Hello and welcome to the fourth and final issue of the newsletter for 2018. It is fall and I hope we are enjoying it, before the snow starts to fly in a big way. I will have some comments about things which have been happening on the Weatheradio Canada network and thankfully, things are changing (all be it eventually) for the better. However, I will get into more of that later on in this issue.
This issue marks the 7th anniversary of the newsletter and to think, it was started in 2011, on an old Nokia phone and was an idea in my head, during August of that year. People have thankfully, been supportive and also, thanks to social media and my current blogging outlet, it has had a farther reach in the past year. Before I had started posting it here, the newsletter was only available in pdf form and sometimes, as a document file. Now, you can just use Google and you can find it. I do apologize for the spelling of the URL though, as it was a mistake which I hadn’t noticed until somebody had mentioned it to me.
For those of you on Facebook, don’t be shy about contributing to the newsletter, no matter which group you are a part of, relating to Weatheradio Canada or NOAA Weather Radio. I encourage anyone and everyone, to help fill up the newsletter with their own articles, as well as my own contributions. If you wish to contribute, you can either email me or send me a private message, if that makes you more comfortable. The email address is available in every issue of the newsletter and it has changed over the years. However, firstname.lastname@example.org is the current address, to contact me by email. This also goes for those of you on the email list as well, as some of you have emailed me articles to insert into past issues of the newsletter and I thank you for them.
The idea is to take less of an emphasis off of me as the author and put more of it equally on you, as the reader contributing to it. That was a part of the original plan and unfortunately, I seemed to be dominating almost the entire issue. Not that I don’t like doing the whole thing, it’s just that I want others to contribute as well, for you to feel a part of it. Some of you have contributed however, the original idea of everyone contributing to the newsletter, somehow got lost and hopefully, there will be more of an equal contribution from both myself and you, the reader in the future. The exception is almost all of the links near the end of each issue, except for the applications and links to manufacturers and blogs. After all, the idea was to have something where anyone with or without social media can contribute. In fact, I got the idea for the newsletter from another such newsletter, published by the Oakville ARES group, which has since changed its name to SHARES or South Halton ARES. In fact, both newsletters grew and grew, as time went on but this one (had at times) expanded out of control. An example of a rather large issue which had been published is the 7th issue in May 2013, which seems to go on forever. However, I have managed to keep it to a reasonable length as of late.
I have no problem inserting links into the body of the newsletter either, to keep things interesting, as some people read it and others hear the text on a screen reading device. Besides, they are there to spice up the newsletter, like photo’s are there to spice up blog posts. Altho, I insert them because I feel they are important to know about. I wish I knew about WX radio when I went to school and I had never dreamed I would have my hands on the controls of a newsletter, about something which interests me and, which is provided by the federal governments, of both Canada and the US. Of course, I keep politics safely away from it because, that is where it belongs. I don’t like politics because of what it does to people. That is as far as I go on that subject.
Anyway, I hope you all are staying warm and weather-safe. Your continued support for the newsletter is very important and I thank all of you for becoming a part of it, at some time during its history.
After months of being awol, St Catharines VAD 320 162.475 MHz is back on air and not just an open Carrier. This is according to Marc-Antoine Chabot the day it came back. “Niagara is back online. We still need to change the backup battery and UPS, but we have a solid connection now.” It certainly is broadcasting as it should and hopefully, we don’t have it go offline for a long time.
Have you ever wondered what those letters and numbers inside a CLC or FIPS code mean? This should help explain that. This is a complete post from the NOAA Weather Radio and Weatheradio Canada Facebook group and thanks to Mark J. Szymanski for giving us this breakdown of all of the elements, with a small change I have made.
Here’s a brief breakdown of the elements contained in an Environment & Climate Change Canada SAME message (similar in the United States):
Note: Elements are separated with a hyphen, except for element 5 which is described below.
Element 1. The “ZCZC” comes from the Navtex message format which in this case, begins the SAME message
Element 2. The next element (“WXR”) is a three letter code which specifies that this is a Weatheradio message.
Element 3. Next, another three letter code which indicates the type of alert. In this example, it is a “Winter Storm watch” (“WSA”)
Element 4. The fourth element are 6-digit numerical codes, all separated by hyphens. The quantity of them varies depending on the location codes affected by the alert.
In this case, the following regions are under the Winter Storm Watch:
052100 = City of Winnipeg
052200 = Selkirk – Gimli – Stonewall – Woodlands
(which includes Rural Municipalities coded as 052212, 052223, 052231, 052232, 052240, 052251, 052252, 052260, & 052270)
052300 = Portage la Prairie – Headingley – Brunkild – Carman
(which includes Rural Municipalities coded as 052310,
052321, 052322, 052323, 052331, 052332, & 052340)
052400 = Dugald – Beausejour – Grand Beach
(which includes Rural Municipalities coded as 052410,
052422, 052431, & 052433)
052500 = Morden – Winkler – Altona – Emerson – Morris
(which includes Rural Municipalities coded as 052510,
052520, 052530, 052540, & 052550)
For brevity, the Rural Municipality names have been omitted.
Element 5. Preceded by a plus sign (+) is a four digit time code which specifies how long the alert is in effect for, in this case 0600 or 6 hours.
Element 6. Is a date and time code that indicates when the alert was issued. The first three digits are the Julian date (number of days since January 1st) followed by a four digit time in UTC (Universal Coordinated Time). Today is day 357 of 2016 and the issuing time was 21:42 UTC which translates to 3:42 PM CST (Central Standard Time).
Element 7: The final element indicates who issued the alert and will vary accordingly. In this example, EC/GC/CA is Environment Canada of Government of Canada of Canada.
The EOM or End of Message closes the alert and translates as four N’s or NNNN
Hope this helps demystify how the SAME codes read.
Any questions, please feel free to ask.
Network Survey, Phase II
Since mid May until around June 18, a select few WXR’s have been chosen to participate in the survey, about the network and as you probably guess, I made my voice heard. So did Weatheradio Canada, in that they used 2 new voices to announce it, along with the email address and phone number, in order to do so. In my case, I heard the announcement as I had returned home from a CANWARn session in Oakville and even though I knew the voices and that they were coming, I was surprised to hear them. For the record, the voices which we heard were Tom for english and Chantal for french, announcing the Survey and giving out the email address and phone number, respectively.
On August 14th, the second survey was conducted from then, until some time in September. This time, it was on more WXR’s and the same 2 voices were used as before. For me, there wasn’t any difference to the wording of the questions of either survey but I dutifully filled it out anyway and I have a copy of the audio of the second survey announcement, from someones radio. Of course, I don’t need it as a hi fidelity MP3 or wav file of the announcement because, I have all four voices on my iPhone already. However, I would like to take a look at the script as it was written because there are some problems with the rhythm of the phone number and email address is being given a bit more slowly then they should be, by both Tom and Chantal. Otherwise, I’m satisfied for the most part.
Since then, there has been no further surveys as yet and I am thankful, that others participated in it with me and when the next one is put on the network, I will be sure to be a part of it. Some of the things I hope will happen in the coming year are: a return of the watch, warning and advisory bulletins as they are written and not that something is issued for the listening area, without an explanation as to why it is in affect. This would be helpful to everyone, including those who are mariners and who have had their marine radio sound the alarm, about a severe thunderstorm warning in the area. In some cases, the forecast can fill in some details as to why a watch or warning is being issued, with hints as to why a watch or warning is in affect in the body of the forecast. But, not everyone has time to listen to the entire detailed forecast and they want to know, why their WX radio has gone off. This is where some Smart phone applications can be a big help but, what about if there is no internet connection? What if they are not even ham radio operators and they may have families to protect from potential danger. I’m just saying…
Something else that should also happen is that the cycle should be preempted for the time being, during a severe thunderstorm and or a tornado warning situation. About 30 years ago, there was an ID message which stated the station and its broadcast area. Then a message “dew to severe weather in the area, the broadcast has been preempted. We will return to normal, when the severe weather has passed.” The cycle consisted of hourly reports, the watch and warning bulletins in the area and the ID message being repeated, until all warnings have ended. This was only for severe thunderstorm or tornado warnings and that could change, if Weatheradio Canada decides to add other warnings which are not weather related. In the third issue I have all 80 SAME event codes (at the time) layed out and you can take a look at them, for more.
Something else myself and other listeners have been wanting on the network is special weather statements, so we can be alerted early, that something is possibly on the way and there may be further watches and warnings issued, as the event draws closer. I get them by email and I am lucky to have that privilege but, not everybody else has the same access to it that I do. Sure, there are applications which allow access to receiving all alerts on your phones but, what about those who have friends and family outside our city or town? I’m just thinking that it would be nice for everyone to have the same notice on their WX radios as they do on the internet and, it would be in a timely manner. Whether the powers that be, choose to have them toned is another matter and I don’t know if there will be any SAME event codes for special weather statements in the future.
There are a couple other items I hope will be back on the network, when everything changes. When I first listened, there was a daly climate data report twice a day, for yesterday and or, the current day. This of course, depended on when the report was generated on the network. It also gave the record hi’s and lo’s for the day and I have always found that interesting, especially if there is an unusual cool or warm air mass affecting the province in which I live. It also helps to keep us grounded in that we don’t need to be afraid of when the weather gets unusually unseasonable, for a time.
Also, in the morning there used to be a segment which gave the forecasted hi and weather conditions for major cities in Canada and the US. I think that was a nice gesture and it certainly helps people who are traveling, for what ever the reason. On another note, it helps to give a heads up to any inclement weather, which may be on the way or present at any given location outside the local city, Territory or province. It’s not detailed by any means but, just hereing the forecast hi and weather conditions alone, (especially in the winter for US destinations) is enough to make you want to go there. Imagine living in Toronto and hearing that it will be sunny and 27??? In February? Obviously, that probably won’t happen unless things go completely bonkers and the world’s climate is out of whack. Anyway, it’s only an example and not something that may really happen.
Anyway, thanks to all of you who have replied to both myself and the team who had conducted The survey. As for when the new voices will be on the network, not right now because there is still work to be done before the launch. That’s really all I can say about that and I’m not happy to tell you this either but, that’s the way the cooky crumbles. Right? Besides, It may change in the spring, as things have done in the past. However, that is another story for another article, in possibly the next issue of the newsletter.
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 email@example.com, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, you can report it on the NOAA 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 email@example.com 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 as conclusively as possible, dates and times when outages have begun and ended. However, In the last issue, I have started putting in outages with unknown start and end times, as honourable mentions. However, I still would prefer as definitive start and end times, for reference in other sources and websites.
On Sunday September 16 around 4:14 AM, all of Ontario had gone into watchdog mode. It came back Monday, September 17 around 7:30 AM.
On Saturday October 20th at around 8:15 AM, all of Ontario had gone into watchdog mode and had returned early Sunday morning. This was after a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for 1 region of Southwestern Ontario on Saturday afternoon.
On Tuesday, October 23 at around 6:30 P.M. all of Ontario went back into watchdog mowed… again? but, I came back around 8:00 A.M. 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.
CANWARN training in Canada is done for this year and as I mentioned in the last issue, Geoff Coulson has retired after 30 plus years at ECCC. However, he is coming back to do some sessions in 2019, to make the transition easier for whomever the new Warning Preparedness Meteorologist will be for Ontario. I found out while attending the CANWARN session on May 5th at ECCC HQ, there are some people who don’t have a clew what Weatheradio is, even though they contribute to the network, EVEN BY WHAT THEY DO. I hope that the next one doesn’t need to be schooled on what Weatheradio Canada is and thankfully, Geoff was certainly aware of what it is. Anyway, I am certainly looking forward to next year and finding out who will take Geoff’s place. Also, who will write the anual canwarn MESSAGE DURING THE WINTER?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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.
Yahoo Weatheradio Chatgroup, at
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.
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 audiobooks, To help you pass the time in the monotony of a commute or while waiting in the waiting room for an appointment.
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.
Radar Eh – Canada radar & alerts app using Environment Canada radar data by Zhao Han
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
Daryl Stout, WX1DER, Net Control for Southeast US D-Star Weather Net
Certified Skywarn Severe Storrrm 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 WR-300, W-r100B, EH55VP, WR-120, HH54VP, HH54VP2, ER102, Er300, ER310, EH55VP, Nautico 3, WR-11 and WR-400 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 sold in North America.
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 WX1DER, Mark J. Szymanski, Marc-Antoine Chabot, 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, among others.
Sincerely, Gord The Old Reliable.VA3WXA.