NW SKYWARN Procedures

The Northwest Arkansas SKYWARN program operates under a memorandum of understanding with the NWS and our local County Offices of Emergency Communications. Spotters and net control operators of NWA SKYWARN are licensed amateur radio operators.

Our SKYWARN nets are called up when severe weather approaches the area of responsibility of the National Weather Service Tulsa office. This area is Benton, Carroll, Washington, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian counties.

SKYWARN Frequencies

Primary Repeaters

The primary repeater of the NWA SKYWARN Weather Net is the K5DVT repeater on Dodd Mountain. This repeater link is owned and maintained by K5DVT.

West NWA K5DVT - Dodd Mountain 147.3150 +0.6 MHz PL 97.4

SKYWARN Officers

Personnel Coordinator

Jonathan George - K0JWG - k0jwg@arrl.net - (479) 657-0791
Our Personnel Coordinator has the task of contacting and filling net control positions in the moment of a crisis.

SKYWARN Net Controls

Our net control operators are required to attend the NWS Severe Storm Spotters’ Certification Course, MetEd Skywarn Spotter Training, and FEMA certification before they are eligible to lead our nets. Additionally they are trained regularly at the EOC in areas including traffic handling, net etiquette , repeater controls, EOC equipment familiarization, and acquaintance with EOC personnel. If you would like to become a net control, please contact one of the SKYWARN Officers.

Reportable Criteria

The National Weather Service has a specific list of reportable events which they request from spotters. Please note that rainfall amounts, and wind speeds are no longer reportable criteria. It is important that reports are timely and accurate. Our reports are used to verify radar images, and to facilitate the forecasters in issuing warnings for counties in Arkansas. The following is a list of events the NWS has requested from us:

Required Spotter Certifications

In order to participate in the NWA SKYWARN program, you must meet the following requirements:

SKYWARN Net Protocols

When checking in to an activated SKYWARN net, please use the following format:

  1. Ensure you are properly sending APRS data.
  2. Call Net control followed by your callsign.
    1. Ex: “NWA Weather, K0JWG”
  3. Wait for an acknowledgement from Net Control
  4. If you are not sure where you are needed, or would like to be assigned a spotting location, please request so now, otherwise standby for further instruction.
  5. When needing to report weather, call net control (NWA Weather) followed by your call sign. Wait for an acknowledgement then provide your report following the criteria listed above.
  6. All communication during a directed net should be only between yourself and NWA Weather, please utilize 147.480 simplex for spotter talk-around.

FAQ

Who can be a SKYWAN Spotter?

Anyone with an interest in public service and access to communication can join the SKYWARN® program. Volunteers include amateur radio operators, law enforcement and fire personnel, emergency medical services workers, dispatchers, postal workers, public utility workers, city or county workers, farmers, and other concerned private citizens. Individuals affiliated with hospitals, schools, churches, nursing homes or who have a responsibility for protecting others are encouraged to become a spotter.

Is there a minimum age requirement to become a Spotter?

Because of the complexity of severe thunderstorms and the potential dangers involved, spotting is recommended for adults (18 yrs or older). High school and middle school students are welcome to attend the classes with a parent or other adult.

Is there a cost for training?

Nope! Both National Weather Service (NWS) SKYWARN® classroom training and online courses are offered free of charge!

Will I get an official ID, Certificate, or Spotter number?

We do not issue Spotter IDs or collect any sort of membership dues. Some of the recommended training programs do issue certificates for completing the program.