Activation Notifications

We have elected to emphasize the use of social media due to its popularity, ease of access to the general public, and ability to disseminate information rapidly to a large group of people. It is highly encouraged that you follow our Twitter feed and/or Facebook page if you have an interest in Northwest Arkansas Skywarn®. We will use these accounts to update you about planned net activations well in advance along with updates about severe weather expectations. We will also use these accounts to notify our followers about upcoming training events or other special weather-related information.

All participants and listeners should know that Northwest Arkansas Skywarn® is operated by individuals who are also employed full-time outside of the weather industry. Due to this fact, we may not always be available, although we will always try. We will post to our Social Media accounts when the net will not be available. One more reason to follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

Non-Radio Reporting

Not an amateur radio operator, but still want to participate? We have several methods you can use to send us reports!

Call Net Control at: (479) 239-9811

E-mail Net Control at: [email protected]

Post your report to our Facebook or Twitter accounts and please include photos when available!

Want to listen to our radio net? You can put our frequencies into most scanners to listen in!

Operational Information

Standby Mode

Northwest Arkansas Skywarn® may enter standby mode any time risk of severe weather is reported or observed. This may include a risk reported by the NWS, or a risk monitored by our NCS by radar or available forecast tools. Standby mode will typically not be activated until a weather system is within one county of our service area. Our NCS operators may open a "social media" standby mode much earlier, reporting forecasted conditions and net status via our Social Media accounts in advance of opening an actual radio net.

Standby mode is a non-directed, "informal" radio net. Northwest Arkansas Skywarn® will maintain standby mode until such a time as significant weather (hail, wind, heavy rain, rotation, etc) is reported, observed on radar, or the NWS issues a severe weather warning. During Standby Mode, the frequency is available to any amateur station for normal traffic, however, we will periodically break in with any watches or significant updates issued by the NWS or observed on radar. Net control operators are available during standby mode to relay any weather report to the NWS and to provide spotters/chasers with information upon request. This includes radar observation, current conditions, etc.

Some weather events may prompt a standby mode activation without further elevation. Once Standby Mode is initiated, net control operators will attempt to remain on the air until the weather risk has diminished below severe possibilities. This does not mean we will always be on the air until the rain stops. Sometimes it really is just raining...

Active Mode

Northwest Arkansas Skywarn® will enter active mode any time the NWS issues a severe weather warning or whenever potential severe weather is observed on radar or reported within our service area. Upon entering active mode, our NCS will place the repeater into active mode. All radio traffic should then be directed to Net Control and normal amateur traffic should be suspended. All amateur stations authorized on the frequency are welcome to join the net, however, we do ask that stations familiarize themselves with the current severe weather reporting criteria set forth by the NWS. You can do this by attending a Skywarn® training class in person or online (Free Training!!). More information may be found on our Spotter Information page. The information is also available through the National Weather Service website without the training program.

Please be aware that severe weather reporting criteria have changed over the past decade. If you haven't been to a Skywarn® class in the past 5 years, we recommend attending a class or completing the UCAR Comet Program training. With great advances in radar technology, it is no longer necessary to report non-severe weather events such as rain, moderate winds, or even small hail. Please do not tie up the net with these reports unless requested by the NCS. WEATHER DAMAGE REPORTS ARE AN EXCEPTION! If you see damage caused by weather events, or flooding, we do want these reports. We will report weather damage to both the NWS and local emergency crews.

Stand Down

Northwest Arkansas Skywarn® will attempt to keep the repeater free as much as possible for regular amateur use. If severe weather is not presently active in our service area, but more is expected, we will usually stand down from active mode and return to standby mode. This may mean our net is changed from free to direct and back again several times during a severe weather event. If you aren't sure if the net is free, direct your first transmission to net control and ask.

During any mode of net operation, the net control operator will post our operational status on our Social Media accounts. It is highly recommended that you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook to receive up-to-date information about our net. You can also directly communicate with us there even during periods of inactivity. Want to know why we aren't on the air during a storm? Tweet us! We'd rather hear your positive comments and suggestions, though.