Wendy Windblows Everything for Paragliders and Hang Gliders
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Wendy Windblows Service Information

(Scroll Down To Skip The Explanations and Get The Latest Fault Repair News!)

(But please read the basic Info below if you don't already understand Wendy's background and how she works)

How Wendy Works...

Wendy is very time-consuming in regard to repairs.  It involves LOTS of travelling.  To repair, say, Devils Dyke, it's 4-5 hours on the road from our home in Sheffield, then a load of work, then a return 4-5 hour drive back.

The cost in diesel alone for our 4WD is around £150, and a complete day is taken up.  Sometimes we leave home at 4am, and don't get back till midnight!

Wendy doesn't provide a living - it just basically covers its costs, so we have to attend to it in our spare time. We have a TV aerial business that pays the bills. And we can't always take time off from that instantly if faults occur - we often have jobs booked which can't be put off.  So, faults a long way from Sheffield can sometimes take a little while to put right, and I ask you to bear with us on this.



Rod Buck
Rod Buck

Weather Problems Delay Repairs Sometimes...

Especially in winter. Weather conditions for outdoor repair work are often impossible!  Snow, ice, rain, or continued high winds often prevent us from fixing things immediately.  Most of the stations are in extremely exposed locations,  and we have to wait until winds die down, and we can get dry, calm, and reasonably warm weather before it is safe to climb the mast to repair/replace things...

Some stations (such as Wether Fell) involve a perilous drive for a mile or so over boggy moorland without even a track to follow - and if it's too wet, we can't get to it, even with the 4WD. It isn't unknown to get bogged down completely and have to get a tractor to rescue us from the bog!

Sometimes, landowners limit access to the stations until the fields/tracks have dried out - and I have to abide by their wishes, as they mostly allow the Wendy stations on their land as a favour to me, and you. The farmer at Accre, for example (who is a really nice guy) asks that we don't chew up his field taking the 4WD up it when it's really wet and slippery. So faults at Accre have to wiat until things dry out a bit.

Apologies For Slow Servicing of Faults

Both Lynn and myself have been seriously ill in the last two years, involving hospital stays and a long recovery back to something like normal fitness. Lynn still suffers from the after-effects of her stroke, so if you speak to her, please be patient, she forgets her words sometimes.

I am still recovering slowly from my serious fall (see entry for 30th August 2014, below) which involved multiple injuries and two bouts of major surgery. But we are both staggering round doing as much as we can, while working on ways to upgrade and improve Wendy. The final surgeries took place last summer (a hip replacement) and I am, at last, functioning reasonable normally again, and can start to look at the long list of outstanding Wendy repairs.

Actually, I am working in my spare time on a radical new technology, giving much more info, much more frequently updated, and returning data through the mobile networks, which will mean much improved reliability. Our major faults on the system currently are always centred around BT phone lines, which suffer a lot from lightning strikes and adverse winter weather. At the time we created Wendy, mobile cellphone coverage of most sites was absent - so landlines and radio-telemetry were the only way to get the data from hilltop to the phones and website. That has now changed, nearly all sites have good mobile signal, so we can dispense with the landlines and add new mobile features, such as webcams. This is a work in progress, but it should turn into reality for this coming season.

Of course, if a phone line goes down, we are at BT's mercy for however long it takes them to fix it - I would love to ditch them altogether, so that we can see to problems in-house and immediately. Mobile data telemetry will enable us to do just that. There will be fewer problems, and if there ARE any, we can substitute new equipment for any faulty units, and get things back online much faster than BT will attend to a landline problem.

We keep out-of-service, and anticipated return-of service data on this page up-to-date, as often as possible.

If you need more information, please contact me

Rod




Lynn Buck

Latest Service Information - Friday March 31st 2017

Bradwell Overhauled

We are pleased to announce that Bradwell was overhauled and new sensors fitted yesterday. The wind cups had been wrecked by gales, amongst other damage.

Accre Problems

We had to part-repair Moel Accre on our last visit a week or two ago, as the winds got up to 30mph+ while we were there, and I could not climb the mast to replace the wind sensors properly. It was all vibrating and swinging about too much to be sure of fixing all the electronics faults present, so we did our best and left.

It did work for a few days. However, a power fault has re-occurred, so we have to get back over there as soon as the wind drops a bit to allow us to complete the overhaul in decent working conditions..

Nympsfield and Mynd Next

Next in line for overhaul are Nympsfield and Long Mynd, which we will do as soon as we have sorted Accre.

Firle and the Dyke After Nympsfield

Then after that, we will be looking for a good weather break to go down South and sort Firle and the Dyke.

We especially need calm winds and warm dry conditions to climb the radio mast on top of the Devils Dyke pub, as it is dangerous and challenging enough, at 60ft up a thin staywire-supported mast, without it blowing hoolies and being too wet and cold to do anything delicate in the repairs line.

This can be a bit tricky, as we have to give a few days notice to the owners, and it's difficult to predict calm conditions several days in advance, and it is a 500-mile round trip wasted if we get it wrong.

So please bear with us as we catch up with the backlog - we're going as fast as things allow.

 

Rod Buck

Rod


Latest Service Information - Thursday March 16th 2017

Moel Accre Repair Today

We are back over to Accre today to try and finish that repair and service off (were limited by weather last trip, winds got up too much, and could not finish it)

If time permits, we'll move over to the Mynd and finish that one off too.

Sites Lost to Rent Increases

Several of the radio towers that we sited Wendys on in the past have changed ownership, part of the general privatisation process.

They were once owned by public bodies, like the Police, etc, who let us on for nominal money. However, now they are operated by private companies, who want rentals that we could not possibly afford.

We therefore have to leave these sites, and find new freestanding locations, which we now have the technology to do. Sites affected are:

Blorenge
Mercury
Combe Hill
Parlick
and perhaps Firle.

If anyone in the areas covered by these sites has any ideas or connections that will help us re-site a new Wendy, please get in touch.

Rod

Rod Buck

Rod


Latest Service Information - Thurs February 9th 2017

Blorenge Station Move

For about twenty years, the Wendy station at the Blorenge has been on a pole on the brick hut at the Twin Radio Towers near the car park - not ideal, but when it was installed, the system needed mains power and a landline phone.

This was the only place nearby where it could go.

We had a nice arrangement with Gwent Police, who owned the towers, and it was affordable. Now the management of the Towers has been taken over by a private company, and the rental they are demanding is WAY in excess of Wendy's limited resources. I told them that was not a feasible arrangement.

Accordingly, they have asked that we remove the equipment from their building, and I am going down there to do that tomorrow (Friday 10th Feb).

The Blorenge station will cease to work from tomorrow.

However, we have, upcoming shortly, a much-improved set of kit that can freestand anywhere, be solar-powered, and transfer data through the 4G phone service - including, I hope, web cam images. So, if we can arrange a site nearer to takeoff, we can re-assemble the station there, with much-improved and more relevant readings, I think.

I understand the SE Wales club own a part of the Blorenge - is anyone out there on their committee, that we can get in touch with and help arrange a new site for the station? Rod

Rod Buck

Rod


Latest Service Information - Thurs February 9th 2017

Blorenge Station Move

For about twenty years, the Wendy station at the Blorenge has been on a pole on the brick hut at the Twin Radio Towers near the car park - not ideal, but when it was installed, the system needed mains power and a landline phone.

This was the only place nearby where it could go.

We had a nice arrangement with Gwent Police, who owned the towers, and it was affordable. Now the management of the Towers has been taken over by a private company, and the rental they are demanding is WAY in excess of Wendy's limited resources. I told them that was not a feasible arrangement.

Accordingly, they have asked that we remove the equipment from their building, and I am going down there to do that tomorrow (Friday 10th Feb).

The Blorenge station will cease to work from tomorrow.

However, we have, upcoming shortly, a much-improved set of kit that can freestand anywhere, be solar-powered, and transfer data through the 4G phone service - including, I hope, web cam images. So, if we can arrange a site nearer to takeoff, we can re-assemble the station there, with much-improved and more relevant readings, I think.

I understand the SE Wales club own a part of the Blorenge - is anyone out there on their committee, that we can get in touch with and help arrange a new site for the station? Rod

Rod Buck

Rod


Latest Service Information - Weds February 8th 2017

Office Phone Disaster - Rectified!

A few days ago, the Virgin Cable people came down our street, installing their unwanted services, and in the process dug up and damaged the underground BT cable that feeds our house and office - we have lost 3 our of 4 lines, and half our broadband capability.

Glad to report that BT have been out and restored all our missing lines and broadband as of this morning, so Wendy should be functioningagain, bith on the website and the Central Voice Server



Apoloigies for the loss of service, but glad we got it all back again

Rod Buck

Rod


Latest Service Information - Monday February 6th 2017

Office Phone Disaster!

A few days ago, the Virgin Cable people came down our street, installing their unwanted services, and in the process dug up and damaged the underground BT cable that feeds our house and office - we have lost 3 our of 4 lines, and half our broadband capability.

They did this previously, about a month or so back, when they installed the ducting, that time we lost ALL our lines for a couple of days, and the Wendy serivce was cut off entirely - we could not contact the stations, or upload data to the website. Now they have done it AGAIN!

BT have been out to our premises and tested the lines, and localised the fault to about 89 metres down the street, where the digging was recently done... so no surprise there!

They say they will get a crew out to dig the path up (again!) and repair it, but can't say when. So in the meantime, the Wendy website and phone server are getting no data, as we can't contact the stations to download it in the first place.

Sorry about this, we are doing the best we can to restore services - I hope to have the website back on Wednesday, at least. The phone server may be a bit longer, depending on how things go.

Rod Buck

Rod


Latest Service Information - Thursday August 18th 2016

Parlick Back On Air!

After a fair amount of shenanigans, we managed to get the Parlick station on Longridge Fell up and running again.

It will need a proper service visit at some time soon, which I will do as soon as more urgent stuff is dealt with.

Rod Buck

Rod


Latest Service Information - Sunday August 14th 2016

Long Mynd Back Working!

Despite some recurring problems withmy new metal hip, and a few other things resulting from my accident, we got ourselves together in a spell of good weather on Sunday and legged ito ver to the Mynd.

I am still walking with a crutch a lot of the time, (certainly if I have to do any distance above about 20 yards) so having got got to the gliding club, we set about transferring the ladders, test gear, and spare parts round the back of the clubhouse to the Wendy mast. We found someone in the clubhouse had nicked the display monitor, and the spare we had with us didn't fit the limited space available. No one woudl admit to knowing where the original had gone to, either...

The wind cups had been shattered in a gale, so they needed replacing, 35 feet up the top of the mast. We put the ladders up, and started on the pole ladders to go the rest of the way. However, it wasn;t possible to fit the last 5ft pole ladder, due to my limitations (one arm was broken in 4 places, and still isn't strong enough to manage this sort of work, really...)

So, I had to fix a new wind head about 5ft lower down the mast fopr the time being.

Things were livened up by some guy from the gliding club coming out and saying they weren;t happy with my going up the mast, but I pointed out I had a full safety harness, and it was laddered up as high as we needed to go today (he wasn't familiar with pole ladders, and didn't know what they were). However, he left us in peace after a while.

Checked the station, and the wind speed as showing (although only 1mph, due to the lack of wind apart from the odd light thermal rolling up the hill.

That'll do me!

I have to say my recovery is taking quite a lot longer than I hoped - I still have many problems to overcome before I am fully fit again, so any help from any competent climbers would be very welcome.

Please bear with me - there is two years worth of repairs to compress into the rest of the summer, and I am still far from fit, as today has proved. Once upon a time, I would have done this repair and a couple of others in the one day, but I am now much slower and weaker, alas. Put it down to Anno Domini (I'm now 67) and accumulation of serious injuries that are slow to heal.

Rod Buck

Rod


Latest Service Information - Sunday June 26th 2016

Wether Fell Back Working!

Well, 8 weeks after having a new metal hip put in, my recovery had progressed enough to contemplate Wendy work again.

It's pushing things a bit, but I decided the first candidate for repair had to be the long-overdue fixing of Wether Fell. So, on Sunday, we went up there, three hours on the road, and met Owen Thompson, who kindly agreed to help out, as he was curious to see how the system worked.

I am still walking with a crutch a lot of the time, (certainly if I have to do any distance above about 20 yards) so having got the 4WD up on the Moor, we set about transferring the ladders, test gear, and spare parts the 300 yards or so over the moor, and over a couple of stone walls to the station. Not to mention transporting my decrepit carcase the same distance!

The wind cups had been shattered in a gale, so they needed replacing, 25 feet up the top of the mast. We put the ladders up, not without difficulty, as it was blowing about 25mph by this time.

Owen very sensibly declined the offer to climb up to the top of the vibrating swaying ladders and mast and replace the wind cups, so it was up to Yours Truly. This should test out how well the surgeon embedded the new parts! I don't think I'll tell him what I did, he might have kittens.

Anyway, all went well, new wind cups installed, and I descended the ladder on (slightly) trembling legs (having stood still on the top of the ladder for about 15 mins while I replaced the windcups. Amazing how you get out of condition when laid up - I wouldn't have even NOTICED such a task about three years back - now it was all I could manage. It took me about 20 minutes to stagger back the 300 yards across the moor to the 4WD, carrying the test gear and old wind head. (Owen kindly took the ladders).

Checked the station, and - behold!

"The Wind is varying between 19 and 29 miles per hour, average WSW at 25 mph"

That'll do me! There is a long list of stations that need attention, and I will now start working my way round them, starting probably with Carlton Bank, then the Long Mynd, and heading for points south.

Please bear with me - there is two years worth of repairs to compress into the rest of the summer, and I am still far from fit, as today has proved. Once upon a time, I would have done this repair and a couple of others in the one day, but I am now much slower and weaker, alas. Put it down to Anno Domini (I'm now 67) and accumulation of serious injuries that are slow to heal.

I hop to improve my speed and fitness over the next 3 months - I am only 8 weeks post major surgery, after all.

Rod Buck

Rod


Latest Service Information - Friday April 22nd 2016

Moel Accre Back On-Air!

We went back to Accre yesterday,. after overhauling all the sensor electronics in the workshop this last week. We found out the BT line fault had been repaired a day or so ago, so it was time to re-install the hilltop equipment.

Got everything installed OK, Seems to be working fine.

Rod


Latest Service Information - 8pm Monday April 11th 2016

Wether Fell BT Fault Diagnosed

We went up to Wether Fell today, (see below) and found, after some tests, that the BT line coming into the premises in Burtersett that hosts Wendy was dead. No volts, no dialtone, nada.

This is annoying, because there is a history to this. I was, after Christmas, unable to get into the premises to do these tests, (it's a long story - the owner was away a lot, and I have been in and out of hospital) but I suspected it was a BT fault all along.

I reported it on several occasions, and each time, the story was the same - BT said thataccording to their tests, either there WAS no fault, or that the fault was inside the property, and not their problem. They refused to do anything about it until we had done all the tests inside the property.

As I said, we have been unable to gain access till today (I should explain that the main Wendy equipment is in a weatherproof box on the outside wall of the property, and so we don't need internal access to the place to conduct normal repairs. Only in the case of no mains supply or no phone line working do we need to gain access inside).

Anyway, we can prove that the actual line is dead now, so I have re-reported it to BT tonight, when we got home. (about 8 hours on the road to do this lot today, and 8 hours on the road yesterday, too, to deal with Moel Accre, it's a hard life, doing Wendy!)

BT have formally accepted the fault, and it should be fixed shortly. The data from the station up on the hill seemed to be coming in via radio-telemetry fine, so when the line is fixed, Wether Fell Wendy should be back on air.

By the way, out of interest, we could pick up the telemetry data stream from CARLTON BANK just a wee way up the hill at Burtersett! It's only supposed to travel about 5 miles total! Here we are, getting it at least 60 miles away!

Rod


Latest Service Information - 9am Monday April 11th 2016

Moel Accre Diagnosed - Wether Fell's Turn Today!

Yesterday, after sorting out the Network, and getting the Wendy system back working as a whole, we went off to Ruthin to sort out Moel Accre.

We found, as suspected, that there is a fault on the BT phone line (which BT have been denying for ages, despite our reporting it). We also went up on the hilltop to service the sensors and equipment up there, but when we got up there, it was blowing over 40-50mph, you couldn't stand up!

So we have re-reported the fault to BT, telling them that there is NO fault in our equipment, and that there is no voltage on the line atc the master socket. "Have you tried another phone in the socket?" the idiot at BT asked. "What would be the point, if there is NO VOLTAGE on the line?" I asked. Long silence. Why don't they employ technically able people on their Faults desk?

Anyway, that is reported, and I am overhauling all the sensor equipment for Accre, and will be back over there when I come out of hospital to re-install it all when the line is fixed.

Wether Fell

Today, we are off up to Wether Fell, where I also suspect a BT line fault, despite them again, saying that there is not a problem. Let you know what happens.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Sunday April 10th 2016

Network Crash!

I have just come into the workshop to find that the main machine that collects data from the Wendy stations and posts it to the website and phone servers has crashed - the whole network is down. I am working on it as I speak - it's 8:30am. Will try to get it back on air ASAP.

I am annoyed, because we were just about to set ofrf on a trip to Moel Accre, in North Wales, to service and repair that station, and get it back on air. This now might be put off till another day, if this fault in the office takes too long to fix.

I have limited time to get in any further repairs, as I am going in to hospital on Thursday for a long-awaited hip replacement operation. (Only been waiting about 18 months for everything to heal up to the point where I can undergo this surgery.)

Rod


Latest Service Information - Saturday March 26th 2016

Blorenge Back On Air!!

I am pleased to announce that, after an all-day overhaul session last Wednesday, (made possible by the light winds and warmer weather) we have got Blorenge working again.

I am still in a lot of pain with my dodgy hip, and using a crutch to get around, which makes climbing ladders tricky, to say the least, but Lynn kindly drove the 4WD down to Abergavenny from Sheffield while I laid the passenger seat back to recline, and went to sleep for the 3.5 hour trip! (I had been up till 11:30 the night before preparing and testing spare parts, and then up again at 6am to carry on preparing parts and loading up the car ready to go down there, so was pretty knackered by the time we set off).

We left around 11am, got down there for about 2:30, spent 4 hours on the overhaul, and set off back around 7pm. Got home around 11pm. Long day!

Next in line is probably Moel Accre or Wether Fell, depending on availability of access to the equipment. I will try to get one of them back on air over the holiday, if possible (weather is making it unlikely as I speak, winds and rain are sweeping in).

I am due to go into the Royal Hallamshire hospital on 7th April for my hip replacement - (actually, no, make that 14th April, I just got a letter from the hospital saying that it's been put back a week because of the junior doctors' strike), so I hope to get as much done as I can before then. After the op, I will be out of action for 3 weeks or so, I guess, then I will carry on with the list of repairs and upgrades. I shul;d be able to gradually do much more as my new hip beds in and I get my mobility back.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Monday March 21st 2016

Bradwell Back On Air!!

We are pleased to announce that, after a 2-day overhaul session (made possible by the light winds and warmer weather) we have got Bradwell back on-air at last.

We found that, apart from the wind sensors being wrecked, someone in the Gliding Club clubhouse had inadvertently pulled a couple of plugs out of the Wendy equipment while installing a CCTV system on trhe same shelf! This ddidn't help things much.

Now, next in line for repair are probably Blorenge and Moel Accre. The earliest we can schedule them is Thursday, so it depends on how quickly the bad weather arrives - it may yet beat us to it, but we will try our best.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Weds March 9th 2016

Rod's Personal Repairs - At Last!

We have just heard that Rod's hip replacement, which we have been waiting for for over 18 months now, and which has been held up for a variety of medical problems (my other injuries made it too dangerous to do until now) is scheduled for 7th April!

At last I can look forward to a life without crutches, and without up to 12 Tramadol a day (yes, you heard that right, 12 Tramadol a DAY, and loads of codeine etc too) and looking forward to a lifewhere normal movement and work becomes possible again. It has got so bad in recent months that I can't even drive for more than about 5 miles, without it getting way too painful.

But this good news means we will be able soon to start round all the Wendy stations, repairing and upgrading things for you not long after I recuperate from the op.

Several people have kindly offered to help with the Wendy repairs, and I am duly grateful and will take advantage of that as soon as we can arrange things.

You have no idea how glad I will be to get Wendy all back to full operation again. I do apologise to all those inconvenienced by my lack of mobility, and would remind you that if you really feel out of pocket on your Wendy subs, we will voluntarily extend your membership for free by 3 months or so to make up for the dead time. However, I would ask that you don't all do that right now, else we shall not have the cash flow to travel rouind and do all the repairs. It is expensive in fuel, accommodation, parts, etc etc, and the more subs we get in, the quicker we will be able to get things back online again.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Saturday March 5th 2016

Carlton Victory!

Youy probably don't know this, but we have been involved with a prolonged battle with the National Park authority re siting of the Wendy station on Carlton Bank.

It used to be on a hangar at the gliding club, but when that was demolished, we erected a freestanding mast, with the permission of the landowner.

The National Park then said we had to have planning persmission, and to cease operation until that was granted. Well, we have just heard that we have planning approval for the station for the next 5 years! It has only taken about 2 years of paperwork and appeals etc... I've spent HOURS on it.

Now, we have to find a new base for it in the area around Potto/Hutton Rudby/Stokesley, as the old base in Potto has changed hands, and the new owner doesn't want Wendy there. We found a new home at the Kings Head pub in Hutton Rudby, only to find that BT wanted 500 plus to install a phone line! That put an end to THAT situation, so we are going up there to retrieve the equipment that we had fitted at the pub ready, and are looking for a new home. Basically, we need a place within about 2-3 miles of Carlton Bank, that has mains power and a phone line. The unit is a normal PC, which picks up the weather data by radio telemetry from the hill, and sends it down the phone line (which we pay for).

If anyone has such a place, or knows of oine, please let us know, so we can get Carlton back on air ASAP?

Rod


Latest Service Information - Weds February 24th 2016

Website Problems

While I was out of the office today, Lynn discovered that if you try and log in to the Wendy website, you get an error message about security.

It warns that your data might be at risk. However, to operate the password-protected part of Wendy, with the wind data etc on it, there is no financial data stored in the access-control system, apart from the last 4 digits of your card, or your bank account. This is so we can show you online where your subs are being paid from by Standing Order etc. There is also very limited address data, nopt a full address or anything like it - just sifficient again to let you know where we THINK you live. (people move and don't tell us!) This is not sufficient to put any of your finances in peril, and in fact, in 24 years of running Wendy, we have never had any data loss or theft.

However, to be absolutely sure, please do not send us any joining or change-of-aaddress details online - please call us on 0114-287-8936 instead until we can find out what is going on.

I have asked the webmaster, Tim Salter, to look into this urgently (I only got to look at it about 8pm, when I got back home, and could not get any answers from the hosting company) So we will get everything sorted as soon as we can.

Medical Update - 24th Feb

On the medical front, I am still on crutches, waiting for a hip replacement. However, I passed the pre-op assessment last week, and am marked down as Urgent, so I hope to have the surgery in the next 4 weeks. Then, given a short recuperation period, I hope to be back on the road, servicing and updating all the stations for you.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Weds Feb 3rd 2016

Rod's Medical Update - Repairs Schedule

Just to keep you all informed, I have been waiting for an essential hip replacement (and some other surgery) for over a year now, and my degree of mobility is severaly limited. I can only walk with a crutch, and can't manage more than about 50 yards without a prolonged rest. Even sitting in the car for longer than about half an hour is extremely painful Climbing any ladders is out of the question, let alone climbing radio masts, on which several Wendys are sited, some 60ft high.

This all resulted from a very bad fall from ladders over a year ago. Many other medical problems resulting from the accident meant my new hip had to wait until now. But I saw the Consultant again last week, (the X-rays of my hip showed it to have crumbled away to nothing, he wondered that I was not in a wheelchair!) and he confirmed that all is now OK to proceed. I go for preop assessment on 15th Feb, and am marked as Urgent on the list, so I hope it will be soon after that.

I am curently taking enough Tramadol and other stuff to keep half the junkies in Sheffield happy! I wish, though, someone would invent a painkiller that actually got rid of pain. Very few do. I have been on every painkiller known to man, and even Fentanyl patches had no effect on me at all, so that will maybe tell you how bad I have been.

With modern techniques, I am told recovery from a hip operation should not take many weeks, so I will be back doing Wendy repairs probably at the end of March-early April, I hope. Up to now, in the last month or more, what we can do is severely limited anyway, by the persistent winds and rain that have hit us with monotonous regularity this winter. These conditions make hilltop electronic repairs impossible, even if I was mobile. We need warmer drier conditions with light winds to be able to fix things out on the hills.

Anyway, as soon as I recover from surgery, I'll be back doing the rounds of Wendy stations, getting things back on-air as quickly as possible. Yes, I know a lot of them are off at the moment, damaged by the gales, but I ask you all to please bear with Lynn and I during this difficult time.

I have run Wendy now for the flying community since at least 1990 - some 25 years, can you believe it? And we hope to get her back to top form, with new technology and faster reports, (and webcam images too) as soon as practical.

Finances

Wendy doesn't make any money, the subscriptions just about cover the running costs. Indeed, normally, we subsidise her out of our pockets at this time of year (when few people join or renew) - and then get the money back in summer, when lots more subs come in. This we have been unable to do this year, as, due to my mobility problems, out main business, (TV aerials and Sat dishes) has earned FAR less than normal, and we have no spare cash to subsidise Wendy over winter as we normally would.

So that we can have the money and parts available, ready to travel round the country, repairing and fixing things as soon as I am fit, I would ask that, despite the reduced service level just now, with stations unavailable, you do not cancel your Wendy subs. Please stick with it, and as soon as I am mobile after my new hip, we'll get her back to normal. It will probably take about 3-4 weeks to get them ALL serviced, but we'll do it as fast as we can.

Any queries, please contact me on 07971-846-153

Rod


Latest Service Information - Monday January 11th 2016

Bradwell Windcup Replacement

I have been waiting for a week or two for a light-wind day to go out and replace the wind cups at Bradwell, which were shattered in a gale a while back.

Today was the first day for ages when it was light enough, and it wasn't raining. Unfortunately, several other things went wrong, and we arrived at the airfield just as it was getting dark. Also, my promised help with the ladders (I am still using crutches, so have great difficulty climbing any height) didn't materialise - he was called away on other urgent business. So, we did not manage it today, but at least got to eyeball the mast and check for other problems.

We now hope to get it sorted within the next 2-3 days.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Sunday January 10th 2016

Carlton Bank BT Cockup!

What IS it with BT? They cannot even get a simple change-of-address right, keep an appointment, or even have the decency to contact the customer to let you know they aren't turning up....

We booked a move-phone-line job for the Carlton Bank Wendy station for yesterday (Friday 8th Jan). This was back at the beginning of December, and 8th Jan was the earliest date they could give us. It was a simple move-the-phone-line to a new premises about 2 miles away from the old one.

It was booked for 1pm-6pm Friday. (they allow themselves plenty of bleedin' room, don't they? When *I* go to a customers house, I give a time to the half-hour, never mind about 5 hours. AND I phone up promptly if delayed by a previous job over-running. Anyway, we drove up from Sheffield to the Middlesbrough area (about 100 miles or so) installed the Wendy equipment in the new premises, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

No one turned up, no one called us, nothing. Nada. Zip.

No response from them on phone, except queues, muzak, etc, so we waited till 6pm, when "this office is closed until 8am tomorrow" was all the answer we got.

I rang them Saturday morning, and got the Bangalore Girl From Hell, with an accent so Peter-Sellers thick that I couldn't understand her. She also used weird phrases.

"I am looking up your details, will you be with me on this?" means apparently, she wanted me to stay on the line.

"What is the address?" she wanted to know.

"Which address?"

I asked

"The billing address in Sheffield, the old installation address the line used to be at, or the new address you are moving it to?"

This confused her completely, and she kept asking again for the address. We went round in circles like this several times.

Why the hell can't they employ British people, that speak English, for Gawd's sake? And have some knowledge of UK geography and distances.

She said, offhandedly, that the lines were not available in the street cabinet yet, so the job could not be completed on Friday.

"So why didn't you phone or email me to tell me, so I did not waste a day and 200 miles worth of diesel going up there for no reason?" I asked.

"We can do it by the 12th" she said.

Well, there are access reasons why we can only get into the premises on a Friday afternoon, so I explained this, and said the 12th was no good, it would have to be Friday 15th. 1pm-6pm.

She couldn't understand this, "But you will be at home, won't you?"

"IT IS NOT MY HOME!!!!!!!!

I yelled. Losing it by now.

She now said that they did not have to come into the premises to connect us up. I said yes, you do, there is no line, and no master socket, so how are you going to connect us?

"Oh, there are some lines in there already, we can use one on them for your number"

I had already put repeated notes on the order that the existing lines into the premises were NOT to be altered in any way, this was to be a NEW line... Sheesh!

We ended with my blood pressure at about 250/190, and with my total contempt for BT. They do not DESERVE to have a business.

So it looks like Friday 15th we MAY get Carlton back connected.

Now you know why it takes up so much of my time! I'm gonna bill them for the wasted journey and my wasted time. That might get their attention!

Rod


Latest Service Information - Thursday January 7th 2016

Carlton Bank Reinstall

We are off back up to Carlton Bank tomorrow (Friday 8th) to re-install the Carlton Bank Wendy computer in it new location at the Kings Head, Hutton Rudby. (The data is telemetered down to the computer by radio from the hilltop,and the computer interfaces it to the phone line so that it can be uploaded to the web and phone servers.)

BT are supposed to be coming to reinstall the phone line on Friday afternoon. Here's hoping they turn up - they're not especially reliable at this, in our experience!

Rod


Latest Service Information - Wednesday December 30th 2015

Off Air Stations -

The recent bad weather has prevented our getting out to deal with the Wendy problems. Really wet conditions prevent our accessing many sites at this time of year. Even if we don't get stuck, the farms don't like us chewing up their tracks and fields with the 4WD much!

Current site reports and problems:

There are site negotiation problems at Parlick - we are urgently seeking a better site for the spring. The radio tower at Longridge Fell is far from ideal for a wind sampling, so we are seeking a better location. The site cost has gone up a lot, and is no longer economic too.

Bradwell the windcups have been destroyed in the gales. We are waiting for a weather window to go out and replace them. Wether Fell has a persistent phone line problem that we are having difficulty sorting out -

Carlton Bank we have removed the base station, due to vandalism, and have negotiated a new site at the Kings Head, Hutton Rudby, but we can't get the phone line in till 4th Jan. Nont Sarahs - we are removing the defunct station from the Carriage House, Marsden where the wind readings were too erratic, hopefully back to its old location at the Nont Sarahs pub (which is now a private residence and coffee house). We met the owners to seek an agreement a few days ago, and we hope this will result in an arrangement to resite it there. Moel Accre has solar battery charging problems, and phone line probs, and we hope to address those over the Xmas period. Our 4WD is off the road with a gearbox problem, (we're on a hired van at present) and we need the 4WD to get up the hill at Accre to fix the station, so it will be a few days.

More news as we get it!

Rod


Latest Service Information - Wednesday December 16th 2015

There are various stations off air at present

There is a lot of pre-Xmas demand in our normal business - TV Aerials - which has kept us working 16 hours a day lately, plus the recent bad weather has prevented our getting out to deal with the Wendy problems. Really wet conditions prevent our accessing many sites at this time of year. Even if we don't get stuck, the farms don;t like us chewing up their tracks and fields with the 4WD much!

Current site reports and problems

There are site negotiation problems at Parlick - we are urgently seeking a better site for the spring. The radio tower at Longridge Fell is far from ideal for a wind sampling, so we are seeking a better location. The site cost has gone up a lot, and is no longer economic too.

Wether Fell has a persistent phone line problem that we are having difficulty sorting out -

Carlton Bank we have removed the base station, due to vandalism, and have negotiated a new site at the Kings Head, Hutton Rudby, but we can't get the phone line in till 4th Jan. Nont Sarahs - we are removing the defunct station from the Carriage House, Marsden where the wind readings were too erratic, hopefully back to its old location at the Nont Sarahs pub (which is now a private residence and coffee house). We met the owners to seek an agreement a few days ago, and we hope this will result in an arrangement to resite it there. Moel Accre has solar battery charging problems, and phone line probs, and we hope to address those over the Xmas period. Our 4WD is off the road with a gearbox problem, (we're on a hired van at present) and we need the 4WD to get up the hill at Accre to fix the station, so it will be a few days.

More news as we get it!

Rod


Latest Service Information - Wednesday December 9th 2015

Carlton - Relocation

As I mentioned before, we have to remove the Carlton Wendy computer and phone line from its current location in Potto to prevent vandalism, which has troubled us a LOT this last year. This has been done now, so the station is off air temporarily.

However, we have negotiated a new home for the Wendy computer at the Kings Head, 36 North Side, Hutton Rudby, where there will be a weather display in the small snug room to the right as you go in the door.

The earliest BT can transfer the phone line in there is the 4th of January, so we expect Carlton Wendy to spring back to life then.

Nont Sarahs

We have received word that the new owner of what was the Nont Sarahs pub might well welcome the Wendy station back to its old location, so we are going to do our best to make that come about shortly. Again, fingers crossed!

More news as we get it!

Rod


Latest Service Information - Sunday November 29th 2015

Carlton - Nonts - Various!

As I mentioned before, we have to remove the Carlton Wendy computer and phone line from its current location in Potto to prevent vandalism, which has troubled us a LOT this last year. We are going up there to do that today.

However, we are also going to negotiate a new location nearby in Hutton Rudby, so - fingers crossed!

Nont Sarahs

We have received word that the new owner of what was the Nont Sarahs pub might well welcome the Wendy station back to its old location, so we are going to do our best to make that come about shortly. Again, fingers crossed!

More news as we get it!

Rod


Latest Service Information - Monday November 2nd 2015

Mercury

We are going down to Mercury tomorrow, despite the fog, to replace all the wind sensors etc. and overhaul the station completely.

I must apologise for it taking so long to get to, but it had to wait until I was well enough to tackle it. (The sensors are a long way up the tower, a big ladder climb).

Westbury and Compton

Next on the list down south are Compton, which needs a new battery for the solar panels, the currento ne isn't holding charge overnight, and Westbury, which needs a general overhaul. This has been long delayed, as I have not been fit enough to climb the mast to replace the wind heads.(it is a particularly narrow and dangerous climb). However, I have done a deal with the farmer to drop the mast down with a tractor and hydraulic lift, do the work at ground level, then raise it up again. In return for this big favour, I am going to do some fancy security electronics for him, to prevent thieves from attacking his premises, which is a big problem to him.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Tuesday 27th October 2015

Moel Accre

We went to Accre on Sunday, and spent about 3 hours on the hill, trying to get the battery charge controller for the solar panels to work properly. It was damn cold and windy, and drizzling intermittently, so we were operating under some difficulties. It seemed to calm down and behave, so we also fitted a new Radio Telemetry transmitter, and left it running.

It was now too late to go on to Nympsfield, so we headed back home to Sheffield, and re-planned Nympsfield for Tuesday.

Nympsfield

Accre appeared to be running OK all Monday, so on Tuesday, we set off at 6am for Nympsfield, via the M1, the M42, and the M5.

We met one car accident on the M42, which held us up in a queue for 40 minutes, and TWO accidents on the M5 within about 2 miles of each other near J5-6. The last one was spectacular, a lorry upside down on the embankment by the side of the motorway, its arse end in the field, and the cab sticking up the slope and into fresh air!

BTW, don't let the police tell you they're short of manpower or money. Apart from the usual Fire service and Paramedics and Highway Officers, there were about 5 police cars there, and more arriving by the minute - all for a 2-car collision, and one, a Range Rover, not badly damaged. Can't see what they'd need about 6-8 police vehicles for, clearly there were plenty of constables with not much to do at around 9am this morning!

Got to Nympsfield about an hour late, and met a longterm Wendy member, John Reed who had come along to meet us and see if he could help. We got a new computer fitted, and everything seemed to boot up Ok and work fine, so we wrapped up and left it, returning home to Sheffield, got in around 6pm, so a 12 hour day on the road, pretty typical Wendy repair trip!

Moel Accre Again!

When we got home, in the dark, we noticed the Accre had stopped transmitting hilltop data agian, so there is clearly still a problem with the battery or some such. It was working in daylight OK, so I think the solar panel is driving it OK in daylight, but it isn't charging the battery, or the battery isn't holding the charge properly, to supply power to work it in the dark. We'll do some more tests and see what they reveal.

Wether Fell

There remains the phone line to check. Steve, the guy that owns the house where Wendy lives at Burtersett, will be back at the weekend, so I hope to get up there and test the line properly. I hope its a local bad connection, which I can fix. It might be a BT line fault, in which case, I;ll report it to them. Either way, it's the last thing we need to get Wether Fell back up to full service.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Sunday 25th October 2015

Moel Accre and Nympsfield

We are off today on a marathon trip from Sheffield to Accre (N Wales) to fix a data-telemetry problem, then on, (if time permits) to Nympsfield (Stroud) where the computer hard drive has failed. Then back home to Sheffield, although God knows what time we'll get back!

This is just to let you know where your subs go - we'll burn at least £100 in diesel today, let alone the other vehicle costs, and of course, it'll be a 16-hour day at least, and around 300 miles plus, I reckon. On our day off, too!

Rod


Latest Service Information - Thursday 22nd October 2015

Wether Fell

I want to publicly thank the redoubtable Trevor Birkbeck for helping me out on this adventure - we couldn't have managed without him! He was instrumental in helping me, on my crutches, to get over the stone walls and stagger the 300 yards from the nearest vehicle-access point to the station. This, of course, is on the hill above Burtersett where the Wendy lives. We performed a general overhaul when at last we got me over there! Trevor went up the mast and changed the wind sensors on the top, and I sorted out the connections and diagnosed a faulty battery charge controller, which I changed for a new one. When we left the station was transmitting data once again, down to the village where the base station computer lives.

(The old wind sensors had been completely shattered in a gale, they were in a really bad way).

However, we haven't finished yet - the station is connected to a phone line, which is how we get the data up to the internet and the voice servers. It is in a weatherproof box on an outside wall on a friend's house in Burtersett, and the phone line and mains power come from the house, naturally.

When we tested the system, the phone line in the equipment box was dead. However, we could not check the master socket in the house, as the owner was unexpectedly away until the weekend. I will go back there at the weekend and see if it's the main BT line that is dead, or whether it's the extension out to the equipment box outside that has gone faulty. Then we should have the whole thing back on the air, once we find the fault and correct it.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Sunday 11th October 2015

Moel Accre and Nympsfield

We are off today across to Moel Accre to fit new solar panels, as the old ones are insufficient to keep the battery up in the shorter, gloomier days we are heading towards.

If time permits, we are then off down to Nympsfield to fit a new computer - the current one has suffered a hard drive failure.

Big round trip today, lots of miles! Sheffield to Ruthin, Ruthin to Stroud, Stroud back up to Sheffield!

Carlton Bank - Urgent!

Just a reminder (see below 9th October for details) that we urgently need a new host for the Carlton wendy PC, as the existing site is suffering from vandalism of the equipment. Contact me on our email address or call me on 07971-846-153.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Friday 9th October 2015

Carlton Bank

I must apologise for the constant on/off status of Carl;ton Bank Wendy. The data is telemetered down from the hill to a premises in Potto, where the computer and phone line sit that connects the station to the Net.

I have been up there many times in the last month or two, and mysteriously, every time I cure the faults and leave it, the thing stops worklng shortly afterwards. I now strongly suspect that someone at the Potto premises has been sabotaging the station - we went up there yesterday, and found the same thing wrong for about the 6th time! This could not have happened without human interference with the equipment.

I raised this with the site owner, and we agreed to remove the computer etc (Wendy was already there when he bought the premises and he allowed it to remain). However, this constant suspicion of vandalism means we have to remove it. We now have about two weeks to remove the equipment, so we need to re-site it somewhere within a couple of miles or so of the hill. (That's how far the radio telemetry signal will reach). The equipment consists of a normal desktop PC (with or without the monitor, it doesn't matter, although if the host wants the screen visible, we can leave it that way). There is another box aboout the size of a Sky box or DVD player connected to the PC. We need to have it plugged to the mains, and we have to run a phone line in to it (which we pay for, of course).

If you, or anyone you know of, in the Stokesley area could host the PC in a garage or similar outbuilding, please let me know ASAP. We can even fit it to an outside wall in a weatherproof box if necessary. You do get your own private monitor displaying the Carlton weather data if you want it!

Contact me on our email address or call me on 07971-846-153.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Tuesday 29th September 2015

Carlton Bank

We went all the way up to Carlton this afternoon to install completely new radio telemetry gear to send the info from the hill to the computer and phone line down at Potto. Every other fix (and we've been up about 5 times now) failed to last, it was buring out stuff, or acting intermittently within a couple of hours. No idea why, alas, but everything we tried didn't last.

Anyway, we restored normal functioning, and also changed the battery up on the hill, and fitted a new charge-controller module to the solar panel system that charges the battery.

Unlike previous trips (see 20th Sept below) We got home about 2 hours later, and it was still working!

Still is OK now at 10pm. Hope this will be the final fix.

Wether Fell

We hope to fit in a trip to Wether Fell on Friday 2nd October to get that back on the air. This has been long-delayed due to my limited mobility and the death of my 4WD Isuzu Trooper. (we have to drive about half a mile or across the moorland without even a track to follow - it is easy to get bogged down!)However, we now have a nice Shogun to take us across the moor, and my health has improved quite a bit (I lost 2 stone recently, for one thing!) so I now feel up to tackling Wether. I have some good help now, too, to climb the mast and change the wind heads. Let you know how we get on.

Mercury

I have a kind offer of some physical help with the ladder work to get Mercury back reading correctly - we have to ladder up the mast to change the wind heads. We hope to organise this for the week beginning 4th October.

Dealing With The Repairs Backlog

Apart from the hip replacement, which I am still waiting for, my health is much improved, I am finally recovering from the near-fatal fall onto concrete in August 2014. (scroll down this page to go back to August/Sept 2014 postings and see, if you are not aware of what happened). I am working hard from now on the rectify the list of Wendy problems that have built up while I have been off work and out of action. I am still officially signed off by the doctor, but I am feeling much better, and can use my right arm now, as it is recovering from the multiple breaks that it had, and my other medical problems, from the accident, which I won't bore you with, are fading away bit by bot, so I really do want to deal with as many repairs as I can before the bad weather starts.

Both Lynn and I are really appreciative of how 90% or more of Wendy members have continued to support her, and us, during this bad time, and I now hope to start repaying that support by repairing and improving the service as much as I can.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Sunday 20th September 2015

Carlton Bank - Grrrrr!

We went all the way up the Carlton to see why it wasn't receiving data from the hilltop down at the base unit in Potto - and found the radio telemetry receiver had stopped working.

So we changed the receiver -- everything sprang into life, and the system started working. We checked all the connections, waited for a while to see if it was all ok, and set off for the 1.5 hour drive home.

We stopped to phone the station and ckeck it was working several times on the way, and it was.

As we arrived home, though it packed up again! Oh, FFS, what the $&!

I will return up there in a day or so once I source a different type of receiver. Something is obviously causing them to shut down.

This is typical of the sort of timewasting problems we get, I am afraid. Sorry about this, I will get it sorted shortly.

Wether Fell

We hope to fit in a trip to Wether Fell to sort that out on the same day we go back to Carlton with new radio-telemetry gear - probably about the middle of this week, if weather allows.

Mercury

I have a kind offer of some physical help with the ladder work to get Mercury back reading correctly - we have to ladder uop the mast to change the wind heads. We hope to organise this for the week beginning 28th Sept.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Monday 10th August 2015

Bradwell - Partial Repair

We went out to Bradwell on Sunday 9th August, and got a fair amount of the repairs done to get her back on the air. However, I need some help with the ladders from a fit and active mate to replace the wind cups, which have seized up. (Hence the zero windspeed) who was not available on Sunday.

We aim to go back with reinforcements this afternoon (Monday 10th) if the winds aren't too strong, to change the wind cups and the temperature gauge, both of which have been damaged. Wendy should then return to full service.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Saturday 1st August 2015

Compton Abbas - and Yet More Hospital Time!!

Compton Abbas - 19th July

We loaded up our gear on Saturday 18th, ready for a trip down to service Compton, Mercury, and Firle stations. This preparation day was livened up by my tripping up in the driveway and falling heavily onto my right arm, the one heavily injured a year ago. The elbow was scraped badly, but we cleaned it thoroughly and stuck a large dressing on it, and carried on getting everything ready for the trip down south.

We got to Compton about 11am Sunday, and fixed that (Wendy's recently acquired replacement 4WD coming in very handy to get across the airfield to the mast).

The arm was begining to give trouble though, and after a sleepless night down there on Sunday, it was badly inflamed, and pretty useless, so the rest of the trip was aborted Monday morning, and we set off back home. Four hours later, we called into Casualty at Rotherham, who took one look at it and announced that I was going nowhere, and needed to be admitted for emergency surgery right away, due to infection and other damage.

20th-31st July - Rotherham Hospital!

To cut a long story short, I had to have the elbow opened up, a lot of the metalwork that was inserted a year ago had to be taken out, the whole thing washed out and cleaned, and then re-set. It was too dangerous to have it done under General Anaesthetic, to to my heart condition, but there was a distinct chance of losing the arm at least, if it wasn't done immediately. So it had to be done under a local nerve block - not a pleasant procedure, as it nearly paralysed my breathing, not to be recommended.

Anyway, I have spent the period from 20th - 31st August in Rotherham General, on a drip of powerful antibiotics and painkillers as my arm gradually reduced in size and regained normal colour. Full marks to Rotherham General, a small local hospital, for wonderful service in saving my arm, and keeping me alive, especially for all the staff on Ward B3 and elsewhere for their kindness and good humour when working under terrible pressure.

There is now a longer list of repairs and service calls to undertaken, but it will be a couple of weeks before I am fit enough to get back to work and tackle these. Bradwell is a local problem, and I hope to have a preliminary look at that tomorrow and see what's up.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Tuesday 13th July

Carlton Bank

The Final Countdown!

After two more visits - (Monday afternoon and again this evening) - all the way up to Stokesley and back to Sheffield, (the bloody car will know the way up the A1 by itself soon), the mystery of the telemetry problem at Carlton was at last solved. There appears to be a conflicting signal in the Potto area on the same frequency as our telemetry channel (173.2375Mhz if you care to know). This did not stop the signal from being audible, but it effectively prevented the data from being decoded successfully.

So, we fitted new radios at both ends, the telemetry transmitter up on the hill, and the receiver down at Potto, changed the operating frequency, and the Wendy promptly sprang to life! I should explain that anyone can use these telemetry channels without a licence - they are public in nature. so there is no protection from interference. You just have to move around till you find one that is empty in your area.

Of course, that doesn't stop someone else nearby from starting up on the same frequency tomorrow, and screwing up your data - but, with the exception of Carlton, we've actually had very few problems.

So, my apologies for the long delay in getting this back on air, due mostly to my very limited abilities at present - staggering round on 2 crutches while I wait for a hip replacement (which the NHS have been putting off repeatedly since before Xmas on one excuse or another, the b*stards)

Wendy now has a 4WD again!

Since my much-loved old Trooper died last winter, inhaling its own oil, running away and making a VERY expensive noise and a huge cloud of smoke on the M18, causing it to be consigned to the scrapheap, I have been without off-road wheels, making do with a verminous Mondeo Estate, which I had as a backup vehicle, for use when t'other was in for a service or whatever.

Anyway, as I have not been able to work much since my near-fatal accident last August, funds did not allow for a replacement 4WD. However, things improved a bit lately, and anyway, the Mondeo was plagued with a sticking clutch, so I took a deep breath at the weekend, and traded it in for a Mitubishi Shogun!

Shogun <

Like this, only mine's a bit rougher!

Anyway, we now have a working 4WD to tackle the hard-to-get-to sites like Wether Fell, Carlton, Firle, Compton, Long Mynd and Moel Accre, which really need such a vehicle to access them for repairs and servicing.

So, as soon as possible, I shall be making a start on these repairs and servicing.

However, I am due to go in to get my Hip replaced in early August, which will put a pause on things, but will make my work capability 300% better than it is at the moment! Allowing a month or so for recuperation, I hope to get cracking on these repairs by the end of August. I am planning to get as many as possible done before the end of this month, weather and my pain levels permitting, before I go into hospital.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Saturday 11th July 2015

Carlton Bank

We went back to Carlton on Friday 10th July, and fitted new a telemetry radio transmitter and TX antenna to the solar powered head unit on the moor.

The signal was immediately much improved, and we tracked it back down to Potto, where the base station, computer and phone line are.

The signals were coming in loud and clear, (for rhe 1st time in months) but for some reason, the base unit was unable to decode the data and load it into the system. I have arranged with the site owner to go back there either late Sunday or late Monday (this was the earliest he would be available to let me in) to replace the base unit and telemetry data decoder, to fix the final link in the chain.

So I anticipate having everything back online by Monday night at the latest. Sorry about the length of this repair saga - a crumbling hip joint makes prolonged ladder work almost impossible - I am only able to walk around with crutches at present. So each trip to attempt repairs has to be short, and tackling one problem at a time, before the pain gets too bad. My replacement hip joint is now scheduled for early August they tell me - I'll believe it when it happens - been waiting since before Xmas!

Rod


Latest Service Information - Friday 10th July 2015

Carlton Bank

Barring any unexpected weather distrubances, I hope to get back to Carlton either today or tomorrow to try and restore data transmission from the hill to Potto, where the computer and phone line sit.

This is about the 6th trip up there to fix this - we have been plagued with erratic radio telemetry problems, and I have changed almost every bit of equipment at both ends without successs so far. I am going to fit new antennas to the telemtry path, as this is about the only thing left unchanged.

Sorry about the time repairs are taking in general, I am very immobile these days while waiting for a hip replacement, and can only get around with crutches. This limits what I can do, of course, including climbing up ladders to fix Wendys. However, I believe we are on course for the hip op in the next 3-4 weeks, and then things will improve, and I can get back to my usual habit of seeing to Wendy repairs promptly. I am still recovering from my major accident last August, which nearly saw me vacate the premises altogether! The hip replacement is the last major operation I am scheduled for in the way of running repairs. It has been much delayed by my other problems, which I won't bore you with

Rod


Latest Service Information - Weds 8th July 2015

Mercury

I am hoping to travel down south to have a go at servicing the Mercury weather station next week. I have some kind offers of help to do this, as I am currently staggering around on crutches (see below), which makes going up the ladderds rather difficult!. I am contacting the volunteers, to see if we can put it all together. It is a little complicated to gain access, as the mast is owned by Hampshire Police, and getting the keys to gain access is rather complicated and bureaucratic.

Sorry about the time repairs are taking in general, I am very immobile these days while waiting for a hip replacement, and can only get around with crutches. This limits what I can do, of course, including climbing up ladders to fix Wendys. However, I believe we are on course for the hip op in the next 3-4 weeks, and then things will improve, and I can get back to my usual habit of seeing to Wendy repairs promptly. I am still recovering from my major accident last August, which nearly saw me vacate the premises altogether! The hip replacement is the last major operation I am scheduled for in the way of running repairs. It has been much delayed by my other problems, which I won't bore you with.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Sunday 5th July 2015

Moel Accre

We travelled over to Moel Accre from Sheffield today, and replaced the main processor board at the main receiver, kindly hosted for us at North Wales Raptor and Reptile Sanctuary at Graigfechan.

Gary Dickinson, of the Centre, was kind enough to run us up the hill in his Landy to replace the daylight and rain/temperature sensors too. We also assessed the station on the hill, which is going to need an overhaul with a new weatherproof enclosure for the electronics (the old one, after 15 years up there, is well corroded) and a new more powerful solar panel, to stop the battery going flat in the winter. I intend to do this major overhaul probably in late August or September, when I have recovered from my hip replacement, which I am waiting for (see below).

Sorry about the time repairs are taking, I am very immobile these days while waiting for a hip replacement, and can only get around with crutches. This limits what I can do, of course. However, I believe we are on course for the hip op in the next 3-4 weeks, and then things will improve, and I can get back to my usual round of seeing to Wendy repairs promptly.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Thursday 18th June 2015

Parlick and Wether Fell

Parlick hs a sensor head problem. We are trying to assemble some volunteer help to climb the tower and replace things. I can't get up the tower at present, (see below for details) and the sensors are about 50 feet up.

Wether Fell is also due a major service visit, but I need a 4WD for that one, too (and some help to carry all the ladders, tools, and spare parts across the moor to the station, about 300 yards and climb over a couple of stone walls). See below for reasons, if you have not already heard.

Sorry about the time these repairs are taking, I am very immobile these days while waiting for a hip replacement, and can only get around with crutches. This limits what I can do, of course. However, I believe we are on course for the hip op in the next 3-4 weeks, and then things will improve.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Weds 17th June 2015

Carlton

Back up to Carlton Moor this afternoon to fit new radio telemetry gear (the 3rd lot we've tried) and a new master circuit sequencer card. Clinging to the ladders on the mast with a howling 30mph breeze no fun... makes life a little hairy, and me with me dodgy hip, too. Got the telemetry signal going out every 30 seconds as it's supposed to - but when we drove down towards Potto, the signal isn't getting anywhere LIKE far enough. Normally, it gets to the village easily. What now? Well, the only thing left to replace is the Tx antenna on the mast - but, it's right at the top, and there's no way I can get to it in today's wind. Have to come back at the weekend if it dies down.

This is about the 5th attempt to get this station back on the air, (each time involving 3 hours on the road, and God knows how much diesel!) and we've changed ALL the base station equiopment at Potto, and changed 90% of the mast equipment - several times! Getting a bit despondent here... all the gear works beautifully in the workshop, on test, but acts up and refuses to work properly on the site! Bugger.

Moel Accre

We drove over yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon from Sheffield to Graigfechan, near Ruthin, to change the Wendy computer, which is kindly housed for us by Gary Dickinson, who runs the Raptor and Reptile sanctuary there. Everything came up beautifully, and she started working again. Examining the data, I can see we need to change the light sensor, and a few more things up there on the hill need an overhaul, so we've arranged to go back in a week or so, and Gary will take me up the hill in his trust Landy to do the necessary (my 4WD having died).

Sorry about the time these repairs are taking, I am very immobile these days while waiting for a hip replacement, and can only get around with crutches. This limits what I can do, of course. However, I believe we are on course for the hip op in the next 3-4 weeks, and then things will improve.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Sun 7th June 2015

Carlton

This is posted around 10pm Saturday, after we got back from Carlton. We changed all the base station equipment down at Potto, but the winds were too strong to let us climb the mast up on the hill. Going to try and go back tomorrow (Sunday) if things have died down enough.

Moel Accre

The trip to Moel Accre has been put off for a day or two, as we have problems still at Carlton,(see above) and also, Gary, the very helpful guy who runs the reptile and raptor sancuary below the hill, and who kindly hosts the Wendy base station for us, has been called away tomorrow on family business, so we can't get access anyway.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Sat 6th June 2015

Carlton

Troubles getting the signal down from the hill to Potto have dogged us during several frustrating trips up there recently. However, we think we have a solution now, and we are off back up there this afternoon to hopefully get a final fix in place. We are also completing the Planning Permission application for the mast with the North York Moors National Park

Moel Accre

Computer problems over there - the drive has crashed, and the program refuses to run on the emergency backup drive, but I have prepared a spare computer, and hope to go over there tomorrow (Sunday) to get it changed if I can make arrangements with Gary, the lovely site owner of the base station.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Tuesday 19th May 2015

Mercury

BT tell us they aim to have the Mercury line fixed tomorrow, 20th May.

I plan a return back down there to Mercury to replace the direction head, (we did not have time this last trip) and will replace other sensors on Compton and Westbury at the same time. Probably next week now. I have sensors to prepare and test in the workshop, which takes some time.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Thursday 14th May 2015

Mercury

The BT repair to the phone line (they got it going again on Wednesday) has not lasted - there is now a very bad crackle on the line, which prevents the data being uplifted a lot of the time. We have re-logged the fault with BT, and hope they will be a bit quicker off the mark to fix it.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Wednesday 13th May 2015

Westbury

and

Compton

are back on the air, after we managed technical fixes. There a couple of other problems that need addressing. The direction sensor at Westbury needs replacing, (and possibly the daylight gauge). I have to climb a 60ft swaying narrow mast to do this, and currently, with my many injuries, that's not possible. (I still have one weak arm that was broken in multiple places late last year, and I am months overdue for a hip replacement). I will ask one or two rope-access friends if they can help out, or, there is the possibility of getting the farmer who owns the site to drop the mast down with his JCB (it hinges over).

At Compton, the daylight senor needs replacing, but I need a 4WD to get across the fields to it. I am urgently seeking a replacement 4WD, as mine died recently. Got to find one at the right money, though, as, due to my inability to do much work, finances are tight. I hope to have both these problems sorted within about 2-3 weeks though.

Mercury

Has had a BT phone line fault for a while now, which they have been extraordinarily slow to address. We managed to harass them intoi fixing it yesterday though, while we were down that way.

Wether Fell

is also due a major service visit, but I need a 4WD for that one, too (and some help to carry all the ladders, tools, and spare parts across the moor to the station, about 300 yards). Progress is being made, I am sorry things are taking a little longer to fix this year, due to various body parts falling off or going on strike unexpectedly! Not to bore you with too many details, but the problems include a badly-shattered arm, a hip joint that needs urgently fixing (I can now only walk with a stick, and not far at that), major prostate surgery to repair the damage from the accident (when I fell from ladders onto concrete), and now, to cap it all, heart arrythmia (fibrillation) from a bad reaction to an iron unfusion the NHS kindly insisted I have. Phew!

Rod


Latest Service Information - Monday 11th May 2015

Westbury

and

Compton

have technical problems which we are going down tomorrow to address, despite my being dependent on a crutch to walk more than about 20 yards, (still waiting for a new metal hip!)but we hope to get them back on-air asap.

Mercury

H as had a BT phone line fault for a while now, which they have been extraordinarily slow to address. We are going to be onsite on Wednesday though, to check things from the equipment end and liaise with their engineers, as they say they may need access to the premises. This has taken a little while to negotiate, for which we apologise.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Weds 8th April 2015

Carlton Bank

After about 5 abortive visits to repair this station, and a series of problems typical of the Coyote-and-Road Runner cartoons (where as fast as you fix ONE thing, something else goes wrong) we finally got it working again. My apologies for this delay, but it was a combination of my health problems and adverse weather that kept defeating us. Everything seems to be OK now, anyway. Next on the list: Wether Fell.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Saturday 7th March 2015

Carlton Bank

Many thanks to Trevor Birkbeck for his help on this. We got a weather break yesterday, Friday, and went up to Carlton Bank and overhauled the station up there. Fitted new telemetry transmitter and main circuit card. Still no data being received down at Potto,though, where the computer and phone line sit, so at the end of the day, on the way home, I went down there and found the data-reception telemetry aerial (that picks up the weather data stream from the hill) had corroded and blown away!

I am going back there either Sunday or Monday to replace it, and then Carlton should return to service.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Monday 16th February 2015

Wether Fell and Carlton Bank

I am sorry we have not managed to repair these two yet. There are a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I am still back and forth to hospital, having treatment for the multiple injuries I suffered in my accident last Autumn.

I have one arm with 4 plates and 30 screws in it, holding it together, with nerve damage which means its only half useable as yet. I am waiting for urgent operations, one to my prostate, to repair pelvic damage done in the accident (I am sporting a very sexy catheter at the moment, you have to turn a tap to have a pee - interesting when you forget to turn it OFF again.. ) and two, to have my right hip replaced, as it was also badly damaged. However, during the pre-op tests, they discovered I also have now Atrial Fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) also caused by the damage done when I fell onto the concrete. This has to be repaired before the other two ops can be done. So, I'm not in terribly good shape for top-of-the-moor active operations at present. I have been staggering round doing repairs to more easily accessible stations, but I am going to need some volunteer help to lug the tools and ladders etc the 400 yards over the moor, and over 2 stone walls at Wether Fell from the nearest vehicle-access point.

Any volunteers greatly appreciated! Please contact us.

Secondly, my Trusty Isuzu 4WD died expensively recently, and I am still searching for an affordable replacement (Going to see a couple of possibles this week). Having earned very little over this last 4-5 months, things are a bit tight. (Wendy just covers its costs, we run a TV Aerial/Satellite business to pay the bills, and I haven't been able to earn much at all at that since August)

We CERTAINLY need a 4WD to get to Wether Fell, and even then, the moor is so treacherous above Yorburgh, (there isn't even a track to follow) that if is there is any snow or excessive water up there, it is all too possible to get bogged on the moor. I did that last winter, and had to pay the farmer to pull me off with a tractor! So I need to check what the state of play is up there before coming up from Sheffield. Trevor has kindly agreed to recce the stations for me to assess conditions.

I know it is inconvenient to have stuff off air - I suspect that gales have damaged the heads at Wether Fell, and the battery charging has failed at Carlton - possibly because someone has nicked the solar panels (it's happened before up there). But there are practical difficulties in getting access and even DOING delicate electronic repairs in sub-zero conditions with wind, rain ,.snow etc present.

By and large, it is VERY difficult to achieve much repair-wise until things warm up/dry out a bit. You should try it!

So, please bear with us, and we'll get things done as soon as practical. It'll all be sorted by the time the season starts properly.

Moel Accre

We have detected yet another BT fault on the station's phone line. (This line has been nothing but trouble lately, despite a whole load of new underground cable being installed last year). It has been reported to BT, and we are awaiting progress reports.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Weds 21st January 2015

We went down on Tuesday 20th Jan and repaired Firle. On a very cold and snowy hilltop!

firle 1

firle 2

firle 3

 

 

We drove to Gosport, and stayed with the lovely Jenny Buck and Thomas Buck, and on Wednesday, went to Compton Abbas, where the station has been refusing to answer the phone for a while. It's a long way down there - about 250 miles, nearly.


I thought that the problem at Compton lay with the BT phone line - but their computer diagnostics said it is OK, and the fault is in our equipment. Indeed it was - we got there to find the Compton Abbas airfield staff had moved the Wendy equipment a few feet (without telling us) and in the process, had unplugged it from the phone line!

Something they denied when I rang up last week and asked if they had touched it! So I had a 500 mile round trip because of that! Not best pleased. I will have to go to Compton again in the better weather, as the anemometer needs servicing, the weather was far too bad for that today. So windspeed/direction may be a bit erratic due to icing on the wind cups, or possibly frost damage.

Moel Accre

Carlton Bank

Compton Abbas

Bradwell

Wether Fell

Westbury

These stations are solar-powered, and are operating intermittently at present, due to lack of daylight to power the solar panels, (and possibly the panels being covered by snow). This time of year, with 16 hours of darkness and 8 hours of weak daylight, the solar panels powering everything on the hilltop struggle to keep the station going when we get long periods of gloom. A decent day's clear sunlight will bounce them back into operation, but it's hard to get to them to do anything about it in current weather conditions.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Thursday 15th January 2015

I'm afraid the bad weather has stymied our repair trip to Firle and Compton. (See entry for 9th Jan, below). However, we have managed to get Combe Hill back on the air.

I still think that the problem at Compton lies with the BT phone line - but their computer diagnostics says it is OK, and the fault is in our equipment. However, we've been here before, and basically, I have to go down there and test it personally to find out exactly what gives. I fully expect to go down there and find a dead phone line, and THEN have to re-report the fault. We have put back the service trip to early next week to see if the weather improves.

Moel Accre

Carlton Bank

These stations are solar-powered, and are operating intermittently at present, due to lack of daylight to power the solar panels, (and possibly the panels being covered by snow). This time of year, with 16 hours of darkness and 8 hours of weak daylight, the solar panels powering everything on the hilltop struggle to keep the station going when we get long periods of gloom. A decent day's clear sunlight will bounce them back into operation, but it's hard to get to them to do anything about it in current weather conditions.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Friday 9th January 2015

Apologies for the lack of repairs recently, and for the lack of updates - I am afraid my many injuries from the accident in August have caught up with me and have been giving me a LOT of problems since November. (see entry for 30th August, below).

I now find I have a heart problem I didn't know about, as well as other major developments requiring surgery, and my painkiller intake has gone through the roof, along with a slack handful of other medications to counteract all the other things....

I think I tried to get back to work a bit too soon, and am paying the price now. I haven't put anything on the site about all this until now, because you really don't want to hear a regular updated whinge from me about how many parts aren't working... however, I am tackling some of the problems shortly.

By the way, I have only managed to replace my 4WD with an Estate car for the time being, due to cash flow problems due to my not working. This means one or two sites, like Moel Accre and Carlton Bank, are not repairable yet, (they both need a 4WD for access) but we are working towards getting a replacement to get everything looked at before the flying season starts.

Firle

The computer at Firle has a hard disk fault. We have managed to keep it going intermittently remotely, then the snow sort of stopped us going anywhere, but now we are planning to go down next week and put a new computer on it. The site owner is Glynde Estates, as Sussex Police's lease on the site lapsed, and Glynde Estates have now made arrangements to have the site keys for us.

Combe Hill

There is a data card problem on the unit - we are applying for access (never easy with SSE Telecom, the owners of the tower) and hope to fit it in on the same trip as Firle, early next week.

Compton

Is refusing to answer the phone. From tests we have done, we believe the BT line is at fault, so we have reported it to them, and are awaiting results. (The Compton BT lines are norotiously unreliable, we've been here before).

Rod


Latest Service Information - Monday 24th November 2014

Firle

The computer at Firle has an intermittent problem, (possibly a hard disk fault) so we are arranging to go down and replace it if we can't fix it remotely. In any case, the site owner is Glynde Estates, as Sussex Police's lease on the site lapsed, and at the moment, Glynde Estates are not sure who has the site keys. I am waiting to find out. I am also in the midst of changing cars (My trusty 4WD Trooper has recently made an expensive noise and sort of died, so I am sourcing a replacement - should be done in the next few days) then I can get down to Firle to replace the computer

Moel Accre

The BT fault on the line has STILL not been fixed. They say there is a major cable fault between the exchange and our line - and recabling will have to be done. The target date for this is tomorrow, 25th November, but you know BT...... Harassing them daily, but no firm promises.

Spent more time than I care to remember waiting in BT's voicemail jail, then ending up in Bangalore.. to no purpose, as I can't understand a word they say.

Rod


atest Service Information - Monday 24th November 2014

Firle

The computer at Firle has an intermittent problem, (possibly a hard disk fault) so we are arranging to go down and replace it if we can't fix it remotely. In any case, the site owner is Glynde Estates, as Sussex Police's lease on the site lapsed, and at the moment, Glynde Estates are not sure who has the site keys. I am waiting to find out. I am also in the midst of changing cars (My trusty 4WD Trooper has recently made an expensive noise and sort of died, so I am sourcing a replacement - should be done in the next few days) then I can get down to Firle to replace the computer

Moel Accre

The BT fault on the line has STILL not been fixed. They say there is a major cable fault between the exchange and our line - and recabling will have to be done. The target date for this is tomorrow, 25th November, but you know BT...... Harassing them daily, but no firm promises.

Spent more time than I care to remember waiting in BT's voicemail jail, then ending up in Bangalore.. to no purpose, as I can't understand a word they say.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Friday 21st November 2014

Moel Accre

The BT fault on the line has STILL not been fixed. They say there is a major cable fault between the exchange and our line - and recabling will have to be done. Harassing them daily, but no firm promises of a return to service yet.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Saturday 8th November 2014

Moel Accre

There seems ot have been a BT fault on the line - we had suspected it was a solar panel fault causing loss of station power, but now it has been tracked down to a problem with the BT line. We have reported it to them, and are awaiting results.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Friday 31st October 2014

Shining Tor

There is a fault on the BT phone line for this station - it has a very poor connection, weak and crackling, so bad that the system can't get at the data for Shining. We have reported the fault to BT, and are waiting for them to come back to us.

Moel Accre

We have noticed that at night, and on gloomy days, the transmission of data ceases from the head unit - this means there is a battery charge problem, so the solar panels might need upgrading, or a new battery fitting. We hope to get over to do that in the next 10 days or so.

Power Outage - Loss of Service

There was a power cut at our office this morning, causing a brief loss of upload to the website and response from the phone server. We quickly had the backup generators going, though, which covered us for the hour or so that the power was out.

Away This Weekend

We are away this weekend, down on the South coast, to visit the wonderful Thomas and Jenny Buck. Pure time off, as the forecast is so dreadful we couldn't do any Wendy work anyway! And we haven't seen them since July, due to my habit of falling off things....

Rod


Latest Service Information - Tuesday 21st October 2014

Carlton Bank

Finally, after a month or more of hassle, hour-long phone calls too BT, in which we got bounced from department to department, got disconnected, and then had to start again, I am glad to announce that Carlton Bank's phone line is, at LAST restored, and the station is working again!

In order to satisfy the National Park, we have to do some major modifications to the station's appearance to minimise visual impact. In my current state of disability, I'm going to need some help from 2-3 volunteers (at least one of whom doesn't mind going up ladders about 15 feet) to effect these changes. Anyone daft enough to volunteer, please contact us on 0114 287 8936 or email on office@wendywindblows.com.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Friday 17th October 2014

Firle

The computer at Firle has an intermittent problem, (possibly a hard disk fault) so we are arranging to go down and replace it if we can't fix it remotely. At the minute, it's working, so we are keeping fingers crossed. In any case, the site owner is Glynde Estates, as Sussex Police's lease on the site lapsed, and at the moment, Glynde Estates are not sure who has the site keys. I am waiting to find out, but hope to be down there Monday to fix it if necessary.

Carlton

We are STILL (A month later) working to get our phone line back - BT handed it over to Sky by mistake, thinking we had cancelled it - we hadn't. It's a long story - see September 17th's entry, (below) but the latest date we have for the return to service is Tuesday 21st Oct.

In order to satisfy the National Park, we have to do some major modifications to the station's appearance to minimise visual impact. In my current state of disability, I'm going to need some help from 2-3 volunteers (at least one of whom doesn't mind going up ladders about 15 feet) to effect these changes. Anyone daft enought to volunteer, please contact us on 0114 287 8936 or email on office@wendywindblows.com.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Thursday 18th Sept 2014

Bradwell

I am happy to report that, with sterling help from my mate Lee Dickinson, we got the heads changed today, and the circuitry updated, thus putting Bradwell back on the air. Not bad, considering I'm doing it with only one and a half arms! (the right one is still fairly useless). It was really claggy up there, you could only see about 10 yards, and condensation was getting everywhere - that sort of low cloud base that drenches you without it actually raining. Hey, come to think of it, I could say I spent the morning at cloudbase!.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Weds 17th Sept 2014

Nympsfield

We went down there today (the valiant Lynn doing all the driving, as I still have only one effective arm!) and replaced the faulty computer, restoring the station to active service

Bradwell

Rod is going out there tomorrow with the aid of a ladder-capable volunteer, to replace the wind heads, and get the station going again. (weather permitting)

Carlton Bank

The saga of Carlton Bank's phoneline continues....

What has happened is this: the station beams its data by radio telemetry down to Potto, and the computer and phone line is housed in a garage belonging to Gerry Stapleton, hang glider pilot of old and a mate of mine .

There are two phone lines going into the premises, one into the garage for Wendy, and a normal phone line going into the living room for use by the occupier. Gerry lets the house out, and the new occupier ordered phone service from Sky. Unfortunately, the Sky engineer, working in the Exchange, chose the wrong phone line to take over. Yep, on 12 September, he disconnected Wendy's phoneline from BT and instituted a Sky phoneline and broadband on it.

Of course,our phone line immediately stopped working. What he should have done, was activated the main line that goes into the house. I have spent countless hours on the phone to BT, asking how the hell this could happen, without any reference to us, such as a letter or e-mail saying "Do you want this to happen?". It took ages to convince BT of exactly what had happened. (By the way the new occupier had a major problem with sky, because they insisted that they had provided phone and broadband to him, and he insisted that his master socket in the living room was dead!) Of course it would be, because Sky had activated the Wendy line rather than his living room line!

As I say, I spent countless hours on the phone to BT, being shoved from department to department, each time having to start from scratch and explain the whole shebang to yet a new person, who couldn't grasp what I was talking about. Then being promised a rapid response, which never materialised. Eventually, I got an order started to restore the line today (Wednesday). The only problem is, because the line is being taken back from Sky, they have to be informed and given a notice period, which means we can't get the line operational again until 1 October!

So, I'm afraid, we can't restore service before then. I'm really sorry about this, but I can't see what else we can do.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Sunday 14th Sept 2014

Bradwell

Went out to Bradwell today to investigate the fault. The wind cups have been destroyed, and will need replacing. As I'm not fit to climb ladders at the moment, I have enlisted the help of a friend, and we will be going back there on Thursday to replace the wind heads and update the electronics, (which I brought back here to service in the workshop while the station was off the air). So we hope to see Bradwell will be back on the air on Thursday.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Saturday 13th Sept 2014

Carlton Bank

BT say that somehow the line for Carlton's Wendy station got terminated, but they can't say by who or why. They suspect that it may have been an engineer's mistake, working for one of the other providers.

It certainly wasn't ME! Anyway, steps have been taken to restore the line, but it may take a few days to get it working again. They kindly agreed to waive the new line setup charges! Great, really kind.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Friday 12th Sept 2014

BT Faults

We have discovered that BT have some major problems today.

Carlton Bank

The phone line has suddenly, this morning, ceased to operate - when we call it, it says the number does not exist! I called BT, who said their mainframe was down, and they couldn't tell me anything until it ot back up again. Sheesh! How does a paid-up, working line suddenly cease to exist on their system?

Compton Abbas

Ditto Compton Abbas - the line stopped working this morning - and the BT online fault system is unable to test it. I tried to ring the airfield at Compton to check if there was a mains failure - but their line isn't working either! And the BT fauilt system can't test it!

More news as we get it!

Nympsfield

This station has a failure of the hard drive in the computer. Bearing in mind my current disabilities, we'll get to it as soon as we can - probably next week.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Saturday 30th August 2014

Rod Seriously Injured In Fall

On 17th of August, Rod was seriously injured in a fall from ladders.

He fell about eight feet onto solid concrete, and sustained a badly shattered right arm, several cracked ribs, a cracked right hip, and a dislocated left artificial hip.

He was rushed to hospital, and underwent two operations lasting several hours, over the next few days.

He is now out of hospital, and obviously will take many weeks to recuperate.

Luckily, it's not too far from the end of the season, so therefore any Wendy faults that may develop will not rob anyone of too much flying time, we hope.

This accident is a pity, as plans are well underway to upgrade the Wendy technology to give much more frequent updates, and web cam images at most sites. The new technology might make some more relevant sites available to us as well, in that it is solar-powered, and therefore can be sited anywhere we have permission.

A good break!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We still intend to commence rolling out the improved service next spring, but obviously things will be slower now, as Rod will be off work for three months or so.

Despite there being the odd station fault in the next few months that we cannot attend to immediately, we hope you will support us, and Wendy, by continuing to subscribe, and encouraging your friends to do so. Wendy has existed now for well over twenty years, for the flying community, and we have no intention of letting her fade away if we can possibly help it.

Can we also say how grateful we are for all the messages of support and get well cards that we have received.

Bradwell Edge Fault

We had become aware that Bradwell is reading zero windspeed and stuck on North. We were scheduled to go and repair this fault the day after Rod had his accident, but of course, that never happened. This problem might be a fault in the circuit card, but obviously we can't attend to it immediately. If the fault is a ground based circuit swap, we might be able to get to it in the next three weeks or so. If it demands a sensor head change, Rod will need to enlist some help from someone who doesn't mind going up the ladder (about twenty feet). Please let us know if you are able to help.

Lynn


Latest Service Information - Thursday 14th August 2014

Devils Dyke

Long trip down south yesterday. The Dyke phone problem turned out to be the radio engineers we share the site with - they had, in the process of re-organising their wiring, pulled Wendy's phone wires out of the main BT junction box!

(Mind you, that junction box was a complete mess - like a rat's nest, with no cable ties or cover, or anything)

This is twice in 2 weeks they have put Wendy off air, and made us drive down 250 miles - and back - for a fault which isn't our problem, if you see what I mean. This has cost you 2 weeks loss of service on the Dyke - and cost us about £400+ for two trips, and about 3-4 lost work days. I really despair when we have this sort of nonsense, caused by other people!

There are further problems arising at the Dyke. Apparently, the brewery and the council (that own the land) are not willing to allow anyone to climb the mast any more - they insist that a huge cherry picker must be hired, at a cost of £750 per day! (Health and Safety rules again!) God, I get so fed up with the way the world is now - everything is about arse-covering - no one wants to get anything DONE, they just want to make sure they don't get sued.

I would, by preference, shoot every last ambulance-chasing lawyer in the land, that would be a good start in getting the world back to a modicum of common sense.

This cherry-picker at £750 per day is totally beyond our financial resources - there just aren't enough subscribers paying in for us to bear this sort of cost, so if and when the wind sensors up the mast need replacing, I don't know what we are going to do.

I think we seriously need to find a standalone site for a Wendy in the Dyke area, where we won't get access problems like this, and other people screwing around with the equipment, causing unnecessary faults. If anyone knows the local landowners, can they email me please at office@wendywindblows.com

Firle

We replaced the faulty rain gauge at Firle - a combination of bird sh*t blocking it, and lightning damage which had fused the reedswitch shut.

Calshot

We planned to do further upgrades to Calshot to restore tide readout function, but time ran out on us to get there before the windsurf centre shut - heavy rain and bad traffic delayed us too much on the A27 - so we came home.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Monday 11th August 2014

Devils Dyke

BT seem not to know whether they have fixed the Dyke phone line or not - they are uncertain whether the fault still exists! Anyway, the station is not answering the phone, so we plan to go down there Wednesday 13th August to investigate.

Firle

We also plan to replace the faulty rain gauge at Firle on the same visit.

Calshot

If time allows, we plan to do further upgrades to Calshot to restore tide readout function.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Friday 8th August 2014

Devils Dyke

BT have accepted there is a fault on the line - they are giving Monday 11th as the target date for fixing it.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Weds 6th August 2014

Devils Dyke

The station stopped answering the phone last night - I suspect it may be a fault with the BT phone line - I have reported it to them, and they are investigating.

I hope it's not the radio engineers who share the equipment room, - last time I went down there a week or more ago, they had unplugged Wendy from the mains circuit accidentally! I hope they have not done it again!

Rod

Latest Service Information - Tuesday 29th July 2014

Repairs Done Sunday 27th/Monday 28th July

Devils Dyke

We drove down the 250-odd miles to the Dyke on Sunday, nearly getting wiped off the road at J23A of the M1 by a rogue Eddie Stobart lorry, which was involved with a fatal accident 10 mins later at J21A

The main problem with the Dyke Wendy was that the radio Engineers who use the mast, and share the equipment room had accidentally yanked the Wendy mains wire, and left the plug half out of the socket - no power!

We restored that, checked everything over, and did a calibration check of the windspeed. Sure enough, it was smack on accurate on the mast - however, this was, as anticipated, about 4-5mph less than it is at launch when the thermals come through. (see the previous days report for an explanation).

Calshot

There had been lightning damage to the station, which we had partially repaired last week - now we went back on Monday, after a night in the Premier Inn at Southampton Airport (very comfy) and renewed the main wind sensors and the main data-collecting card, both of which were misbehaving. All was working wonderfully as we left about 5-6pm on Monday, for the long slog back to Sheffield.

We hope to be doing a test install of web cameras covering the shore and lagoon (creek) at Calshot in the near future - certainly before next season. We will also be adding tide info to the system too.

Westbury

No chance to get to Westbury, which will have to wait till next week, methinks.

Rod

Latest Service Information - Friday 25th July 2014

Repairs Arranged for Sunday 27th/Monday 28th July

We have arranged to do the following repairs this coming weekend::

Devils Dyke

The station has taken a lightning hit to the phone line, which has cooked the modem interface, so we are unable to uplift data from it. Replacement parts are being organised here, and we'll be down either Sunday or Monday to fix things. I will conduct a calibration check while I am there. We returned the sensors to the top of the mast back in Feb/March, but some pilots are reporting that the station under-reads.

I will be very surprised if it is - what I think is happening is that they expect it to read what they experience in the (venturi) compression zone at takeoff, which, of course, it won't - being higher up and further back from the edge.

For the record, Wendy CANNOT tell you exactly what it is doing at takeoff, and never has. Because it isn't AT takeoff. (and can't be, for all sorts of reasons, permission, vandalism, etc). What it tells you is what the wind will be once you are up and away from launch. Which, when you think about it, is more important. Almost every Wendy station does this - tells you the cleanest windspeed and direction in the immediate area - NOT what it will be in the small launch zone, and it is not realistic to expect it to.

You have to use some common sense and meteorologic knowledge to work out what it is likely to be at launch, depending on the instability of the day, the windspeed generally, the direction, and several other factors. Generally, you need to add, in flyable conditions, 5-7mph on to the Wendy speed if you want to figure out the windspeed in the launch zone.

I will be posting an article explaining all this, hopefully in Skywings and local club magazines and websites.

Calshot

After the major repairs last week, and after test running the station for a few days, I see we need to replace the direction head, so we are back there to do that this coming Monday.

Westbury

If Calshot does not take too long, we can sort out Westbury on the way home, replacing the direction head there, which has also had lightning damage..

Rod

Latest Service Information - Monday 21st July 2014

Repairs Done Weekend of 19th-20th July

We got the following done on a meg-trip down South this weekend:

Mercury

We checked and recalibrated this station, and it is reading correct windspeeds - someone did think it was under-reading, but our calibrator set had it reading exactly at around 11mph when we were there - true to within 5%. We couldn't check any stronger winds, as that was the most there was on the day, but if it's true at 11mph, it should be true at twice that. The wind was swinging all over the place, as the sea breeze reached us and turned a Northerly into a SW wind, and all those directions read true also.

Calshot

We managed to sort out the phone line problems at the site, and gave the station a general overhaul.

We had been prepared to remove it if the phone line could not be sorted, but I am glad to say the future of the station is now secure.

We have some new technology to apply to the site soon, including web cams and more frequent updating. I have discovered that many of the "free" coastal weather stations are of little use, as they are not maintained properly or promptly, so there is an unsatisfied demand for a reliable service. We are looking at re-establishing our coastal chain of Wendys for windsurfers and kitesurfers. And there will be some surprising news out soon!

Westbury

Sorting out Calshot took so long that we did not have time to go to Westbury and do the upgrade. This is now scheduled for about 10 days' time.

Rod

Latest Service Information - Tuesday 15th July 2014

Work to Be Undetaken Weekend 19th-20th July

We are going down South this coming weekend, to attend to the following items:

Mercury

We have had a report or two about under-reading of windspeed, so we are going to check the wind cups for damage (it is not unknown for idiots to shoot the sh*t out of them with an air rifle for sport). and run a calibration test along with a genral overhaul.

Calshot

There have been considerable problems with the phone line at this station, BT saying the underground cables to the site are waterlogged, and they cannot fix them easily, not to mention the we also have salt air corrosion of the equipment.

This is the last of the seaside Wendys, originally aimed at windsurfers. We havew gradually removed all the coastal Wendys, as hardly any windsurfers remain on Wendy's books. There are so many free wind info sources round the coast, and as Wendy is really a service for Hangies and PG's, we did not make it a repair priority, to see if anyone missed it.

No one has, so, as the phone line problems remain unsolved, we are going to remove the equipment from the site and are looking for a more HG/PG oriented site to refit it. Suggestions are welcome.

Westbury

We have made several attempts in the last couple of months to replace the wind heads on top of the mast, and each time we have made the trip down there, last-minute winds and rain have got the better of us, and made the mast climb impossible. This is about the fourth attempt!

Rod

Latest Service Information - Sunday 13th July 2014

Carlton Bank

Big trip round the North yesterday (Saturday 12th) We replaced the wind sensors on Carlton, which has suffered serious water penetration - not sure how - they are supposed to be waterproof!

Lobden

We also removed the station from the Golf Club at Lobden. Apart from problems of a bad-quality phone line, (which BT refused to address), which made getting data off it very difficult, it also turned out to have a strange microclimate there, which resulted in there being much less wind locally than elsewhere on flyable sites.

We intend to replace this equipment soon at a much more useful site, Nonts or Blackstone Edge. Any site suggestions welcome.

Rod

Latest Service Information - Saturday 12th July 2014

Carlton Bank

Off up to Carlton later today to replace dodgy direction head, and do general service.

carlton

Lobden

Hope to go to Lobden to remove old station, for re-siting somewhere more useful (possibly Blackstone)

Rod

Latest Service Information - Tuesday 17th June 2014

A good day on the road yesterday!

Sheffield Start - 6am

Up at 6am, to load up the Trooper with all the gear - exhaustive checks to make sure we have everything we might possibly need. Left Sheffield about 9am, over the Woodhead Pass to Manchester, and along the M56 to Ruthin in North Wales to look at:

Moel Accre

Up the hill, past a lot of tasty-looking sheep, to put new electronics in to solve an intermittent direction reading.

(We suspect lightning damage caused this, its a perennial problem this time of year, put a metal mast on a hilltop, and you invite trouble!)

Then, back down to Queensferry, along the M56 and up the M6 to:

Parlick

I found this station was not responding to trhe phone line because lightning had come down the phone line and blown the stations's surge protectors.

The farmer (a really nice guy) who owns the radio mast that Wendy sits on at Longridge Fell told me there had been some spectacular lightning hitting the tower, so it's not surprising really - in fact, the surge arrestors had done their job well, in that it might easily have burnt out the whole shebang.

(By the way, we are looking to replace this station with a more suitable site, maybe on Parlick itself - anyone who has landowner contacts and can help, or suggest a good site, please get in touch).

So, by this time it was gone 6pm, so, we started out for

Wether Fell

Got up the hill above Burtersett about 8pm, and while Lynn had a rest from all that driving, (she gamely volunteers for a lot of it, so I can rest up between climbing masts) I staggered over the 300 yards or so of moor from the nearest vehicle-access point to the station, climbing a couple of stone walls topped with wire netting sheep-fence, my jacket stuffed with tools, carryying a new rain gauge/daylight sensor unit.

Got that sorted, and started back off the moor around 9pm, in the gathering gloom, narrowly avoiding getting bogged down on the always-wet moor up there.

Home Again

Fish and chips in Hawes (really nicely cooked, chaps), sitting in the 4WD, then started back home to Sheffield via Leyburn, Bedale, and the good old A1(M) and M1.

Got back in around half past midnight...

Just another fun Wendy day on the road... over 300 miles done, and around 120 in diesel alone - this is where your money goes, folks!

Rod

Latest Service Information - Monday 16th June 2014

Today we intend to:

Replace faulty daylight sensor at Wether Fell

Replace errratic Wind direction sensor at Moel Accre

Mains Failure At Parlick (Longridge Fell)

We also hope to investigate this problem. The station is not responding to the phone line, but the line test is OK, so the only other possibility is power failure.

We are looking to replace this station with a more suitable site, maybe on Parlick itself - anyone who has landowner contacts and can help, please get in touch.

Rod

Latest Service Information - Sunday 18th May 2014

Telephone Line impossible at New Nont Sarahs Location - Plan B Invoked

Our new site at Deer Hill Reservoir across the valley from Nont Sarahs can't have a BT line installed - it means replacing 17 dodgy poles, and BT want to charge us £8000 for the privilege! We sort-of told them to go away in short jerk movements....

Going to sort out the technology for transferring data using the mobile network instead. Further developments as we have them.

Unpopular or Erratic Stations To Be Re-Sited

Each Wendy station has to pay its way, in terms of how useful it is to pilots, and what the problems are, associated with maintaining it.

The following stations are to be disconinued, as they either have little use, and/or they give erratic performance, due to local micrometeorology making the readings unrepresentative.

In each case, we are seeking a better site for the equipment, and welcome suggestions.

Marazion

The Marazion station seems hardly to be used by anyone, and after it was damaged in the gales, we have decided it is uneconomic, expecially as it is so far away to service. Eight hours each way by road, God know what the diesel alone will cost! It was more useful to windsurfers than flyers, and we think that Wendy is, really a flyers' network.

Eyam Edge

The Eyam Edge site has always given erratic results due to the shape of the hill there, as compared to the takeoff. It was originally created at the request of the DSC, but they recently took the decision to cease to pay for the phone line, so we will be removing the equipment shortly. It is so near Bradwell anyway, that I think it was hardly necessary.

Lobden

The Lobden site has always given erratic results due to the shape of the hills. Tony Delaney has suggested he can possibly help with re-siting it to Blackstone Edge, and we think this would be much better.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Tuesday 13th May 2014

Repairs to Combe Hill and Westbury Today

We are off down to Combe Hill today to replace a dodgy computer, and then on to Westbury to complete the repairs to the wind heads on top of the Radio Tower (our last 2 attempts to complete this got blown out and rained off). Looks like a good forecast the next few days, so intend to get as many repairs done as possible.

rod at work

Telephone Line impossible at Nont Sarahs - Plan B Invoked

Our new site at Deer Hill Reservoir across the valley from Nont Sarahs can't have a BT line installed - it means replacing 17 dodgy poles, and BT want to charge us £8000 for the privilege! Going to sort out the technology for using the mobile network instead.

Marazion to Be Removed

The Marazion station seems hardly to be used by anyone, and after it was damaged in the gales, we have decided it is uneconomic, expecially as it is so far away to service. Eight hours each way by road, God know what the diesel alone will cost! We're looking at re-using the equipment at a better HG/PG site. Suggestions welcome.

Eyam Edge to be Removed

The Eyam Edge site has always given erratic results due to the shape of the hill there, as compared to the takeoff. The DSC took the decision to cease to pay for the phone line, so we will be removing the equipment shortly. It is so near Bradwell anyway, that I think it was hardly necessary.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Friday 9th May 2014

Network Crash in the Office

A power outage followed by a major network crash stopped us uploading data from the Wendys to the website and voice servers from early this morning. This was fixed around 10:30am.

Combe Hill Off Air

There appears to be a failure of the mains power supply at Combe Hill. We are investigating, and have booked site access with SSE who own the tower. The earliest site visit I can get is Tuesday 13th May, so I have requested that. In the meantime, we are investigating whether anything more can be done remotely.

Still Waiting For Telephone Pole Replacement At Nont Sarahs

Our new site at Deer Hill Reservoir across the valley from Nont Sarahs is still waiting for the phone line to be installed. Thrown BT into a panic, as a load of old rotten poles have to be replaced, and its oing to cost them a fortune!

Marazion to Be Removed

The Marazion station seems hardly to be used by anyone, and after it was damaged in the gales, we have decided it is uneconomic, expecially as it is so far away to service. Eight hours each way by road, God know what the diesel alone will cost! We're looking at re-using the equipment at a better HG/PG site. Suggestions welcome.

Eyam Edge to be Removed

The Eyam Edge site has always given erratic results due to the shape of the hill there, as compared to the takeoff. The DSC took the decision to cease to pay for the phone line, so we will be removing the equipment shortly. It is so near Bradwell anyway, that I think it was hardly necessary.

Rod


Latest Service Information - Sunday 27th April 2014

Abortive trip to Moel Accre + Carlton Bank

Was intending to replace electronics to fix direction probs at Accre, but rain forecast for N Wales, so repair to Moel Accre put off. Looks murky if dry up at Carlton Bank, so we set off from Sheffield up to Stokesley to put some new electronics in Wendy on the Moor.

Not a bad trip up there - but, alas, arrived at the track just as a whole load of clag drifted in and settled on the hill. Couldn't see 10 yards! So, waited for a bit, but no sign of it clearing, so set off back to Sheffield.... Will try again for Accre later in the week.

carlton

Rod


Latest Service Information - Sunday 13th April 2014

Rod in Hospital This Week

Just a quick note that Rod is going into hospital to have a cataract removed on 15th April, so will be out of action for a few days as he recovers.

More news as we have it.

Lynn


Latest Service Information - Saturday 12th April 2014

Progress Re New Nont Sarah's Station

The new site for the Nonts Wendy, at Deer Hill Reservoir, is still waiting for the BT line to be installed.

The existing BT cable to the Rifle Range needs to be replaced to add more capacity for the new line for Wendy. Unfortunately, they have discovered that about half a mile of poles are rotten and need replacing, as they are not safe to climb to replace the overhead cabling. This is proceeding, but only slowly, I am afraid.

We have escalated the complaint about lack of action twice now - it seems they are dragging their feet as it'/s an expensive and non-standard job.

More news as we have it.

Rod



Latest Service Information - Tuesday 25th March 2014

Two Attempts to Overhaul Westbury, Firle and Dyke checked...

Drove down from Sheffield on Saturday to Westbury. Took about 4 hours - no decent roads available, long drag through Coventry/Stow/Cirencester/Chippenham.

Forecast let us down, as no sooner arived at Westbury, and ran some diagnostic checks, than rain and hail arrived!

Waited for a while to see if it improved, but no chance. The mast, as you can see from the photos, is quite formidable to climb, and it needs to be warm and dry, with light winds to attempt it.

So, off to Lee on Solent, to visit the wonderful Thomas Bennett Buck and his Mum, the equally wonderful Jenny Buck on Sunday.

Monday we checked over the Dyke and Firle - all well with those two. Stayed in a Premier Inn in the middle of Brighton. There's some VERY odd people around there.. I felt quite out of place, lacking a getup of black tights, tattoos and eyebrow rings... must be my age...

Tuesday, back to Westbury, to re-attempt the overhaul needed, as the forecast said the front would be well through to the East of it by mid-day. Was it hell! As we arrived, a temporary dry period ended in grey drizzle, increasing in intensity the longer we waited.

So, thwarted once again, we packed up and drove the 4 hours back to Sheffield, got in about 9pm, knackered.

Just to let you know, the diesel bill was about £150, hotels and stuff about the same, even cashing in on special offers from Premier Inn. So we blew about £300 on this trip - and we still need to fix the direction head at Westbury. I have put in a temporary software patch to cover it until we can return and complete the repairs.

This sort of situation is why it can take some time to get a broken station back up again - especially in the colder wetter half of the year.

westbury1 westbury2
westbury3 westbury4




Latest Service Information - Sunday 16th March 2014

Moel Accre Overhauled...

Got up there early afternoon after a LONG traffic jam at Tintwistle coming over the Woodhead Pass from Sheffield to Manchester.

By the way, when the hell are we going to get a decent road between two major conurbations 40 miles apart? The M67 just stops after 3 miles or so instead of continuing over the pass to Sheffield...bet it wouldn't have stayed like this if it was in the South!) You can queue up for an hour or more at Tintwistle if there is anything untoward traffic-wise.

Conditions were dry and sunny, but far from ideal, the wind was varying from 30-40mph, which was going to make replacing the wind heads fun!

In fact, at one point, the wind get the better of the ladders when I was trying to put them up, and they (and I) crashed to the ground in an ungainly swearing heap. Lynn had to help untangle the ladders and I from the staywires.

Damage? The gales had wrecked the wind cups, and disabled the Direction head.

The staywires had held, but had stretched quite a bit, and we had to tighten them all up before it was (relatively) safe to climb the mast to replace things.

It took until nearly dark to replace everything on the mast, (working VERY slowly and carefully as the 35+mph wind threatened to blow me off the mast) - and then I found quite extensive water-penetration damage inside the equipment housing, which affected the direction readings. The spare circuit card I had brought wasn't enough to correct this, and it was getting too dark (and by this time I was too cold) to sort this out. I think 100mph+ winds and driving rain can penetrate almost any so-called "waterproof" housing...

So, we got off the hill just before dark, drove home to Sheffield, (stopping at Lymm truckstop for what turned out to be the worst meal I have ever paid for, give it a miss, is my recommendation) - got in about 9pm. Long day, 6 hours on the road, apart from the work on the hill. All seems to be OK, apart from the erratic direction reading, but I have put in a software fix for that for the time being, till I can get back over there to replace the electonics and upgrade the equipment housing.

accre1 accre2
accre3 accre4




Latest Service Information - Thursday 13th March 2014


Wether Fell Overhauled

First proper high-pressure of the year moving in with warm temperatures (suitable for doing electronics up on the moors), good chance of the moor drying out enough that we can get to Wendy without bogging down, and light winds, to make mast climbing safe and easy.

So, we went to give Wether Fell Wendy an overhaul yesterday Wednesday 12th March.

Lovely day, got up there early afternoon, sun had burnt off the mist, and conditions were ideal.   We humped all the gear, ladders, etc 200 yards from the car to the station, and set about the overhaul. It was a mess!

The gales had been so severe, the wind heads were completely wrecked, the windcups smashed, the direction head torn off, and one of the supporting staywires broken.

It took until nearly dark to fix everything, and then no time left to do comprehensive checks, as I didn't fancy our chances of getting off the moor safely in the dark. Apart from lots of bomb holes 10 feet deep, there are lots of boggy bits that would trap the 4WD instantly. (happened before!)

Anyway, we got off before dark, drove home to Sheffield, got in about 9pm. Long day! All seems to be OK with the readings, anyway.

wetherfell 1 wether2
wether3  


Next on the list will be Moel Accre, hopefully on Sunday 16th March and we plan a trip down south on 22nd-25th March to check over:

Westbury
Mercury
Devils Dyke, and
Firle

(depending on weather, of course as to how much we get done.)

 

Latest Service Information - Sunday 23rd Feb 2014


Calshot Back On-Air!

Saturday, 22nd Feb - up at 5am, on road from Sheffield down to Calshot to repair WendyWindblows. About 5 hours driving into the sun - both Lynn and I arrived with headaches - and Lynn NEVER has a headache, let me tell you!

I think it's about 250 miles, by the time you get down there, anyway.

Found some storm damage and some electronic faults resulting.. However, got everything repaired despite rising wind.

Stayed over at a Premier Inn, then off to Lee-on-Solent to see lovely grandson Thomas Bennett Buck, whose 3rd birthday it was on Sunday.

Was intending to overhaul Westbury Wendy on Sunday, on the way home, but the wind got up too much to climb the mast there, so we wended our long way back to Sheffield, getting in about 8pm Sunday, knackered. At least 500 miles on the clock, a diesel bill of £120-odd, and about the same for a hotel room too. That's about 5 subscriptions blown on one repair trip....

 

Soolent Sailboards Wemdy on The Actvity Centre More Wendy
Rod at Work Fixing The Daylight Sensor Balancing Act

 

Latest Service Information - Weds Feb 19th 2014


Carlton Bank Re-Erected!

OK, Wednesday 19th Feb - Lynn and I back up to Carlton Bank to put in longer, deeper ground anchors, as the clay/shale soil has turned to porridge, and the original anchors aren't holding.

Wendy has a distinct tilt!

So, 3 hours the previous evening to make the anchors, two hours to prepare and load up the Trooper this morning, , one-and-a-half hour's drive up to Stokesley from Sheffield, 3 hours hard work with sledgehammer and spanners...another hour-and-a-half drive home... more than a full day's work, and about £50 worth of diesel.. and this is the second trip up there this week.

This is where your subscriptions go (and our working time!).

Yes, Lynn has to come too, partly as driver, 'cos I am knackered by the time I am finished, but also because. in such a lonely place, you need a safety person there to summon help in case of a fall or other accident - you could easily lie up there for a week with a broken leg or whatever before anyone found you...

carlton 1 Carlton 3 Carlton 4

 

 

 

Latest Service Information - Tuesday Feb 18th 2014


Carlton Bank Back On Air!

Drove up there on Sundayfrom Sheffield, took 1-1/2 hours. Replaced electronics to fix fault. Also found the ground anchors coming loose - the soil was so sodden with rain that the mast in great danger of falling down. Gales had bent it over at about 20 degrees from vertical. Drove 1-1/2 hours home to Sheffield.

When we put it up last summer, the ground was rock hard, and we had a hell of a job pounding the anchors in! Now, it was more like porridge, and they have come loose. Have to go back there tomorrow (Weds, weather permitting) with new longer ground anchors to try and stabilise it.

Bradwell Windcups Wrecked - and Restored AGAIN....

Seems the new wind cups and direction vane I put on about 3 weeks ago have been wrecked by the recent gales. This is a perpetual winter battle with Bradwell - it suffers from wave doubling, so that a 60mph gale ends up as 120mph on the front edge where the mast is. Went up there today and replaced the shattered wind heads. It read over 130mph before they disintegrated! Froze myy assets off up there - it was supposed to be nice, but a thin freezing drizzle persisted while I wax up the ladders - not nice.

Bradwell1 Bradwell2

Moel Accre Phone Line Down

Gary Dickinson, who runs the Animal Sanctuary at the foot of the hill, and who hosts Wendy's computer etc, reports that the mast is still standing, but a tree has fallen across the phone lines to his place, and downed them all, Wendy's line included. It has been reported to BT.

Not sure when that will come back on, but when it does, I will probably have to go over there and replace the wind cups etc, as the gales will probably have ruined them, as, like Bradwell, it's another hill-edge site that suffers from wave doubling and has probably hit well over 120mph recently, so I am expecting the sensors to have been wrecked.

Wether Fell Windcups Wrecked

Ditto Wether Fell. Another wave-doubling site, and the wind cups seem to have been wrecked, as it's reading permanantly zero mph. This one will take at least a week of dry weather before I can attempt to get up there though. To get to it, we have to take the 4WD over half a mile of moor, without even a track to follow, and when it has been so wet, you can get totally bogged down - I have, before, and had to bribe the farmer to pull me out! Can't risk that when the 4WD is loaded with heavy test and repair kit, so this station will have to wait a while.

Nont Sarahs Back Soon!

The phone line is being installed at the new site upwind across the valley at Deer Hill Reservoir on 26th Feb. I hope to get the station running again shortly thereafter - and close the Pule Hill site, which has always had funny meteorology.

This is an enormous list of repairs to catch up on, with a LOT of mileage involved, so please bear with us as we work round this list of gale damage repairs.

Calshot

We are going down there this coming weekend, (22nd-23rd Feb)to try and repair this one, and put it back on air. We also hope to check on a couple of other stations, like Westbury and Nympsfield on this trip.


Wendy never seems to end, bit like painting the Forth Bridge! Our apologies for the delays - this year has been a catalogue of medical disasters for both of us, including extended hospital stays, and we feel really embarrassed that the normally prompt Wendy repairs have taken so long to deal with, due to our being ill, and the appalling weather this winter.

Rod & Lynn

If The Website Crashes.....

Remember, if the website goes down for any reason, you can still gain usually gain access to the Wendy data by calling the Central Phone Server.

Details of the new Central Phone Server are at: Subscribers' Phone Help Page