Alachua Co. EMWIN Project

Alachua Co. EMWIN Project
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Hams/Spotters: Beware Florida Law Regarding Devices Mounted On Windshield


I had someone advise me today that they got a ticket in November of $116 for having a device mounted upon his windshield. The device was a RADAR-detector, but people should note that detectors themselves are NOT illegal in the state of Florida.

Apparently Florida has had a windshield law which has been around for a while but which has not received much attention...until now. Trying to decipher if this was just an event local to that user or if this is part of a new statewide campaign. (Like the seatbelt law. Been around for a while but not acted on with much ferocity except during a certain specific times of the year. ...Or the laws regarding turning, which are never enforced. You're not supposed to turn wide at intersections if you're turning into a road with two lanes to choose from. But most people do this because there has been ZERO action on enforcement of the law even though it's IN your Florida Driver's Handbook. A lot of accidents could be avoided if cops would actually enforce THAT one - which is a BIGGIE; but they don't.)

At any rate, this would affect things like suction-mounted RADAR-detectors, GPS units, cameras, etc.

Ham radio operators, storm spotters/chasers beware. Hams especially just LOVE to mount things on their windshields, and an expensive law such as this one could destroy a Xmas present (or two, or three) for someone. :(

See the Mobile Scanner & RADAR-Detector Laws home page for more information. I have updated the site with this new information, including the text of the actual law.

Spread the word. Let's not allow anyone's Christmas spirit to be ruined over something like this.

Interesting to note is that the "Television receivers" law (316.303), which prohibits TVs in vehicles, actually exempts "the use of electronic displays used specifically for navigation purposes". But the windshield law would seem to PROHIBIT the very use of those devices anyway, since most all GPS units are suction-mounted! (sigh) ...Legislators. They're SO smart. I'm just...I'm SO proud of them. Aren't YOU?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New series of listgroups: The ACWIN Project...

ACWIN stands for the "Alachua County Weather Information Network". It is a series of listgroups designed to bring weather bulletins to Alachua and surrounding counties. It will cater not just to Alachua County, but now to other surrounding northern Florida counties as well.


Each county will have three lists, created to cater to: general weather bulletins, severe weather bulletins, and civil emergency bulletins.

Users will be allowed to subscribe to each bulletin they want individually, without being forced to take everything we offer at once.

Before, users in surrounding counties were on their own. Alachua County had a SKYWARN program, and a bulletin distribution system which catered to them; but the surrounding counties had nothing, because they were smaller and there just wasn't any interest or support. We've tried to help them out by supporting them. That is what this new suite of email lists is designed to do.

For more information about the ACWIN Project, see .

New means of subject line handling in listgroups...

Working with Danny Lloyd this week, I convinced him to add a new feature to WxMesg software which allows concurrent use of both Product identifier abbreviation and full product name in the subject line. Before this, subjects either had to use the product name only (such as "ZFPJAX") or the full product name (such as "Zone Forecast Product"), but they couldn't do both at the same time. This new feature facilitates listgroup usage. Now we can send bulletins that can be sorted by the "topic" name (which happens to be the product identifier, such as ZFPJAX), while still identifying the bulletin. For example:

"ZFPJAX: Zone Forecast Product"

The listgroups are only concerned with finding that topic name in that subject line. That is, they hunt for the topic name in the first few characters of the subject. Once found, anything AFTER that is ignored. So we can get away with adding the full bulletin name after the "topic"/product identifier. Note that we were even able to throw in a colon (":") after the product ID. :)

We can also include product/watch/warning issuance/expiration times, now, if we want to. Example: "ZFPJAX: Zone Forecast Product [00:00Z - 08:00Z]". For right now, this feature will only be used, however, for special situations.

This new feature is now being utilzed in both the ACEMWIN-HURR-L and ACWIN-* listgroups.

For more information on ACEMWIN-HURR-L, see .

For more information on ACWIN, see .

Friday, July 10, 2009

HUGE New Changes To ACEMWIN-HURR-L Hurricane Bulletins List

The ACEMWIN-HURR-L list was created on July 16, 2005, The list serves the latest hurricane bulletins to the public. Yesterday, after many weeks of researching Listserv and EMWIN software documentation, major changes were finally implemented to the listgroup, now allowing users to pick and CHOOSE which hurricane bulletins they want. Before, users were forced to have to receive them all. When the season got busy, the listgroup would often end up ovewhelmed. No longer. Using a Listserv software feature called "topics", users may now turn on or off bulletins at thier own WILL. Users will greatly appreciate this new capability.

The list receives the latest hurricane-related bulletins from the Alachua Co. EMWIN Project's EMWIN server. The EMWIN server receives weather bulletins hot off of the GOES-10 weather satellite located high above the earth in geosationary orbit. As soon as weather bulletins are issued by NOAA, the NWS, the SPC, the NHC, and other various weather centers, they are immediately transmitted to the satellite, and then bounced back down to the earth for other ground stations to receive. The Alachua County EMWIN Project owns such a ground receiving station. Whenever the NHC issues hurricane related bulletins, they will appear in this list as soon as they are sent down from the satellite. Subscribers to this list will receive Atlantic-region hurricane-related bulletins.

Testing of the new changes is complete and everything seems to be working fine, and the listgroup is again ready for public use.

Here are the "topic" areas that are now available to choose from within the ACEMWIN-HURR-L listgroup:

PWSAT: Tropical Cyclone Surface Wind Speed Probabilities
SPFAT: Storm Strike Probability Bulletin
TCANT: Tropical Cyclone ICAO (Aviation) Advisory
TCDAT: Tropical Cyclone Discussion
TCEAT: Tropical Cyclone Position Estimate
TCMAT: Marine/Aviation Tropical Cyclone Forecast/Advisory
TCPAT: Public Tropical Cyclone Advisory
TCPSP: Public Tropical Cyclone Advisory (spanish)
TCUAT: Tropical Cyclone Update
TCVAT: Tropical Cyclone Watch/Warning Product (VTEC)
TWDAT: Tropical Weather Discussion
TWOAT: Tropical Weather Outlook and Summary
TWSAT: Monthly Tropical Weather Summary
CHGHUR: Tropical Cyclone Objective Guidance
STDCCA: Satellite-derived Trop. Disturbance Summary (C. Carribean)
STDECA: Satellite-derived Trop. Disturbance Summary (E. Carribean)
STDWCA: Satellite-derived Trop. Disturbance Summary (W. Carribean)

All new users are automatically subscribed to ALL of the above bulletins. However, you can turn some OFF at any time if things seem to get just a little too "busy" for you.

For a detailed description of each of the above bulletins, see the NHC's Text Products Description page at

Another new addition to the listgroup is the archiving feature. The listgroup is now being archived. This means that users can now also peruse past hurricane bulletins. To view these archives, see:

ACEMWIN-HURR-L IS A READ-ONLY LIST. In other words, users may not post to the list. This list is for the dissemination of hurricane-related bulletins only. The list owner/moderator is Todd Sherman (

For more information about the listroup, see


Todd Sherman / KB4MHH
ACEMWIN-HURR-L Listgroup Owner

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Created Alachua County EMWIN Project Blogspot Blog and Twitter Feed

Created a Blogspot for the Alachua County EMWIN Project, which sends weather-related bulletins to local area people for free as a public service. AC-EMWIN sends bulletins to email, cellphone, pager, and even web sites. This blog will be used to let people know the status and progress of the Alachua County EMWIN Project.

Also created a Twitter account for AC-EMWIN. This now allows us to send local area (Alachua County) bulletins to Twitter for those who like to use that.

The AC-EMWIN Blog is at

The AC-EMWIN Twitter account is at

Monday, May 18, 2009