WX4NHC Announces On-the-Air Station Test Results
WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio station at the National Hurricane Center conducted its annual On-The-Air Station Test on Saturday, May 30, 2009. According to Assistant WX4NHC Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4R, the station conducted the test to promote awareness of the 2009 hurricane season and to verify station equipment performance on the many frequencies and modes that are used to communicate with other stations in affected areas during hurricanes. WX4NHC has been at the NHC for 29 years.
Ripoll said that WX4NHC station was on the air for nine hours, making 154 contacts with stations in the US, the Caribbean, Central America, Canada, Australia, Europe and Africa. "Most contacts made on HF were done using phone (SSB) and on the Hurricane Watch Net frequency of 14.325 MHz, as well as 7.268 MHz in cooperation with the Waterway Net," he said. "We also made contacts using HF and VHF APRS, and local VHF and UHF repeaters in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties."
Ripoll said that the VoIP Hurricane Net conducted a two hour simulated Hurricane Net on EchoLink (WX_TALK conference) and IRLP (node 9219) using the same methods of collecting and forwarding data to WX4NHC during hurricanes with great success: "We extend special thanks to Rob Macedo, KD1CY, and the VoIP Hurricane Net Controls for their dedication and continued support of WX4NHC."
One of the farthest contacts made by WX4NHC on HF Phone was with Eric Mackie, 9Z4CP, in Trinidad and Tobago. "Eric has been a very active supporter of WX4NHC and has relayed many hurricane reports to and from his island neighbors during many hurricanes, both on HF and EchoLink/IRLP."
Ripoll said that Julio Henriquez, AD4Z, came to WX4NHC and made several CW contacts during the test: "By coincidence, he contacted TI5N in Costa Rica -- this station was operated by one of our regular WX4NHC operators, Fred Kleber, K9VV. Julio also made contact with 6W1SJ, the expedition station in Senegal, West Africa."
WX4NHC made contact with many stations that are active in SKYWARN and Emergency Management -- including FEMA and NWS Offices -- on EchoLink and IRLP, Ripoll said. "We found one Amateur Radio operator, Tarmo Tanilsoo, who finds hurricanes so interesting that he changed his call sign to ES5NHC, even though they do not experience hurricanes in his country of Estonia."
Thanks from WX4NHC
On behalf of the WX4NHC Coordinators and operators, Ripoll thanked all the Amateur Radio operators who participated in the WX4NHC Annual Station Test: "We look forward to your continued support during the hurricane season." For a QSL card from the test, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Julio Ripoll, WD4R, 14855 SW 67 Ln, Miami, FL 33193-2027.