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Two emails elucidating what Skywarn and the Amateur Radio effort is and isn't. the first is the SRD  SKYWARN™ Recognition Day  instructions and the second is a Q&A discussion from the Big Island.

To all,

Please participate in this year's Skywarn Recognition Day (SRD) by sending in your simulated Severe Weather Report (Hawaii only.)
During our time on the air, we will take messages as noted below.  There will be no net initiated, just the Skywarn station standing by for the simulated Severe Weather Reports. We will make periodic announcements.

For Hawaii, we ask that you develop a simulated Severe Weather Report based on conditions where you are.  
If you go beyond Hawaii, other National Weather Service (NWS) offices will be taking Real-World Fair Weather Reports and not the simulated Severe Weather Reports.

Please Note: If you have a real-world Severe Weather Report, we will take it.  Please be sure to identify it as REAL-WORLD.

  • Date: 12/6/19
  • Time: 1400 - 2200 HST (which is 12/7/19, 0000 - 0800 Zulu)
  • DEM RACES repeaters (if operational):
  • IRLP linked repeaters will be available during our time on the air:
    • Round Top, 443.425 pl 114.8 node 3080 
    • Waimanalo, 444.375 pl 114.8 node 3197
    • Waialua 443.400 pl 114.8  node 8843
  • HF
    • 7080 kHz USB for voice and FLDIGI (on the hour and half hour)
    • 3880 kHz LSB phone (voice) (a quarter of and after the hour)
  • Winlink messages to
  • Format (same as what you would do on the telephone call to NWS):
    • call sign
    • first name
    • Spotter number (if you have one)
    • location of observation
    • time of observation
    • Metrics (no guessing! No estimating. If nothing measured, move on to Impacts)
    • Impacts
  • Criteria ( ) :
    • What to Report (and use EXERCISE and SIMULATED as descriptors for these practice messages):
      ANY tornado, funnel, or waterspout
      Heavy rain at a rate of an inch per hour or more lasting more than 15 minutes
      ANY type of flooding that is threatening or causing damage
      ANY hail
      High winds strong enough to cause property damage
      - ANY weather related death, injury, or significant damage
Please be flexible as parameters may be adjusted.

Please pass this email on to other interested parties.

Thank you,

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------BI Q&A:

I have answered most of this in other emails. I may copy and paste what I already wrote.

I will embed the answers in the questions.

Kevin, AH6QO
Cell: 808.778.4697
Other: (720) 235-8172

On Fri, Oct 18, 2019 at 3:56 PM Ceridwen Sanders <> wrote:
Good job guys!

It looks like, as with many other areas of interest to the ham community, that it’s best to go back to basics so that everyone is on the same page.
That’s why we call them “confusion and misunderstandings” topics on the BigIslandRADIO reflector.   This topic will be the next.

Kevin, you’ve made a perfect start.  Where do we go from here? Focus on moving the message forward.

Questions that need to be addressed:

What is Skywarn?
Is Skywarn in Hawaii different from other states?
Skywarn is a national program. Beyond that I don't know how it varies from one location to another. 
Who can be a spotter?
Anyone who wants to go through the NWS training and receive a Skywarn number when they email a request to NWS HFO after going through the training. 
What does Skywarn training entail? Going through the Skywarn two-hour class and satisfying them that they are ready. 
Is Hawaii training different? Yes.
Who is responsible for the dissemination of information on the Big Island?
Who is responsible for setting dates and venues for training sessions?
What tasks are needed that  a volunteer on the Big Island can do to assist Skywarn?
Train, observe, evaluate observation against the Severe Weather criteria and call it in. 
What geographical area is a volunteer on the Big Island responsible for? What they can observe and report on first-hand, unless they are relaying a report.
How does BIARC interface with Skywarn? They don't. The individual Severe Weather Spotter/Skywarn Spotter does.
Is it possible for BIARC members to disassociate themselves from the club in order to be countywide volunteers for Skywarn? I don't understand the question as stated.  I am not sure what you are assuming in an association with BIARC. The individual Skywarn spotter calls in to NWS and it has nothing to do with BIARC.
Who has responsibility for Skywarn at the state and county levels?  Names? Titles?John Bravendar, Warning Coordination Meterologist, NWS HFO.
How do hams on the Big Island volunteer?  to whom?  for what positions? They volunteer directly to NWS HFO, but Michael Riley, NWS, at the Hilo NWS collection office which is not a forecast office has put together on behalf of NWS HFO Skywarn training classes that have been announced. There is only one position for Skywarn which is as a Severe Weather Spotter (aka Skywarn spotter.) 
What have I missed?
That is it.

OK, that is Skywarn, period. 
Which is not to be confused with amateur radio assistance in the form of conducting an amateur radio effort that has been requested by the NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist. 
The Amateur Radio effort that is activated at the NWS HFO HAM station at NWS HFO UH-M Campus:
  • does not replace the Skywarn reporting procedures.
  • does not take anything but Severe Weather Reports which means they meet criteria for reporting.In addition, damage reporting which may affect Warnings and Forecasts needs to be reported to county-level and State EMAs and HCCDA if further assists from those entities are required. Do not count on NWS passing on the information that your roof is blown in a timely manner. Your roof, your call to county agencies.
  • does take Severe Weather Reports as a convenience to the Amateur Radio operator if the phone system still works.  Everyone listening benefits from seeing a Common Operating Picture (COP.)
  • If no lines of normal communications are available, the Amateur Radio effort provides a vital service to NWS HFO that may save lives and property.
  • The "Amateur Radio effort" takes the form of nets on repeaters and HF, then on simplex and HF when repeaters are not available. Again, it is the responsibility of the Skywarn spotter to get the report to NWS HFO.
  • the effort is facilitated by a Skywarn HAM coordinator for Hawaii who has been selected by ARES Pacific and recognized by NWS HFO as the coordinator. He is assisted by a Deputy Skywarn HAM Coordinator. These two and other volunteers work closely with NWS staff to maintain their ability to provide Warnings and Forecasts. 
  • At this time the Skywarn HAM coordinator for Hawaii is Kevin Bogan, AH6QO.  The Deputy is Chuck Malefyt, KH6DL. Assisting them in relays and coordination on HF is Joe Tabrah, KH6FHI.  James Mertens, WH6ERC,  is the Skywarn Kauai Coordinator.  The goal of all of these people is to assist the individual Skywarn Spotter in getting accurately his/her Severe Weather Report to NWS HFO in the most expeditious way possible.  Others may assist in establishing simplex relays on VHF/UHF and HF, training in digital modes such as Winlink and FLDIGI and providing after-disaster equipment and assistance in "moving the message forward."
Hawaii Island is big and we need help.  Help me to convince Les Hittner that he accept being the Skywarn HAM Coordinator for Hawaii Island.  We need help in the Amateur Radio effort in Organization, Recruitment, Training and Activation. At least these areas and more.
The Training aspect may come in two flavors: helping NWS to arrange the Skywarn Classes (SKYWARN) and helping to train volunteers in using the recognized format (header, metrics then impacts) and passing the messages on RF (HAM).  Again, conceptually keep SKYWARN distinct from HAM.

On the Big Island, individuals who wish to help can do so by working with and through the Skywarn HAM Coordinator.  Clubs can assist individuals and the HAM effort in various ways, but it is the individual who is providing the assistance to Skwarn HAM for the sake of the whole island not just one group. 

Thank you for the opportuinity to clarify these questions.
Kevin, AH6QO  signature block is above 

Returning to Ceri's email which continues below:

The earlier we get this together, the better we can function as a team.

73. Ceri AH6CS

Ceridwen Sanders AH6CS
Richard Bowen AH6RK
PO Box 138
43-1781 Manienie Road
Paauilo, HI 96776

From Kevin
Kevin, AH6QO
Cell: 808.778.4697
Other: (720) 235-8172

The local Skywarn webpage is at:

I have a bookmark on my Bookmark page on my website:
There is a lot of information on the page and the pages I created. Please explore it.  I set it up as a one-stop-shopping page for info when I was working on at the State Warning Point.  The pages made my work easier and others are relying on it now.

Looking at the Tropical Pacific AVN IR Color Loop with the tropical forecast points turned on gives a quick indication of what is happening with a storm or hurricane.  Of course, if there is no Tropical Storm or Hurricane in the eastern or central Pacific, then there is nothing to display.


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