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What steps should I take to ensure I have the right grounding/lightning protection for my RAWS station?

Both direct and indirect lightning strikes generate massive electromagnetic fields inducing voltages far beyond what electronic equipment can safely handle and can damage a RAWS station that isn’t properly grounded and protected.

The RSFWSU Depot recommends contacting the equipment manufacturer of your RAWS station to determine the proper lightning protection for your system.

I recently upgraded my FTS station to the RM Young WS/WD sensor. Since then I have noticed my wind speed readings appear to be much slower that I expect them to be. Is there a problem with my sensor?

Some customers after installing the RM Young ws/wd sensor (p/n: SDI-WS-RMY-2) are reporting lower than expected wind speeds on their stations. Possible cause of this may be the sensor SDI card programmed for wind speed readings in meters per second instead of miles per hour. Go to the RESOURCES page and select TECH RESOURCES to find the procedure for “Resetting the RM Young to MPH”.

I plan to purchase a new RAWS station for my district. What do I need to ensure I can order parts once I decide to go on a depot contract and how do I set up a preventive maintenance schedule for these parts?

Go to the Resources page on this website, select Forms, and then select WXx Weather Station Set-Up Form. Use this form to create a WXx Weather preventive maintenance schedule and a list of a parts/sensors that can be ordered through the RSFWSU Depot.

Is there a guide available to help me decipher the WXx Weather Station Event Report?

Select "Standards & Guidelines" on the navigation bar at the top of this website. Under "WXx Weather Station Event Report" you can download a guide to the events commonly listed in the WXx Weather Station Event Report.

What type of access do I need in WXx Weather to maintain my RAWS station?

Access into WXx Weather can range from "view only" for the very basic user, to ordering parts or the ability to edit most of the station metadata. The type of access or "role" that an individual receives when applying for a WXx Weather account is typically agency specific. For most federal agencies you may need to contact your Regional Coordinator or National Program Coordinator to find out what type of access you need in WXx Weather. For state and private agencies contact the USFS National RAWS Program Manager. Contact information for most federal and state agencies can be found on this website under the "Contacts" tab.

What am I responsible for if my station is vandalized?

Maintenance contracts with the Remote Sensing Fire Weather Support Unit (RSFWSU) do not cover the loss of station parts and sensors due to abuse, theft or vandalism. Customers can contact the RAWS Help Desk for information regarding supported manufacturers, suitable substitutes, and/or other options to replace RAWS components. NOTE: BLM customers should contact the RSFWSU for additional details regarding component replacement due to theft or vandalism.

Is the Vaisala 555 DCP still supported by the RSFWSU?

The 555 Data Collection Platform was a good, reliable piece of equipment. It served us well for many years, and we actually have the spares and capabilities to support it for many more. However, peripheral hardware and software has technologically left the 555 behind. New laptops often lack a serial port, and/or have software and firmware issues that make communication with the 555 difficult to impossible. Adapter cables have become prohibitively expensive and impossible to source. New sensors are being developed or are in production that offer significant improvements, but they can't communicate through the 555 DCP. The Remote Sensing / Fire Weather Support depot no longer supports 555 DCPs. Depot customers may still have operating and functional 555 DCPs. Local limitations involving suitable laptops, drivers, operating software, adapter cables, etc., will determine when any given depot customer can or cannot perform required programming with the 555, if and when they must do so. We recommend RAWS users coordinate with their agency RAWS program managers to replace this equipment as soon as feasible.

What is involved with loading Vaisala software so I can interface my laptop with my DCP?

Depending on the model of computer and the method you are using to interface your programming cable the process of setting up your laptop could be somewhat complicated. Even at our RAWS training classes, when students have not taken the time to setup their laptops, most of the first day is spent just configuring computers. The best way to get your software loaded is to call the RAWS Help Desk so a technician can walk you through the setup process specific to your laptop.

How do I set up a WXx Weather account?

Go to and select "Request Access Request/eRequest Form". Start by filling in your email address and the last 4 digits of your phone number. Fill in the page that follows and click the submit button. The form will be routed to your regional manager for approval. Once signed off, the form will be routed to the RAWS Depot for account creation. 

Do you anticipate any problems using Online 2000 with computers running Windows 7?

At this time our office is testing the Online 2000 application with Windows 7. The evaluation could take several weeks before we can determine if there are any concerns with the new operating system. Once we have done a thorough evalution we will post our findings in the News and Info section on the Home page of this website.

How do I get a NESDIS ID for a new weather station our office is purchasing?

For Federal and most State agencies you can email the RSFWSU Depot supervisor Justin Dopp to get an NESDIS id request form.