Saturday, January 30, 2016

APRS Tool for #Skywarn folks #ARRL #hamradio

I am in the process of working on a program which provides a US Weather forecast 
via APRS message. I have most of the kinks worked out and it is ready for testing
by a larger group.

Send a single character APRS message to KI6WJP and the program will respond with a 
brief forecast for your location.

You can specify "where" and "when" you want the forecast.  If you wish a full forecast
add the word "full" to your "where" and "when".  The full forecast is spread across
multiple APRS message.  The default "brief" forecast usually fits within a single
message.

"where" is any APRS callsign/object, zipcode, grid, or decimal lat/lon as long as it is 
located in a place covered by the US National Weather Service.

"when" is any day of the week with optional night.  I.e. Wednesday night

The forecast is derived from the US National Weather Service point forecast.
Usually the forecast is produced within 1 or 2 seconds, but during periods of
heavy activity, the weather service can take 20 or 30 seconds.

The latitude/longitude for the requested object is extracted from api.aprs.fi,  
As a result, anything that appears on aprs.fi is valid including 
CWOP stations and AIS ships.

Here are some example forecast requests that can be sent to KI6WJP:

Any message less than 3 characters
    Returns a brief forecast for the current location of the sending station.
Tomorrow 96067
    Returns  tomorrow's forecast for Mount Shasta, CA
Tonight
    Returns the forecast for tonight at your current location
Tuesday night full
    Returns the Tuesday night full forecast at your current location.
w1aw
    Returns the current forecast for the location of station W1AW
usna-1 Sunday
    Returns the forecast for the Army Navy football game on Sunday. 
    (Assuming usna-1 is at the stadium)
CN81uh
    Returns the forecast for the center of maidenhead grid CN81uh
36.5786/-118.2920
    Returns the forecast for the summit of Mount Whitney.

Currently the program is running on a raspberry Pi on a home dsl internet connection.
The program is single threaded and can handle a single forecast request at a time.
Things are still in development and may break at any time.  

Obviously for this to work via RF, a transmit capable i-gate is necessary.

Many thanks to Heikki for Ham::APRS::IS, Ham::APRS::FAP and api.aprs.fi that made
this easy.

For more information see: https://sites.google.com/site/ki6wjp/wxbot

Thanks to Martin, KI6WJP on the APRS reflector for this information

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