COORDINATOR - TOM PREISER, N2XW
ASSISTANT COORDINATOR - KEITH YODICE, KC2OON
Skywarn Training will be posted when scheduled
Skywarn Spotter training is held at Robert J. Miller Airpark, Berkeley Township.
The airpark is located on Route 530, about 1 mile West of Dover Road
If traveling from North or South, take the GSP to Exit 77 - Berkeley
Northbound - At Exit 77 light turn left, pass under the GSP. Airpark is on left 1 mile after 2nd traffic light
Southbound - At Exit 77 turn left at stop sign. Turn right at traffic light across from Double Trouble Park.
Airpark is on left 1 mile past next traffic light (Dover Road)
SKYWARN is a National Weather Service (NWS) program of trained volunteer severe weather spotters. Formed in the early 1970s it has been invaluable in providing information to the NWS in time to get the appropriate warnings issued. SKYWARN is a program that saves lives and property through observations and reports from trained volunteers.
With all the modern technology at their disposal the NWS can only determine the potential for severe weather. They must still rely on the public, law enforcement personnel, and trained weather spotters for information as to what is really happening at ground level. Accurate and reliable info from the general public is often difficult to get. Thats why the NWS has found that having trained weather spotters increases the quality of the information they receive. Also with the Federal Government cutting back on their budget and manpower the NWS must rely more on us to be their eyes in the field.
Severe weather can cause major civil disasters as proven time and time again with heavy snowfall, massive flooding, and of course Hurricane and Tornado damage we see on the news locally and through out the country. The NWS may utilize the SKYWARN Amateur Radio operators to maintain close coordination with the Red Cross and Emergency Management through ARES/RACES. SKYWARN is formally acknowledged and encouraged in a Memorandum of Understanding between the ARRL and the NWS. This agreement states that the ARRL will encourage its local volunteers operating as ARES to provide spotters as requested by the NWS during times of severe weather.
In this area of the country we receive our weather forecast and warnings from the Mount Holly, NJ office of the NWS. Mount Holly is responsible for 34 Counties in NJ, DE, MD and PA. They have a close working relationship with the Weather Channel and a lot of what you see on TV is provided by the NWS.
Becoming a NWS Weather SKYWARN Spotter is a great opportunity for Hams and non-hams alike who want to become involved with Public Service but usually do not have time, or the means of getting active in other programs. From the comfort of your home, at work, or driving in your car, you can check into a SKYWARN NET and describe what you see! This is a very easy and effective way of helping our communities, and showing others what being a HAM is all about.
HOW DOES SKYWARN WORK?
When hazardous weather occurs such as severe thunderstorms, floods, tornadoes, snow and ice storms, our volunteers report what is happening at their location. They are asked to report whenever certain criteria are met such as when one inch of rain has fallen, six inches of snow is on the ground, a thunderstorm is producing hail, or trees have been blown down. Reports arrive at our office via Packet radio, Amateur radio or telephone. The reports are combined with radar and satellite data to determine what the storms will do next.
Spotters provide the "ground-truth". Radar may tell us that heavy rain/snow is falling, but it can not tell us how much is on the ground. Spotters can.
The reports are used to send out statements, warnings and short-term forecasts to the public via the media. The reports also go into "Storm Data", which is a publication that documents severe weather across the country and can be used to create a severe weather climatology (or history) of a local county or city.
HOW DOES THE SKYWARN AMATEUR RADIO NET WORK?
Half our volunteers are licensed amateur radio operators. The dedication of these folks make them ideal SKYWARN spotters. Each county, or a group of counties, is assigned a County Coordinator/Net Controller and several assistants. Whenever SKYWARN activation is requested by the NWS Forecast Office in Philadelphia / Mount Holly, these CC/NC's notify all SKYWARN volunteers in their county via amateur radio. When severe or unusual weather is observed by these volunteers, they relay their report directly to their Net Controller. The Net Controller then sends the report to the NWS via APRS/Packet radio. When The NWS receives this report it is automatically printed for use by the forecasters. Since phone calls take time away from other duties of the forecasters, this system is ideal for the NWS and the HAM radio community.
HOW DO YOU BECOME A SKYWARN SPOTTER?
You must be at least 16 years old, be able to observe weather (though no instruments are required), and have access to a telephone to call in reports, or be an amateur radio operator. You must take a SKYWARN class which is a fun-filled 3-hour seminar that teaches you the basics of how SKYWARN operates, how to spot severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, what to report, how to report, and when. After the class, you are given a SKYWARN ID # and certificate which confirms your training, and written instructions of what to report and how. There is no cost for the class, which is held at various locations around our 34 county warning area.
SKYWARN NET FREQUENCIES
145.170 MHz output, 144.570 MHz input, PL of 131.8, FM, WA2RES/R in Manchester
146.550 MHz Simplex
Training nets are conducted weekly with Ocean County ARES on Wednesday evenings at 8:30 PM
ARES Training nets are as follows:
Each Wednesday (Except the third Wed): WA2RES/R in Manchester, 145.170 MHz, PL of 131.8, -600 KHz
Third Wednesday of the month: N2OO/R in Manahawkin, 146.835 MHz, PL of 127.3, -600 KHz
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