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TDWR Radars

Old 30th Apr 2020, 18:06
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TDWR Radars

Since late 2019, the TDWR radars in the USA have been unavailable on the internet. They were always on www.weather.gov via a link which led to www.srh.noaa.gov. Ordinarily not a big deal, but last weekend the MIA WSR88 wide area radar was down for maintenance from about April 20 thru April 30, the Key West WSR88 was down from April 24 thru April 25, and the MIA, FLL, and PBI TDWRs were all missing from the internet since late 2019. So, no weather radar coverage for about 15 million people, except the one from the local NBC Network affiliate, which is hard to navigate to without going thru a bunch of touchy-feelie crap that passes for news nowadays. Google search turns up a bunch of old, broken links. Does anybody know what/why for the disappearance of these radar from the internet? I posted this on the Engineers and Technicians Forum of PPRuNe, and did not get much, so I apologize for posting here.
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Old 30th Apr 2020, 19:05
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You say that the MIA WSR-88 imagery is missing from the internet?


https://radar.weather.gov/ridge/rada...101111&loop=no

Looks to me like it's working OK at the moment.
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Old 30th Apr 2020, 19:06
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was just about to reply the same link....very few are down right now...perhaps the old link is...nope...old link is still good





https://www.weather.gov/mfl/
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Old 30th Apr 2020, 19:14
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Originally Posted by mach2.6 View Post
Since late 2019, the TDWR radars in the USA have been unavailable on the internet. They were always on www.weather.gov via a link which led to www.srh.noaa.gov. Ordinarily not a big deal, but last weekend the MIA WSR88 wide area radar was down for maintenance from about April 20 thru April 30, the Key West WSR88 was down from April 24 thru April 25, and the MIA, FLL, and PBI TDWRs were all missing from the internet since late 2019. So, no weather radar coverage for about 15 million people, except the one from the local NBC Network affiliate, which is hard to navigate to without going thru a bunch of touchy-feelie crap that passes for news nowadays. Google search turns up a bunch of old, broken links. Does anybody know what/why for the disappearance of these radar from the internet? I posted this on the Engineers and Technicians Forum of PPRuNe, and did not get much, so I apologize for posting here.
Well at least you got your desired answer!
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Old 30th Apr 2020, 19:22
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And searching around online, it looks like the radars are being taken offline for a long-scheduled Service Life Extension Program.

Service Life Extension Program

The WSR-88D was originally designed for a 20 year service life. Most systems in the field are now approaching that point. This program provides technology refresh and depot level overhaul of necessary subsystems to ensure the system can perform reliably for another 20 years.

Signal Processor

The current signal processor will be replaced with a new, state of the art digital signal processor capable of supporting algorithm upgrades for the foreseeable future. The new signal processor and interface panel will incorporate the antenna positioning control functions in software, eliminating the Digital Control Unit, which provides that functionality in hardware. The new interface panel will also eliminate the current Data Acquisition Unit, which interfaces the computer to system sensors such as backup generator fuel level, temperature sensors, etc. Deployment of the new signal processor is currently scheduled to begin in FY16.

Transmitter

The radar transmitter will be refurbished with a redesigned modulator, new electrical backplane and control circuitry, new internal cabling, electrical filter capacitors, circuit breakers, indicator lamp fixtures, etc. The modulator development effort is completed. Development effort for the rest of the project will be ramping up over the next few years. A deployment date has not yet been set.

Pedestal

The pedestal refurbishment project will replace all fielded antenna pedestals with factory-refurbished pedestals. All drive gears, motors, position sensors will be replaced with new equipment. Waveguide components and the radome will also be replaced. This project will take the longest to implement, because each pedestal in the field will be removed, refurbished, and installed in another field site in a round robin fashion. Limited seed stock limits the number of pedestals that can be in the refurbishment process at one time. Development work has not yet begun for this project.

Equipment Shelters

The radar equipment shelters, backup generator shelters, and TPMS shelters will be refurbished on site. This project includes the roof, external vent hoods, doors, caulking, paint. The work will be contracted. A date has not yet been set.
https://www.roc.noaa.gov/WSR88D/Engi...ects/SLEP.aspx

https://www.roc.noaa.gov/WSR88D/SLEP/SLEP.aspx
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Old 1st May 2020, 01:49
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A few months ago they changed something in the URL for the radar images. So, if you saved the url, it would no longer work.
Just go to weather.gov and navigate to the desired ZIP code, and you can then save the new url.

Jon
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Old 1st May 2020, 03:14
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Guys, thanks for the quick responses. The above radars are the WSR88s, which have been the go-to radars in the USA for decades. They are consdered long-range radars, with (as I recall) about 120 NM range. The TDWR (terminal doppler weather radar) are higher frequency radars (with higher resolution), deployed in the years after the Delta L1011 crash at DFW, to paint windshear and hook echoes. They have a range of either 30 or 45 MN (I forget which). The data from the WSR88s can be "stretched" to expand precip over a certain area (like directly over an airport or a small town) if you have an app that does that, but the accuracy isn't anywhere near that of the TDWRs. BTW, the MIA WSR88 was back up a few days prior to the "scheduled" back-in-service date. It was "notamed" out for a routine replacement of the generator. Which also puzzles me, because it should not be necessary to take down a WSR88 for a routine generator replacement. Unless there is no commercial power at the radar site and the radar runs on generator 24/7.
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Old 1st May 2020, 03:25
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Originally Posted by mach2.6 View Post
The TDWR (terminal doppler weather radar) are higher frequency radars (with higher resolution), deployed in the years after the Delta L1011 crash at DFW, to paint windshear and hook echoes.
The Delta L1011 DFW crash was 35 years ago so these TDWR radars are probably 'new' technology by FAA standards since they were developed in the early 1990's. I had an ATC supervisor on the jumpseat a few years ago and he said they were still ordering Pentium computers to run Windows 2K.
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Old 1st May 2020, 07:42
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I had an ATC supervisor on the jumpseat a few years ago and he said they were still ordering Pentium computers to run Windows 2K.
Depending on just how many years ago, I have to say, good grief...
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Old 1st May 2020, 17:48
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Originally Posted by mach2.6 View Post
BTW, the MIA WSR88 was back up a few days prior to the "scheduled" back-in-service date. It was "notamed" out for a routine replacement of the generator. Which also puzzles me, because it should not be necessary to take down a WSR88 for a routine generator replacement. Unless there is no commercial power at the radar site and the radar runs on generator 24/7.
If the replacement of the generator includes replacement of the transfer switch between line and generator power then they would have to remove power from the load to replace the transfer switch. The transfer switch carries the supply current to the load whether on generator or line supply and therefore is energised when the load is energised.
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Old 1st May 2020, 19:52
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Originally Posted by Airbubba View Post
The Delta L1011 DFW crash was 35 years ago so these TDWR radars are probably 'new' technology by FAA standards since they were developed in the early 1990's. I had an ATC supervisor on the jumpseat a few years ago and he said they were still ordering Pentium computers to run Windows 2K.
Pretty sure the entire A320 Flight Control System (ELACS, SECS & FACS) are running Motorola RISC & 8088 chips from the mid '80's... Rebranded as Mission Critical Real Time Processors no doubt, but some ancient silicon no doubt...
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