SkywarnHello and welcome back to my blog. This post we will be talking about Skywarn. Skywarn is a little different from ARES and RACES in that it is not as much of a club type organization like ARES and RACES is. With Skywarn you don’t even have to be an amateur radio operator to be a skywarn spotter.

Skywarn was start by the National Weather Service in the late 1960’s, but it didn’t really take off until the mid 1970’s. Since then it has grown to nearly 290,000 trained spotters and it continues to grow every year. Skywarn spotters are the general public’s first line of defense when it comes to the wrath of mother nature. On an average year, there are over 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods and more than 1,000 tornadoes across the US.

Anyone with access to some form of communications can be a skywarn spotter. Skywarn spotters can be police officers, fire fighters, EMS personnel, dispatchers, and public utility workers. Even people affiliated with hospitals, schools, churches and nursing homes.

So what do you have to do to become a skywarn spotter? Basically all you have to do is take a skywarn class given by the National Weather Service. Classes are given on an annual basis. To locate a class near you, contact your local NWS office.

Training consists of:

  • Basics of thunderstorm development
  • Fundamental of Storm Structure
  • Identifying potential sever weather features
  • Information to report and how to report it
  • Basic sever weather safety

So are skywarn personnel storm chasers like I saw on the movie Twister? No, skywarn personnel are not storm chasers. Storm chasers normally fall into three categories. The first category are meteorologist that are doing research. Second are those people that are trying to get pictures to sell to the news media. The third is thrill seekers. Skywarn personnel generally stay close to home or at the very least in their own county.

Thanks for reading my blog. Please like me on facebook and follow me on twitter, LinkedIn and google+, links to all of them are up on the top-right of my page. Next post we will be talking about RACES and how all three of these organizations (ARES, RACES and Skywarn)  are connected together.

73 de Curtis, K5CLM

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  • goblue55

    Hello Curtis
    I am very interested in Ham Radio, have been for a long time. I do not have any equipment other than all my police scanners and a CB radio. I am now at a point where I can start looking on getting my ham license and buying a good radio. I am also interested in buying a good HF receiver. In your opinion what would be a good base ham radio and HF receiver for a beginner in this hobby, something that will last for a while, so I do not have to up grade for a while. I live out in the country in Michigan so antennas is something I do not have to worry about.
    I am a little nervous about getting into this hobby, I really do not know a lot about it other than, its something I have always wanted to do since I was a kid. I feel so stupid that I do not know nothing, other than you can talk to people all over the world and listening to great HF frequencies covering a lot of the radio spectrum in all modes.

    Sincerely Future Ham radio operator
    Mark Filimon

    • Howdy Mark! First off let me just say that “stupid” for not knowing. Until we learn something none of us know it right? Ham radio is a very fun hobby and is so much more than just “talking around the world” like it use to be. The hobby has evolved a bunch since I got my license 15ish years ago! As far as a good radio to get. There are many different opinions as to what brand is the best or what model, etc. I like Kenwood radios the best. The TH-D7a for handheld, TM-D700 for a mobile/home vhf/uhf radio, although the TM-742 is a very close second due to being able to put a third band in it. As far as hf radios go, probably one of the most popular one is the icom 706. It is small enough to put in a vehicle yet versatile enough to use at home. The band part about HF radios is that buying new you’re looking at $800+. The cheapest way to “break into” the hobby is to get a beaufang handheld off amazon. They run about $45 and they are decent little radios. Check out some of my posts if you haven’t already about some of the things that you can do with the hobby. I try to post new posts on Thursdays and Sunday’s at the very least…

      Curtis, K5CLM

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