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Amateur radio has played a major role in reporting severe weather in Arkansas.
The CAUHF Group participates in the National Weather Service's SKYWARN™
program. SKYWARN™ is a volunteer program with nearly 280,000 trained severe
weather spotters. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by
providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather
Severe weather links and resources
- WarnIM - This is the Skywarn
Instant Messenger used by the CAUHF. The WarnIM serves to give those with
or without ham radio access, or those who are in remote areas, an additional
means of communication in times of emergencies (such as during severe weather
WarnIM may be monitored by media outlets, and the information displayed there may be used by those outlets to promote public safety. Features include live chat and access to updated radar data
directly from the National Weather Service.
[Click here for a screenshot.]
Those authorized to use this system include, but are not limited to:
- Certified Skywarn Spotters
- National Weather Service
- Government offices and agencies
- First Responders and hospitals
- Media outlets, in order to save lives through early warning
- Entergy power outages
Weather net participation guidelines
There are certain guidelines that must be followed when participating in a weather net. These are the crtieria for a report during a weather net.
- Large Hail: Was the hail at least penny size or larger?
- Tornadoes/Funnel Clouds: Did you actually see a tornado or
funnel cloud? Remember, a tornado is actually on the ground, a funnel cloud is a
rotating cloud which has not reached the ground but which can quickly form into
- Floods/Flash Floods: Are roads under water and/or is water
flowing into homes/businesses?
- Heavy Snow: Has snow accumulated 4 inches or more in your area?
- Heavy Ice: Has freezing rain accrued at least 1/4" on exposed
objects and/or has sleet accumulated at least 1/2"?
- Deaths / Injuries: Due to the weather you are reporting, have
any deaths or injuries occurred?
Proper weather net procedure
Amateur radio has played a major role in reporting severe weather in Arkansas. A
weather net can be called up at any time by the NWS. Here are a few tips to help
if you choose to get on the net.
- Get some training in severe weather spotting. The National Weather Service holds
spotter courses from time to time at hamfests and at other amateur radio events
or club meetings. It is valuable training and makes you a much better prepared
net member and severe weather spotter.
- When checking into a weather net, follow the directions of the net control and
remember the number 1 rule of radio communications, listen before you transmit.
If you are called on by net control to give a report of conditions in your area,
do so. If not, keep quiet unless the weather meets one of the severe criteria
above. Net members who call to let the net control know "it's not raining
here.", or "there's just a little shower here", or "the sirens are going off
here" after a tornado or rotating wall cloud has been reported and confirmed are
in no uncertain terms morons and menaces. If you are one of them and this
insults you, either learn from it or better yet stay off the air during severe
weather. Your meaningless chatter and ignorant utterances can cost others their
- Make sure you are seeing what you are seeing. If in doubt state so and let the
net control ask you further questions or the net control may have other stations
in a better position confirm or deny what you are seeing.
Weather spotter training
For the latest information on Weather Spotter courses in Arkansas, please visit the National Weather Service online at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/lzk/html/skywarn.htm#Classes