Instrument mast supports - top tip

For discussion of any observing equipment, from Stevenson Screens and manual instruments to electronic weather stations

Instrument mast supports - top tip

Postby Stephen Burt » 2012 Jan 27, 21:55

Masts are of course a great way to support many met instruments, particularly those had benefit from exposure at height, such as sunshine or solar radiation sensors, and wind instruments of course. But it can be difficult finding the fixtures and fittings to create and fix a mast robust enough to hold what might be a pricey and delicate sensor, especially in strong winds.

Over the years I've tried a variety of fittings and brackets, mostly from B&Q and their ilk. I have found most TV aerial fittings and masts not really ideal for this purpose, as the brackets seem to be bespoke shapes to clamp on to standard aerials, and the masts rather too flexible such that anemometers sway visibly in strong winds.

The strong winds at the beginning of January brought down the 2 m mast in the field behind my house on which my Davis VP2 was mounted. Amazingly, the AWS did not suffer any damage worse than getting rather muddy as it hit the ground, and as it is only a backup system I didn't lose any record, but it forced me after all to 'do something' about replacing the mast.

I eventually found these superb brackets http://www.aerialshack.com/caravan-aerial-mast-bracket-p-335.html . They are TV aerial supports designed for a caravan or similar, but they hold a 20-25 mm rigid mast absolutely perfectly. I now have two holding my Davis AWS firmly in place on a well-fixed 100 x 100 mm fencepost, but they would do equally well on a gable end holding a cranked mast to get an anemometer or sunshine recorder above the roofline of a house. Each is held in place by up to six substantial screws, while the mast itself is locked rigidly in place by a U-bolt - important for wind vanes particularly, ensuring the bearings don't drift over time (previous masts have tended to rotate slightly in strong winds). At less than £8 each, next-day delivery and very easy to fit, I'm sure they will be welcomed by many other COL members. (No, I don't have any shares in the suppliers ... !)

SB
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Stratfield Mortimer, Berkshire - central southern England
51.4°N, 1.0°W, 60 m AMSL, station grade A - AAAA47R
Records commenced here 1987 - local records available back to 1862
The Weather Observer's Handbook: www.measuringtheweather.com
Stephen Burt
 
Posts: 247
Joined: 2011 Dec 02, 19:36
Location: Stratfield Mortimer, Berkshire; a well-exposed rural site, 10 km SW of Reading

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