Skywarn (formed in the early 1970s) is the National Weather Service (NWS) program of trained volunteer severe weather spotters. Skywarn volunteers support their local community and government by providing the NWS with timely and accurate severe weather reports. These reports, when integrated with modern NWS technology, are used to inform communities of approaching severe weather. The focus of Skywarn (and of the NWS) is simple...to save lives and property.
More specifically, our Arkansas Skywarn organization operates under a memorandum of understanding with the NWS, the Central Arkansas Radio Emergency Net (CAREN), and the Arkansas Weather Net, Inc. Spotters and net control operators of Arkansas Skywarn are licensed amateur radio operators. Our Skywarn nets are called up by the Severe Weather Forecaster on duty at the NWS, when severe weather approaches the area of responsibility of the North Little Rock office. This area is all of Arkansas with the exception of the NW, SW, SE, and NE corners, which are the responsibility of other adjacent NWS offices.
Arkansas Skywarn and CAREN appreciates the cooperation of Renee Fair and her staff at the NWS. Severe storm spotting and reporting with the NWS and Arkansas Skywarn has been in operation for some 28 years. We welcome any amateur radio operators who are interested in storm spotting, and encourage all Skywarn participants to take the Severe Storm Spotters' course offered by the NWS.
Skywarn Repeater Systems
The primary repeater system of the Arkansas Skywarn Weather Net is the W5DI wide coverage system. This repeater network is owned and maintained by the Central Arkansas Radio Emergency Net (CAREN) Club. When the National Weather Service activates Skywarn, this repeater system is almost always linked up and placed in Skywarn mode. The Skywarn Net is indicated by a special courtesy tone, and a tail message every few minutes. These repeaters are controlled by a control operator from the Technical Committee of CAREN.
|W5DI Repeater System
|146.940(-)||Little Rock (Central Arkansas)|
|444.200(+)(114.8)||Little Rock (Central Arkansas)|
|147.315(+)(114.8)||Russell (Eastern Arkansas)|
|147.285(+)(114.8)||Clarksville (Western Arkansas)|
|147.270(+)(114.8)||Bismark (Western Arkansas)|
|145.370(+)(114.8)||Clinton (North Central)|
Arkansas Skywarn Officers
Danny Straessle - KE5WLR - (501) 228-4068
Our Personnel Coordinator has the task
of contacting and filling net control positions in the moment of crisis.
Skywarn Net Controls
Our net control operators are required to attend the NWS Severe Storm Spotters' Certification Course before they are eligible to lead our nets. Along with spotter certification, they are trained regularly at the NWS in areas including traffic handling, net etiquette , repeater controls, NWS equipment familiarization, and acquaintance with NWS personnel. If you would like to become a net control, please contact one of the Skywarn Officers.
The National Weather Service has a specific list of reportable events which they request from spotters. Please note that rainfall amounts and wind speeds are no longer reportable criteria. It is important that reports are timely and accurate. Our reports are used to verify radar images, and to facilitate the forecasters in issuing warnings for counties in Arkansas. The following is a list of events the NWS has requested from us:
Funnel Cloud-(with direction of travel)
Hail-(dime size or larger)
Click for Printable Report Form
Amateur Radio Skywarn training nets are held on the second Tuesday night of each month on the W5DI repeater system, at 7:00 PM. The purpose of these nets is to test the Skywarn linked repeater system, and to train net control operators at the NWS. Also, training material is presented for all audiences. Topics are related to severe weather. Please check into the nets on your nearest Skywarn repeater.
The National Weather Service provides training for those interested in becoming a severe storm spotter. With successful completion, you will be a certified severe storm spotter. They normally run about 3 hours. Click on the NWS Skywarn page, and scroll down for the training schedule.