NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PRODUCTS VIA AMATEUR "HAM" RADIO
Amateur radio, commonly referred to as "Ham" radio, is popular among
the yachting and small boat community as a means of providing communications
and receiving weather information. Amateur radio can be operated nearly
worldwide, however, certain restrictions may exist and advanced permits
may be required when operating within the territorial limits of another
country. Within the U.S., amateur radio is regulated by the FCC.
Information on licensing and all other aspects of amateur radio may be
obtained by contacting the American
Radio Relay League (ARRL) at 860-594-0200.
for information about licensing, education and training related to amateur radio.
Among the many aspects of amateur radio, "Hams" operate several maritime
"nets" where information of common interest to mariners, such as weather,
is exchanged. These nets are extremely popular in areas of the world which
have a large yachting population and where weather is dynamic, such as in
the Caribbean. Weather reports are typically exchanged in voice via single
sideband although the popularity of digital modes such as SITOR/AMTOR, radioteletype
(RTTY), PACTOR I, PACTOR II, PACTOR III, PSK31, and e-mail exchanges, such
WinLink 2000 Global Radio Network (includes an option to download more than 450 graphic and text-based worldwide weather products), are growing rapidly . Information on amateur radio maritime nets may
be found by contacting the ARRL or
using an Internet search engine to search on such topics as "ham radio nets", or "maritime amateur radio."
here to visit a webpage listing many of these nets.
Visit The British Columbia Boaters Net
Visit The Caribbean Maritime Mobile Net
Visit The Hurricane Watch Net
Visit The Italian Amateur Radio Maritime Service Net
Visit The Maritime Mobile Service Network
Visit The Northwest Boaters Net
Visit The Seafarer's Net
Visit The U.S. Power Squadrons Net
Visit The Waterway Net
Note to Net Operators - It would be helpful for nets to each establish a webpage so that we might be able to inform mariners of
Many radio amateurs participate in the MAROB Program. The MAROB Program is an experimental voluntary marine observation program of the National Weather Service in the early stages of development.
Many radio amateurs participate in the SKYWARN Program. SKYWARN is a
nationwide network of volunteer weather spotters who report to and are
trained by the
National Weather Service. These spotters report many forms of
significant or severe weather such
as Severe Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Hail, Heavy Snow, or Flooding. Contact
National Weather Service Forecast Office to learn about SKYWARN
activities in your area.
APRSWXNET/Citizen Weather Observer Program (CWOP)
Originally, APRSWXNET was developed as a way for amateur radio
operators to transmit weather data to the NOAA's Forecast
Systems Laboratory (FSL) in Boulder, Colorado for research.
The success of this effort and the amount of data routinely
collected have led to use by other research labs and by operational
parts of NOAA including the National Weather Service. The
system has also been expanded to allow collection of observations
via the Internet, thereby expanding the program to persons
not holding an amateur radio license. The program offers the
potential of greatly improving the accuracy of marine forecasts
and timeliness of warnings. An example would be a network
of volunteer automated weather stations installed at marinas
and yacht clubs along the coast. For further information,
visit the CWOP
Nearby CWOP weather data may be retrived via the Internet as in the following examples where 20902 is the zip code, or the
position is 39.1N, 77.1W, or via NOAA's NCEP Central Operations MADIS Database
which offers a Display of Surface Data .
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary AUXMON Program
The AUXMON program is a service of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary which assists the U.S. Coast Guard in providing the highest possible quality of weather and "safety of life" broadcasts. The AUXMON program is a network of approximately 40 radio stations (USCG "Auxiliary Communications Units") which monitor the broadcasts of Radiofax, SITOR, and Voice, on the HF channels and on 518 kHz (NAVTEX) from all of the Coast Guard stations around U.S. Their monitoring activity works to assure these broadcasts are accurate, timely, complete and useful. For further information on the AUXMON program, contact the USCG Auxiliary (BC-RTS) at www.cgaux.org.