Weather Radio Listeners Newsletter Issue 32 for November 1st 2019
Hello and welcome to the fourth and final issue of the newsletter for 2019. It is now November and it actually feels like November. It hadn’t been all that chilly until now and it hadn’t been all that hot during the month of August either in Ontario. However, on October 1st, it actually warmed up enough, to break records in Southern Ontario, including Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. However, winter is certainly on its way, as is iNotify to Weatheradio Canada. However, we will see the snow fly, before we hear the new voices on the network, on a regular basis across Canada.
You will notice some changes to the newsletter, in that models of WX radios will no longer be listed with a manufacturer. I decided to stop including them because there is no need and I had been mentioning models, which have been long discontinued. So, you will only see the manufacturer and a link to the website. The same is true for any Yahoo groups I have mentioned here, as they will no longer be seen in future issues. This is because Yahoo is getting rid of all groups. This includes a chat group relating to Weatheradio Canada, which had been around for years.
To those of you in any of the related Facebook groups, thanks for your continued support and reports, when you are able to post them. Some people have asked me, when I have posted about an outage on Weatheradio Canada, “what is watchdog?” Well, when I am reporting a “watchdog”. Situation for a Weatheradio Canada transmitter, there is no longer the need to ask what “watchdog” is, because I have created a blog post back in July, to address that question and to make it as clear as possible. I strongly encourage you to either follow or bookmark this blog, so if you forget what “watchdog” or any other term used by either NWR or Weatheradio Canada means, you can find the post in the archives and read it, before you feel the need to ask.
Survey Said… …
For those who probably don’t know, a tree fell in the forest and many people didn’t hear it. In other words, there was another survey which Weatheradio Canada had done in August 2019. Unfortunately, most people may not have heard the crack of the wood and the crash of trunk and bark to the ground. That is unless they were on social media groups and had heard about it through word of internet. The reason is that most WXR’s were unable to announce that the survey was taking place, because of being on dial-up or not ready to be switched over to iNotify. Unfortunately, this included the Toronto WXR. I only knew about the survey, from Facebook and by calling telephone ATAD’s, which are located in major cities. Before the prompts to get the weather information for a particular region, the survey announcement played, with both the male and female voices in which ever language you chose.
In case you haven’t figured it out, the survey was about the new voices, set to become the new ones we will hear on Weatheradio Canada. Because we have 4 of them, it was about which ones should do either: forecasts and weather conditions or, watches and warnings. Unfortunately, for myself and others, the voice samples provided for the survey, didn’t work when we tried doing the survey. However, because I have all 4 of them on my iPhone, I cheated and used them as they are, to inform my decision as to what I think each voice should be doing what, on the broadcast in the future. The survey is complete and unfortunately, I don’t have the results.
I wanted to hear the new voices on my WX radio because around the time of the survey, there were some people who were divided on one of the voices, just because one person didn’t like the tone. That voice was Ava and I can understand why, if you get a chance to listen to the Continuous Marine Broadcasts on CCG radio, on WX channels 8 and 9 on scanners, marine radios and amateur radios. The voice is very muffled and unfortunately, nothing has been done about it and I don’t know if anyone has reported it. I haven’t because… what am I going to say? I had no idea what voice it was, when I had first heard it back in 2014 and when iOS 10 came out in September 2016, I found out and well… I grew to like the voice…. a lot as it is in normal sound quality. Let us also keep in mind that the people running Canadian Coastguard Radio probably can’t do much about it, as the volume goes up and down, depending on whether it is weather and general marine navigation notifications or, a station ID message.
As I was saying, the survey is done and unfortunately, I have no news on which voices will be used, for the various boxes. My logical guess is that at least for the English translation, it will be Tom doing the bulk of the speaking, with Ava contributing here and there, saying things like the time announcements and little introductions to certain boxes. For example: in Ontario the current configuration was supposed to have the Avipad’s voices saying “current marine reports” in either language but, there was nothing in the dictionary with that phrase, in both English and French matching those words. So, they had a canned message with someone reading out those few words, in both languages. By the way, I hope you didn’t mind the attempt at working this metaphor into the newsletter. It was there and I just couldn’t resist.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this issue and have a safe rest of the fall and early winter and stay warm. I hope we have a great rest of what’s left of 2019 and that the coming winter isn’t brutally cold and snowy, like some people are predicting. It makes for tricky walking, for a Padestrian and especially, someone who cannot see, where the next thin cote of ice is on a sidewalk or street crossing.
THE WATCHDOG REPORT
If you hear anything that doesn’t sound right on your local Weather Radio transmitter, there are various ways to report a problem that depend on where you live. If you live in The United States, you can call 1-888-697-7263. You can email NOAA at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the web at www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr. If you live in Canada, you can call 1-877-789-7733. You can email the National Weatheradio Canada Team at email@example.com. Also, you can report it on the NOAA Weather Radio Weatheradio Canada Facebook Group. You will find the link to it later in this issue and all issues of the newsletter. You can also email the author directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be passed on for you.
Note from the author:
I will mainly include items with a definitive time on their start to finish and ones with unknown starts or endings, I will of course include as well. Also, this issue is a return to a more chronological order, with any outages reported to me, through Facebook or from myself.
Friday August 2nd, Toronto XMJ 225 went into watchdog again at 12:15 PM, without an alert and was restored around 1:56 PM the same day.
On Saturday August 3rd at 4:15 AM, all of Ontario went into watchdog mode and various WXR’s came back, either at full strength or with one thing holding things together. Toronto XMJ 225 is a prime example of this, as the only thing keeping it alive was the english language hourly reports for inland weather observations and even it slipped back into watchdog a couple of times. However, on Monday August 5th it was brought back to full strength, but still on dial-up.
On Wednesday August 7th at around 1:15 AM, all of Ontario had gone into watchdog mode, after a day of severe thunderstorm watches and warnings. Everything came back around 7:31 AM, with Toronto behaving just like in the above watchdog. However, later on in the day, it too began to go back to normal, without issuing SAME alerts, as mentioned in the August 2019 SAME and 1050 Hz tone test report.
On Tuesday August 20th around 7:15 PM, all of Ontario had gone into watchdog and was restored the next morning. Altho, without Toronto getting back on FTP and issuing alerts again and most importantly, having the current survey announcement (at the time) in the configuration. Also, on Saturday August 24th at around 8:00 AM, all of Ontario had gone into watchdog, for 2 hours.
On Friday September 6th at 11:15 ADT, Weatheradio Canada station XLK 473 in Halifax, went into watchdog, along with the entirety of the Atlantic region. Not good, considering Hurricane watches and warnings, as well as tropical weather statements were in effect for eastern Canada, from Quebec to Newfoundland including Nova Scotia, because of hurricane Dorian. It was back the next day, thanks to an angry tweet from someone else and an email, from myself.
From Myles Keleman and the NOAA Weather Radio and Weatheradio Canada FB group on Sunday October 6th
Station XLM537 currently broadcasting a looping “technical difficulties” message. Don’t know how long it has been. I just discovered it.
Author’s follow up:
I tried calling the ATAD for the local area in question but found no link to when the station had gone into watchdog and had received a couple more updates, with everything being the same. Also, a repeat of the same situation, with the same WXR had happened on October 13th, also from Myles Keleman. It had come back before this second outage but it is unknown when it did. Apparently, the situation has remained the same, with no indication as to whether it had been restored or not. That is, until Saturday October 19th, when it was reported that it is broadcasting again.
On Saturday October 19th at around 2:00 PM PT, Castlegar XMD 482 had gone into watchdog, after 2 hours of the hourly reports not updating and the 11:00 AM forecast getting through. It had returned some time either on Sunday October 20th or early Monday October 21st.
On Monday October 21st at around 3:15 PM, all of Ontario had gone into watchdog mode and wasn’t restored until around 8:00 AM the next morning.
On Tuesday October 22nd, St Catharines VAD 320 went into watchdog, all by itself around 8:15 PM and wasn’t restored until around 11:00 AM on Wednesday, October 23, just before the RWT.
On Sunday October 27th at around 8:00 AM, St Catharines VAD 320 went down again and wasn’t restored until Monday October 28th at 7:44 AM. There was a wind warning in affect for parts of the listening area and I wonder if that may have triggered it.
On a more positive note, this good news report from Christian Grosso.
“Finally! After two years, KWO-35 from NYC will be back on the air periodically at degrades power. The transmitter is now atop the Empire State Building.”
This is from the US National Weather Service New York NY FB page, poasted on Wednesday October 23rd.
The NOAA Weather Radio NYC transmitter (KWO-35) will be on air for a few weeks to test transmission. However, the transmitter will be operating at reduced power during the testing phase.
See our Public Information Statement for more information.
THE CANWARN/SKYWARN REPORT
CANWARN (CANadian Weather Amateur Radio Network) is a volunteer organization of amateur radio operators who report severe weather and damage reports to Environment Canada when they see it. Weather reports from amateur radio operators help confirm on the ground what satellites and radars see in the atmosphere. The information gathered from CANWARN is also used to update and fine tune weather warnings, fill in gaps in current observing networks and is also valuable in forensic storm analysis. When Environment Canada issues severe weather watches or warnings, they may alert the CANWARN volunteer Net Controllers in the affected areas. The volunteer Net Controllers contact other CANWARN members on the amateur radio, tell them a watch or warning has been issued and ask them to report signs of approaching severe weather. In the US SKYWARN is the American counterpart to CANWARN in Canada and the purpose for it is exactly the same.
For this section of the newsletter, we will explore how different CANWARN and SKYWARN groups operate in their local region, from time to time. There may be some SKYWARN information from meteorologists in this issue and there will be some tips on how to report severe weather for both CANWARN and SKYWARN.
We may not agree with everything that is written here, but it is important to hear from others to see how different groups operate throughout North America.
Well, it’s now the time of year, when we go into winter mode and unfortunately, nothing new to report in this issue. However, I will have the annual reminder about the spring 2020 sessions, if any in the February 2020 issue/ post. There may be more of an emphasis on online CANWARN training sessions going forward. Hopefully, we will have more news on that in the coming months and of course, it will either be in a future newsletter issue or, as a standalone post.
Also, I am still looking for any information, on CANWARN and or, SKYWARN training schedules, outside of Ontario. Unfortunately, I have not received any emails from meteorologists or my fellow spotters, as to when sessions are will be conducted. Of course, I will post them as a standalone blog post outside the newsletter timeline and when ever a new schedule update is released. I have given my email address many times throughout the newsletter and any help on that is certainly welcome. Many thanks in advance.
As for SKYWARN training schedules, you can go to either of the following sites:
There are many links for you to look at on these sites.
SPOTTER REPORTING TIPS
How to Report
Amateur radio network (if applicable) – Amateur Radio Condition
Condition Codes: Code Green – Severe Thunderstorm Watch
Code Yellow – Severe Thunderstorm Warning or Tornado Watch
Code Red – Tornado Warning
in Ontario by email at email@example.com
Twitter with hashtag #onstorm
If you are CANWARN trained you should give the following information to the weather office in order to help them ground truth: Your name, CANWARN ID, contact number, – Where – you are located and the approximate location of what you are reporting, – Describe what you are witnessing/what you witnessed, the time of occurrence of the event and duration, its movement (where the phenomenon came from and where it is going).
In the spring/summer severe weather season, please report the following:
Hail (use coins to describe its size…dime, nickel, quarter, loonie for larger hail…golf ball etc.), Heavy rain that has resulted in local flooding, Damaging winds (damage from tree branches down to more significant tree or structural damage), Large scale rotation in a thunderstorm such as: Wall Cloud – Funnel Cloud, Waterspout and Tornado, Dense fog – visibility less than 1 km
Note: if you are unsure of the rotation or presence of a wall cloud or funnel cloud…watch the area for a few minutes if it is safe to do so to verify the situation.
For the fall/winter, please report the following: Dense fog (visibility less than 1 km), Any occurrence of freezing rain or freezing drizzle, Heavily accumulating snow (2 or more cm/hr), Whiteout conditions in snow/blowing snow (visibility near zero), Rapid freezing of water on road surfaces.
For SKYWARN spotters, you should report: Tornadoes or funnel clouds (be very wary of look-alikes; watch for rotation)
waterspouts, Wall clouds, especially if they are rotating
Hail (Be specific with regard to size; however, YOU SHOULD NOT report MARBLE size)
Winds (40 mph or greater; specify whether they are estimated or recorded), large branches downed (specify the diameter of the branch), Trees/power lines downed, Structural damage to buildings such as roof, windows, etc.
Rainfall (1 inch or greater in an hour) (NOT a 1″/hr. rate for 10 minutes), 2 inches or greater storm total, Flooding — Streams/Rivers — also, when nearing bankful — Coastal — Street (Road Closures/Washouts, Cars Stuck due to flood waters. Minimum of 6″ of water covering an entire roadway or lane of a major route/highway).
For Winter Weather you should report: Precipitation type change (rain to sleet/freezing rain/snow, when the change has “taken hold”), Thunder when it is accompanied by snow, 1/4″ radial ice accretion (from twig outward; not circumference), New Snowfall from the First 2 inches; every 2-3 inches thereafter, 1 inch per hour or greater.
If it is less than 2 inches total, give the final total only Give final total: no partial reports please) Report any snow/sleet/freezing rain if not in NWS forecast.
Please consult your local Amateur Radio club or CANWARN or SKYWARN group for their: email address, Twitter account or Facebook pages.
Weather Nets On Ham Radio from Daryl Stout WX4QZ
a) VoIP Skywarn Hurricane Prep Net — Meets at 8pm Eastern, 7pm Central, 6pm Mountain, 5pm Pacific Time, on the *WX_TALK* Echolink Conference Server…Echolink Node 7203, and IRLP Node 9219.
During the off-season hurricane months from December through May, the net meets on the FIRST SATURDAY of the month ONLY. During the Atlantic Hurricane Season, from June through November, the net meets WEEKLY, at 8pm Eastern, 7pm Central, 6pm Mountain, and 5pm Pacific Time.
Also, note that on the first Saturday of December, the net is ONE HOUR EARLIER…at 7pm Eastern, 6pm Central, 5pm Mountain, and 5pm Pacific Time. This is so at the conclusion of Skywarn Recognition Day, stations don’t have to wait for the net to occur.
Further details are at http://www.voipwx.net
b) Southeast US D-Star Weather Net — Meets at 9pm Eastern, 8pm Central, 7pm Mountain, and 6pm Pacific, every Sunday night, on Reflector 4, Port A. The net also meets on the Southeast US D-Star Weather Net Ratflector on D-Rats.
Further details are at http://www.dstarinfo.com/se-d-star-wx-net.aspx
Lastly, stations can get a list of selected D-Star Nets during the week by sending an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org — and again, a list of selected Echolink Nets is at http://http://www.theweatherwonder.com/elk.htm
Daryl Stout, WX4QZ, Net Control
Southeast US D-Star Weather Net
Certified Skywarn Severe Storrrm Spotter
Where toPurchase Weather Radios
Weather Radios can be purchased at various electronics stores that specialize in radios and other equipment such as:
CB World at http://www.werecb.com/,
Universal Radio at http://www.universal-radio.com/,
Radiooorld at http://www.radioworld.ca/,
Burnaby Radio at http://www.burnabyradio.com/,
Ambient Weather at http://www.ambientweather.com/, and many more retailers throughout North America.
Best Buy, which caters more to General consumer Electronics such as, Smart phones, tablets, MP3 players etc. However, they also Carrie some Weather Radios, in both Canada and the US. http://www.bestbuy.com/ also in Canada http://m.bestbuy.ca/defaultpage.aspx?lang=en and if you want results from a search on Weather Radios, https://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/Search/SearchResults.aspx?query=Weather+radio
Or, the free iOS app Best Buy Canada by Best Buy Canada Ltd
If you want more information about the app, check The developer website for more information. http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/bestbuyapps.aspx
When planning to purchase your first Weather Radio, it is highly recommended to look for the Public Alert identification logo.
Weather Information on the Internet
Suggested weather sites to visit as follows; In Canada the current websites url is http://www.weather.gc.ca
Want to get your weather in the US? Go to http://www.nws.noaa.gov/
Weatheradio Canada webpage at http://www.ec.gc.ca/weatheradio
NOAA Weather Radio webpage at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr.
DX Info Centre at http://www.dxinfocentre.com/, to hear what Weather Radio sounds like before buying your first receiver, visit YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/ or just use Google to watch or listen to Youtube video or audio.
The NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards Newsletter is published four times a year. There is some seasonal information to notify recipients of additional weather information available to them that they may not know about (most of which can be found on the NOAA Watch web site http://www.noaawatch.gov/ ). At this site you can also subscribe to various weather feeds. The rest of the newsletter remains relatively unchanged due to outreach requirements. The current newsletter is available at the Noaa Weather Radio website http://www.weather.gov/nwr/news.htm. At this time, there is no newsletter mailing list to subscribe.
If you have additional questions, please feel free to e-mail email@example.com, here is the link to the answers website; http://findanswers.noaa.gov/noaa.answers/consumer/search.asp.
NOAA and Weatheradio Canada group on Facebook,
WXtoIMG at http://www.wxtoim.com/downloads/,
Digital Atmosphere at http://www.weathergraphics.com/da/
NWS Taunton Amateur Radio SKYWARN Station home page at http://www.wx1box.org
The Maritime Amateur (Ham Radio for Maritimers by Maritimers) http://www.maritimeamateur.ca
VoIP Hurricane Prep Net – Saturday 9pm Atlantic Time / http://www.voipwx.net/
Phil Chadwicks blog at philtheforecaster.blogspot.com
Weather or Weather Radio Apps
This is a growing list and it needs more results for future reference. If you have idea’s for weather or Weather Radio apps which should be put into future issues of the newsletter, send an email to the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. Right now these are iPhone apps only, because that is all we have at the moment. Your help is needed to expand it.
Alertable by Public Emergency Alerting Services Inc
Note: for android users there is an android version of this app, which you can find on the Google Play store.
Weather Office Free by X2 Studios
This app provides weather and forecast information for both Canada and the US from Environment Canada and the National Weather Service respectively. In fact nearly all apps mentioned here provide information from one or both sources. There is a version you pay for but to me, it is the same as the free version.
NOAA Weather Radio by Christopher Coudriet
This app allows you to listen to NOAA Weather Radio and receive alerts for your county in the US. It would be nice if it also provided the same feature for Weatheradio Canada and Canadians too, as it provides some Canadian WXR’s as live streams.
Weather Radio by WDT by Weather Decision Technologies, Inc.
This app gives you NWS alerts and also pushes lightning alerts to your iPhone, when lightning is possibly detected in your local area or, in area’s you have selected.
TuneIn Radio – Stream Live Radio by TuneIn
This popular app allows you to listen to conventional, Internet and even some Weather Radio stations when and where available. you can even listen to podcasts of your favourite radio shows if you like and maybe even audiobooks, To help you pass the time in the monotony of a commute or while waiting in the waiting room for an appointment.
WeatherCAN, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s new weather app is now available on Android and iOS. Check your store to download. Here is the iOS link.
WeatherCAN by Environment and Climate Change Canada https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/weathercan/id1334221563?mt=8
Météo – Canadian Weather by North Bits Solutions Ltd.
This is another app designed for Canadians and is available in both english and french. It is similar to the Degrees Pro app and some of the others on this list. It is also free, despite that it offers in app purchases.
Atmosphérique Pro – Canadian Weather from EC by Quadrant Newmedia Corp.
Weather Gods by Weather Gods Ltd
This app is an interesting one, in that it provides weather alerts and plays sound affects too, so a lot of people who are blind appreciate it for its ease of use. However, it pushes weather alerts to the iPhone a few minutes late and that isn’t good, in a potential tornado situation where you may have less than 15 minutes to prepare and get into a safe place, to avoid being struck and killed by flying debris. However, it does push severe weather alerts so, if you wish to give it a try go ahead but I encourage you to use it with another app, like WeatherCAN, which is much faster and pushes alerts in a more timely manner.
My Lightning Tracker & Alerts by JRustonApps B.V.
This is another app which pushes lightning alerts to your iPhone but you have more control over how they are sent out, such as changing the distance and time duration between receiving a push notification from the app. Also, you have an option of changing the sound used to alert you of a lightning strike but it doesn’t notify you that it has been 30 minutes since the last lightning strike within 17 km of your current location. But, it still is a good app.
The official Weather Radio Listeners Newsletter Twitter Account
There are many reliable manufacturers and retailers of Weather Radios sold in Canada and the USA. Below is an admitedly incomplete list of Weather Radio manufacturers. Note: This list of suggested weather radios is strictly for informational purposes, and not as an endorsement of any specific model or manufacturer.
Midland Radio Corporation http://www.Midlandradio.com
Oregon Scientific http://www2oregonscientific.com
Uniden Corporation http://www.Uniden.com
Sangean USA http://www.Sangean.com
Reecom Electronics Inc
Kaito Electronics Inc http://www.kaitousa.com/
If you have any comments or suggestions, or if you wish to submit an article, please email me at email@example.com. You can also follow me on Twitter @WxrNewsletter. Also, check out The Weather Radio Listeners Newsletter on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1854305558188610/
I would like to give special thanks to those who made contributions to this latest issue as follows:
Daryl Stout WX4QZ, Myles Keleman, Brandon Hennis, Christian Grosso., Bob Robichaud VE1MBR, Midland Radio Corporation, Malcolm Kendal VE3BGD, Jim Langille VE1JBL, Gregory Zwicker, Phil Chadwick and Marc Fitkin for their help and contributions to the newsletter.
Sincerely, Gord The Old Reliable.VA3WXA
From my iPhone 8