Welcome to the 14th issue of the Weather Radio Listeners Newsletter. In this issue, we have much the same exciting articles you have come to know throughout the last 13 issues of the newsletter. There may also be a few new things thrown in there, to keep you interested. Please read on and enjoy.
Hello, this is your friendly author welcoming you to the 14th issue of the Weather Radio Listeners Newsletter. We made it past Issue 13 and well, I guess it was lucky after all. Haha.

What’s New for 2015 ?

This year will be an important one for the newsletter because we have some anniversaries to touch on this year: the Barrie Tornado in 1985, (this severe weather outbreak also affected other parts of Southern Ontario and the Northern US) and Hurricane Katrina which made her impact felt on New Orleans. Lest we forget Hurricanes Rita and Wilma as well. I will need your help with personal stories from one or all of these events for the May and August issues of the newsletter. If you have any stories just send them along to me and I will put them in the newsletter.

For my fellow ham radio operators, The Weather Radio Net will return in March. I will announce a net day and time in the next week or so, in a mass blast to those of you, who are ham’s. I was going to announce it here but because some of you who are reading this are not Pam’s it would not be appropriate. As for those of you who are, look for the mass blast in a week or so with all the details.

This year I will start something new, which is a link to a post in my blog, relating to the newsletter itself. One Saturday morning while writing this latest issue, I thought to myself that maybe I should include more of my blog, since I am promoting it at the end of this issue and every issue since I started it back in November 2013. I hope to have more of you following my blog, as well as my Twitter accounts and being friends with me on Facebook.

Another thing that I should clarify why I included The Simpsons in the last three issues of the newsletter. As you may notice, all the episodes I have included our life changing in one way or another for the characters involved, because of the weather. To summarize: The Changing Of The Guardian has a tornado affecting Springfield which forces Homer and Marge to consider guardians for the kids if they should die prematurely, Hurricane Neddy shows us that Ned Flanders has another side to him and he gets treatment for his anger repression, Mr.. Plow see’s Homer opening up a snow plow business with a newly purchased snow plow after wrecking his and Marge’s cars and Skinners Sense Of Snow shows us how the kids and Principal Skinner react to being snowed in before Christmas.

What I was trying to show is that the weather impacts our lives even more than we think about and all 4 of these Simpsons episodes are prime examples of this. Do we really think about how we would react in any of those circumstances? I mean, besides the obvious feeling of devastation and a dramatic life changing experience. If you think about it all forms of weather can affect us every day and we should all be mindful of the forecasts and what they predict. Our lives are so fragile and can change on a dime!

On a happier note, I hope you enjoy this issue of the newsletter and all past and future issues. This is not easy to put together and your contributions are just as important as my own and I thank all who have contributed in the past and who may in the future.
What’s New?

 – No SAME code on Weather Radio Canada?

As you already know from reading this newsletter, both Weatheradio Canada and NOAA Weather Radio have used Specific Area Message Encoding during the broadcast cycle for a number of years, with NOAA Weather Radio getting it first then Weatheradio Canada starting to use it around 2005/2006. It has worked well as far as I can tell but recently one station has had no SAME in the broadcast cycle for a week or so. Toronto XMJ225 had this happen during the week of November 17 to November 27th. The last alert that had gone out to all WX radios was for this station and the rest of the network in Ontario going into watchdog mode. We will have more on this later in The Watchdog Report! There were a good deal of watches and warnings issued throughout Ontario during this week and when it came time for a warning to be issued for the Toronto Weatheradio listening area, there was no SAME alarm to trigger WX radios. When a watch, weekly test or warning was issued it would still interrupt the broadcast and restart, with no alarms. Why? There seemed to be a bug in the system and on November 27th it was reset and the weekly test was sent out again. This time it went through, as normal and I for one, was relieved.

With some recent outages and problems with Weatheradio Canada that have been happening at the worst time, this begs a rather broad question. Does anyone know the status of Weatheradio as a whole? It feels too obvious to say, but it seems like this is beyond a back burner project for EC now. Especially after the announcement of money going toward new radar systems and nothing for Weatheradio Canada.

We are still nowhere near NWS’s capabilities (in so many ways), our system fails like clockwork (or more accurately when severe weather strikes), and there’s been little to no chatter on what’s being done about it.

Maybe there is someone out there, who has built a Linux system for less than $300 that reads forecast data, parses alerts, generates SAME tones, and even doing it all over again in French. Maybe Weatheradio should go to a private contractor?

Dreaming aside, maybe someone in the know can weigh in on everything. This service needs an upgrade badly and until it happens we are going to have more outages and unhappy listeners complaining about it to some of us who are more connected to it than others. I hope that this will change sooner rather than later and we will have a reliable service which has very little outage problems and no need for Constant babysitting by both the listeners and dissemination specialists.

If you own the W-R120 Weather Radio from Midland you may notice that if there are no alerts issued after 10 days it will beep once every 10 minutes until a new alert is issued. I have one and that is exactly what happened with mine. I had expected a much more annoying beep but it was just a Single staccato beep from the unit. I let it keep going like that for almost 2 days before I broke down on the morning of the 27th and reset it and it was quiet again, until the RWT later that day.

Since then SAME has been alerting myself and others across Canada as it should, as far as I know. Nobody has told me otherwise and I will assume that everything is just peachy.
From my BLOG

Something for the Lady’s

Folks, let’s be honest and say that weather also has some influence on Fashion and in particular, shoes. If you like to buy shoes which are comfortable and look great, I think I found a company that might just be it for you. They are called Marchez Vous and it is run out of California. The CEO is actress Yeardley Smith, who also voices Lisa Simpson on The Simpsons and has also done other rolls on other shows such as Herman’s Head. She started this women’s shoe line into thousand 11 and thankfully it is still around but they are a small company.
Yeardley has said that she wants Marchez Vous to become ubiquitous in the fashion industry and hopefully we can help. If you’d like to know more, here is the website. and you can find them on Twitter @MarchezVous.
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, or on the web at

If you live in Canada, you can call 1-877-789-7733. You can email the Meteorological Service of Canada at, or email the National Weatheradio Canada Team at You can also go on the web at Also, you can report it on the NOAA Weather Radio Weatheradio Canada Facebook page and the Yahoo Weatheradio Chat Group. You will find links to the Yahoo group later in the newsletter.

Saturday November 15th during the 2::00 hour, most, if not all of the Ontario Weatheradio Canada network has gone into watchdog mode. It was restored on Sunday morning, November 16th.

Monday November 17th Toronto XMJ225 has decided to go back into watchdog mode, probably around 3:20:00 AM. It was restored at 7:47 AM.
Brennan Tippe posted in NOAA Weather Radio and Weatheradio Canada – Brennan Tippe Weather radio VDA280 Limestone Mountain -162.400MHz is experiencing technical difficulties Hope this issue is resolved soon as it is the only weather radio in the area 🙂

Authors Note:

This issue started or was first noticed on Christmas Day. It was restored Monday December 29th, not sure what time though.

Sunday January 4th, VDA280 has gone back into watchdog mode, again and has been restored on Monday January 5th.

Friday January 2nd at around 12:20 PM, North Bay XLJ893 has gone into watchdog mode, along with the rest of Ontario on Sunday January 4th around 12:16 PM. They were restored starting at around 6:00 PM and at full strength later that night, after an initial attempt resulting in another watchdog event. Thanks to Kyle Quenneville for reporting the outage in North Bay.Tuesday January 6th, Toronto XMJ225 has been fixed and is now back on ftp loading. As has been stated earlier in the newsletter this means the voice quality is better and the data loads faster. If you have an iPhone5 or later, think of it as using lte, vs. not using it. If lte is enabled Data simply loads faster.

Thursday January 8th at 1:22 PM St Catharine’s VAD320 has gone into watchdog mode. It was restored on Friday January 9th at 3:07 PM.
Weekly SAME and 1050 Hz Tone Test Report

The following are reports from listeners on the weekly (rwt), monthly (rmt) SAME tests sent to each site in Canada. However, it is not complete so we need you to send your reports to the author as well as Remember, the 1050Hz Tone test and SAME Required Monthly Test is performed on the first Wednesday of each month just before noon local time. The SAME Required Weekly Test is performed every Wednesday around 11:50 local time.

Date Call Sign Tx Frequency (MHz) Name alphanumeric or basic tone alert test alarm time

Wednesday November 5th, St Catharine’s (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 10:52 AM, (RMT) 10:57 AM, (1050 TONE) 11:59 AM local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:07 AM, (RMT) 11:59 AM, (1050 TONE) 11:59 AM local.

Wednesday November 12th, St Catharine’s (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:02 A.M. local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:04 AM local.

Wednesday November 19th, St Catharine’s (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 AM local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:55 AM local. Actually, no SAME alarm sounded on XMJ225. The broadcast was interrupted but it just restarted the cycle, with no alarm or canned voice message.

Wednesday November 26th, St Catharine’s (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 AM local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:55 AM local. It was resent on Thursday to Toronto at 12:46 PM and it went through with the SAME alarm.

Wednesday December 3th, St Catharine’s (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 AM, (RMT) 11:57 AM, (1050 Hz. tone) 11:59 AM local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:57 AM, (RMT) 12:07 PM, (1050 Hz. tone) 12:03 AM local.

Wednesday December 10th, St Catharine’s (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:54 A.M. local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:59 A.M. local.

Wednesday December 17th, St Catharine’s (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 AM local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:57 AM local.

Wednesday December 24, St Catharine’s (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 AM local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:55 AM local.

Wednesday December 31st 2014, St Catharine’s (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 A.M. local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:56 AM local.

Wednesday January 7st 2015, St Catharine’s (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 AM, (RMT) 11:57 AM, (1050 Hz. tone alert) 11:59 AM local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:54 AM, (RMT) 11:59 AM, (1050 Hz. tone alert) 11:59 AM local.

Wednesday January 14th, St Catharine’s (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 AM local, Ottawa (VBE719 162.550 MHz) (RWT) 11:53 A.M, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:55 AM local.

Wednesday January 21st, St Catharine’s (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 AM local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:55 AM local. 🙂

Wednesday January 28, St Catharine’s (VAD320 162.475 MHz.) (RWT) 11:52 A.M. local, Toronto (XMJ225 162.400 MHz.) (RWT) 11:54 A.M. local.

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.

From Geoff Colson, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist for Environment Canada

Folks, this is Geoff Coulson and I am a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada based out of Toronto. I also manage the CANWARN storm spotter program in the province of Ontario.

CANWARN members are volunteers from all walks of life. A core of the group is ham radio operators while other volunteers come from other levels of government, emergency responders and those with a passion for the weather.

CANWARN volunteers watch the spring and summer sky for telltale signs of severe storms and relay that information, in real-time, to the Storm Prediction Centre in Toronto. This information can be used to help ground-truth the severity of a given storm that the forecasters may be tracking on radar. CANWARN volunteers also provide reports of severe winter weather like the occurrence of heavy snow, freezing rain or poor visibilities in fog or blowing snow. There are now over 6000 CANWARN volunteers in the province of Ontario and many of these volunteers have attended a training session in the last few years.

This winter has certainly been a departure from last winter’s unrelenting cold and snow. While November was on the chilly side with some noteworthy lake-effect snow events, December was generally milder than normal and much less snowy, especially in southwestern Ontario. In fact, Windsor, London and Kitchener-Waterloo all set records for the least snowiest December they ever had. All that has changed as winter has come back in January with more cold and snowy weather but not as bad as last winter’s near Ice Age conditions. However it has remained below freezing for the majority of January.

Aside from the cold, the big story so far this winter has been lake-effect snow. Areas in the snow-belt to the east of Lake Huron, Georgian Bay and Lake Superior have seen huge amounts of snow this winter. In contrast, some parts of Southern Ontario have seen a lot less snow than normal.

Just a reminder, that given the challenges of forecasting winter weather, the forecasters in the Ontario Storm Prediction Centre gratefully accept your reports on a variety of winter weather conditions. Asnoted on the CANWARN Reporting Tip Sheet, reports of dense fog, freezing rain, heavily accumulating snow, whiteout conditions and the rapid freeze-up of road surfaces are the kinds of weather worth reporting. Given the significant yet local aspect of lake-effect snow, reports of snow accumulations for those of you caught in bands of snow off the Great Lakes is definitely appreciated as it helps to ground- truth our radar observations. Reports of this type can be sent to the Storm Prediction Centre through the email address. This account is monitored 24/7 by the operational forecasters.

Even though winter will be with us for a while longer, I’ll be working on the schedule of training dates and the course material with Peter Kimbell during the course of the coming weeks. Always a busy time in the lead-up to the spring sessions. The training will take place at locations across the province in the April to June timeframe. The training sessions are held during evenings or on weekends and normally last around 2.5 hours. There is no cost to attend a training session. Many of you reading this newsletter that live in Ontario may already be a CANWARN member and I thank you for your participation. This year’s training will have special significance as we note the 30th anniversary of the last Enhanced Fujita Scale 4 (EF4) tornadoes to hit Ontario. The Barrie and Grand Valley tornadoes struck on the late afternoon of May 31st, 1985 killing 11 people, injuring many others and causing millions of dollars in damage. The CANWARN program was born two years after these devastating tornadoes.

While a lot has changed in the technology of forecasting the weather since then, CANWARN remains an important part of Environment Canada’s Watch and Warning program.

The first release of the training schedule will likely come out in mid to late March. Gord will have that information (as well as the subsequent training updates) and I’m sure he’d be more than happy to pass it along to those who are interested. If anyone has questions about the CANWARN program, please feel free to contact me at My thanks again to all of you for being a part of the CANWARN program. I’m looking forward to seeing many of you again this spring. If you have changed your email address recently and would like to update the email we have on file for you, please feel free to contact me with your new information.


Geoff Coulson

Warning Preparedness Meteorologist |

Météorologue de sensibilisation aux alertes

Ontario Region Client Services |

Service à la clientèle, Région de l’Ontario

Environment Canada | Environnement Canada

Government of Canada | Gouvernement du Canada

4905 Dufferin St | 4905 rue Dufferin

Toronto, ON M3H 5T4

Telephone | Téléphone 416-739-4466

Facsimile | Télécopieur 416-739-4603

Website | Site Web Training Schedules

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 or by 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. 🙂
Where to Purchase Weather Radios

Weather Radios can be purchased at various electronics stores that specialize in radios and other equipment such as:

BML Communications at,

CB World at,

Universal Radio at,

Durham Radio at,

Radio World at,

Burnaby Radio at,

Ambient Weather at

Weather Radio Store at, and many more retailers throughout North America.

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 visit

Want to get your weather in the US? Go to

Weatheradio Canada webpage at

NOAA Weather Radio webpage at

DX Info Centre at, to hear what Weather Radio sounds like before buying your first receiver, visit YouTube at,

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 ). 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 At this time, there is no newsletter mailing list to subscribe. If you have additional questions, please feel free to e-mail, here is the link to the answers website;

Yahoo Weatheradio Chatgroup, at,

NOAA and Weatheradio Canada group on Facebook,

WXtoIMG at,

Digital Atmosphere at


NWS Taunton Amateur Radio SKYWARN Station home page at

The Maritime Amateur (Ham Radio for Maritimers by Maritimers)

VoIP Hurricane Prep Net – Saturday 9pm Atlantic Time /

Phil Chadwick’s blog at
Weather Radio Manufacturers

There are many reliable manufacturers and retailers of Weather Radios sold in Canada and the USA. Below is a list of the recommended models currently for sale. 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 W-r300, W-r100B, W-R120, HH54VP, HH54VP2, ER102, Nautico 3 and W-R11 are all manufactured by Midland and sold in North America.

Oregon Scientific W-R601, W-R203 and W-R602 are currently sold in North America.

Uniden Corporation BC75XLT, BC95XLT, BC125AT, BC346XT, BCT15X, BCD996XT, Homepatrol, BC436HP, BC536HP and BCD396XT are currently sold in North America.

Sangean USA CL100, DT400, and PRD9W are manufactured by Sangean and currently sold in North America.

Reecom Electronics Inc R-1630 and R-1650 are manufactured by Reecom and currently sold in North America.

Kaito Electronics Inc KA500, KA101 and KA600 are currently sold in North America.

Alert Works Alert Works desktop model EAR-10 is currently sold in North America.
In Closing

If you have any comments or suggestions, or if you wish to submit an article, please email the author Gord at or at or at

We also encourage you to visit and you can also follow him on Twitter @WxrNewsletter @BlindGordie or @VA3WXA. Also, check out his blog at

 You can also contact him on Skype and his Skype name is blindgordie.
I would like to give special thanks to those who made contributions to this 14th issue as follows: Brennan Tippe, Kyle Smith, Bob Robichaud, Bill Hepburn, Kyle Quenneville, Dennis T. Paganin, VA3DTP (our faithful web master and Co-Editor), Peter Staples, Malcolm Kendal, Gregory Zwicker, Phil Chadwick, Geoff Coulson and Marc Fitkin for their help and contributions to the newsletter.
Sincerely, Gord The Old Reliable. VA3WXA