The Weather Channel cites ‘Old School Tech’ amateur radio as a storm resource

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09/30/2019

Julio Ripoll, WD4R, assistant amateur radio coordinator of WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) Explain The role of amateur radio in extreme weather situations to The Weather Channel interviewers (TWC). In a Sept. 16 segment titled “Using old-school technology during a storm,” Ripoll — seated at WX4NHC — told Weather Channel interviewers Rick Knabb and Mike Bettes, that the information NHC forecasters receive through the Amateur radio volunteers and observers “sometimes fill in the gaps they can’t get from satellites or reconnaissance.

Knabb recounted an occasion when he was trying to pin down information about a storm system in Central America. “The only way I was able to accurately document what happened with this system in Central America was through the data transmitted by the amateur radio operators who relayed it,” he told Ripoll. .

Ripoll cited WX4NHC’s volunteer staff of about 30 radio amateurs who essentially collect and filter information gathered via amateur radio for weather data that can be useful to forecasters.

Highlighting the continued use of analog technology in a digital world, Bettes said amateur radio “may be a dinosaur, but you’re not extinct.”

For his part, Ripoll over the weekend expressed his gratitude to the volunteers of WX4NHC, Hurricane Watch Net and VoIP Hurricane Net for the time they give during hurricanes and the reports they send to WX4NHC.

“Sometimes we sit for hours listening to static. Sometimes we receive many unremarkable reports. Sometimes we receive very few reports. But there are times when one or two reports make a difference,” Ripoll said. He noted that NHC hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart cited ham radio in a Hurricane Humberto. advisory.

The advisory read: ‘An amateur radio operator at Ports Island, near the southern end of Bermuda, reported sustained winds of 75 MPH and a gust of 104 MPH over the past hour. A Somerset Village ham radio operator recently reported a sustained wind of 70 MPH and a gust of 89 MPH. — Thanks to Julio Ripoll, WD4R

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