Who we are and What We Do
WX4NHC Operators at NHC
Our Mission – to help save lives
WX4NHC (formerly W4EHW) is an Amateur Radio Station that is operated by volunteer amateur radio operators and is located at the National Hurricane Center ,
located on the campus of Florida International University in Miami, Florida. The station has been totally assembled from donated equipment.
WX4NHC is an Amateur Radio Station, also known as “Ham Radio”, located at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. The station has been totally assembled from donated equipment and is operated by an organized group of volunteer amateur radio operators since 1980 (click here for history).
WX4NHC has been activated whenever a hurricane is within 300 miles of land fall in the areas of the western Atlantic, the Caribbean or the eastern Pacific. We also provide Emergency Backup Communications from NHC to NWS Offices and other agencies in case of local landfall.
The WX4NHC Team is composed of 30 specially trained volunteer operators that man the Ham Radio station in 3 to 4 hour shifts. For example: during the Historic 2005 Hurricane Season the station was manned, sometimes with two to three operators at a time, for more than 500 hours, sometimes with back-to-back hurricanes. We operated twice from inside the Eye of a hurricane (Katrina and Wilma) and collect hundreds of surface reports each hurricane season!
Our operators, work in conjunction with the Hurricane Watch Net, VoIP WX-Talk Hurricane Net and other volunteer networks to collect real-time “Surface Reports” for the NHC Hurricane Specialists via Amateur Radio using many modes such as HF “Shortwave” Radio, VHF/UHF Radio, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) systems; EchoLink and IRLP, Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) and volunteer weather observer networks, ON-NHC (Observers Network) & CWOP (Citizen’s Weather Observers Program), using on-line reporting, email and Fax. WX4NHC also relays Hurricane Advisories via the Ham Radio Networks to the hurricane affected areas and governmental agencies when conventional means of communications have been interrupted.
These “Surface Reports” provide the forecasters with supplemental weather and damage data that are not normally available to them and it is frequently incorporated into their advisories as they provide a human perspective and Eye Witness accounts of what people are experiencing during a hurricane.
The WX4NHC Team has been nationally recognized for their volunteer international humanitarian efforts by the National Hurricane Conference and the South Florida Hurricane Conference.
Dr. Richard Knabb, Director of the National Hurricane Center: "When I was a hurricane specialist here at NHC, especially during the extremely busy year of 2005, I frequently relied on information from dedicated HAM radio operators in the U.S. and in many other countries. They are key partners with us as we disseminate forecasts and warnings, and collect all available data both while an active tropical cyclone is out there, and after the event when the crucial task of documenting the impacts is conducted. Our HAM radio friends are as passionate as we are at NHC about disaster safety and preparedness, and they provide a method of communicating that has withstood the test of time, even in the midst of other technological advances. Thank you to all who participate in and support this important community."
Please help support WX4NHC
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