On behalf of the League, ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, has congratulated the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) on the 50th anniversary of its founding by Jerry Murphy, K8YUW.
“Thanks to the efforts of the Net’s dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers across 5 decades, Amateur Radio has played a key role in helping protect the lives of a great many people in harm’s way,” President Craigie told HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, this week in an e-mail. “The Net demonstrates how significantly Amateur Radio contributes to emergency preparedness and promotes international goodwill. Please relay to the Net’s members my appreciation and respect for a half century of outstanding service. Best wishes for many more years of successful operation of the Hurricane Watch Net.”
Graves replied, “It is an honor and pleasure to be a part of such a great group of ham radio operators with a rich history. I will certainly share your letter with our membership and, more importantly, with our founder Jerry Murphy, K8YUW.” Murphy founded the HWN in 1965 during Hurricane Betsy as “an informal group of radio amateurs who recognized a need to provide communications to and from hurricane affected areas.” The net now enjoys a formal relationship with the National Hurricane Center and its WX4NHC amateur station.
The HWN stood down on October 4 after activating more than once for Hurricane Joaquin, at one point a dangerous Category 4 storm. Graves called the activations, “very successful in that we had many more reporting stations and lots of data to forward to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.” The HWN had reactivated as Joaquin posed a threat to Bermuda after battering the Bahamas with high winds and heavy rainfall. “Joaquin passed just to the west [of Bermuda] as a Category 2 hurricane, sparing everyone from the extremely damaging winds,” Graves noted over the weekend after the net had shut down for the last time. “For the most part, in addition to lots of heavy rain, on-and-off power outages were reported throughout the day.”
The HWN suspended its initial activation for Hurricane Joaquin on October 2, after 3 days of near-continuous operation, only to reactivate on October 3. Although the storm did not make landfall on the East Coast of the US, it caused torrential rainfall and severe flooding in the Carolinas, and has been blamed for more than a dozen deaths.
The HWN activates on 14.325 MHz when a storm threatens whenever a hurricane is within 300 miles of projected landfall or becomes a serious threat to a populated area.