The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) is looking for additional net control operators. Hurricane Season in the Atlantic begins on June 1 and ends on November 30; in the Eastern Pacific, it begins on May 15 and ends on November 30. Hurricanes can form at any time of the year, however, as witnessed by Hurricane Alex in January.
“With the 2016 hurricane season rapidly approaching, the Hurricane Watch Net is preparing for what looks be an active season,” HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said. “It has been a long time since the US has seen a major hurricane make landfall.” He believes the US may be overdue for one.
Graves said the HWN is seeking new members who can serve as net control stations. “Post-El Niño years can be busy and very dangerous,” he said. “Following the last major El Niño in 1997-1998, we had Hurricane Mitch make landfall in Honduras in October. Mitch was the second deadliest hurricane in Atlantic Basin history — over 11,000 people died in Honduras alone, primarily due to severe flooding and mudslides.” The storm also caused many deaths elsewhere in Central America.
Graves said the HWN is always on the lookout for well-qualified, experienced net control operators who can effectively communicate with hurricane-prone areas from eastern Canada, the US East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. He said bilingual (English and Spanish) operators are a valuable asset in dealing with storms affecting areas where Spanish is the predominant language.
The HWN generally activates whenever a hurricane is within 300 miles of landfall, or, at the request of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, or the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. During an activation the HWN operates on 14.325 MHz during daylight hours and shifts to 7.268 MHz when 20 meters folds — or as otherwise required.
Graves said Hurricane Watch Net volunteers typically are radio amateurs with above-average stations who are willing to commit their time to support the HWN mission during Net activations, which, he added, can sometimes be long and stressful.
HWN membership is required to serve as a net control station, but radio amateurs do not need to be HWN members to participate as reporting stations, providing observed or measured weather data or relaying assistance as required by the net control.
Visit the HWN Membership Information Page, if you’re interested in becoming a member of the Hurricane Watch Net.