SKYWARN AMATEUR RADIO OPERATORS SPOTTERS MANUAL

For the following NE PA Counties: Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming.

Authority: SKYWARN is a volunteer program run by the NWS to receive reports of severe weather for the purpose of advising the public about impending danger due to severe thunderstorms or tornadoes, and floods.

Amateur radio operators participate in SKYWARN as trained severe weather spotters and provide a primary radio emergency communications network for relay to severe weather reports to the NWS. SKYWARN spotters need notn be ARES members to participate in SKYWARN nets or to attend spotter training. However, ARES is the primary amateur radio organization with whom the NWS works to establish the SKYWARN communications networks.

Authority to establish and operate SKYWARN networks through ARES is given in Memorandum of Understanding between NWS and ARRL dated January 19, 1988.

A basic definition of what is considered to be reportable:
1) Winds 32 mph or greater
2) Rain in excess of 1 inch per hour
3) hail - any size, any duration
4) Any wall cloud, funnel cloud, or tornado
5) Any flooding, except normal ponding of water
6) Downed power lines and trees (estimate trunk diameter)
7) Structural damage due to weather conditions
8) Downed tree limbs (estimate limb diameter)

Your report should include the following:
Time of event
Callsign of Station reporting
Location of event
Event description

Event description:
Event must be concise and accurate description including duration. Use quantitative descriptions such as 1" hail as opposed to large hail.

Wind
Descriptions should include whether it is recorded or estimated; if estimated then a description of how it was estimated. Also include gusts in addition to steady winds. Be as descriptive as possible without being "wordy". It is considered good practice to write down your report before sending it.

DON'T REPORT
Dark Clouds
Heavy Winds unless your report is quantitative, "Winds at 25 mph."
Lots of Lightning
Rain
Marble or Ball-Size Hail (Marbles and balls come in all sizes. Instead use coin sizes.)

SKYWARN can be activated by one of the following methods:
1. By request of the NWS Binghamton
2. Automatically upon issuance by NWS Binghamton of a Tornado Warning, Severe Thunderstorm Warning, or Flash     Flood Warning for a given county.
3. Upon NWS Binghamton confirmation of the need for activation after request from local Emergency Management officials, ARES Emergency Coordinator or     designee, or SKYWARN spotter with visual sighting of seveve weather.

Procedure for request for activation by ARES Emergency Coordinator or designee, or SKYWARN spotter with visual sighting of severe weather:
1. Upon sighting of severe weather by a SKYWARN spotter or upon recognition of possible need for activation by an ARES Emergency Coordinator, the person     will contact NWS Binghamton via the toll-free telephone number.
2. After conferring, NWS Binghamton will decide before the telephone conversation is ended, if activation is warranted.
3. If NWS Binghamton approves the request for activation, the reporting station will activate the county net on the appropriate frequency. NWS Binghamton     will request an operator following above "Procedure for Activation by NWS Binghamton."
4. In the event that NWS Binghamton decides activation is not warranted, all subsequent communications with NWS Binghamton will be via telephone.

County activation/de-activation guidelines to activate/de-activate a particular county, NWS Binghamton will normally follow these procedures:
1. WS Binghamton forecaster will notify amateur operator at NWS or home station to activate/de-activate net in a county or counties.
2. NWS Binghamton station operator will contact regional hub on their frequency and activation/de-activation request for one or more counties.
3. Regional hub will follow its own procedures to contact and activate/de-active the requested counties.
4. Regional hub will notify NWS Binghamton station of successful activation/de-activation (county, time, NCS call, liaison call, and number of participants)     once net is activated/de-activated.
5. If the Regional Hub or County has not received any communication from NWS Binghamton operator for more than 30 minutes, and there does not appear     to be any severe weather imminent, NWS Binghamton may be contacted either via radio or failing that of the 800 Hotline (1-800-SKY-2992) to request     de-activation.

In addition to being activated or de-activated, counties may be put on standby alert. This means SKYWARN reports are not currently needed, and no severe weather is expected during the next 30 minutes. However, severe weather is possible in the near future, and everyone is asked to monitor frequencies for possible activation.

SKYWARN STANDBY ALERT-Severe weather possible within 30 minutes to 2 hours.

SKYWARN ACTIVATION-Severe weather occurring or possible in the next 30 minutes.

SKYWARN De-ACTIVATION-No Severe weather expected in the next 2 hours.

COUNTY OPERATIONS GUIDELINES:
NCS Duties
Time of activation and reason for activation
Stations involved in net and their locations
Stations that have had training and what kind of training
Stations with special capabilities
Liaison stations
Watches or Warning during activation
All reports from spotters
De-activation time and station authorizing deactivation

Liaison duties (VHF)

Each County should have a liaison station that can monitor and transmit to the county repeaters and regional hub repeater.

The liaison station should take report from the county NCS and pass them to the Regional Hub NCS in the form above as soon as possible.

The liaison station should notify any problems in reaching the regional hub repeater to the county NCS.

If necessary the liaison should also handle calling the SKYWARN 1-800 SKY 2992 Hotline to pass along reports.

Liaison duties (HF 3925)

Each county NCS should attempt to have one of their stations monitor and participate in the HF net on 3925 KHz-/+ QRM if operational.

The HF NCS should be the first operator to find a clear frequency near the suggested frequency.

NWS Binghamton Operator may check into the net and offer observations or request for assistance.

NWS Binghamton Operator will not be the NCS of the HF or any other nets, because of the numerous duties already required of them.

The HF net is a secondary outlet for information.

PACKET OPERATIONS
Packet radio operations at the NWS Binghamton office include a TCP/IP BBS accessible through the NEDA network. The packet program is still under construction at this point and will not be finished by the time this manual is published.

Wind Scale for Observations at Land Stations
0 Calm Smoke rises vertically
1-3 Light Air direction of wind shown by smoke drift, not by wind vanes.
4-7 Light Breeze Wind felt on face; leaves rustle; ordinary vanes moved by wind.
8-12 Gentle Breeze Leaves and small twigs in constant motion; wind extends light flag.
13-18 Moderate Breeze Raises dust and loose paper; small branches are moved.
19-24 Fresh Breeze Small trees in leaf begin to sway; wavelets formed on inland waters.
25-31 Strong Breeze Large branches in motion; whistling heard in telephone wires; umbrellas used with difficulty
32-38 High Wind Whole trees in motion; inconvenience felt when walking against wind.
38-46 Fresh gale Breaks twigs off trees; generally impedes progress.
47-54 Strong Gale Slight structural damage occurs chimney, pots and slate removed
55-63 Whole Gale Seldom experienced inland; trees uprooted, considerable structural damage occurs.
64-72 Storm Very rarely experienced; accompanied by widespread damage.

PA COUNTY SKYWARN FREQUENCIES: COUNTY SERVED and FREQ LOCATION

Bradford, PA 147.150+ Canton, PA
Bradford, PA 147.285+ Evergreen, PA
Bradford, PA 145.130- Athens, PA
Lackawanna, PA 146.940- Scranton, PA (PL 162.2)
Lackawanna, PA 146.835- Scranton, PA
Luzerne, PA 145.410- Wilkes-Barre, PA (PL 100.0)
Luzerne, PA 146.610- Wilkes-Barre, PA
Luzerne, PA 146.670- Hazleton, PA
Pike, PA 145.310- Pleasant Mount, PA
Pike, PA 146.655- Waymart, PA
Pike, PA 147.270+ Waymart, PA
Susquehanna, PA 147.375+ Montrose, PA
Susquehanna, PA 147.240+ Elk Mountain, PA (PL 131.8)
Wayne, PA 145.310- Pleasant Mount, PA
Wayne, PA 146.655- Waymart, PA
Wayne, PA 147.270+ Forkston, PA
Wyoming, PA 147.210+ Forkston, PA (PL 88.5)
Wyoming, PA 147.000+ Scranton, PA (PL 141.3)

PREAMBLE FOR A COUNTY SKYWARN NET ACTIVATION

This is________________________________(Callsign)

The National Weather Service at Binghamton has requested activation of a SKYWARN net. There is (insert Severe Thunderstorm/Tornado Watch/Warning, if unknown Threat of Severe weather) for (Name of county)

This is a directed net and I am the net control station.

Are thee any stations experiencing SEVERE WEATHER at this time?

Is there a station that can contact the Regional Hub repeater and act as liaison?

Stations wishing to join the net, give your Callsign and location.

(Maintain a minimum of a liaison station and try to have someone monitor the NWS broadcast on 162 Mhz.(162.400 Binghamton; 162.525 Scranton) and keep a log of all contacts and report to the EC of your county as soon as possible, maintain net operation by announcement every ten minutes)

This is _________________(Callsign) for____________________(county) SKYWARN. Are there any reports of SEVERE WEATHER at this time? Any stations wishing to check in, give your Callsign and location.

(The Regional liaison or your liaison to the regional hub will advise you as to what reports they are looking for, any special instructions or when you can deactivate the net. When closing the net is considered proper to thank all stations participating and the repeater owner/opeators/trustees for its use.)

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© 2015 Chris Doherty, N3UVR and SPARK, K3CSG, the Scranton Pocono Amateur Radio Klub