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07 December 2011

Amateur radio operators to be recognized

NEWPORT — The National Weather Service office in Newport will hold an event Saturday, Dec. 3 to recognize the volunteer amateur radio operators for their service to the community.

Amateur radio operators, known as hams, make up an important part of SKYWARN, a volunteer program with nearly 290,000 trained severe weather spotters who provide information to the NWS from the field.

NWS stations across the country are joining with the American Radio Relay League to hold the 13th annual SKYWARN Recognition Day.

The event at the weather service office in Newport will bring together members from the Carteret County Amateur Radio Society, Onslow ARC, NewBern ARC and other radio clubs.

John Cole, warning coordination meteorologist with the Newport forecast office, said it’s a chance for them to get together for fellowship, and throughout the day the hams will be in operation and in communication with other NWS offices and hams around the world.

It’s an informal day for the NWS to show its appreciation for their contribution.

“It’s a chance for us to recognize them as an entity and the volunteer organization that helps provide us with valuable information, and to recognize their talents,” Cole said.

Cole said hams assisted the Newport office, which covers a 15-county area, during both the tornadoes in April and recently during Hurricane Irene.

“We have a good network out there helping us,” he said.

While not all weather spotters are hams, the ones who are offer a unique combination of severe weather spotter also trained in communications.

According to a news release on the event, typical SKYWARN operations during severe weather provide direct communication between mobile spotters and local NWS offices, providing on-the-ground information for forecasters.

The instant spotter reports on events such as hail size, low-level cloud formation and wind damage, can then be correlated with Doppler radar displays to provide the public with potentially life-saving information.

More than 100 National Weather Service offices will be participating in this year’s event.

For full information on SKYWARN Recognition Day see wrh.noaa.gov/mtr/hamradio.

- Daily News