to other services. So the domestic heating system can be linked to the weather and thus the heating can be switched on and off independently. The garden irrigation can also be started at a convenient time.
In the near future, the weather stations will network with each other. Previous radio weather stations can then be improved step-by-step with the appropriate extensions. This means you no longer have to go to the weather stations to get a good weather forecast. At the moment, however, you still have to do this and compare the data from the different stations. Only a few devices have a WLAN connection, most are still radio-controlled.
If you enter the term weather station on the Internet, you will be overwhelmed by the abundance of offers. There are models from US$10 to well over US$500 and professional weather stations can also cost around US$15,000. The range of weather stations is therefore confused and very abundant. For the “average consumer”, however, an outside thermometer is sufficient, which at most has a radio link to the living room.
If this device is also controlled by an air pressure sensor, equipped with a clock and can save the data, then you already have an innovative device that can even give a forecast for the next few hours. The information on these inexpensive devices is actually pretty accurate.
However, if you want a weather forecast for the next few days, then it should be something better. Even if you want to achieve long-term recordings in order to record climate change, then you have to dig deeper into your pocket and you can no longer get by on US$20 or even US$50.
The search for the device that has been optimized for you can therefore be a bit difficult, especially since the advertisements for weather stations contain largely identical texts.
Only the term “satellite-based” should lead us to expect something more. These devices use renowned weather services. These stations transmit their data by radio around the world via DCF as well as pager frequencies. Interested customers should therefore inform themselves and find out with a detective instinct how the weather stations can get their data.
Home Weather Station Accessories
Some models from the radio weather station test can be equipped with up to three additional transmitters for complex weather data. Optional accessories for a wireless weather station from the test are:
- external protective housing and seals for external sensors
- Holder for external sensors
- Software for data transfer to the PC
Special sensors for measuring soil moisture, UV exposure or even an anemometer cannot be networked with all radio weather stations, but are reserved for higher quality radio weather stations.
How to mount a home weather station?
Install the radio transmitter within range of the base station. Read the operating instructions to find out how far apart both components can be. According to an external weather station test, the models from our best list are all very easy to assemble and no questions remain unanswered during assembly.
The sensor is rarely rain-proof and splash-proof. It needs a sheltered location with not too much sunlight. This can be the north side of a building or a garden shed. An overhanging roof provides rain protection. A second option are large trees that offer protection from rain under their canopy of leaves.
Rain gauges, on the other hand, need a free space, at least one meter above the ground.
If you have inserted the batteries after searching for the location, the transmitter and receiver of commercially available weather stations usually connect automatically. The display on the base station can take up to a minute.
To avoid interference signals, proximity to televisions, computers and cell phones should be avoided. With weather direct, the time is displayed within 30 minutes. The first weather data are automatically received within six hours. The wireless weather station automatically recognizes which region you are in and receives the appropriate weather forecast for the region or the district.
How to care for a home weather station?
Outside sensors for the outside temperature must be cleaned regularly. Dirt and crawling animals get into the sensor through the ventilation slots.
Wind and rain gauges are often soiled by bird droppings or misused as a nesting facility. David has therefore already equipped his anometer with a protective grille. Check the sensors at regular intervals.
Check the rubber seal on the anometer and make sure that the battery does not leak.
Dirt on the shaft and on the anemometer can slow down the wind turbine.
Cheap batteries for operating the sensors do not pay off. Buy branded batteries that you don’t need to replace that often.
Visual contact between the transmitter and receiver improves radio transmission.
If you have radio problems, place the receiver near a window or turn it a little. If you have further problems, ask the manufacturer
If you change the batteries in a sensor, the contact to the base must be re-established. It is best to reinsert the batteries in both units.
Take this opportunity to check the seal in the battery compartment, which can dissolve over time. Battery fluid can then affect the sensor if it leaks.
The precipitation sensor collects dirt from rainwater and the environment. It is an insect trap and needs the most cleaning.
Last product update on 2022-01-23 | Source: Amazon Affiliate