Welcome to the 21st issue of the Weather Radio Listeners Newsletter. In this issue, we have much the same exciting articles you have come to know throughout the past 20 issues of the newsletter. Please read on and enjoy.
Introduction: Hello, this is your friendly author Gord. It’s the 21st issue and it’s the 5th anniversary issue. From when I had been looking on the web for such a newsletter to this issue, we have come a fair bit. I have plans in the future which will change how the newsletter is distributed and they will hopefully come to fruition by next February, when the next issue is dew.
As for the Weather Radio Net on Ham Radio, I will be performing some work on that in the next couple of months and hopefully will be active again soon by the new year. I understand that there are some of us who wish to have the net on air but it isn’t as easy as waving a wand and poof, we have a net going. There are things to consider before starting an undertaking like this: time of net, how long the net is, where and what mode you would like to use (i.e.) IRLP or EchoLink and what it is about. All of these except for where and when the net will meet when and if it is reactivated have to be taken care of, before I can make any definitive announcement.
WeatherRadio NET Issues:
Another thing is that it is difficult being the only Net Controller, especially ever since I reactivated it back in 2015. I have commented on this before and I will say it again, that I don’t want to be the only one speaking for the net. There is no spice or variety in just one voice and if I was a scanner listener, I would personally get bored with the net after a while. So, this must be addressed, before I decide to revive the net. However, I am the Net Manager and should be the main voice but not the only one. Participation by others would improve the net so much, and this is what I hope to achieve in the very near future.
One issue I am facing now is that my apartment block is currently under renovations and just getting around and about is difficult. This will also have will have an effect on whether the net is successful. Right now I am having a hard time reaching most repeaters with my 5 watt hand held unit. In our complex, we are having new windows and heating & cooling systems installed for our individual apartments. Pending all of the above issues, I hope to have a final positive decision on the fate of the net by sometime in January 2017.
On the other hand, the newsletter isn’t as affected by everything going on. All though I have to choose when to write because as you can imagine, all the noise can be a real distraction and getting knocks at the door because work is being done, doesn’t make it any easier. However, with my new IPhone I can create where ever and whenever I want.
How Do I Create The Newsletters?: Speaking of technology advanced devices, these newsletters which have been composed over the past 5 years, were created using a total of 4 phones and 3 of them have been an IPhone. Issue 4 was composed on 2 phones, as was issue 11. This issue also has been composed on two different IPhones and for the record; I do not have the IPhone 7 or its counterpart. I have the IPhone SC and I enjoy it immensely and even being able to write without data has been a blessing, using not just a Bluetooth keyboard but also dictation when needed. So, the newsletter will be stronger with the new IPhone and I am obviously very happy about that.
Anyway, I wish to thank every one of you who have contributed to the various 21 issues over the past 5 years, no matter how big or small. Everyone is welcome to make their own contribution and I accept them all, especially the weather related articles. For example: in the past I have written articles on such people and TV shows as: George Carlin, The Simpsons and Family Guy. Obviously, none of them have anything to do with Weather Radio but I find them interesting to me, in that weather has been used as a plot device or as part of a comedy bit.
George Carlin has released a new album called I Kinda Like It When A Lotta People Die, on September 16th 2016. There are two bits in which he talks about how we all have a part of us that wishes a disaster or weather event would just keep going, for the sake of our entertainment. Unlike George, I wouldn’t want a lot of people to die but I just want to be entertained, by my Weather Radio for as long as possible. I enjoy severe weather outbreaks when they happen and this means I will likely hear my Weather Radio alerting me to many watches and warnings. However, I try to keep safe from any severe weather headed my way because I don’t want to become part of the story. For the record, the bit to listen for on this is called Uncle Dave and there is also a routine, with the same title as the album at the end. It covers part of the same created disaster in Uncle Dave.
In the case of The Simpsons, I will probably be doing something next year, as it is the 30th anniversary in April, since they first appeared in the Tracey Ullman Shorts. I will decide what to do and when to acknowledge this in a future issue of the newsletter.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading the rest of this issue. Once again, many thanks to everyone who has contributed to the newsletter so far and hopefully many more years and issues to come.
This is a rather unusual article for the newsletter but there is a Weather Radio aspect to it which will become obvious as you read this. For those of us with Apple products like: iPods, IPhones and IPad’s of the most recent generations, you are most likely aware that IOS10 came out on September 13th of this year. Since then I have noticed an increase in the voices we can use, especially for those of us who use the screen reading option on our Apple devices. In the past few years, more voices have been added with both Voice Over and Siri. The voice of Alex was added in 2013 and he, or it, is probably most famous for being the voice of the late film critic Roger Ebert before he passed away in 2013. Since then, Alex was added to some models of the IPhone for Voice Over in 2014 and to the iPod Touch 6th Generation in 2015.
Since IOS10 was released we have been given a whole bunch of different voices to choose from. I will list off the names of the American voices in alphabetical order. I will explain which ones relate to NOAA Weather Radio directly and possibly Weatheradio Canada in the future. They are: Alex, Allison, Aaron, Ava, Fred, Nikki, Samantha, Susan, Tom and Victoria. Two of these voices are the Siri male and female voices, namely Aaron and Nikki. The rest have been around for a number of years and if you have the album OK Computer by the rock band Radiohead, check out the track Fitter Happier. The voice which is heard throughout the track is Fred. Doesn’t he sound much like Perfect Paul? Anyway, only one of these voices was a part of NOAAWeather Radio. The lone voice in this list is Tom and he has been on not just NOAA Weather Radio, but he has also been on: computers, GPS’s and automated IVR phone systems.
This brings me to the new voice for NOAA Weather Radio, which is named Paul. He has been around for about as long as Tom and Donna and has also showed up on computers and many other places I’m sure.
I think Paul was chosen because he sounds just as human as Tom and the pacing of his speech brings out the proper emotion, while spitting out the data of the short term and extended forecast. I actually listened to this on the Buffalo WXR KEB98 about a week after iOS10 came out and noticed that, Paul sounded rather sad at the end of the extended forecast, as his voice was trailing off. Maybe I was half awake or something but I haven’t forgotten about that detail.
My only question is why he is the only one? Isn’t there a female counterpart which would be suitable for speaking the marine forecasts or current weather conditions? Not that it’s a bad thing that Paul is the only voice… I’m just curious why? Just for the variety to make the broadcast more interesting to listen to, while going about our daily lives.
As for Tom, there is a possibility that he may be one of the new voices for Weatheradio Canada in the future. I can’t say that for sure but I was given a sample of two of the voices that may be used. Tom and Ava were the voice samples I was given. I wish that Donna would come over with Tom because much like Alex, she also breathes but only before certain words. For example: she takes a breath before saying the word “Sunday” during the marine forecasts. I have always found it rather humorous and so have other people I have talked with on the phone or elsewhere about it.
As for the French translations on Weatheradio Canada, I would love to hear both Chantel and Nicholas as the new French voices of Weatheradio Canada. However, that isn’t my decision and whatever the good people at Weatheradio Canada choose is okay with me.
Anyway, if they are the voices yet to go on Weatheradio Canada, we the people can test them out, using ether the Weather Office website or any of the weather applications for iOS. I have and so far, I haven’t heard any significant problem with Tom reading out the data. However, I can’t speak for any of the French voices because French is not my first language and I only have the English language version of the Weather Office app.
Just a quick note about SKYWARN Recognition Day on December 3rd. For more on this click this link. https://www.facebook.com/groups/weatheradio/permalink/10153758355981612/
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 http://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 theNOAA Weather Radio Weatheradio Canada Facebook page and the Yahoo Weatheradio Chat Group. You will find the link to both the Facebook and the Yahoo group 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 only include items with a definitive time stamp on them, from start to finish. That is in affect the whole point of this report, to give conclusive dates and times when outages have begun and ended.
On Sunday September 25th Toronto XMJ225 and the rest of Ontario has gone into watchdog mode, at around 9:11 PM and it came back, at around 8:10 AM the next morning.
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.
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
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 – youare 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:
CB World at http://www.werecb.com/,
Universal Radio at http://www.universal-radio.com/,
Durham Radio at http://www.durhamradio.com/,
Radio World 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.
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/,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, here is the link to the answers website; http://findanswers.noaa.gov/noaa.answers/consumer/search.asp.
Yahoo Weatheradio Chatgroup, at http://tech.Groups.yahoo.com/group/weatheradio/,
NOAA and Weatheradio Canada group on Facebook, https://m.facebook.com/groups/weatheradio/
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 Chadwick’s blog at philtheforecaster.blogspot.com
Weather or Weather Radio Apps:
This is a newly constructed list and it needs more results for future reference. If you have ideas for weather or Weather Radio apps which should be put into future issues of the newsletter, send an email to the author at email@example.com. Right now these are IPhone apps only, because that is all we have at the moment. Your help is needed to expand this list farther.
CanWeather2 by High5
https://appsto.re/ca/M0aK6.i This app is simple but is full of features that you can unlock by purchasing others within the app.
Weather Alert Ontario 2 by Christopher Coudriet
This app sends you push notifications of watches and warnings only, with the SAME alert sound.
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 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.
The Weather Center by Midland Radio Corporation
This app provides access to Midland Radio via social media and also provides weather forecast information and much more.
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 audio books, To help you pass the time in the monotony of a commute or while waiting in the waiting room for an appointment.
Weather Nets On Ham Radio from Daryl Stout WX1DER
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 2, 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://www.wx1der.com/elk.htm
Daryl Stout, WX1DER, Net Control
VoIP Skywarn Hurricane Prep Net
Southeast US D-Star Weather Net
Certified Skywarn Severe Storm Spotter
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 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 http://www.Midlandradio.com 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 http://www2oregonscientific.com W-R601, W-R203 and W-R602 are currently sold in North America.
Uniden Corporation http://www.Uniden.com BC75XLT, BC95XLT, BC125AT, BC346XT, BCT15X, BCD996XT, Homepatrol, BC436HP, BC536HP and BCD396XT are currently sold in North America.
Sangean USA http://www.Sangean.com CL100, DT400, DT500, MMR88, PR-D4W and PRD9W are manufactured by Sangean and currently sold in North America.
Reecom Electronics Inc http://www.reecominc.com R-1630, R-1650, R-200 and R-500 are manufactured by Reecom and currently sold in North America.
Kaito Electronics Inc http://www.kaitousa.com/. KA500, KA101 and KA600 are currently sold in North America.
Alert Works http://www.alert-works.com/ Alert Works desktop model EAR-10 is currently soldin North America.
If you have any comments or suggestions, or if you wish to submit an article, please email the author Gord at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com. We also encourage you to visit http://www.qrz.com/db/va3wxa and you can also follow him on Twitter @WxrNewsletter @BlindGordie or @VA3WXA.
Also, check out my Blog at: http://blindgordieblog.wordpress.com
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 20th issue as follows: Daryl Stout WX1DER, Marc-Antoine Chabot, Bob Robichaud VE1MBR, Midland Radio Corporation, Dennis T. Paganin VA3DTP (our faithful web master and Co-Editor), Malcolm Kendal VE3BGD, Jim Langille VE1JBL, Gregory Zwicker, Phil Chadwick, Geoff Coulson and Marc Fitkin for their help and contributions to the newsletter, among many others.
Gord The Old Reliable.VA3WXA (the fellow wearing the red jacket on the photo below)