NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MARINE PRODUCTS VIA NOAA WEATHER RADIO
NOAA Weather Radio
(NWR) frequencies & information
NOAA Weather Radio Frequencies
|162.400 MHz (WX2)
|162.425 MHz (WX4)
|162.450 MHz (WX5)
|162.475 MHz (WX3)
|162.500 MHz (WX6)
|162.525 MHz (WX7)
|162.550 MHz (WX1)
Channel numbers, e.g. (WX1, WX2) etc. have no special significance but are often designated this way in consumer equipment. Other channel numbering schemes are also prevalent.
The NOAA Weather Radio
network provides voice broadcasts of local and coastal marine forecasts on a continuous
cycle. The forecasts are produced by local
National Weather Service Forecast Offices. Coastal stations also broadcast
real time observations from buoys and coastal meteorological stations
operated by NOAA's National
Data Buoy Center. Based on user demand, and where feasible, Offshore and Open Lake
forecasts are broadcast as well.
The NOAA Weather Radio
network provides near continuous coverage of the coastal U.S, Great Lakes,
Hawaii, and populated Alaska coastline. Typical coverage is 25 nautical
miles offshore, but may extend much further in certain areas.
To expand NOAA Weather Radio coverage in the State of Alaska, the National Weather Service (NWS) and U.S. Coast Guard are partnering to establish a network of
low-power five-watt NOAA Weather Radio transmitters at 24 USCG "high" sites located from the Dixon Entrance to Bristol
These low power transmitters operate on standard NWR frequencies
under joint licensing with the NWS. See NWR at USCG Sites in Alaska.
Locations of coastal NOAA Weather Radio stations are listed in the Station Listing and Coverage page.
Several NOAA Weather Radio transmitters operate as "Marine-Only", broadcasting marine information on a more rapid cycle than is possible with "All-Hazard" transmitters. These are typically established as part of a cooperative effort between the local marine community and the National Weather Service. For information on how to establish a "Marine-Only" NOAA Weather Radio transmitter in your area, contact the National Weather Service.
Channel numbers, e.g. (WX1, WX2) etc. have no
special significance but are often designated this way in consumer equipment.
Other channel numbering schemes are also prevalent.
Many NOAA Weather Radio receivers are also programmed for three additional frequencies; 161.650 MHz
(marine VHF Ch 21B), 161.775 MHz (marine VHF Ch 83B) and 163.275 MHz. The first two frequencies are used by Canada for marine weather broadcasts. 163.275 MHz was used by the National Weather Service for earlier weather broadcasts and later for internal coordination in the event of a power outage but is no longer in active use.
Most VHF marine radiotelephones have the ability to receive NOAA
Weather Radio broadcasts. However, it is recommended that a separate
NOAA Weather Radio receiver be carried aboard so that mariners may maintain
a simultaneous watch on NOAA Weather Radio and marine VHF channels.
Rules Which Require Listening to your VHF Marine Radio
are available courtesy of the
U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Telecommunications Information Webpage.
Recorded voice broadcasts have been largely supplanted by a computer-synthesized voice.
Click here to listen to a sample of a NOAA Weather Radio broadcast.
Efforts continue to both expand the coverage of the NOAA
Weather Radio network and improve the audio quality. The older
computer-synthesized voice was a product of 6-year-old technology and has been replaced in response to user demands for a clearer, more
human-sounding voice system.
If you hear words in a broadcast which you feel need to have the
pronunciation adjusted, forward your comments to the
appropriate NWS forecast office so they can attempt to improve the
1050 Hz TONE ALERTS
An automated 1050 Hz tone is transmitted to automatically turn on compatible
NOAA Weather Radio receivers when a severe weather situation exists in
the transmitters coverage area. Many (but not all) NOAA Weather Radio
receivers incorporate this feature. Many VHF marine radiotelephones
incorporate this feature, however, some require an active NOAA Weather Radio channel
must be selected and used in a non-scanning mode for the highest level of effectiveness. Therefore, it
is again recommended that a separate NOAA Weather Radio receiver be carried aboard so that mariners may maintain a simultaneous watch on NOAA Weather Radio and marine VHF channels.
Caution! - In accordance with national policy, at forecaster discretion, the 1050 Hz tone may not be transmitted for marine events. This is done to avoid frequently alerting users ashore and rendering the system impractical as a warning system for a large segment of the population.
A digital encoding system incorporating newer technology
known as Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME)
allows receivers equipped with the SAME feature
to sound an alert for only certain weather conditions
or within a limited geographic area such as a county.
As of yet, few VHF marine radiotelephones contain the SAME feature. These require an active NOAA Weather Radio channel
be selected and used in a non-scanning mode for the highest level of effectiveness. It is therefore again recommended that a separate NOAA Weather Radio receiver be carried aboard so that mariners may maintain a simultaneous watch on NOAA Weather Radio and marine VHF channels.
When using, the NOAA Weather Radio receiver must be programmed to the proper frequency, SAME geographic codes(s), and SAME event codes(s), in order to function as intended.
SAME GEOGRAPHIC CODES
SAME geographic codes are used to program SAME-capable NOAA Weather Radio receivers to receive alert messages for user-specified areas.
For a listing of marine SAME geographic codes, see NOAA WEATHER RADIO
County by County Coverage or
Marine Text Forecasts by Zone. NOTE...Although SAME geographic codes exist for offshore forecast zones, Great Lakes MAFOR's and forecast synopses, they are not broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio. Marine SAME geographic codes do not presently utilize the 'County Sub-section' of the SAME geographic code, and therefore, the SAME geographic code for all marine zones begin with a leading zero.
Caution! - Mariners should be aware that many marine zones do not extend inland to include tributaries such as rivers and smaller bays. Mariners in these areas should program their NOAA Weather Radio with the SAME geographic code of the appropriate county.
It is further recommended that mariners also program their receivers with the SAME geographic codes of neighboring land and marine areas to maintain a greater level of weather awareness.
SAME GEOGRAPHIC CODES FOR MARINERS IN TRANSIT
For mariners in transit who are using NOAA Weather Radio receivers with SAME
capability, it is recommended the radio be set to the 'All County Code Option'
to avoid the need to continually reprogram the unit as the vessel moves along
the coast to prevent the possibility of missing important warnings.
In this mode, the receiver will alarm for all watches, warnings, and emergency
messages much like a conventional warning alarm receiver ensuring the greatest
margin of safety.
Caution! - Several NOAA Weather Radio SAME receivers contain a capability for receiving SAME alerts for all counties within a given state by setting the 'county code' portion of the SAME geographic code to '000', e.g. 024000 for the state of Maryland. However, SAME geographic codes for marine areas use pseudo-state codes as in the table below, and therefore, such a receiver will not alert for marine events unless properly programmed with the pseudo-state code for the user's marine area as follows:
||Western North Atlantic Ocean, and along U.S. East Coast, from Canadian border south to Currituck Beach Light, NC.
|| Western North Atlantic Ocean, and along U.S. East Coast south of Currituck Beach Light, NC, following the coastline into Gulf of Mexico to Bonita Beach, FL, including the Caribbean.
||Gulf of Mexico, and along the U.S. Gulf Coast from the Mexican border to Bonita Beach, FL
||Eastern North Pacific Ocean, and along U.S. West Coast from Canadian border to Mexican border
||North Pacific Ocean near Alaska, and along Alaska coastline, including the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska
||Central Pacific Ocean, including Hawaiian waters
||Western Pacific Ocean, including Mariana Islands waters
||South Central Pacific Ocean, including American Samoa waters
||Lake St. Clair
||St. Lawrence River above St. Regis
Therefore for example, a mariner on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland using a NOAA Weather Radio with a SAME alert capability for receiving alerts for all counties within a given state, might wish to enter a SAME geographic code of '073000' to receive warnings of any marine weather event in the general area, rather than having to program the receiver for several neighboring marine zones. However, entering the SAME geographic code for Maryland, '024000', would not alert the user of any marine weather events.
SAME EVENT CODES
At present, consumer radio equipment incorporating SAME, generally alert by
geographic area only and not for specific weather conditions (no user-programmable SAME event codes). If the receiver contains this feature, the mariner should program their receiver for the following SAME event codes which are applicable to marine zones. See Emergency Alert System/NWR-SAME Event Codes and your receivers operating manual for further information on event codes, including those for non-weather events.
SAME Event Codes of most interest to mariners and coastal residents:
|EVENT||SAME EVENT CODE|
|Coastal Flood Watch || CFA |
|Coastal Flood Warning || CFW |
|Hurricane Watch*|| HUA |
|Hurricane Warning*|| HUW |
|Hurricane Local Statement* || HLS |
|Severe Thunderstorm Watch || SVA |
|Severe Thunderstorm Warning || SVR |
|Severe Weather Statement || SVS |
|Special Marine Warning || SMW |
|Special Weather Statement || SPS |
|Tornado Watch|| TOA |
|Tornado Warning|| TOR |
|Tropical Storm Watch*|| TRA |
|Tropical Storm Warning*|| TRW |
|Tsunami Watch|| TSA |
|Tsunami Warning|| TSW |
* Not applicable to Great Lakes and Alaska forecast areas
Read this report on the susceptibility of inteference to VHF Marine
transceivers from NOAA Weather Radio transmitters.
For information on weather radio receiver recalls, go to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) web site and choose "Radios (Weather)" in the product Type list.