Hannah and I rode in around 2:30 on this unseasonably warm 60° day. Originally, I wanted to come up much earlier this morning and spend the day mowing and mulching, but I ended up getting a lot of errands run at home instead. I brought the ATV and plow back, so I got them unloaded quickly and set my sights on the keep.

I also brought up two six-gallon jugs of drinkable Oshkosh water which I set on the bathroom counter. My goals for today are all Puckanet-related. I want to increase the 4G signal to the router and set up my weather station.

The first thing I had to do was figure out mounting for the sensor module. The higher up, the better, but it needs to be within 300 feet of the base station (and probably closer than that, with the aluminum walls of the keep serving to block the signal) to function. I decided to put it on the top of the bird feeder post. Should get plenty of sun and there’s no canopy overhead to mess with the rainfall gauge.

I didn’t want to have to remove the little solar-powered LED rail cap from the top of the post because it keeps the end of the 4×4 out of the elements which should help prevent it from splitting. Because of this, I had to mount the sensor pole on the side with a small piece of hardwood as a spacer. I did my best to eyeball the orientation (the solar panels are supposed to face due south) and secured the sensor to the mount.

Back in the keep, I took down the indoor/outdoor temperature/humidity display I had been using before, as well as the PuckaPi’s indoor sensor. I ran the USB and power cables for the new weather station through the closet wall and mounted the new panel. It’s got a nice, clean look and the holes are completely hidden. Within seconds, I was seeing readouts from the outdoor sensor module. I spent some time on my laptop running an SSH session to the PuckaPi to install and configure WeeWX, a cool Python-based utility that can read the data from the weather sensor’s USB port and post it to Weather Underground (among other sites) as well as its own web server.

All that remained was to do something about the Verizon data signal, which seems to hover somewhere between “fine” and “poor.” I had purchased a Yagi antenna last year but never got around to mounting it until today. At first, I was just going to use the TV antenna pole, but there wasn’t enough cable to reach it. I improvised and ended up screwing the whole unit into a tree branch. I connected the antenna and instantly saw the display shoot up to five out of five bars. Digging into the system menus, this was a 22 db gain. Awesome! Much more than I expected.

I unpacked the last few little things from my truck and cleaned up all my tools while Hannah slept on the deck. I loaded the summer tires for Lyssa’s car and closed up the pole barn. The pooch and I headed out around 6:45. Productive nerd day!