The amateur radio club in Braunschweig is proud operator of a professional weather station. Image: PTB

How a Lufft weather sensor got on a 50 m tower in Braunschweig, Germany

We, from the amateur radio interest group of the Physikalisch-Technischen Bundesanstalt (PTB – the German national test authority) in Braunschweig, run our own amateur radio as well as a relay station (DB0PTB). Moreover, we are members of the German ham radio club represented by the local group of Braunschweig-Schuntertal (H66).

On our factory premises, there’s a 50-meter-high tower named “Willi Wien Tower”. This exposed site is optimum for weather observation purposes. Therefore, we wanted to run our own weather station on the balcony of the tower’s 12th floor. Since neither the interest group nor the local group could finance it, we contacted Lufft after we learned they supplied radio amateurs in Ravensburg, Germany with a weather sensor in the past.

Our request was answered very professionally and friendly. Finally we gladly got the confirmation that we are helped out by the experienced meaurement technology provider as well, also because the PTB has been a long-standing Lufft customer and the location planned for the new weather station has been so interesting. The excitement in the PTB interest group and the local club was palpable!

After we clarified which parameters needed to be measured with the team, a Lufft WS601 weather sensor arrived soon at the PTB in Braunschweig with all necessary accessories.

The WS601 delivers information on temperature, relative humidity, air pressure, wind direction, wind speed and precipitation. The new technology provides data on many climatic factors with just one device, which is very advantageous for our location.

After all parts were unpacked and examined, we installed the sensor step by step at the tower balcony. The weather sensor could be mounted well on an existing mast of a VHF/UHF antenna, thanks to a supplied traverse. The laying of the pre-assembled cable was also quite easy. After the building inlet was completed, we connected it to the supplied overvoltage protection. The lightning or surge protection is very important at our location and Lufft was able to provide us with the right components after a thorough consultation. The next step was the connection to the UMB interface converter ISOCON-UMB via RS232 interface which is also used for the 24V supply voltage connection.

The first start-up was delayed, because the electrical distribution of the tower needed to be expanded. After completion of this work, there was nothing left standing in the way of the weather station’s initial setup.

Thanks to the very good documentation included in the scope of delivery, everything work out straightaway. The sensor was configured and tested with the Config Tool .NET. Thus we, e.g. were able to store the accurate height above sea level to ensure that the air pressure is measured properly.

The weather data of the compact weather sensor from Lufft will be linked to data of a lightning location sensor from Earth Networks and provided online. “Weather Bug” from Earth Network includes the UMB protocol of the Lufft weather sensor family. It can be conducted via the standard RS232 interface.

We became the partner of Earth Networks in North Germany through a call published in a press article written by Ernst Steinhäuser from the local amateur radio interest group in Ravensburg (DL3GBE). There, he reported on the Lufft weather sensor deployed at the amateur radio club site in Ravensburg comprehensively.

Since July 2017, our professional weather station has been in operation now and has run flawlessly. The data provided by the WS601 is collected in a database and made available on our website.

We would like to thank G. Lufft Mess and Regeltechnik GmbH and Mr. Weil very much for the great support. Without their help, we wouldn’t have been able to ever run a professional weather station on the Willi Wien Tower!

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