ETH046 – Storms Coming, Are You Skywarn?


Hello everybody and welcome back to the Everything Ham Radio Podcast! In this episode we are going to be talking about Skywarn, we talk about the Sioux Empire Amateur Radio Club in our amateur radio club spotlight, we talk about some upcoming events/contests and Hamfests for the next two weeks and wrap it up with some news from around the hobby!

Tech Corner – Skywarn

Skywarn is a little different from ARES and RACES in that Skywarnit 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 started 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 between 350,000 and 400,000 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, firefighters, EMS personnel, dispatchers, and public utility workers. Even people affiliated with hospitals, schools, churches and nursing homes or even someone in the general public.

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, click here. Training is free and typically lasts about two hours.

Training consists of:

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

2016 SKYWARNTM Recognition Day

When: December 3, 2016, from 0000z to 2400z
SKYWARNTM Recognition Day was developed in 1999 by the National Weather Service and the American Radio Relay League. It celebrates the contributions that SKYWARN volunteers make to the NWS mission, the protection of life and property. Amateur radio operators comprise a large percentage of the SKYWARN volunteers across the country. The Amateur radio operators also provide vital communication between the NWS and emergency management if normal communications become inoperative. During the SKYWARN Special Event operators will visit NWS offices and contact other radio operators across the world.

Useful Tools and Further Reading:


Amateur Radio Club Spotlight

SEARC Logo - Skywarn

Sioux Empire Amateur Radio Club



Club Callsign: W0ZWY


  • First Tuesday of each month at 7:30 P.M. at the Minnehaha Co. Emergency Management Building – 608 Sigler Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57104


  • 146.895 – PL 146.2 – Sioux Falls, SD Multiple RX
  • 444.200 + PL 82.5 – Sioux Falls, SD Fusion & IRLP 7346
  • 442.750 + Sioux Falls, SD D-STAR


  • Tuesday 6:45 P.M. – 2m SEARC Net – W0ZWY 2m (146.895 Mhz.)
  • Wednesday 9:00 P.M. – South Dakota Link Net – KD0ZP (444.825 Mhz.)
  • Saturday 9:00 A.M. – SEARC Traders Net – W0ZWY (444.200 Mhz.)
  • Third Thursday of Month 7:00 P.M. – SEARES Monthly Net – W0ZWY (444.200 Mhz.)


  • Summer Swap Meeting in July
  • Field Day
  • License Classes
  • Bike Races
  • Walk-a-thons
  • SD QSO Party

Upcoming Events

NRAU 10m Activity Contest 1800Z-1900Z, Dec 1 (CW) and

1900Z-2000Z, Dec 1 (SSB) and

2000Z-2100Z, Dec 1 (FM) and

2100Z-2200Z, Dec 1 (Dig)

NCCC RTTY Sprint 0145Z-0215Z, Dec 2
QRP Fox Hunt 0200Z-0330Z, Dec 2
NCCC Sprint 0230Z-0300Z, Dec 2
ARRL 160-Meter Contest 2200Z, Dec 2 to 1600Z, Dec 4
TARA RTTY Melee 0000Z-2400Z, Dec 3
Wake-Up! QRP Sprint 0600Z-0629Z, Dec 3 and

0630Z-0659Z, Dec 3 and

0700Z-0729Z, Dec 3 and

0730Z-0800Z, Dec 3

TOPS Activity Contest 1600Z, Dec 3 to 1559Z, Dec 4
Ten-Meter RTTY Contest 0000Z-2400Z, Dec 4
SARL Digital Contest 1300Z-1600Z, Dec 4
ARS Spartan Sprint 0200Z-0400Z, Dec 6
QRP Fox Hunt 0200Z-0330Z, Dec 7
Phone Fray 0230Z-0300Z, Dec 7
CWops Mini-CWT Test 1300Z-1400Z, Dec 7 and

1900Z-2000Z, Dec 7 and

0300Z-0400Z, Dec 8

NCCC RTTY Sprint 0145Z-0215Z, Dec 9
QRP Fox Hunt 0200Z-0330Z, Dec 9
NCCC Sprint 0230Z-0300Z, Dec 9
ARRL 10-Meter Contest 0000Z, Dec 10 to 2400Z, Dec 11
SKCC Weekend Sprintathon 1200Z, Dec 10 to 2400Z, Dec 11
International Naval Contest 1600Z, Dec 10 to 1559Z, Dec 11
AWA Bruce Kelley 1929 QSO Party 2300Z, Dec 10 to 2300Z, Dec 11 and

2300Z, Dec 17 to 2300Z, Dec 18

CQC Great Colorado Snowshoe Run 2100Z-2259Z, Dec 11
NAQCC CW Sprint 0130Z-0330Z, Dec 14
QRP Fox Hunt 0200Z-0330Z, Dec 14
Phone Fray 0230Z-0300Z, Dec 14
CWops Mini-CWT Test 1300Z-1400Z, Dec 14 and

1900Z-2000Z, Dec 14 and

0300Z-0400Z, Dec 15

*Information taken from the WA7BNM Contest Calendar






*Information taken from the ARRL Hamfest Calendar


Mark Twain Birthday Special Event Set

11/22/2016Mark Twain - Skywarn

Members of ARRL Headquarters staff will be on the air as W1T, November 28-December 4, in honor of Mark Twain’s 181st birthday. On November 30, Twain’s actual birthday, the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut has granted permission for a special event station to be set up in the front yard of the house from 9 AM until 4 PM EST (1400-2100 UTC).

Born in Missouri in 1835, Twain lived in Hartford from 1874 to 1891 and wrote many of his greatest works during that time, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

“We are so excited to have our neighbors at ARRL with us on Mark Twain’s 181st birthday!” said Betsy Maguire, Manager of Living History at the Mark Twain House and Museum. “This is a rare treat for the Museum staff, our visitors, and hopefully, many amateur operators across the country who make contact with the station. As a lover of the science and technology of his day, Samuel Clemens would definitely approve of a ‘special event station’ on the grounds of ‘the loveliest home that ever was.’”

W1T activity on November 30 will be exclusively from the Mark Twain House and Museum; all other W1T activity during the week will be conducted from other sites, as ARRL staff time permits. All bands and modes will be considered, including satellite operation. A special W1T QSL card will be available to commemorate the event. Complete information is available on the W1T listing at

Ham Astronaut Peggy Whitson, KC5ZTD, Poised to Set Time-in-Space Record

11/21/2016Peggy Whitson - Skywarn

New ISS crew members Peggy Whitson, KC5ZTD, Thomas Pesquet, KG5FYG, and Cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy are settling in on board the International Space Station this week. The trio headed into space on November 17 for a 6-month stay. Welcoming the Expedition 50/51 crew members were Expedition 50 Commander pShane Kimbrough, KE5HOD, and crew members Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, who have been aboard the complex since October.

Whitson, who will turn 57 during this ISS duty tour, is marking her third trip to space. She will become the first woman to command the space station twice. Her first tenure as commander was in 2007, when she became the first woman to hold this post. The crew is scheduled to return to Earth next spring.

Whitson not only is the oldest woman in space at age 56, but she is projected during this mission to once again become the US astronaut logging the most time spent in orbit. All told, she’s already spent more than a year of her life in space. By the time she returns to Earth next spring, she’ll have 534 days of off-planet time under her belt.

JOTA 2016 Report Shows Participation was Up


The Boy Scouts of America has released the final report on the 2016 Jamboree on the Air (JOTA), and the news is good. Participation was up from 2015 despite what the report called “terrible propagation.”

According to the report, 10,761 Scouts took part, an increase of more than 50% from a year earlier, and the number of stations filing reports, at 267, jumped by 28% from 2015 (the record was 271 in 2013). The number of Amateur Radio operators was up by 14% to 1,120, although the number of radios reported in use dropped by 25% to 631.

Total JOTA 2016 contacts remained flat at 8,254. Over the next several months, the BSA National Radio Scouting Committee will review various suggestions to determine improvements that can be made for JOTA 2017. These included concerns over conflicting on-the-air activities and the need for better advance publicity. — Thanks to JOTA Coordinator Jim Wilson, K5ND

SOTA “Summit-to-Summit” Activation Declared a Success

11/25/2016SOTA Logo - Skywarn

The November 19 Summits on the Air (SOTA) “Summit-to-Summit” event between Europe and North America is being called “a great success.” SOTA is an awards program that encourages portable operation in mountainous areas.

Despite cold, rainy weather in parts of Europe and just-average band conditions, all activators reported successful and enjoyable experiences. In addition to Europe-to-North America contacts, some stations logged contacts with other parts of the world; one activator was on holiday in the Canary Islands. Three bands were used for intercontinental contacts — 20, 17, and 15 meters — with most contacts made on 20.

“The consensus seems to be that, from a propagation point of view, 17 meters was the best,” said Ed Durrant, DD5LP. “We even have some reports of chasers from [Australia] catching some of the EU activators via short path.” Sixty-six summits had been announced, but 77 were activated.

A North America-Australia SOTA event may take place in 2017. — Thanks to Southgate Amateur Radio News



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73 de Curtis, K5CLM

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