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December 2020

Weather Hawk Station

WeatherHawk Alternative

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A Little History

Many readers will be familiar with the work and anxiety that goes into starting and operating a small business, especially a bootstrap operation funded through the skills, blood, sweat, and tears of the founders. When I hear of a business failure, I have some idea of the turmoil, heartache, and disappointment of the owners. I’ve been there. It is emotionally wrenching to walk away from a business. (Don’t worry. Thanks to some hard lessons from previous ventures, Dyacon is on a good course.)

While well-funded businesses may not leave the same wake of personal wreckage of a small business, there is still a toll to the employees when they are “restructured.”

Campbell Scientific, “world renowned” for their environmental data loggers, is located just down the street from Dyacon. In an effort to attack a broader market, Campbell Scientific (CSI) created a division called WeatherHawk. Their 900 series weather stations enjoyed good representation as a component of high-end home automation systems and similar applications. And then, Control4 realized that they could pull weather adequate data from “the internet” for free (<sarcasm>Because everyone knows that the internet is where good local weather data is found. Just ask Google.</sarcasm>).

In addition to integrated weather platforms, WeatherHawk also contracted with offshore manufacturers to create a line of handheld weather instruments, which is a very competitive market.

In spite of the challenges, CSI is a patient company and does not pull the plug on ventures until they’ve done everything they can to see them through. While I don’t know all of the reasons for the business decision, WeatherHawk has been effectively closed. Quoting from their website: “WeatherHawk has been absorbed into the regular operations of Campbell Scientific Inc.” And, as of 31 May 2020, “All other operations [have ceased].”

I was sorry to hear the news.

Early on when we were just developing our weather instruments, a salesman from Met One said the weather business was very incestuous. Indeed, there is a lot of overlap in the weather station business with one company selling a competitors products in order to meet the unique needs the end user.

While WeatherHawk 900 weather stations had slight overlap with Dyacon, our business strategies were significantly different. Dyacon has been very focused on developing our own instruments and web portal for aviation, commercial, and industrial users. Whereas, WeatherHawk was mostly focused on prosumers.

Note: If any of my friends at CSI wish to correct the above, please drop me a note.

Where Should WeatherHawk Users Go?

While exhibiting at the Great Alaska Aviation Gathering in 2019, we encountered an aviation company that was using a WeatherHawk 900 system for critical flight operations. They had contracted with another company to develop some customized charts to augment the WeatherHawk, but the system was aging and a new one was needed.

WeatherHawk Charts

Of course, I wouldn’t be writing this article if they had selected Davis Instruments or some other system.

Dyacon now provides this flight services company with an internet-connected weather station accessible through DyaconLive. The end solution is far simpler than the multi-tiered system that was previously required to connect the WeatherHawk to Ethernet, send the data to a server, convert the data to a jpg image, and display it on a computer. In spite of the hurdles, these charts were critical to providing an intuitive indication of the flight conditions for the pilots operating in a dangerous, turbulent location.

Based on user feedback, DyaconLive Aviation Console provides pilots with real-time, advisory surface weather data. The DyaconLive web portal allows pilots, flight managers, and staff to check conditions remotely, whether in Anchorage or Nanwalek. While an AWOS may be ideal, they are far too expensive and complex to serve the needs of most air ports and back-country landing strips.

If you are looking for an alternative, upgrade, or replacement for a WeatherHawk station, please keep Dyacon in mind. We design and manufacture most of our own equipment and web portal; giving us the capability to offer a level of service that most companies can’t, including a ground-up design for your network needs (which is a story for another time).

Eugene