Now in its 37th year, WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, will take to the airwaves on Saturday, May 27, for the annual NHC Station Test. The event will begin at 1300 UTC and wrap up at 2100 UTC. The exercise, which involves several bands and modes, serves to test Amateur Radio Station equipment, antennas, and computer systems prior to this year’s Hurricane Season, which starts June 1 and runs through November 30.
The annual Station Test is not a contest or simulated hurricane exercise but a practice run for operators to get familiar with Amateur Radio communication modes available during severe weather events. WX4NHC typically uses the annual station test to train its operators. “We will be making brief contacts on many frequencies and modes, exchanging signal reports and basic weather data exchange — ‘sunny,’ ‘rain,’ etc. — with any station in any location,” said Assistant WX4NHC Amateur Radio Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4R
Ripoll said WX4NHC will operate on HF, VHF, UHF, 2 meter 30 meter APRS, and available via and WinLink (subject line must contain “//WL2K”).
“We will try to stay on the recognized Hurricane Watch Net frequency of 14.325 MHz most of the time and announce when we QSY,” Ripoll said. Due to space and equipment limitations, WX4NHC will deploy only up to two operators per shift, so the station will not be on every band and mode simultaneously. Ripoll suggested using one of the DX spotting networks, such as such as DX Summit, to see where WX4NHC is at any given time.
WX4NHC also plans to be on the VoIP Hurricane Net from 2000 until 2100 UTC (IRLP node 9219; EchoLink WX-TALK Conference node 7203). In addition, the station will be active on South Florida VHF and UHF repeaters.
QSL cards are available to participating stations via WD4R; include a self-addressed stamped envelope. Do not send cards to the National Hurricane Center.
Due to security measures, no visitors will be allowed into the NHC without prior clearance. Only WX4NHC operators on the approved operating schedule will be allowed entry.