Tag Archives: HWN

Hurricane Watch Net frequencies: monitoring “ground truth” observations

hurricane-matthew

As Hurricane Matthew makes its slow trek through the Caribbean, it is expected to have impact on the Bahamas, Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina. It has already battered Haiti and Cuba.

A few readers have asked about frequencies to monitor as the storm approaches.

Hurricane Watch Net (HWN)

hwn-hurricane-watch-netThe Hurricane Watch Net is a group of amateur radio operators who are trained and organized “to provide essential communications support to the National Hurricane Center during times of Hurricane emergencies.” The HWN focuses on “ground truth” observations (much like SkyWarn nets).

The Hurricane Watch Net is activated when a hurricane is within 300 statute miles of expected land-fall. The HWN covers the Caribbean, Central America, Eastern Mexico, Eastern Canada, and all US Coastal States.

The HWN operates in both English and Spanish, and is active on 14.325 MHz (upper sideband) during the day and 7.268 MHz (lower sideband) at night. The HWN is known to operate on both frequencies if propagation allows.

Please keep HWN frequencies clear

If you’re an amateur radio operator, please avoid using 14.325 MHz and 7.268 MHz anytime the HWN has been activated.

Other emergency net frequencies

ARRL Southern New Jersey Section manager, Skip Arey (N2EI), recently noted several other frequencies being used in the Caribbean:

“CO2KK reports the Cuba National Emergency Net is operating on 7110 primary, 7120 secondary in the daytime, with provincial nets on 7045, 7080 and possibly others. At night the primary is 3740 and secondary 3720. The main net control station is CO9DCN, operating from the Cuban National Civil Defense Headquarters, in Havana, with CO2JC in charge. Volunteer hams across the island nation are going portable to check on flooding of rivers and roads and plan to report in.

The Dominican Republic on Cuba’s eastern neighbor, the island of Hispaniola, is using 7065 kHz LSB for emergency communications.”

Please note these frequencies and, again, keep them clear of non-essential communications.

Monitoring hurricane frequencies

PL-660

If you have a shortwave radio with a BFO/SSB mode–and you live within the propagation footprint–you can monitor the Hurricane Watch Net.

Note that you’ll need to use upper sideband on 14.325 MHz and lower sideband on 7.268 MHz.

You can also monitor the Hurricane Watch Net via the following web stream: http://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/20970/web

Click here to view the Hurricane Watch Net website.

Listen to hurricane watch nets on your shortwave radio

As of time of this posting, Hurricane Irene is on a path that could threaten a large swath of the east coast of the United States. If you have a shortwave radio, even a portable, that can tune in SSB (or Single-Side Band) you can listen to or participate in the Hurricane Watch Net courtesy of your radio.

How to find the Hurricane Watch Net on your portable shortwave radio

Simply tune your radio to 14,325 kHz (or 14.325 MHz). Since these signals are often weaker than AM broadcast signals, you should fully extend your antenna.

Next, turn on the SSB or BFO switch on your radio.  These are labeled in various ways, but when you activate the SSB mode, the audio characteristics of your radio will change rather dramatically.

If there is activity on the frequency (i.e., the Watch Net is busy), you should hear voices. More than likely, you will need to tune the SSB to make the voices intelligible.  Typically, there will be a dedicated fine tuning knob/wheel to allow you to do this.

Keep in mind that if you hear nothing but static, that may only be because there is no current traffic on the net. Patience will pay off.

Participation

Can you participate in the Hurricane Watch Net and make reports on your weather observations if you’re not a licensed amateur radio operator? Of course! In fact, the Hurricane Watch Net states:

The National Hurricane Center collects observations from people in coastal areas who have home weather stations.  Send an e-mail to wx4nhc@wx4nhc.org and request information about this program or use their on-line submission form by clicking here.

I will attempt to record some sample audio from the Hurricane Watch Net and post it here (on this page) in the near future.

Also, please note that there are many other frequencies to monitor in the resources section below. Many frequencies are specific to a region, like North Carolina (tune to 3923Khz or  7232Khz SSB), so be sure to try several, not just the HWN.

Resources