SKYWARN – Weather Spotting
SKYWARN is a program between the Amateur Radio community through ARRL and the National Weather Service. You do not have to be an ARRL member to become a spotter. Free training is provided through the local office of the NWS to provide basic understanding of weather and how to report it.
After training a participant becomes an official SKYWARN reporter. This provides the opportunity to directly report to the NWS any weather related events. For those interested there is an Advanced SKYWARN Spotter training available. It provides more detailed information for those looking to increase their understanding of the weather. Many of those SKYWARN reporters continue to improve their knowledge through further training. Links to any related training will be included on these pages.
SKYWARN is a local organization that becomes global through the relationship with the NWS. SKYWARN nets can be called at any time for training or monitoring purposes. Madison Amateur Radio is an official SKYWARN club. We encourage all members to participate in the training and to become active in SKYWARN issues and nets. If you are not an Amateur Radio Licensee we can be either a relay for you or preferred, we can help you test for a license. Contact the club for either reason.
SKYWARN activates whenever weather is bad. This can be a localized system or a regional event such as a hurricane or tornado outbreak. Any SKYWARN member can call a net upon appropriate conditions. Details are below on how to conduct a SKYWARN Net.
Each December, SKYWARN has an appreciation day. At that time there is a nationwide QSO party. This involves contacting as many NWS stations as possible in as many methods as available. This is a fun event but is also a training requiring a weather report with each contact. Connections can be made through HF, VHF, UHF and Digital. Echo link is also available. The participant gets awarded a certificate for the number of connections made. It is another addition to the wall!
Madison normally conducts a SKYWARN training through the NWS at the EOC. Since the access is restricted at this time ( Pandemic), all training would be local on your computer until further notice.
Primary Lee Repeater 145.190 – PL 123
Secondary South Lee Repeater 145.110 – PL123
Tertiary Madison DMR repeater 442 + white local 9
Simplex 146.550 or 145.550
Coming soon to a radio near you!
Calling a SKYWARN Net
Any Licensed Amateur can call a SKYWARN net to extend weather warnings. SKYWARN certification is required to pass the data on to the NWS. We encourage all members to get their certification and register with the NWS service. Enter the local SKYWARN number into your phone for emergencies.
We have added a preamble below to facilitate the management of the SKYWARN net. Madison County Amateur Radio will conduct a series of test nets and participate in the regional nets to provide training for managing and participating in a SKYWARN net.
A SKYWARN net will take one of three models.
The first is just a gathering of Amateurs to discuss current weather conditions in the event of severe weather in the area. This is an informal net but must follow all the regulations of standard FCC communications.
The second net format will be a test net. This will be conducted in a manner of an emergency net to provide training for all participants. One station will take the lead as a net control station. Another station is designated as a backup to control the net while the net control station passes traffic to the regional net or directly to the NWS.
The third net is an actual SKYWARN net. This can be a local net for localized weather systems or part of a regional activation for larger weather events. The net manager will notify the net members upon the initiation of the net and in the 10 minute time interval.
The link below is to the modified weekly station roster. It can be used as an aid to managing the call signs that we know with added space for any ohter stations joining the net.
Weather Reporting Format
Weahter reports must be concise and provide the appropriate level if detail without excess data. The format for this reporting is detailed in each section of the report.
Skywarn Exercises and Nets
May 23, 2020
A local storm developed directly over Madison. The storm developed from lightly cloudy skies. The storm could be seen on local radar developing into a small yellow rain mass into a red circle over Madison east of the center. The storm dropped a gust front into the local area and produced high winds and heavy rains with 1/4 inch hail for approxamately 1/2 hour. Localized wind impact was documented on Clover Ave. K4NRD, W1JXG and WA1TCC moved from the SAR net to the local Lee net and started a Skywarn net covering the weather. Pat relayed to SAR net to indicate the path of the storm and as a net the MARC Skywarn team monitoring a developing strom front move into the Madison area coming from Taylor county.
No significant issues have been recorded other than the damage on Clover. The Madison impacting storm continued into Valdosta and was observed gustung out in that area as it combined with a stronger front. Pictures are below.