The Skymate Pocket Windspeed+Temperature Meter (Model SM-18) from Speedtech Instruments is a portable, versatile windspeed and temperature sensor designed for a wide variety of applications including recreational and sporting activities, scientific and engineering monitoring and health and safety assessments. While designed for outdoor use, the unit can have indoor applications as well.
|Skymate Pocket Windspeed+Temperature Meter|
Photo Courtesy of Speedtech Instruments
The Skymate SM-18 is compact, measuring 14 centimetres long, 4.5 cm wide and 2 cm thick (5.5 inches long, 1.75 inches wide and 0.75 inches thick) in the stored position. The unit unfolds like a pocket-knife to expose the sensors. The highly visible, yellow case can be used as a extension handle when fully extended to give further reach and exposure to the sensing probes. It also provides a threaded hole so that the unit may be attached to a tripod or mast if desired. According to the manufacturer, the unit floats, is water-resistant down to 90 cm (3 feet) and is shockproof.
The Skymate Pocket Windspeed+Temperature Meter reports windspeed and temperature and calculates wind chill equivalent temperature, presumably using the US National Weather Service equation for wind chill. It provides several options for the unit of measurement and wind-speed averaging time. The wind units are: kilometres per hour, miles per hour, knots, feet per minute, metres per second and Beaufort wind number. Temperature and wind-chill equivalent temperature can be displayed in either degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit, but only with wind speeds in knots and Beaufort number is there the choice of temperature unit. For metric wind speeds, only the Celsius scale is available, and with the non-metric miles and feet, only the Fahrenheit scale is available.
The wind-speed averaging time options are: 2-second average, 5-second average, 10-second average and 13-second average. The temperature sensor is read every 1 second. The unit also stores the maximum temperature and maximum 2-second-average wind speed which are reset each time the instrument is turned on.
As with most hand-held wind sensors, this unit is designed for low to moderate wind speeds and can be damaged by prolonged exposure to high winds. (High winds can damage the sensing impeller's bearings and thus reduce its accuracy.)
The lower limit of its temperature operating range -15 oC (5 oF) is common for such portable electronic units but may be inconvenient for use in cold-weather applications common to northern latitudes and high elevations. In extremely cold environments, the unit should work satisfactorily if kept warm and only exposed to the elements briefly to take spot readings.
One particular feature of the Skymate Pocket Windspeed+Temperature Meter is its ability to freeze a particular measurement. This can be useful, for example, if measuring the flow through an exhaust duct or the wind speed coinciding with another observation, measurement or event. The display is frozen by holding the on/off button. But be forewarned that releasing the button turns the unit off and the current maximum temperature and wind speed are lost. Pushing the button again turns the unit back on, but also resets the maximum observation readings. It is also not possible to step between averaging times when the unit is in hold mode.
I do not have the facilities to do a detailed and accurate audit of the sensor's accuracy, but the 2-second-average wind speed function did compare well with another similar wind sensor held next to it. It also gave expected readings at higher wind speeds when compared to my vehicle's speedometer while traveling at 50 and 80 km/h (30 and 50 mph) and briefly holding the unit out the window.
The temperature sensor also compared well with other units at room and summer outdoor temperatures. When making outdoor temperature measurements, it is important that the sensor or unit not be held in direct sunlight when taking a reading as the heating of the sensor or the case can cause it to report a higher than true air temperature.
The Skymate Pocket Windspeed+Temperature Meter is a very useful and portable environmental monitor for wind speed and temperature. It has a wide range of applications that should make it a key component of any outdoor recreational kit. Athletes and science/engineering professionals will find a variety of uses as well. If wind speed measurements are important to you, I recommend looking at the Skymate Pocket Windspeed+Temperature Meter if realtime wind speed measurements are important to your activities.
For further information on the Skymate Pocket Windspeed+Temperature Meter Model SM-18 or to order it direct from the company, visit the Speedtech Instruments website by clicking here. Or call them at 1-800 760 0004 (703-759-0511) Fax: 703-759-0509.
Keith C. Heidorn, PhD, ACM
THE WEATHER DOCTOR
14 August 2000
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