Tag Archives: Hurricane Watch Nets on Shortwave Radio

Hurricane Harvey: How to monitor Hurricane Watch Net observations via shortwave radio

As Hurricane Harvey makes its slow trek through toward Corpus Christi, we’re watching what might become one of the most damaging storms this decade in the States.

Each hurricane season, I receive emails from readers asking 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 the following web stream: http://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/20970/web

Click here to view the Hurricane Watch Net website.

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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.


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 [email protected] 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.



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