Category Archives: Equipment Review

Strike Alert Personal Lightning Detector

StrikeAlert is a small (about the size of a pager) and affordable lightning detector that provides an early warning of approaching lightning strikes from as far away as 40 miles and lets you know if the storm is coming your way. Its designed for personal and portable use.

Strike Distance An audible alarm sounds when there’s a strike and a corresponding LED light illuminates accordingly at lightning distances of 20-40 miles, 12-24 miles, 6-12 miles and within 6 miles.

I tested this product during the 2009 season and found it to work very well. It came in handy while watching distant storms.
It’s small, only the size of a pager and can be used by anyone from storm chaser, TV crews, sports officials, anyone who spends time outdoors.

Storm Predator 3.4 is released

Version 3.4 has been released and is available from our web site.

Registered version:
Free trial version:

This update is, as always, free of charge for all current version 3.x customers.

Here is the change/feature list:

New Features:

— The installer preserves configuration settings.

The installer attempts to read any existing configuration file and preserve the settings.
In most cases, the user no longer needs to enter the serial number, user name, and email during the installation.
In addition, settings made in the program that have been saved in the configuration file are merged with the updated configuration file.

— The text of email alerts is customizable.

The email body text is free-form and may consist of up to 65536 (64kb) characters.
When the user presses the Change button in the Email Options dialog, the program begins editing a template file.
That template (named \data\database\email_ template.txt) may optionally contain any of the following tags that will be replaced with values from the program when email is sent:

$TIME — the current time
$DATE — the current date
$ID — the radar site METAR identifier
$CITY — the radar site primary city
$STATE — the radar site state abbreviation
$VCP — the current Volume Coverage Pattern (VCP) that the site is operating in
$THRESH — the precipitation threshold setting in dbZ designation
$VIPTHRESH — the threshold setting in VIP designation
$DBMAX — the maximum detected precipitation level in dbZ designation
$VIPMAX — the maximum detected precipitation level in VIP designation
$SENS — the current threshold sensitivity setting
$PROD — the currently selected radar product
$DESC — a text description of the maximum detected precipitation level

When an alert occurs or the Test button is pressed in the Email Options dialog, the template file is read and any replacements are made, and the result is stored in \data\database\email_ body.txt and that file is used as the email text.

The inclusion of images is not affected by this operation.
The text of mobile device messages is not affected by this change, that text is currently not customizable.

Changes to existing features:

— The scan zone popup alert window may be optionally disabled.
This is independent of the audio alerts and email/pager messages, which are also optional.

All of these alert indicators may be enabled/disabled in any combination.
The options are set in the Display Options dialog.

— The user may double-click on a site entry in the Location dialog to select a site.
I have no idea why this was not included in previous releases.

— The inclusion of the scan zone and/or markers in published imagery is optional.
In the Publisher Options dialog, the user can check boxes to include or exclude scan zones and/or markers in published images.

— Optional delay value for animated GIF files.
The user may select a value in seconds that the animation will pause at the end of each loop.
Selecting 0 (no delay) means that the last frame of the animation will pause for the same amount of time as the rest of the frames.
The option is selected in the Publisher Options dialog.

— In previous versions, the user was restricted to testing either email or pager/mobile device functions, one at a time.
That’s been changed to allow either type or both simultaneously.

— The mail functions have been completely revised.
Please see the this post in the General Discussion area of the forum for more details.

— Added support for VCP 211, something that was belatedly implemented by NWS/NOAA
Thanks to PaulC for actually finding a radar site that was in that mode.

— The scan zone popup dialog now displays values in dbZ designation vs. VIP levels.

— Added support for HTML email templates as well as text templates.
This allows users to send “pretty” messages that include backgrounds, logos, custom fonts and colors, etc.
Details for enabling and sending HTML mail can be found in this post.

— New palettes added.
New palettes are available for mixed precipitation, winter storm conditions, and an interesting cloud cover simulation. Many thanks to PaulC for creating these palettes and allowing us to incorporate them into the product.

*Disclaimer- I am sponsored by this company (intelliweather & parent company IT works) and recieve compensation in the form of equipment and weather image services.