Amateur Radio Station
at the
National Hurricane Center

The WX4NHC History (formerly W4EHW)

Formal Amateur Radio activity at The Hurricane Center was initiated by Andy Clark W4IYT (sk) (ARPSC Emergency Coordinator),
Joel Kandel KI4T, ARPSC Asst. EC and Dr. Neil Frank (Director of NHC) in 1980.

Our Amateur Radio Station started with very humble beginnings.
The first Amateur Radio Coordinator, Julio Ripoll WD4R (ex WD4JR, WD4JNS), then an Architecture student at the University of Miami,
would borrow the university club station transceiver (Kenwood TS520) or bring his own radio (Yaesu FT101EX) from his dormitory room
in a cardboard box and hand carry it a couple of blocks down US-1 to the old NHC building.
The station radio equipment was then setup on one of the Hurricane Forecaster's desk and connected to the coax cable that ran 300 feet to the roof top wire antenna.

During our first Hurricane Season, we had only had about 5 volunteer operators that sometimes operated up to 12 hours per shift.
Our first operation at NHC was Hurricane Allen. This was one of our most memorable and intensive learning experiences.
We had over 120 hours on the air, filled 20 pages of the Radio Log and sent more than 90 Radiograms
Most of our W4EHW operational functions and goals were tested and achieved.
This proved to Dr. Frank and the staff of NHC the important support Amateur Radio can provide during Hurricanes to the affected area
as well as receiving valuable surface reports from the people actually experiencing the Hurricane effects in real time.

Past and Present Amateur Radio Coordinators
for WX4NHC at The National Hurricane Center

Years - Coordinator / Assistant Coordinator
1980-1986 Julio Ripoll WD4R (ex WD4JR, WD4JNS) / Ham Robinson W4ZR (sk)
1986-1995 Layton Ruse W4VBQ (sk) / Ernie Feist WA4CCP (sk)
1995-1997 Joe Schmidt W4NKJ (sk) / Julio Ripoll WD4R
1997-present John McHugh K4AG/ Julio Ripoll WD4R

NHC Director Dr. Neil Frank & Julio Ripoll WD4R 1980 during our first hurricane operation (click here)
Past WX4NHC Coordinators at NHC 1995 with NHC Director Dr. Bob Sheets (click here)

WX4NHC Coordinators at NHC 1998 with NHC Director Jerry Jarrell (click here)
June 2000 Picture of Director Max Mayfield at WX4NHC Station (click here)
June 2008 Picture of Director Bill Read (KB5FYA) at WX4NHC Station (click here)

In Memory of Layton Ruse W4VBQ


Return to Home Page