2020 SKYWARN Recognition Day Review

As was the case with many of this year’s activities, the pandemic decided to throw a wrench into SKYWARN™ Recognition Day, a 20-plus year old tradition that was jointly developed by the National Weather Service and the American Radio Relay League to celebrate the contributions that volunteer SKYWARN™ radio operators make to the National Weather Service.

Since 2014, WSSM volunteers have visited the National Weather Service Forecast Office, in Gray, Maine, to spend long hours operating the WX1GYX station during the round the clock event.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year, we had no access to the NWS Gray facility, so in order to get WX1GYX on the air, we needed to get creative.

Back in the summer, WSSM celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a special event call sign, W1V. To encourage club members to operate with the call sign from their own homes, or portable, a we created a Google Sheet as a signup form. The sheet was divided, in that case into the days that the call sign was active and featured 2-hour operating blocks in each bands and mode. One simply entered their call sign in the band and time slot of their choice and got on the air. We decided to use a similar method to encourage SKYWARN volunteers, who normally participate during SRD, to get on the air.

It worked out very well! For SRD this year, WX1GYX made a total of 198 QSOs, working 42 different states, contacting 7 other NWS stations and 35 SRD volunteers during the 24 hour period. The call sign was active on the 80, 40, 15, 12, and 2 meter bands, using SSB, FM, D-STAR, DMR, FT8, and Echolink for modes.

This isn’t bad considering by late Saturday morning, a real SKYWARN Activation took precedence, as a Nor’easter began to impact the area. The storm brought heavy snow and wind, and caused widespread damage and power outages across the forecast area, that even effected some of our SRD participants. On Saturday night alone, we gathered 35 reports of damage, and dozens more the next day.

Here’s a picture of Eric N1RXR’s operating conditions Saturday evening!

2020 SRD participants included: Eric N1RXR, Jerry K1WTX, Mark KG1Q, Tim KB1HNZ, and Stefania K1GJY.

During periods that they weren’t using the WX1GYX call sign, many of these same participants used their personal call signs and exchanged their names, SRD numbers, and current weather conditions with other participating stations.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this year’s SRD a success!

Self-Quarantine SKYWARN Drill 042320 – Net Report

Self_Quarantine_SKYWARN_Drill

Thanks to everyone who checked in and participated! We had a great turnout on both simplex and DMR, with 22 check-ins! The purpose of the drill was to expose participants to the SKYWARN simplex frequency and the Severe Weather Report form, test our simplex coverage, and also test out the SKYWARN DMR Talk Group.

The simplex portion of the net started on time, at 7:00 PM (2300 UTC), on 146.595. Net Control: KB1HNZ Tim, in Saco. We had 10 check-ins and handled 13 pieces of weather traffic:

KC1DFO Pete, in Dayton, ME (2301 UTC)
Contacted 2 stations: KC1HBL, KB1HNZ, Traffic handled: 1

KC1HBL Ben, Buxton, ME (2303 UTC)
Contacted 7 stations: KB1PLY, KC1HBM, W1SFS, N1BIM, KB1HNZ, KC1JMH, AB1BX Traffic handled: 5

KB1PLY Rory, in Saco, ME (2305 UTC)
Contacted 6 stations: N1BIM, KC1HBM, KB1HNZ, W1SFS, AB1BX, KC1HBL, Traffic handled: 1

W1SFS Jason, in Scarborough, ME (2307 UTC)
Contacted 6 stations: KC1HBL, KB1PLY, KC1HBM, N1BIM, K1MGR, KB1HNZ, Traffic handled: 1

N1BIM Joe, in Old Orchard Beach, ME (2310 UTC)
Contacted 6 stations: KB1PLY, W1SFS, KC1HBL, K1MGR, KC1HBM, KB1HNZ, Traffic handled: 1

WX1GYX op. N1RXR Eric, in New Gloucester, ME (2315 UTC)
Contacted 1 station: KC1HBL, Traffic handled: 13

N1CKM Wayne, in Barnstead, NH (2316 UTC)
Contacted 1 station: KC1HBL, Traffic handled: 1

K1MGR Greg, in Scarborough, ME (2317 UTC)
Contacted 4 stations: KC1HBL, KB1HNZ, W1SFS, KC1HBM, Traffic handled: 1

KC1HBM Peter, in Scarborough, ME (2318 UTC)
Contacted 6 stations: KB1PLY, KB1HNZ, N1BIM, KC1HBL, W1SFS, K1MGR, Traffic handled: 1

KC1JMH Brad, in North Waterboro, ME (2321 UTC)
Contacted 1 station: KC1HBL, Traffic handled: 2

The Simplex Net was secured at 7:59 PM (2359 UTC), after a round of informals.

The DMR net started at 8:01PM on the SKYWARN DMR Talk Group 759. Net Control: KB1HNZ Tim, in Saco. We had 12 check-ins and handled 9 pieces of weather traffic:

KC1JMH Brad, in North Waterboro, ME (0001 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
KC1HBM Pete, in Scarborough, ME (0001 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
W1EAV Chris, in Marion, MA (0002 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
W2VAN Mike, in Portland, ME (0005 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
NE1B Bill, in Hudson, MA (0007 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
N1KMX Scott, in Weymouth, MA (0009 UTC) No traffic
N1JGB Bruce, in Essex Junction, VT (0010 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
K1MGR Greg, in Scarborough, ME (0011 UTC) No traffic
W1HAI Joe, in Natick, MA (0012 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
N1BIM Joe, in Old Orchard Beach, ME (0014 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
W1SHS Stu, in Franklin, MA (0016 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
N1XRX Dennis, in Weymouth, MA (0029 UTC) No traffic

The DMR net was secured at 8:29 PM (0029 UTC).

All the weather traffic was relayed either directly or by Winlink, to SKYWARN liaison N1RXR, who checked in as WX1GYX.

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ