The National Weather Service (NWS) and the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) developed SKYWARN Recognition Day in 1999 to celebrate the contributions that SKYWARN volunteers make to the NWS mission, the protection of life and property. Amateur radio operators (also known as “hams”) comprise a large percentage of the SKYWARN volunteers across the country. These amateur radio operators provide vital communication between the NWS and emergency management if normal communications become inoperative.
During the SKYWARN Special Event, operators visited NWS offices’ and attempted to contact other radio operators to gather information on local weather conditions. The 19th edition of SKYWARN Recognition Day was held on December 1, 2018.
In Las Vegas, amateur radio operators gathered at the NWS office on Dean Martin Drive to operate their radios and interact with the local NWS office staff. Using RF (radio frequency) on various frequency bands, including both digital mode and VOIP methods, contacts were made with other SKYWARN participants at NWS locations throughout the country. Although band conditions were poor in the Las Vegas area, contacts were made by the 29 participants throughout the morning and early afternoon of December 1st. Using the call “WX7LAS”, a total of 19 official station contacts were logged, including the WX1AW bonus station.
Over the past year, the news has been full of reports of ham radio operators providing critical communications during unexpected emergencies in towns across America including the California wildfires, floods, tornadoes and other events worldwide. When trouble is brewing, Amateur Radio’s people are often the first to provide rescuers with critical information and communications. This event demonstrated the commitment by amateur radio operators to provide communications when needed.
Amateur Radio is growing in the US. There are now over 750,000 Amateur Radio licensees in the US, and more than 2.5 million around the world. Through the ARRL’s Amateur Radio Emergency Service program, ham volunteers provide emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies and non‐emergency community services too, all for free.
To learn more about Amateur Radio, visit www.arrl.org/what‐is‐ham‐radio.