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Hurricane Watch Net Seeks Bilingual Net Control Operators


The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) is looking for new members who are willing to train to become Net Control Operators. HWN is especially interested in recruiting bilingual operators who are fluent in Spanish and English or French/Creole and English. Net Control responsibilities can entail hours of duty to ensure all received ground-truth weather reports are forwarded directly to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The net generally activates whenever a system has achieved hurricane status and is within 300 statute miles of a populated landmass. This can vary, however, due to the forward speed and intensity of a storm, or at the request of the forecasters at the National Hurricane Center. Once activated, the HWN continuously operates until a storm is no longer a threat to life and property.

The mission of the net is to disseminate the latest advisories issued by the National Hurricane Center, and to obtain real-time, ground-level weather conditions and initial damage assessments from amateur radio operators in the affected areas. The net then relays that information to the National Hurricane Center by way of WX4NHC, and when required, the Canadian Hurricane Centre. It also functions as a backup communication link for the National Hurricane Center, National Weather Service Forecast Offices, the Canadian Hurricane Centre, Emergency Operations Centers, emergency management agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other vital interests that can involve military relief operations. Such operations can be involved in the protection of life and property before, during, and after a hurricane event.

HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, says training will be provided and each candidate will go through a probationary period with a mentor. Graves, an ARRL member, says an applicant's station must be reliable. "While having a tower, beam, and/or amplifier is not a requirement, your station must allow you to hear and be heard. Therefore, directional antennas and amplifiers are preferred," he said.

The net coverage area includes the hurricane-prone areas of eastern Canada, the US East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. The net specifically seeks applicants in the middle-to-western sections of the US, Canada, Central America, and the Caribbean. "As always, the HWN is hoping for a quiet season, yet [we are] prepared for the worst," said Graves.

Those interested in learning more can visit the HWN Net Control Information web page at



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