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04 December 2011

Recognition by NOAA for Radio Amateurs (Hams)

The US National Weather Service has held a day of recognition to those who volunteer as amateur radio operators for their service as part of SKYWARN, a volunteer program with nearly 290,000 trained severe weather spotters. (weather observers)

The special day, now in its 13th year, is sponsored by the ARRL and the National Weather Service to recognise the commitment made by radio amateurs in helping to keep their communities safe.

Meteorologist-in-Charge of the Goodland, Kansas National Weather Service, Scott Mentzer N0QE tried to find a way to thank the valuable contributions made by storm spotters.

From his idea arose the annual SKYWARN Recognition Day. Each year the number of offices participating with local clubs has increased. More than 100 offices participated in this year?s event.

The day has seen a greater use of digital communications in addition to CW, RTTY, packet radio, there was EchoLink, Winlink and the use of e-mail reflectors.

During severe weather SKYWARN members provide direct communication with local offices with update 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 radar displays to provide the public with potentially life-saving information.

The spotters are trained and in many areas classes are held each spring in advance of the coming severe weather season.

- Victoria Amateur Radio News