Climate and Weather
Because of its higher elevation in the Texas Hill Country, the W5KFT Ranch Station enjoys a slightly cooler climate than the cities of San Antonio or Austin. The warmest month is August, with an average daily high temperature of 34°C (94°F) and an average daily low temperature of 21°C (70°F). The record high temperature recorded in the area was 46°C (114°F) on July 11, 1917. The coolest month of the year is January, with an average daily high temperature of 15°C (59°F) and an average daily low temperature of 1°C (33°F). The record low temperature recorded in the area was -20°C (-4°F) on January 30, 1949. Planned tower work is generally done in the spring or fall.
Unfortunately, because the location of the W5KFT Ranch Station is farther than San Antonio or Austin from the tropical moisture over the Gulf of Mexico, the ranch is drier than those two cities. Annual average precipitation is only 82.4 cm (32.4"). The wettest month of the year is May, with a monthly average of 11.63 cm (4.58") of precipitation. The dryest month of the year is January, with a monthly average of just 4.09 cm (1.61") of precipitation. Rainfall can be highly variable, with extended periods of drought.
Thunderstorms and lightning can occur during any month of the year, but are most common in May, June, and October. The station has been fortunate to avoid major lightning damage over the years. A Live Oak tree next to the station shattered and fell in a violent thunderstorm in June, 2003. Although it was being used as a guy point for the TH7 tower right next to the station, the tower stayed up and Bryan was able to get a new guy support installed before the next storm. A television set in the station has proven useful for watching local weather radar during contests. When a storm cell gets too close to the station, all antennas and rotor cables are unplugged and the operators sit it out.