Alienware Laptop, MacBook Pro Laptop, Dell Studio Laptop, Triple Monitor Display, GRL3, GRL2Analyst, GREarth, Allison House, WeatherTap, MobileThreatNet. iPad mini, Microsoft GPS, Garmin nuvi GPS unit, Franson GPSGate, Verizon Broadband Access.
MacBook Pro Laptop Dell Studio Laptop
After some motherboard failures I upgraded to an Alienware, MacBook Pro and Dell Studio laptop. These laptops have worked flawlessly and I can't be happier with their performance. I also have tested the MacBook Pro as "chase-ready" out in the field and it worked quite well. It is possible to chase with a Macbook Pro laptop with a program called || Parallels that allows you to run windows programs on your mac in turn giving you the option to run several operating systems at once. I've ran Windows 7, Windows Vista, Mac OS, and Fedora Linux all at once on this beast many times. Macbooks are very reliable compared to any Windows-based PCs and I recommend them over any laptop. Also, both laptops have back-lit keyboards for storm chasing after dark which really comes in handy when the sun sets. Furthermore, I have 2 X-brand laptop stands with a fan-cooling system for both computers to aid in air-flow since well the #1 killer to any computer is heat especially during the spring and summer chasing months. In conclusion, I usually chase with the Dell Studio laptop and I use the quad-core Alienware laptop for home-use especially for software intensive programs.
GRLevel3 GREarth GR2Analyst
Here's a discussion of software I use while storm chasing: Gibson Ridge software requires Internet-access to get radar-updates while storm chasing and is extremely valuable data. MobileThreatNet (XM WX) requires no Internet access. MobileThreatNet uses a XM radio antenna to receive radar updates and other important weather data. Both have advantages and weaknesses however. MobileThreatNet is a paid service $100/month (top-package). Verizon Broadband Access runs about what a cell phone costs a month based on your plan i.e. $70-80/month. I tend to use Internet-access so I'm not confined to looking at whatever data the service gives me. Yet, if your using a Internet data-card a major weakness does exist. That weakness is the many dead-zones that crop up while chasing storms. Another problem is that now many storm chasers alike are streaming live video and they are overloading the cell phone towers thereby at some times killing the broadband Internet-access in the area. Some more software that I incorporate while storm chasing are Franson GPSGate, Spotter Network, GREarth, GR2Analyst, Allison House, and WeatherTap. Franson GPSGate allows me to use my GPS receiver (Microsoft GPS) to be used with several different GPS applications such as Spotter Network, Microsoft Streets & Trips, Garmin GPS unit, and GR software. The Spotter Network records my GPS location on its server every 1-2min in real-time. For satellite/radar I also have a GREarth subscription as well. For archived radar data or super-resolution radar data in the field I have GR2Analyst which works really well and gives you the ability to see storms in 3-dimensions. I also have monthly subscriptions with WeatherTap and Allison House. Allison House provides placefiles to be used with Gibson Ridge software. Depending on what package suits you it runs around $20/month and is very reliable weather data. WeatherTap runs around $6.95/month depending on your subscription as well, but they have the best satellite data on the web in my opinion.
Now for the photography & video aspect of my storm chasing gear...Well to get started, I use three DSLR's for photographing severe storms and extreme weather. They are the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EOS 7D, and Canon EOS Rebel T5i. I have several lenses that I use from time to time with these cameras including now a few Canon EF L lenses with a nice assortmant of Canon EF-S lenses as well. I also have a Sigma wide-angle lens as well. I also have a few accessories with my DSLR cameras including a 6ft tripod and a couple Canon remote triggers that I use for night and lightning photography as it's essential. I've added a list of the lenses I currently own at my photography website here.
Alienware Laptop & Triple Monitor Display
For video: I have recently upgraded to an HD camera, the Sony CX130 HD camcorder. I'll be using this for chase video from here on out. I'm really excited to see the "difference" from previous video footage with this upgrade. I also have a wide-end conversion lens for this camcorder as well to get better wide-angle time-lapses of supercells and severe thunderstorms. Of course with video and photography one must have a tripod. I have two actually. One's a 6ft tripod and the other is even bigger. The idea here is to have one small tripod for photography and a large tripod for video. The benefit of a large tripod is its increased weight thanks to its size. The disadvantage is its portablility. Nevertheless, this allows you to get more "stable" time-lapses during strong wind speeds thanks to the weight increase with a larger tripod.
Visit my mobile equipment page--> here
For observations and current conditions I use a Davis Vantage PRO 2 weather station at home-base and at my apartment that records and uploads real-time observational data to a WUnderground server. Users are growing with these personal weather stations, but just think if every household had one of these how much better the weather models would be as long as they are properly positioned and calibrated and could be used in numerical weather models...