The National Weather Service (NWS) will be recognizing the SKYWARN™ program with its annual 24-hour SKYWARN™ Recognition Day (SRD) event that goes from 6 pm Friday, December 3, 2010 through 6 pm Saturday, December 4th. SKYWARN™ is a concept developed in the early 1970s that was intended to promote a cooperative effort between the National Weather Service and communities. The emphasis of the SKYWARN™ effort is often focused on the storm spotter, an individual who takes a position near their community and reports wind gusts, hail size, rainfall, and cloud formations that could signal a developing severe storm or tornado. Another part of SKYWARN™ is the receipt and effective distribution of National Weather Service information.
During the SRD event, several amateur radio operators (hams) will report to the Milwaukee/Sullivan NWS office and see how many contacts they can make with other hams at other NWS offices across the country, as well as across the world. SKYWARN™ Recognition Day was developed in 1999 by the NWS and the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). Information on SRD can be found by clicking here. The Milwaukee/Sullivan NWS Forecast Office will participate in the 2010 SKYWARN™ Recognition Day event.
Were you thinking of being a specialized volunteer in the NWS severe weather program?
The National Weather Service's (NWS) main mission is to issue forecasts and warnings for the general public for the protection of life and property, as well as to enhance this nation's economy. In order to fulfill its mission, the NWS needs severe weather spotters to provide ground-truth and cloud-base information that verifies what local WSR-88D Doppler radar imagery indicates. Additionally, pre-warning spotter information increases the accuracy of meteorologists during warning situations.
Severe weather spotters come from all walks of life: first responders, sales reps, doctors, mechanics, lawyers, law enforcement officials, electricians, engineers, machinists, factory workers, public works departments, etc. All age groups are represented - from the teenager to grandparents. All spotters are an essential part of the NWS's SKYWARN™ program. Each spring, each NWS office conducts free severe weather spotter classes in their county warning area.
One specialized group of severe weather spotters consists of amateur radio operators (hams). Hams are specialized volunteers since they tend to have more knowledge about radios and other communication devices than most people. Have you thought about becoming an amateur radio operator? Yes, potential hams still have to pass a written test to obtain their "technician" license, but they no longer have to take a Morse Code test.
When the NWS issues Tornado or Severe Thunderstorm Watches, one or two hams usually report to the local NWS office to assist in gathering severe weather reports from other hams, and in some cases, from other spotters. Would you be interested? Do you like to work with other people who enjoy volunteering in the spirit of public safety? Do you like to meet and work with other people who have knowledge about not only radios, but computers and other communication devices? Consider joining us as a volunteer amateur radio operator.
For information about severe weather spotting activities, go to our SkyWarn web page by clicking here.
On a related matter, the following is a message from the Lakes Area Amateur Radio Club (LAARC) pertaining to January 2, 2011....
The Lakes Area Amateur Radio Club (LAARC) is sponsoring the Amateur Radio Relay League's Kid's Day event in our area. The ARRL is the national association for amateur radio, and we think it would be great to share this with the local school districts as amateur radio is involved in a lot of things that are important to our schools these days, namely, math, and science, as well as public service, such as storm spotting/reporting, providing communications support during disasters, and for many community events, such as the "Fall Color Festival" bike race in the Kettle Moraine State Forest, and the annual 'Tub Run" motorcycle rally to benefit MD, just to name two specific examples.
If it would be possible, we'd like the following information shared with the faculty members at all of the School District area schools so they can share it with their classes in the hopes of getting as many people to attend as possible.
Event: ARRL/LAARC "Kid's Day"
When: Sunday January 2nd, 2011, 12:00 noon til 6pm,
Where: Darien Town Hall, N2826 Foundry Road, Darien, WI 53114-1440
Sponsor: Lakes Area Amateur Radio Club and the American Radio Relay League
Cost: Free (donations accepted but not expected)
Kids Day is an on-air event to encourage young people (licensed or not) to have fun with Amateur Radio. It is designed to give on-the-air experience to youngsters and hopefully foster interest in getting a license of their own. It is also intended to give older hams (amateur radio operators) a chance to share their station and love for Amateur Radio with children.
Amateur radio is a wonderful way to foster interest in science and math in our young people, so we'd like to get the word out to as many families as possible.
Our Kid's Day event will be held at the Darien Town Hall.
We will have at least two 2-meter radios for VHF, and 2 HF radios up and operating and the public will be allowed to try them out.
We will be handing out amateur radio related mini coloring books, Morse code sheets, NATO standard phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie) sheets, and information on how to contact the local amateur radio clubs.
Participants will be given a certificate of participation.
We will have multiple club members on hand (other than the radio control operators) to answer questions. With a little luck, we will have one or more local weather spotter groups on site,and members of your local Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) groups as well.
Depending on the weather, and radio propagation during the event, we may have an opportunity to contact some amateur radio operators in many locations around the globe.
If propagation allows, we hope to reach amateur radio operators in Antarctica, and may have the ability to talk to the International Space Station (ISS) during several passes that day.
Michel Bartolone, KC9REL
VP, LAARCKid's Day Committee Chair