Dryline Chaser

by Tim Samaras (1994-present)

This vehicle was built with only one thing in mind, stormchasing! Purchased used in 1994 with 76,000 miles on it, the '91 Dodge Caravan quickly became the victim of my Makita 1/2" drill. To the horrific shock of my wife and with neighbors gathering to watch the spectacle, the van quickly became aerated with holes for varios antennas, camera mounts, and strange electro-gizmos.

Am I worried about the resale of this vehicle?? Naww. Who in the right mind would anyone buy a used chase vehicle?? Now, with over 152,000 miles on it, its just getting broke in! The transmission hurled in Hays, Kansas in late May 1995. $1,600 bucks later, the chase resumed, but missed the fun in the panhandle in June.

The stuff inside consists of ham radio and scanner equipment (my call is WJ0G), a dedicated 486 PC with a 9" VGA moniter(I **hate** active matrix screens in sunlite) running GPS tracking software(this is cool..), and custom software(using Labview) datalogging weather parameters during the chase. (Configured differently than the picture shows now..) A graph is also displayed showing dewpoint as a function of time. It also has internet dial-up capabilities with the use of the cell-phone and the RJ-11 converter box. It also has a Sony 9" color TV for local broadcasts and camcorder monitering. Recent additions include a DSS dish for TWC with the dish operating inside the vehicle. Most important piece of gear includes the CD player to play favorites such as Eric Clapton and Neil Young.

Too much? Yup. Overkill? Absolutely. None of this electro-whiz crap isn't going to help anybody with their chase with a poor forecast. Sometimes I have to turn it all off, sit back and enjoy the atmosphere.

Editors Note:

The intense EMF around Tim's van has been known to cause cancer in laboratory tumbleweed. And if you see the Dryline Chaser enveloped in a corona discharge, don't yell at Tim to hit the deck; he just needs to turn off the master power switch.

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