The 14th Annual SKYWARN Recognition Day Set for December 1
The 14th Annual SKYWARN Recognition Day (SRD) Special Event will take place Saturday, December 1, 2012. SRD is co-sponsored by the ARRL and the National Weather Service (NWS) as a way to recognize the commitment made by Amateur Radio operators in helping to keep their communities safe. According to SRD Coordinator David Floyd, N5DBZ, Amateur Radio operators can visit their local participating NWS office, working as a team to contact other hams across the world throughout the 24-hour event on 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6 and 2 meters, as well as 70 centimeters.
The idea for the first SRD took shape in the summer of 1999. Meteorologist-in-Charge of the Goodland, Kansas NWS office Scott Mentzer, N0QE, tried to find a way to recognize the valuable contributions storm spotters make to the National Weather Service. “Since many of those storm spotters were also hams,” Floyd told the ARRL, “it seemed like a natural fit for the recognition to be centered on Amateur Radio.” With the approval of NWS headquarters and a commitment to participate from many local NWS offices across the country, the first National Weather Service Special Event took place on November 27, 1999.
Floyd said that feedback from that first event was “overwhelmingly positive” from both the NWS staff and the local ham clubs: “Many local club members who came to that first event had never visited an NWS office before. When they came for the special event, they learned the value of their reports and how they were used in conjunction with existing technology.” And so began an annual tradition. The following year, 85 of the 122 NWS offices -- almost 70 percent -- participated in the event, making nearly 24,000 QSOs.
In 2001, the name of the event was changed to SKYWARN Recognition Day, a name Floyd said better relayed what the day was all about: “Each year since the inception of SRD, the number of NWS offices participating with local ham clubs has increased; more than 100 offices sign up each year to take part.” In keeping with the NWS setting, stations are asked to include a weather report of their location in their exchange.
In 2011, the NWS office in Melbourne, Florida -- WX4MLB -- topped the QSO list with 1604 QSOs; the Lincoln, Illinois office (WX9ILX), with 980 QSOs, placed second. The Melbourne office also contacted the most NWS offices, at 81, with the Lincoln office placing second, with 70.
The 2012 SKYWARN Recognition Day will be held on December 1 from 0000 UTC-2400 UTC. In the past, NWS offices have contacted all 50 states and more than 40 countries during the 24 hour event. Even if you make just one QSO to an NWS office, you are eligible to receive a certificate. Submit a list of the station(s) you worked (along with a self-addressed stamped envelope) to SKYWARN Recognition Day, 920 Armory Rd, Goodland, KS 67735. Many NWS offices also send out special QSL cards for this event. If you haven’t yet joined in the fun of SKYWARN Recognition Day, make 2012 your year to do so!
Editor’s note: For more information about severe weather reporting and SKYWARN, including a state-by-state listing of SKYWARN websites, check out the ARRL publication Storm Spotting and Amateur Radio (ISBN: 978-0-87259-090-8, ARRL Order No. 0908, retail $22.95 plus shipping) is available from ARRL publications dealers and from the ARRL Online Store (telephone 860-594-0355, or toll-free in the US 888-277-5289; www.arrl.org/shop; email@example.com).