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Amateur Radio Operators and National Weather Service Mark SKYWARN Alliance


Saturday December 3, 2022 was SKYWARN® Recognition Day (SRD), an event that recognizes SKYWARN volunteers for their contribution to public safety. SRD was observed by several National Weather Service (NWS) locations across the United States. Amateur radio volunteers set up temporary operations from forecasting headquarters to make contacts with other stations to demonstrate their readiness to operate in emergency conditions and to act as observers for the NWS. As of the last count there were over 4,700 SKYWARN spotters taking part in SRD.

SKYWARN event coordinator Rick Tate, KQ6NO, operates from the Ventura County, California Sheriff's Emergency Operations trailer. Photo courtesy of Jeff Reinhardt, AA6JR.

Near Los Angeles, California, at the NWS office located in Oxnard, volunteers set up six stations on different radio frequencies and operated through the day under simulated emergency conditions. Several members of the general public visited the NWS office during the exercise.

ARRL Headquarters, participating as WX1AW, was activated by ARRL Emergency Management Assistant Ken Bailey, K1FUG, during SRD. WX1AW was active on 40 - 10 meters using SSB and FT8 modes and monitored local VHF and UHF repeaters.

Radio amateurs participating as SKYWARN volunteers assist the NWS with real-time observations of adverse weather conditions that pose an imminent threat to life and property. Those alerts may include tornadoes, waterspouts, damaging hail, blizzard conditions, sleet, strong winds, heavy rainfalls and flooding, dust storms, damage assessment, and other significant anomalies. NWS personnel can utilize information from ham radio operators to issue alerts or assess threat levels to areas that may be affected by abnormal conditions.

The 2022 NWS Spotter of the Year Award was given to Bryan Loper, WX5CSS, of Atlanta, Texas. The award noted that Loper is very active with the amateur radio network and weather community within the Ark-La-Tex region, and is always reliable in providing weather reports. Loper is also an ARRL member.

Thanks to Jeff Reinhardt, AA6JR, Public Information Coordinator - ARRL Santa Barbara Section for contributing to this story.



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