The weather station and webcam need attention every now and then, This is where I record when changes are made

My family and I built a house and haven't gotten any spare time to spend on the Pikes Peak weather station and webcam. As of this date the weather station has been down for almost six months and the webcam is pointed at the ground. I got a new workstation programmed and ready to go up the hill. Got it loaded on the ATV today and tried to head up the mountain. Long story short, I got up about 1/4 of the way up the mountain and got "drifted out" I probably could have kept going up the mountain but there is usually a snow drift that forms at the gate making it impossible to get the gate open. I have hiked in before when this happens but given I have to haul in an entire PC workstation, I decided to turn around and tackle this at a later date. Will try again later after some snow melts.


I was able to find a replacement wind vane off of Ebay, a Davis 7911 anemeter ($110) and with up with a buddy to go replace it. Ended up making two trips up the mountain because I had forgotten the tiny allen key used to tighten down the set screw. Got it all replad and running. When I got home I took the old anemeter apart and discovered the bearings inside have siezed up and the wind vane shaft kept spinning until it the C-Clip on the shaft wore away and fell off.


The wind vane quite reporting any wind data, so I drove up to the top and discovered that the anemeter is shot and most likely needs replaced. I think its wore out due to the high winds.


The weather station stopped reporting weather data, not certain why. So I headed up on the quad and found the weather station workstation (Windows XP) was stuck in the bios with an error, no hard disk found. I pulled the power plug and it rebooted and it fired up, good to go again.

I got up to Pikes and installed a new weather vane, not sure what happened to the old one but the new on is installed and working correctly. Not sure if the wind direction is correct, neec to review.
I stopped by the weather station while out for a ride and disovered the wind vane for wind direction is missing. I suspect we had some falling ice this winter that may have broken the part off. I contacted Davisnet and got a replacement ordered for $30
We had another wind storm come through the area, pointed the webcam up to the sky. I rode up the mountain on the ATV and got stopped by a 3 foot snow drift about a 1/4 mile from the tower site. Ended up hiking the last 1/4 mile in and ran into a group of people stuck in the snow bank on my way down. Camera and weather station appear to be running smoothly.
We had a big wind storm come through the area, the weather station up on Pikes reported 94 MPH winds, the weather station at my house reported 46 MPH. Everything worked and nothing broke, but the webcam got pointed at the ground. So I head to head up the mountain to re-adjust the camera. While I was there I brough the tools to take down the old one wire weather station that no longer works, its been up here for almost 10 years. I also noticed the cat5 cable that goes to the camera is cracked due to the weather and needs to be replaced with some outdoor rated cat5.
The next day, the valley was fogged in and Pikes had bright sunshine, I got the image from the webcam

Headed up Pikes on the new King Quad four wheeler to check up on all of the equipment before winter hits. The new Davis weather station has performed flawlessly, absolutely no problems what so ever. I was worried about the bushings and bearins in the anemeter, but they sound and feel good. The fan for the webcam is shot and needs replaced, I unplugged it because it was making noise and the camera will most likely not overheat this winter.
Well, the old one wire weather station made by AAG Electronica finally died. I updated the website so it no longer displays the old weather data since it was blank anyway. Sometime I need to head up the mountain and removed the old equipment. Its been up there for about 8 years. These weather stations seem to last about 18 months before failing, hopefully the Davis does much better.
After the snow cleared, I headed up to Pikes with the new weather station and got it installed. I spent almost the entire day up on the mountain getting all of the new gear installed, including a windows XP workstation, new wiring, and the new Davis Weather Monitor weather station. I left the old station running for the moment, when it warms up I will go up and take down the old one wire station.

I driving down the mountain in the Dodge, did I mention it snowed the entire time I was up there

I got my hands on a new Davis Monitor ii Weather Station that I plan to install up on the mountain soon. I built the mount and got it rigged up in my back yard for testing before taking it up on the mountain.

The weater station started to stop responding the last week or so. I was able to fix it by restarting the weather station data collector daemon and get it working again. But it finaly died and I cannot get get the server to talk to the weather station. So I loaded up the dirt bike and headed up the mountain after work in 30 MPH winds. The ride up was an adventure, it had rained for about a day, so the road is pretty muddy, the little TW200 kept getting stuck. Finally made it to the top of the mountain in heavey fog, riding a small motorcycle in high winds, heavey fog, in the dark, with visibility of about 10 feet, NOT FUN! I ended up changing out the weather station after testing the DB9 adapter and confirming for certain, the 8 year old cat 5 cable running outside to the weather station ahs failed and needs replaced. I will head up the mountain to replace the cable as soon as time permits and I can get a truck up there with a box of brand new cat5 cable.
For the next couple of days, the weather station is down and not functional

The server that runs this website, collects the weather data, and collects the webcam images locked up about 6:52 AM in the morning. After a brief investigation, I estimated something was up with the server. So after work I jumped on the motorcycle and headed up the mountain. I discovered the workstation had locked up due to the hard drive filling up with webcam images. After a reboot, and deleting some webcam images from four years ago, the server is back up and running.
The wind speed on the weather station stopped working for the last couple of days so I went up to investigate. Again I used the TW200 to head up the mountain (Much faster then a car)
When I arrived, I discovered the bearings on the wind speed shaft have totally failed. The balls for the bearings were inside the weather statation and it looks like the wind kept blowing causing the shaft to bore through the plastic casing. So I replaced the entire weather station with a new spare one I had. This one has brand new bearings and new electronic board. I re-used the wind direction and anemometer.
Replacement bearings are stainless 3/16"x3/8"x1/8" sealed bearings. I purchase them from VXB Bearings here. The part number is SR166ZZ

I got on the TW200 dirt bike and headed up pikes again to get the webcam fixed.
It was blowing about 20 MPH winds and fairly cold in the valley, so I trucked the bike to the base of pikes.

and headed up the mountain on the bike. The top of Pikes was white so I knew I was going to hit a little bit of snow. And it was blowing 30 MPH on top, I knew I was going to be in for an adventure.

In the above picture are the towers I am headed to. Just up the road from where I took this picture the road was getting drifted in and there was a bunch of blowing snow. Not fun on a motorcycle!
Over the last week, I have been troubleshooting with Steve at Pocket Inet. We came up with a bunch of things to try. The 1st thing I tried was using a differn't port on Pocket Inets Cisco switch. Sure enough, the camera immediatly came alive and was working.

I checked a couple other things and then loaded up tohead back down the mountain.

Pictured above is the TW200 in front of the Pocket Inet shack, and the tower with the webcam and weather station. When I took this photo, it was blowing 30+ MPH, VERY COLD!

I headed up on the dirt bike, through the mud and snow drifts to figure out why the webcam stopped working. Spent most of the day up on the mountain. The webcam works, but I cannot get it to get on the internet. I tried five seperate times, for whatever reason when I plug the switch into the switch, it will not communicate.

Looks like the webcam suddenly stopped working, don't know what happened. The Pikes weather station is still working though.

The wind guage suddenly stopped working during the winter. The road was closed so I didn't get to it for a while. On Easter Sunday I headed up to see what was happening on Pikes

I geared up and jumped on the XT

The mountain dead ahead in the distance is where I am headed

The rough road up pikes. Part of it is single lane like this, but all of it is pretty rough.

Finally, I arrived at the top and opened the gate

The far tower is the one I am headed to

I wonder what could be the problem ...

The cups on the wind guage had fallen off. I climbed the tower and took the station down. Luckily, I brough a new station with me and was able to swap parts

About an hour later, I got the station fixed up and mounted on the tower. I also brough with me a replacement fan for the webcam and replaced that while I was here

View of Walla Walla from the tower site

View of the Walla Walla valley on the way down.

The weather station is up and running again. I need to put new bearings in the weather station this summer, and replace the main weather station body and the wind direction guage, they are both getting pretty fragile. Also the computer needs re-fanned

The wind speed was not working right, so I headed up to get it fixed before the road closed for the season.
I headed up alone in my Dodge truck and found snow drifts at the gate

I was able to get in the gate and headed down to the tower.
I took the station down and took it apart to figure out what was happening with the wind speed.
I found the bearing had failed and siezed up. Then a high wind storm came through the area and caused the seized bearing to bore through the plastic casing. Luckily, I had brought lots of parts and was able to swap out the bearing and the plastic casing and had it up and running again.

I headed in the shack to make certain everything was running smoothly and loaded up to head home.

It was sunny when I arrived, then the fog moved in. Finally when I got done, the fog moved out.

And finally headed back down the mountain

Thats the Walla Wallay Valley down below

At 4:11 PM on March 5, 2009 the Pocket Inet tower in Pikes Peak got hit by lightning, taking out a bunch of Pockets network gear and my weather station.

The good news is my camera survived, the bad news is that the weather station failed, the computer will not even boot, the road is closed and legally I cannot get up there, untill today. I have made numerous attempts to get up Pikes but gotten snowed and and stopped by locked gates, but my brother and I finally got up there and replaced the broken gear in Michaels pickup.

After replacing all of the gear, we are back online and fully operational.

The Walla Walla area got hit with a huge windstorm, almost the entire town lost power for several hours (Including the Vivio Data center, my house, 911) It was bad!
The wind peaked at 10:15 AM to 79.26 MPH, please note thats the 60 second average. I am certain the gusts were more then that.
Unfortunitely these high winds repositioned my web camera so it was staring at the side of the shack, so I gave a shout to Rob Stilson to see if I could hook a ride up the mountain. Fortunitely, Rob just happen to be on Pikes and adjusted my camera for me, free of charge. Thanks Rob!
Saved me a ton of time and effort!

The camera on Pikes all of the sudden stopped working. What is really odd is it wasn't responding to pings. Normally when the camera stops working, it will still respond to pings.
I checked with Pocket and found out they made some changes to there network, which caused my camera to not be able to communicate on the internet any longer.
Michael and I headed up again in Michaels Toyota and made it to the top. Luckily, the road was plowed all the way to the KXRX towers since Fisher Communications is working on getting KORX-CA TV channel 16 online.
Also, the weatherstation froze again. Michael and I looked closely at it and found the windguage to be froze solid and unable to spin. I think the only way I could prevent that from happening is to heat the windvane.
The camera did happen to get a picture of us while we were up on Pikes here.
Hopefully, everything is good to go for the winter!

My brother and I headed up after work and we ran into about 12 inches of snow, just enough to make us nervous about driving the pickup down to the shack, for fear that we wouldn't get back out. So we parked the truck on the road and hiked in from the gate. Quite a workout in a foot of snow.
We got the weather station up and running, its a little flakey but its working.
Richard in the shack before heading up the tower
Richard on the tower If the picture only showed how cold it really was!
Snow drift outside of the shack, makes for quite the hike
Video - Walking out of the shack to the tower

My brother and I got to the top of Pikes and swapped out the weather station with a differn't one. Also we checked the camera to make sure everything was good to go.
I forgot my camera, but Michael snapped a couple shots of the miserable conditions with his camera phone.
Richard climbing up the tower in the miserable conditions
Richard working on getting the old weatherstation down1
Richard working on getting the old weatherstation down2
Richard working on getting the old weatherstation down3
A weatherstation freshly off the tower
Needless to say, our trip was a bit of a waste. We thought we are all good to go and headed down the mountain after swapping the station and checking everything. 2 hours later, the weatherstation stopped reading data. Its probably just the RJ11 connector needs recrimped, those things are famous for being flakey. My brother and I are headed back up on the 26th to try again.
Also, I wanted to note the bearings on the old weather station were in very good condition! I think I am just going to put the old one back up there!

I think the weather station froze, the wind speed and direction hasn't changed in several days, and the temperature has dropped below freezing for a couple days. Plus its been pretty foggy up there recently, so I think its froze. I hope to get up there the Morning of thanksgiving to inspect and hopefully swap out the bearings so its good to go for another year.

Spying on the REA!
Looks like REA was doing some work on there gear at Pikes. I wonder if they knew they were caught on camera!

The webcam stopped uploading images again. I headed up and reset the camera. While there I checked and there was a free plug on Pockets UPS, so I finally plugged the camera into the UPS so the number of camera failures should greatly be reduced. I did although break down on my way up (picture).

I headed up Pikes with my KLR 650

to check up on everything and make sure everything was running smoothly. I noticed a new antenna on the REA tower. After some digging through my photo logs I found an image of REA installing the new antenna here.
Everything was running like a champ, the bearings feel good, camera is running like a running with no problems.

My brother and myself got up Pikes and checked on the webcam. After a hard reboot of the camera, it came up like a champ. The camera caught an image while I was on the tower with the hood open. The weather station, camera, server, and everything seem to be in good shape.

A big storm came through the area, my neighborhood lost power for almost 2 hours due to a tree taking down a powerline. I hope to head up the mountain soon, the weather station is probably due for new bearings anyway. I must admit, I am impressed. Everything on that mountain has ran with no problems for 5 months. I haven't been up there since!

The webcam stopped working, so I drove up after work to find out what happened. At 6:00 PM on a cold December night, it can be a bit spooky heading up a cold mountain alone. I hit a bit of snow and ice, but was able to get the 2X4 pickup to the top. Once there I found the webcam running and ready to go, but not functional! After fooling with it a bit and resetting, it came back up like a charm. I did take some photos while I was there:
The shack containing all of the gear at Pikes
All of the gear just inside the door
Here is Pocket's gear, the dell next to the UPS is my weather station.


The webcam had a bit of a problem, at about 11:45 PM on Tuesday night, the webcam from looking like this:|

To this:

Not sure what happened, after work my brother Michael and I headed up pikes to find out. When we got there it was 6:00 PM at night, pitch dark, 32 degrees, with a 15 mph wind. Not too bad until you get up on the tower!
We found the camera hanging on the tower with one bolt. Turns out two out of the three bolts holding the camera mount to the mount that Michael welded together had fallen out. We scrambled and found another bolt to stick in it and pointed correctly again. While checking that we noticed the weather station wind gage wasn't spinning when we obviously had some fair winds, so we took it down and apart to find out whats up with it. Turns out the bearings were shot after running for 4 months. I plan to swap out the weather station very soon with a new one so it runs all winter with no problems.

Richard climbing up to the broken camera
Richard remounting the camera
Richard tightenin up the bolts
Richard taking down the weather station
The guts to the weatherstation, its seen better days
Richard remounting the weatherstation

Michael and I went up to the top to correct the wind direction for the wind vane, its been wrong since it was originally put up. Below are some pics of the maintenance

Michael taking down the weather station
Michael next to the webcam
Richard putting the webcam back up
Picture of Richard looking up the tower
Here is the server sitting on top of pikes peak (and is supplying this webpage)

The maintenance was successfull, the weather station wind vane is now recording correctly. We discovered that before, it was at least 90 degrees off, and backwards. While we were there we had a couple other minor fixes and we checked up on everything to make sure everything was running smoothly. I think the station should be good to go for the next year with no problems.
Also, the rrd file that records all of the weather data got damaged, so for now the old weather data is gone, I will work on getting it back.

The weatherstations winds speed and wind direction stopped working for almost an entire week. The cause was most likely ice built up on the weather station because of the cold temperatures and some images from the webcam
Webcam photo, January 31st

Later, Rob Stilson (A very awesom guy by the way!) confirmed they had large ice accumulations on just about everything that wasn't heated on Pikes.
The weather station started functioning properly again when the temperature warmed up. I hope to head up Pikes soon to check everything out and give it a health diagnosis to insure everything is running smoothly.