Tag Archives: Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence’s toll on radio stations and cell services

(Source: Tom Taylor Now)

The FCC last night reported that more FMs were out (20) than AMs (three). While nearly 14% of cell sites in the affected areas were out of service – and like the AM/FM picture, virtually all the outages are in coastal North Carolina. Forecasters had predicted the brunt of the storm would fall around Wilmington and New Bern, and that’s how it played out, in slow motion. Friday morning’s NOW reported the Curtis Media radio stations in New Bern were off, as well as Sinclair’s ABC-TV affiliate, WCTI-TV. Both Channel 12 and the Curtis cluster are located very hear the Neuse River, and Sinclair was forced to originate programming from Greenville, instead. WCTI-TV’s still off, as well as sister Fox affiliate WYDO (digital channel 47/virtual channel 12). Likewise, a range of radio stations including Cumulus-owned classic hits “94.5 the Hawk” WKXS and not-for-profit EMF’s contemporary Christian “K-Love” affiliate, WBNK/92.7. One of the three silent AMs carries an ominous name for the current conditions – Cumulus-owned talk “980 the Wave” WAAV. Read last night’s FCC “Status Report” here. The agency’s main page for Hurricane Florence communications is here.

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VoIP Hurricane Net details

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dennis Dura, who shares the following information about the VoIP Hurricane Net in which he is heavily involved:

**VoIP Hurricane Net will activate starting at 9 AM EDT Thursday Morning through 11 PM EDT Saturday Evening for Dangerous Hurricane Florence which is expected to be a major hurricane and will slow its approach to the Southeast North Carolina/Northeast South Carolina Coast Thursday Night through Friday Night with continued hurricane impacts into Saturday.**
**WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio Station at the National Hurricane Center, will activate at 900 AM EDT Thursday 9/13/18 for Dangerous Hurricane Florence**

Here are the VoIP Hurricane Net and WX4NHC Activation Plans for Florence as of Wednesday Evening 9/12/18 at 745 PM EDT/2345 UTC:

The VoIP Hurricane Net will activate starting at 900 AM EDT Thursday Morning through Saturday Evening for Dangerous Hurricane Florence’s impacts to North and South Carolina. WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio Station at the National Hurricane Center, will activate at 900 AM EDT Thursday 9/13/18. Florence is expected to be a dangerous major hurricane and slowing her approach to the North and South Carolina coast Thursday Night through Friday Night with hurricane impacts and landfall some time on Saturday.

Any Amateur Radio Operators in the affected area of Hurricane Florence or with relays into the affected area of Florence are asked to provide surface and damage reports into the VoIP Hurricane Net for relay into WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio station at the National Hurricane Center. We appreciate any and all support from Amateur Operators in the affected area or Amateur Operators with relays into the affected area. We are looking for reports based on the National Weather Service SKYWARN Reporting criteria. This can be seen on the VoIP Hurricane Net web site at the following link:


Any pictures or videos of wind damage, river/stream/urban/storm surge flooding etc. can be sent to the following email address: pics@nsradio.org and credit will be given to the Amateur Radio Operator, weather spotter or individual that took the photos and media and be shared with the Amateur Radio team at the National Hurricane Center and other agencies and outlets.

Advisories on Hurricane Florence can be seen off of the Atlantic Tropical Products menu selection on the voipwxnet web site, via our Facebook and Twitter feeds, and off the National Hurricane Center web site via the following link:


Reports as obtained via the VoIP Hurricane Net from Amateur Radio Operators in the affected area, relays from the affected area or from APRS/CWOP Weather Station feeds and other social media outlets can be found at the following link:


Stations outside the affected area who would like to listen into the VoIP Hurricane Net can use any of the following systems for listen-only purposes and can connect on either Echolink or IRLP:
*NEW-ENG3* Echolink conference node: 9123/IRLP 9123

Stations outside the affected area who would like to listen into the VoIP Hurricane Net can use any of the following systems for listen-only purposes on Echolink:
*KA1AAA* Echolink conference node: 4439
*WX5FWD* Echolink conference node: 372418
*ARERT* Echolink conference node: 27366

Stations outside the affected area who would like to listen into the VoIP Hurricane Net can use any of the following systems for listen-only purposes on All-Star by dialing *33009123.

We will have an audio livestream as provided by KC4QLP-Bob Carter. That link is listed below:

The VoIP Hurricane Net Management team continues to closely watch Hurricane Florence. Thanks to all for their continued support of the VoIP Hurricane Net!

Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net

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How to listen to Hurricane Watch Net frequencies

As Hurricane Florence starts to make landfall today, it is expected to have a serious impact on coastal South Carolina and North Carolina. Florence is currently a category 2 hurricane, but they expect wind speeds to diminish quickly upon landfall. No doubt, we’ll remember Florence for the tremendous amount of rainfall she packs–there will be significant flooding in her path.

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.

Monitoring hurricane frequencies

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 a number of WebSDRs on the KiwiSDR network and even potentially via the U Twente WebSDR in the Netherlands (although a WebSDR in North America would be preferable).

Click here to view the Hurricane Watch Net website.

At time of posting, there are a number of tropical storms in the Atlantic. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, tropical storms and other natural disasters, please keep an emergency kit fully-stocked and at the ready. Click here for some ideas about building your own simple kit.

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Hurricane Florence reminds us to be prepared

Hurricane Florence as seen from the International Space Station

As I write this post, Hurricane Florence has her sites set on eastern North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. In terms of her path and potential for flooding, Florence is already looking like an extraordinary storm and certainly one for the history books. It’s a scary situation.

My family is all about practical preparedness. Where we live, we have to be concerned with the occasional sever summer/winter storm, flash flooding, and potential impact from hurricanes like Florence. Although we’re in Canada right now and far removed from any potential impact from Florence in North Carolina (regardless, thanks for all of your kind messages), we have friends living in our house and I can rest easy knowing they have all of our supplies at the ready.

What supplies should you have at the ready? I like using the Build-A-Kit list from Ready.gov as a practical starting point. It’s designed around a 72 hour window of time. Many of us may assume that 72 ours is too short, but once you start looking at realistic quantities of food and, especially, water that are needed, you might be surprised. These items are difficult to find when your area is threatened by natural disaster–it’s important to collect these items when there’s no immediate threat.

Here’s the list taken directly from Ready.gov:

Build A Kit

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.

After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own foodwater and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Keeping items in an inexpensive plastic container not only protects them from water intrusion, but makes it easy grab-and-go on a moment’s notice.

    Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation

  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

Download the Recommended Supplies List (PDF)

Additional Emergency Supplies

Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:

  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses and contact lense solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Maintaining Your Kit

After assembling your kit remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed:

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers
  • Replace expired items as needed
  • Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

Kit Storage Locations

Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and vehicles.

  • Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
  • Vehicle: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.

Of course, I have specific suggestions regarding portable radios to have on hand. I’ll try to post my current favorites soon.

The takeaway is no matter where you live, spend some time preparing for natural disasters or interruptions to public utilities. We have several helpful posts on the SWLing Post which can help you with this very thing.  Take a look at the following in our archives:

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