U.S. Weather Data for Trip Planning

Doing portable radio in the rain is something that I avoid like the plaque. Call me soft, but that’s how it is. (However, I have nothing but admiration for our UK friends who appear to have elevated radio operation in damp weather to a high art.)

I have been wanting to take a week-or-so SOTA vacation to western North Carolina. To maximize my chances of several dry days for activating, it occurred to me to schedule the trip based on historical data on precipitation in each month. And while looking at normal monthly precipitation totals would be a good start, what I really want is subtly different: a month with relatively few days in which any precipitation falls (because I’m staying indoors whether there’s a drizzle or a downpour).

A bit of Googling turned up just what I was after: a table titled “Mean number of Days with Precipitation 0.01 Inches or More.” This table has rows for many cities in the U.S. and a column for each month plus the annual total. And, viola (or cello, if you like), here are the data for Asheville, NC:

                             POR       JAN   FEB   MAR   APR   MAY   JUN   JUL   AUG   SEP   OCT   NOV   DEC   ANN
03812ASHEVILLE,NC      194601-202012    11    10    12    10    11    12    13    13     9     8     9    10   127

So October it is! Cool temperatures and falling leaves will only be a bonus. (The heading POR means period of record, in this case Jan. 1946 to Dec. 2020.)

Of course, deviation from the mean could spoil the trip, as could that mean eight days of rain occurring during the week booked, but I figure it helps to have probability on my side.

You can access the table at the URL:


Expand the Observed Data heading. The various data products are text files, but they don’t open inline in my browser because they have a .dat filename extension. Right-click on the link to the data of interest, save the file and open it in a text editor with word-wrap disabled.

If you prefer to plan your SOTA-cation around some other meteorological parameter, such as percentage of daylight hours with sunshine, or average wind speed, or monthly inches of precipitation, there is a table for you.



October is a great time. Just keep in mind that thousands upon thousands of leaf watchers will be all over the mountains like ants on a doughnut.
73 Gary

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