433 MHz brain suck
Wednesday, December 12 2012
Marigold (formerly known as "Dutchess") went back to the Ulster County SPCA today, hopefully soon to be adopted by a woman found through our housecall vet. [Sadly, it wasn't to be; the woman later claimed she'd had an "allergic reaction" to Marigold.]
The Meade TE923W-M weather station continued today to devour entirely too much of my mental energy. It has a gorgeous backlit display and has at least the potential to be a hub of large amounts of data collection. But the weakness of its 433 MHz data receiver makes it almost useless. Yesterday I'd removed its internal antenna and replaced it with an antenna jack on the side. With a makeshift antanna up on the solar deck, I was able to finally collect data from all the sensors there. But not from any sensors on the ground, even those with a line-of-sight view to the makeshift antenna. Mind you, the Meade literature claims signals from these sensors should be able to be received from 100 to 300 feet away, depending on the sensor.
At some point today I experimented with tin foil shielding inside the weather station (to concentrate the signal being sent up the cable). I also built a carefully-measured dipole antenna using pieces of brass brazing rod as elements. None of this did any good; indeed, the shielding actually made the reception worse. If I wanted to receive signals from a thermometer sensors in the greenhouse, I would need to make a much more radical modification.
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