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XMRadio Satellite Weather Has Arrived



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 27th 03, 12:11 PM
Richard Kaplan
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Default XMRadio Satellite Weather Has Arrived




"Peter R." wrote in message
ds.com...

IMO, a satellite based weather product, such as WSI or XMRadio, seems to
be the superior choice except for the display option, which is either a
laptop or PDA that adds loose wires and equipment to a cramped cockpit.


I agree the "clutter factor" is an issue with a laptop or PDA in the
cockpit.

On the other hand, the fact that the XMRadio product has a portable antenna
and thus will work in your car, on the hotel porch, etc. when out of town is
an attractive option. And of course for renters portability is the only
option. And for instructors like me who teach in multiple airplanes besides
my own, portability is a nice option even if it does mean dealing with
"laptop clutter."

But better than all this, realize that both WSI and XMRadio plan to "soon"
release panel-mount versions of their hardware to work with certified
MFDs... considering the cost of that type of installation, it might very
well be worth it to experiment with both these systems in their portable
form to figure out which one you want as the installed panel-mount version
later on. You could probably later sell the portable versions on Ebay and
recover a good deal of the money.

--
Richard Kaplan, CFII

www.flyimc.com


  #2  
Old July 27th 03, 01:13 PM
Peter R.
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Richard Kaplan wrote:

But better than all this, realize that both WSI and XMRadio plan to "soon"
release panel-mount versions of their hardware to work with certified
MFDs...


Sadly, I have had a few WSI sales people tell me that their weather
product will probably never interface with the B/K MFD, as B/K is not
releasing their MFD specs to WSI. These folks speculated that the
reason for this is that B/K is purposely reducing the number of uplinked
weather solutions on their MFD to one; their own package.

When it's your ball and your field, you are allowed to make up your own
rules.

--
Peter








  #3  
Old July 27th 03, 03:06 PM
Dan Luke
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"Peter R." wrote:
Sadly, I have had a few WSI sales people tell me that their weather
product will probably never interface with the B/K MFD, as B/K is not
releasing their MFD specs to WSI. These folks speculated that the
reason for this is that B/K is purposely reducing the number of uplinked
weather solutions on their MFD to one; their own package.

When it's your ball and your field, you are allowed to make up your own
rules.


Might be sad for aircraft owners, but BK would be foolish to do otherwise.
BK is investing in ground uplink stations all over the US - why should they
help owners go to the competition?
--
Dan
C172RG at BFM


  #4  
Old July 27th 03, 11:10 PM
Richard Kaplan
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"Dan Luke" wrote in message
...


Might be sad for aircraft owners, but BK would be foolish to do otherwise.
BK is investing in ground uplink stations all over the US - why should

they
help owners go to the competition?


They should help owners go to the competition in order to sell MFDs.

This is exactly analogous to the situation years ago when personal computers
were evolving and open platform systems prospered due to 3rd party software
and hardware, while proprietary computer systems eventually became extinct.

Or to put it another way, BK is on a path to become the avionics equivalent
of Macintosh computers.

The whole idea of investing in an MFD should be to have confidence that
future avionics devices will interface with it. If BK treats its MFD as
proprietary and useful only with other BK products, then they have given
aircraft owners a major reason to be fearful of buying their MFD and
becoming locked into only BK produ]\

--
Richard Kaplan, CFII

www.flyimc.com


  #5  
Old July 27th 03, 11:27 PM
Richard Kaplan
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"Ryan Ferguson" wrote in message
...

What are you using to display the weather? Laptop? PDA? If PDA, which
one?


I am using an XP-based laptop. I have not gotten to try it on a PDA yet
(that would be another version of the program), although I was told verbally
that the PDA version will not be able to support all of the features -- no
surprise, since the laptop-based software requires 350MB free hard drive
space and they recommend at least an 850 MHz Pentium.

As far as WeatherWorx vs. Palm VIIx, I think the people who will pay
$49/month for WeatherWorx and deal with the wiring clutter are people who
use their airplanes fairly often for practical IFR travel. I think other
people will stick with the simplicity, compactness, and economic advantages
of the Palm VIIx. They each have their advantage. To hook up Weatherworx,
you need to set up the computer, satellite receiver, and XMRadio box,
certainly not something you could/would do on the fly in the air. The
advantage of WeatherWorx is that once this is all set up, it updates
automatically during the flight so it is a lot less distracting. The
advantage of the Palm VIIx is that it can just sit in the side pocket of
your airplane and you can turn it on basically on a whim if you see
unexpected weather. On top of that, the Palm VIIx runs on just 2 AAA
batteries, vs. WeatherWorx which requires either a freshly charged
laptop/PDA battery or else a connection to the airplane's cigarette lighter
power source.


--
Richard Kaplan, CFII

www.flyimc.com








  #6  
Old July 28th 03, 04:02 PM
Jeff Doran
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Richard, thank you for posting the info on the xmradio weatherworx. I,
like many, have been searching for reliable in-cockpit weather
solutions. The closest thing to affordibility so far has been anywhere
wx from control vision, but even that is a bit pricey, and a rats nest
of wires. I use the Palm i705, and you just can't beat it for
portability and cost. However, as reliable as it is, even in flight,
there are too many times, when I just didnt get a signal or reply when
making an inflight weather request from CBAV or TurboWX.
For that past month, I have been using a poormans version of the
control vision solution...
Globalstar SAT phone, $595 list/$495 with rebate/$395 reconditioned
Ipaq H3635 pocket pc, on ebay for $100 (or any pocket pc), you can
even hook to your i705 and switch back and forth between the wireless
palm network and the SAT connection. I prefer the higher resolution
and color on the Ipaq for maps.
Globalstar data cable, $69;
IPAQ Serial Cable (not a hotsync cable, they are not the same) $20;
SAT phone is $35/month and .99/minute with 30 included min/month, or
$50/month with 120 minutes/month, .75/minute after that.
Control Visions deal is $25/month, first 100 mins free, then .99/min
after that.
A wide range of service plans to fit both budget and use.

(I do not work for any SAT phone company or aviation product company)

Data comes down at 9.6Kbps,plus I can make reliable, consistant voice
calls in flight.
I have not had any problem aquiring and holding a SAT signal in
flight, as long as the antenna is held reasonbly close to a window.
The glare shield is fine.
Admittedly, this is a request/reply setup, and I typically use
weathertap.com and flighbrief.com for inflight weather. Not that it is
very useful or fast, I can browse the web in flight, including pop3
email, etc etc...

The result is, I am juggling only a PDA, a short cable, and the sat
phone. Not Bad.

Did you ever notice how big and cumbersome even the smallest laptops
are when in the cockpit? Screen visibility in sunlight is another
concern.

About the only thing I see that XMradio has to offer is its
"broadcast" technology, and (I assume) greater bandwidth...not that
these are bad things.

BTW, I have a Delco Xmradio mounted on the pedestal of my mooney, with
the low profile antenna hiding on the glare shield...works great...but
I can't listen to Limbaugh.


Jeff Doran
Mooney N1159P ACY

As far as WeatherWorx vs. Palm VIIx, I think the people who will pay
$49/month for WeatherWorx and deal with the wiring clutter are people who
use their airplanes fairly often for practical IFR travel. I think other
people will stick with the simplicity, compactness, and economic advantages
of the Palm VIIx. They each have their advantage. To hook up Weatherworx,
you need to set up the computer, satellite receiver, and XMRadio box,
certainly not something you could/would do on the fly in the air. The
advantage of WeatherWorx is that once this is all set up, it updates
automatically during the flight so it is a lot less distracting. The
advantage of the Palm VIIx is that it can just sit in the side pocket of
your airplane and you can turn it on basically on a whim if you see
unexpected weather. On top of that, the Palm VIIx runs on just 2 AAA
batteries, vs. WeatherWorx which requires either a freshly charged
laptop/PDA battery or else a connection to the airplane's cigarette lighter
power source.

  #7  
Old July 28th 03, 08:10 PM
Richard Kaplan
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Default




"Jeff Doran" wrote in message
m...


Did you ever notice how big and cumbersome even the smallest laptops
are when in the cockpit? Screen visibility in sunlight is another
concern.


Yes, I am somewhat concerned about that, but I know a pilot whom I have
worked with for recurrent training who swears by the WSI In Flight system
with a laptop and he says it is not inconvenient at all.. we'll see in a
month or two after some more pilots (include myself) get a bunch of
practical experience using XMRadio in the air. Maybe one of the RAM
computer mounts will be an option. Also XMRadio is supposed to support
PDAs, but we will have to see the details how well that works and what
features it can support on a PDA.


About the only thing I see that XMRadio has to offer is its
"broadcast" technology, and (I assume) greater bandwidth...not that
these are bad things.


I think the "broadcast" technology advantage is immense since this allows
5-minute updates without having to worry about cost.

I think the automatic aquisition feature of XMRadio is a major advantage
over the satellite phone setup you describe -- I have tried that myself and
decided that logging onto the Internet in-flight and making regular requests
for weather was just too much of a distraction in any sort of weather where
I really wanted the datalink information... Here with WxWorx once everything
is set up on the ground it updates the signal automatically and should not
require any pilot input at all.



--
Richard Kaplan, CFII

www.flyimc.com


  #8  
Old July 28th 03, 10:55 PM
Richard Kaplan
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Default

Just a quick clarification/update as I have had time to test this system
some more and ask a few more questions from the manufacturer:

First of all, the $629 price for the laptop-based WxWorx on Wings system by
Baron Services does not include an additional $30 for the antenna, which
brings the total cost to $659.

Second, the power requirement for the XMRadio receiver is 9VDC; however,
there is a voltage stepdown at the input to the receiver so it will accept
between 9V and 23V and therefore they anticipate it will be compatible with
most aircraft electrical systems.. .this is similar to the situation with
battery-powered GPS devices, which need to accept varying input voltages.
This is particularly important on 24V aircraft electrical systems which have
a stepped down "12V" cigarette lighter output but where this "12V" may vary
depending on the impedance of the connected device.

Next, the PDA version of their system will be sold by a separate company
called NavAiir. The PDA version apparently will be demonstrated at Oshkosh
but will not be for sale for 2-3 more weeks. It will cost $999 without the
PDA and is recommended to run on newer/faster PDAs only. It will use the
same weather data as the Weatherworx/Baron Services laptop-based system.

So my conclusions/plans a

1. Clearly there is quite a web of companies working with XMRadio to produce
weather datalink systems; it may be hard to sort out the various
relationships and there may well be new products and new companies formed
over time.

2. Both the laptop and the PDA versions of the various XMRadio weather
datalink products will clearly be memory/processor intensive and may not
work with laptops or PDAs more than 1-2 years old - read the specs carefully


3. I am convinced that the quality of the data is well worth it in a GA
cockpit, though I am concerned about the practicality of the various wires
and power connections in the cockpit. I think what I will do for myself is
to use the laptop-based version of the WxWorx system, buy a couple of A/C
inverters at Wamart with rechargable batteries, and try to put together my
own "weather datalink briefcase" which will contain my laptop computer, A/C
inverters, XMRadio receiver, and assorted wires; this should then work in
the airplane or the car (for learning purposes as I drive through
thunderstorms) or anywhere else... the ultimate "nerd bag" for a
weaher-addicted pilot. If anyone else does something like this, shared
details would be helpful.


--
Richard Kaplan, CFII

www.flyimc.com


  #9  
Old July 29th 03, 05:19 AM
Richard Kaplan
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Default

See these sites for updated info the laptop and PDA versions of WxWorx:

http://www.wxworx.com

http://www.airgator.com/Weather.htm


--
Richard Kaplan, CFII

www.flyimc.com


  #10  
Old July 29th 03, 08:56 PM
Nathan Young
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Default

"Richard Kaplan" wrote in message news:d108be18406396d73f7173e630ed03bd@TeraNews.. .
See these sites for updated info the laptop and PDA versions of WxWorx:

http://www.wxworx.com

http://www.airgator.com/Weather.htm


Richard,

Do you know if the WxWorx software has provisions to accept an NMEA
GPS input from a serial port? It would be nice to see the weather
displayed track-up and relative to present position.

-Nathan
 




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