Through doing this project we have learned a lot about the importance of quality control and signal noise! Many hours were consumed during various stages of the design process where a major snag was due to either a faulty part or too much ambient electrical noise for a pin.
A prime example is the carrier signal detect output of the transceiver chip. When the transmitter is on and in the area, the carrier detect signal should be low. When the transmitter cannot be detected, the signal should be high, however we found it to be low and noisy. It turns out that the noise from the UART was enough to pull the carrier detect signal low even when the receiver chip was outputting a high signal.
Besides these pitfalls and debugging adventures, we are rather pleased with the way our device turned out. We were able to come up with a relatively frictionless fin and anemometer design, however it would have been nice to have wider openings on our photo interrupters such that the disks that actually do the interrupting don't create too much friction with the interrupters.
Most other things turned out well, such as our receiver unit. It was fairly small, as desired, however probably not as small as a production "portable" unit would have to be. The fin and anemometer should probably have a lower profile for convenience as well, but what we had worked fine in lab.