Our windows are boarded up, but we are still on the air here at WRMI as Hurricane Matthew approaches the east coast of Florida at 2300 UTC Thursday, October 6. The worst winds and rain are expected during the next several hours.
Nuestras ventanas estan protegidas por planchas de madera, pero todavia estamos en el aire aqui en WRMI mientras el Huracan Matthew se acerca a la costa este de la Florida a las 2300 UTC el jueves 6 deoctubre. Los vientos y las lluvias mas fuertes se esperan durante las proximas horas.
I’m very happy to hear that WRMI has prepared for this storm and I certainly hope they’re able to stay on the air and have and suffer no storm damage.
Yesterday, WRMI posted the following notice:
To WRMI listeners: As of 1600 UTC Wednesday, October 5, Hurricane Matthew appears to have a path which will take the center of the Category 4 storm very near Okeechobee. We will have extremely strong winds and rain during the next few days, and there is the possibility of the loss of electrical power and/or Internet service. We will keep all of WRMI’s transmissions on the air as long as we have electrical power and it is safe to operate. But if you find that we are off the air sometime within the next 48-72 hours, it will be due to the hurricane, and we will attempt to resume regular operations as soon as possible after the hurricane passes and power is restored to our transmitter site. Thank you for your understanding.
I expect WRMI/Okeechobee will have to cope with hurricane force winds tonight. The west wall of the hurricane eye is currently travelling up the eastern Florida coast and is sure to tax the WRMI antenna farm.
Here’s hoping our friends at WRMI make it through unscathed.
Is Hurricane Matthew affecting any SWLing Post readers? Please comment!
UPDATE: (Source: WRMI at 7:45 UTC, 07 October 2016)
As of 0630 UTC Friday, our electricity is out at the WRMI transmitter site in Okeechobee. We are operating on emergency generator power, which powers our lights, air conditioning and computers. However, all transmitters are off the air except 6855 kHz, which remains on the air on extremely low power. Winds are extremely strong here, and we do not have an estimate of when electricity will be restored. The center of Hurricane Matthew is northeast of us now.
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)
The 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
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.