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The Hurricane Watch Net and the operation of WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center in Miami are manned entirely by volunteers. We generally activate whenever a system has achieved hurricane status and is within 300 statute miles of populated land mass or at the request of the forecasters at National Hurricane Center.
Net operations are conducted on 14.325.00 MHz USB. If operations are required on the 40 meter amateur band, frequency of operation will be posted the home page of our website and the amateur media.
The Hurricane Watch Net serves two purposes:
- To disseminate the latest National Hurricane Center advisories on active hurricanes in both the Atlantic and Pacific side of the Americas. This includes transmissions to any maritime amateur radio operators that may be in the affected area.
- To gather real-time ground level weather conditions from amateurs in the affected areas and to get these reports to the National Hurricane Center via WX4NHC in a timely and accurate fashion.
Along with these weather reports, often come reports on damaged roads power outages, structural damage, phone and communications links, and of course reports on injuries and deaths. These non-weather report items are usually relayed to other nets in operation on the 20, 40, and 80 meter amateur radio bands who are focusing on Health and Welfare, or by the crew at WX4NHC to the appropriate agencies that stay in touch with the National Hurricane Center.
Standard Operating Procedures for stations reporting from the affected area.
- Do not transmit on 14.325.00 MHz unless asked to do so by the net control.
- Any station located within 100 miles of the eye of the hurricane, or in a watch or warning area is encouraged to check in. Within this group, those who are already experiencing 30 knots or greater of wind or a falling barometer should definitely respond when the net control asks, "Are there any stations in the affected area needing a fill or wish to check in?"
- As the hurricane approaches landfall, the net control will narrow requests to a specific area or ask only for stations experiencing certain conditions such as winds at 50 knots or greater.
- Reporting stations are requested to report the following elements of their observed weather conditions:
(Call Sign and/or First & Last Name)
Location (Latitude/Longitude):________N / _________W
Time of Observation:_______ (indicate time zone)
(GMT | UTC preferred)
Please indicate if your Wind Measurements are measured with
weather instruments or estimated.
( ) Measured ( ) Estimated
Sustained Wind Speed:_________MPH KNOTS KPH(Kilometers Per Hour)
(Over One Minute)
Gust Speed:_______________________ MPH KNOTS KPH
Wind Direction:__________ / ________Degrees
Barometric Pressure:_________________ Inches Millibars
(must be measured with calibrated barometer)
(Anemometer height, make, model, location)
(Rain Amount, Storm Surge, Damage Report, etc...)
Blank report forms are available at http://www.wx4nhc.org
Operating Procedures, Continued
Please be familiar with the following prior to checking in to the net
- Do not use VOX. Turn off VOX before checking into the Hurricane Watch Net. It seems, at least once during every hurricane, someone has VOX on and it is tripped by their two meter radio or some other service causing the Net to slow down with this interference.
- If you hear what you believe to be intentional jamming of the net frequency, DO NOT make reference to it, but simply ask the other station to repeat the transmission or missing parts to you. Jammers want recognition. If they don't get it they go off and find someone who will give them a reaction.
- Use UTC time, not local 24 hour time, in all reports. If you are not sure of the UTC time, go ahead with your local time, but, please be sure to tell the net control that you are using local time.
- If you are going to give a damage, injury, or casualty report and it is not based on your own personal observation, be prepared to provide time, name of person providing it, their call letters or official position, and if possible, a telephone number where this can be confirmed later.
- No matter how many times you have already said it, always state whether your wind speed and direction is "measured" or "estimated" and whether it is "MPH" or "Knots."
Note: Estimated wind speeds and direction are welcome but the Hurricane Watch Net and the National Hurricane Center place top priority on "measured" reports from amateur stations. Varieties of weather station products are available on the market and can be easily located on the World Wide Web. We strongly recommend that reporting stations be prepared to provide "measured" data.
- Please advise if your barometer has been calibrated recently.
- If reporting wind conditions of 70 knots or more, be prepared to give the brand and type of weather station unit being used for this report.
- Try to record the time of your most severe conditions, i.e., lowest barometer reading, highest sustained winds, or maximum gusts. When you are sure the worst has passed your location, please check back and report this either through the established route or directly on 14.325.00 MHz. The National Hurricane Center finds these follow up reports to be extremely valuable.
- Under no circumstances should you place yourself in physical danger in order to report your local conditions.
For any questions or comments regarding net operations, please click here